Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Smashwords Blog Year in Review

For fun, I thought I'd do some bloggy naval gazing and share some Smashwords blog stats drawn from Feedburner, the cool Google-owned service that makes it easy for bloggers to understand readership trends.

First off, the ten most viewed posts of 2009:

  1. Barnes & Noble to Distribute Smashwords Ebooks - This surprised just about everyone, and offered a hint of what was to come in the weeks that followed when we announced additional distribution deals with Sony, Kobo and Amazon
  2. Smashwords Book Marketing Guide Updated - I think maybe this post was popular because I offered links to many of the other great book marketing titles published at Smashwords
  3. Inside the Smashwords Community Filter - I wrote this post to explain how Smashwords harnesses the wisdom of readers to help other readers determine what's worth reading.
  4. Win $500 in the Editor Unleashed/Smashwords Flash Fiction 40 Contest - We sponsored this great writing contest organized by Maria Schneider at Editor Unleashed. Over two hundred authors entered, and the best 40 were published in a the Flash Fiction 40 Anthology at Smashwords. There's still time to enter the next contest, "Why I Write."
  5. Exploring the Outer Reaches of Literature with Author Mel Keegan - This was a fun interview. I was particularly interested to explore how ebooks might level the playing field for authors and genres typically shunned by traditional brick and mortar retailers.
  6. Sramana Mitra Interview: How Authors Can Build their Personal Franchise - Sramana shared some of her wisdom on how authors can better promote their books and careers.
  7. Ebooks as Vessels for Greater Cross-Cultural Understanding - I wrote this after speaking at the Oakland Rotary Club, where I tried to express why I thought books were so important to the future of mankind. My main point was that the world is getting smaller, and books can help us spread essential knowledge and understand one another.
  8. Have Ebooks Already Gone Mainstream? - I wrote this all the way back in April. Even then, I don't think anyone anticipated how ebooks would take off like a rocket for the rest of 2009.
  9. Smashwords 'Read an Ebook Week' Promotion - In support of Rita Toews' annual Read and Ebook Week celebration, Bill created a special promotional catalog for Smashwords authors. We now use that same technology to support other time-limited promotions. Hmmm... Maybe it's time for another promotion?
  10. Do Authors Still Need Publishers? - Does Stephen King, or any other author, still need a publisher? For print books, maybe yes. For ebooks, maybe not. In 2009 we're going to see many more mainstream authors go indie, first with their reverted-rights backlists, then with unpublished works, and then with first releases. Wait, this has already happened.

I started this blog in April 2008, one month before Smashwords officially launched. It's fair to say nobody cared. By January 1, 2009 (noted by the red splotch), the blog had grown its RSS subscriber rolls to a whopping 20 readers.

I suppose it was a bit like the situation some of us feel when we realize our most loyal readers have whiskers and tails and are really just waiting to have their heads scratched.

For some reason, people started paying attention in 2009. We're now up to about 500 subscribers. That's seems like a lot to me. For those of you who stop by for a read every now and then, I appreciate your time and I thank you for your enlightening comments and feedback. I learn from you.

2009 promises to be an exiting year. I'll continue to share items here I think are of interest to the Smashwords author/publisher/reader/partner community. Happy new year!


Anonymous said...

Mark, we all cared in 2008-- but we hardy knew ye!

I know that dozens of faithful bloggers have linked to your blog since then, and now you have a loyal following, which is just going to grow, just like your Smashwords.

It just takes time to get the word out. The "long tail" applies to bloggers, too.

I'm glad to see Smashwords is doing so well.

Robert Burton Robinson said...

Yeah, Mark, your blog posts back in April sounded kinda crazy at the time. But when I read them now, you sound like a prophet!

I had hoped you were right all along. That's why I signed up with Smashwords. But I didn't honestly believe the publishing world would change this fast.

Keep up the great work!

Robert Burton Robinson

Dovetail Public Relations said...

Thanks Christy and Robert! It's going to be an exciting year for all all of us.

DesGreene said...

That growth is almost exponential - next year your blog audience should be somewhere in the tens of thousands!

I hope it is - best of luck for the tenties!