Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Smashwords Billion Word March

We just hit 150 million words of original indie ebooks published at Smashwords, up 50 percent from only seven weeks ago.

I believe in big goals, so here's crazy one: Come join with Smashwords as we strive to reach one billion words by the end of 2010.

It took us 17 months to get where we're at today. Can we grow 700 percent in 15 months? Sure, why not, let's go for it.

As Smashwords grows, it opens up exciting new opportunities for our authors and publishers to connect with readers around the globe.

Please encourage every author and publisher you know to upload their books to Smashwords. We offer free, easy and instant ebook publishing, and free distribution to major online retailers. No hidden fees or packages to buy. 85 percent net back to the author or publisher.

To learn how to make your books available to a worldwide audience in minutes, visit this link for How to Publish at Smashwords.

Update - November 3, 2009: We hit 200 million words today, up 33% in less than one month.

Update - January 7, 2010: We hit 315 million words today, up 57% in two months. Only 685 million words to go.

Update - April 14, 2010: We hit 500 million, halfway there!

Update - June 4, 2010: We hit 600 million

Update - September 10, 2010: We hit 872 million. Wow. Over a quarter billion words in three months, almost 100 million per month.

Update - October 23, 2010: Goal reached ahead of schedule!!! See the blog post here.

Update - December 27, 2010: With five days to go in the year, we hit exactly 1.25 billion words at about 1:20 Pacific time today.


Von Allan said...

Hi Mark,

I've looked at the guide before and I'm a little leery on the graphics front. I'd love to upload a graphic novel ebook, but I don't know if there's a way to do it that would keep it nice and small. Actually, I'm pretty sure there isn't a way, especially with the 5 meg restriction, due to the loss of legibility with the lettering. I have Photoshop CS2 so shrinking the images isn't a problem. Keeping it readable is, though.

The ebook I'm thinking of is 141 pages in length (and that's actual comic book pages containing full grayscale graphics) so I just don't know if it's doable.

Any chance I'm wrong? Or is there a workaround?

Dovetail Public Relations said...

Hi Von, sounds tough. Reduce the image sizes as much as possible and see what you can do. Word's compress feature, listed in the Style Guide, works well without visible loss of quality, though with 141 image pages, I'm not terribly hopeful given our 5MB limit.

Anonymous said...

Von Allan - would cutting down the number of shades used be an option? Most ebook readers seem to support only 8 shades of grey (don't take my word for that).

A possible workaround would be to offer it in, say, 50-page chunks, but give all buyers of the first instalment a coupon to make the next 2 parts free to download?

Von Allan said...


The grey shades are pretty much at the minimum now, unfortunately. I think my only alternative would be to go with pure line art instead. I'm going to have to do some experimenting to see if that's doable.

The 50 page chunks is an intriguing thought as a fallback, though. I'm going to have to spend a bit of time mucking around to see what I can come up with for one single volume, but I'm going to keep this in mind.


I love Smashwords and I think you've done a remarkable job with it. I just wish there was a way of doing graphics heavy ebooks that didn't have to worry about the 5 meg upload limit. It seems like this is the one problem facing ebooks right now that there isn't a simple solution for. I can't wait 'til there is. But that certainly isn't meant to take anything away from Smashwords itself. It really is damn nifty.

Von Allan said...

Just wanted to touch base and say the best I could do compression-wise is about an 18 meg file. Anything smaller than that is basically unreadble. This basically leaves me with PDF as the only option for my graphic novel.

The good news is since I was planning on distributing my book for free, PDF does allow for both easy uploading to Scribd and also for creating a Torrent file. I'll also be using Calibre to try and turn it into Sony Reader LRF format, too. But it leaves out Smashwords and I find that disappointing.