Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Smashwords Surpasses 500 Million Words Published

Oh, wow. After I finished the previous post about how the number of self-published books is exceeding the number traditionally published books, I clicked over to the Smashwords home page to discover our word counter ticked past 500 million when I wasn't looking.

Six months ago, I set a crazy goal for Smashwords to publish one billion words by the end of 2010. I called the challenge our Billion Word March. At the time, we had just published our 150 millionth word.

Can we make it? It's too soon to tell. It'll be tough. We have 8 1/2 months to double the number of books now published, which, as of this exact second, stands at 10,426.

After I wrote the Billion Word March post, I recall a few folks snickered, and questioned whether this was a good measure of success. After all, shouldn't quality matter more? Or book sales? Or the name of the publisher? You be the judge.

I see the number as a measure of liberation. These are words that deserve to be published because all authors should have the freedom to publish and reach readers. Readers will decide the value. Some of these books will go on to achieve great obscurity. Others will find, and are finding, thousands of readers thanks to the simple, free and instant publishing enabled by Smashwords.

For the doubters out there who believe the only legitimate measures of a book's worth are units sold or big names on the spine, you're missing the point of publishing. More importantly, you're underestimating the growing power of the indie author collective.


Shayne Parkinson said...

Congratulations! That's quite a milestone. I've just realised that about three-quarters of a million of those words are mine!

Here's to passing the billion-word mark.

Anonymous said...

That's great Mark, good for you!

I'm not much of a gambler, but I'll bet $50 bucks Smashwords will go past the Billion word mark by December 31st.

Any takers?

Unknown said...

Ho‘omaika‘i ‘ana Mark – Congratulations. I agree with you on this: “I see the number as a measure of liberation. These are words that deserve to be published because all authors should have the freedom to publish and reach readers. Readers will decide the value.”

Some ‘traditional publishers’ have proved to be wonderful jurists for readers, but unfortunately that’s not an assumption the reader can always make. Therefore, I also see this as an exciting measure of creativity flourishing, stretching, and growing because of that liberation you speak of.

You’re doing a wonderful thing with Smashwords, and I’m among those who are very grateful for your leadership Mark. I’ve learned quite a bit from you in recent weeks.

Unknown said...

Mark, over the past 48 hours I have published nine of my formerly published, traditional books, with Smashwords. (All rights have been recovered) So, I have contributed 950,392 of those words and somewhere between book six and book eight, I noticed the Smashwords total exceed a half billion words. There must be a prize for that, right? Highlighted author status, the "Purple Brick" award, or some such?

One note about your Publish system: Once the price is set, the three boxes where the authors distribution share of royalty is supposed to reflect (at least I think that is their purpose) does not work. Nothing comes up to show the distributed royalty amount.

Thanks for your excellent service and the continued success of Smashwords.

Gordon Ryan

Dovetail Public Relations said...

Thanks, all.

Gordon (and Shayne), we should create a million-word club. :)

Gordon, I just checked the pie chart feature at and it appears to be working. It's likely there's an issue with your browser, such as possibly you have Javascript disabled? Also make sure you entered a price in the "Charge a specific amount for my book: $" field, otherwise the chart won't come up. You could try accessing the page in another browser. If you can't get it resolved, email us at the customer support link.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Mark. Don't think I have Javascript disable, in fact I recently installed an update to it which came automatically. I did in fact enter a price (went back later and changed the xx.95 to xx.99 to comply with Apple) but still it did not show the charts. I don't want to play with it, because I don't have another book to publish at the moment. If there a "what if" scenario available without using the Publish process? Thank you.

I also emailed a couple of days ago asking if Smashwords was going to offer bank direct deposit in addition to manual checks or Pay Pal. What say ye?

Rebecca J Vickery said...

YAAAYYY!!! Go Smashwords!!!
I am definitely adding my share to the Billion Word March. I have never been happier than since turning to Smashwords as my EBook publisher. So much stress is gone that I now feel much more freedom to WRITE!
Sure we have our bumps and niggles to get past, but Mark and Bill handle them, give us a solution, and we move on. I can definitely see SW exceeding the Billion word point this year.
And we definitely need a million- words-published club.
Happy writing, everyone.

Debra L Martin said...


Congratulations, that's great! I am very happy with my Smashword's experience in publishing my books.

I wish us all great success.


Wilson James said...

Congrats to Mark and the great Smashwords team, and also to all of the Smashword authors who have added their words. As I tweeted yesterday (about 3 hours before Mark's blog post - just a little boast), that's a LOT of words. I can only claim that 220,000 are mine.

500,000,000 words. Have you got any to add? If you don't, then read some and enjoy.


Leonore Dvorkin said...

Congratulations, Mark. I am very happy to have published the e-version of my novel APART FROM YOU with Smashwords today. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity. I am telling all the writers I know about you guys. My husband, David Dvorkin,plans to re-publish most of his many books with you. Here's wishing you and all of your many authors continued and growing success! -- Leonore H. Dvorkin (

Dovetail Public Relations said...

Welcome to Smashwords, Leonore!