Monday, May 23, 2011

Smashwords Publishes 50,000th Ebook and 20,000th Author

Smashwords achieved two special milestones in the the last few days.

We reached 50,000 original ebooks published by over 20,000 authors.

We're on track to surpass 75,000 titles by the end of year, up from 28,800 at the end of 2010, 6,000 in 2009 and 140 in 2008.

My thanks to the thousands of indie authors and small publishers around the globe who have placed their precious babies in the appreciative hands of Smashwords and our retail distribution network partners.
The most exciting thing about these dual milestones is that we've only scratched the surface of the possible.
If you're not yet working with Smashwords, join with us as our authors and publishers change the world one ebook at a time. Learn more at How to Publish and Distribute with Smashwords.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Upon the Gears of Big Publishing

I gave a presentation in Berkeley yesterday before the Northern California chapter of ASJA (American Association of Journalists and Authors) where I argued that book publishing is a matter of free speech.

Berkeley is where the Free Speech Movement started in 1964. The talk had special meaning to me because my parents (who met at a UC Berkeley dorm dance) were students there at the time, I was born there, and my mom has shared stories of how I attended many of the demonstrations, first in utero and later in a stroller.

One of the most famous speeches at that time, now referred to as "Bodies Upon the Gears," was given by Mario Savio, an early leader of the Free Speech Movement. I embedded it below. Start at the 58 second mark.

I listened to this speech for the first time yesterday morning as I prepared my presentation. I was immediately struck by how Savio's feelings of injustice (he was upset at the University administration for limiting free speech on campus) map so closely to how authors feel. I always thought authors should have the right to publish, but until I watched the video and read up on the origins of the Free Speech Movement, I never fully grokked the connection between book publishing and free speech.

A Tweet or a blog post is free speech, but a book - especially the long form variety - is about the weightiest form of deep-thinking, deep-expressing communication possible.

Big Publishers are in the business of selling books, not publishing authors. They acquire books they think they can sell, as is their right as a business. They say no to most authors, thereby preventing those authors from expressing themselves through the communications vehicle that is their book.

Until recently, if a publisher refused to publish your book, it severely limited your ability to reach readers. Sure, you could self-publish in print, as the great Dan Poynter has been advocating for over 30 years. However, without distribution access to brick and mortar bookstores - something the big publishers controlled - it was difficult for self published authors to reach readers.

The indie ebook revolution has changed all this. Now, the printing press is free and available to all. Indies enjoy the same (or better) distribution opportunities as traditional publishers. Indies can out-compete the big boys.

The Big Publisher gatekeeper-as-curator is being replaced by readers, as it should be.

My challenge to you, the author, is to throw yourself upon the gears of big publishing. Take a stand and say no to others telling you no. If your book is finished, you have the freedom to get it out there now on your own terms as an ebook. Express yourself.

Embedded below are the PowerPoint slides from my presentation. As you'll see, the presentation is an updated derivative of my Indie Author Uprising presentation from a couple months back, minus the Egyptian revolution and plus a Barbie doll surprise.

Upon the Gears of Big Publishing - ASJA May 15, Berkeley, CA
View more presentations from Smashwords, Inc.

May 18 update: A new, updated version of this post is available at The Huffington Post.

Backlist eBooks Runs Merry May Sale at Smashwords

Backlist eBooks, a coalition of previously print-published authors, has orchestrated a sale this week at Smashwords that starts today and runs through May 22nd. Below you'll find a complete list of participating titles and coupon codes provided by the authors.

The Backlist eBooks Merry May Sale features more than 51 working authors and nearly 200 books. The books were previously published by all the major publishers. It includes a half a dozen NY Times bestsellers and about the same number of USA Today bestsellers. As you might expect, some of the titles have earned major literary awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, RITA, Romantic Times and more.

The former publishers represented by this list include, in alphabetical order, Avalon, Avon, Baen Books, Ballantine/Random, Bantam, Berkley Publishing Group, Del Ray, Dell, Delphi, Dorchester, Doubleday, Eclipse, Fawcett, Gollancz/Orion, Hachette/Grand Central Publishing, Harlequin, Harper Collins/Avon, Jove Books, Kensington, NAL, Penguin/Putnam, Pinnacle, Pocket, Putnam/Berkley, Random House, Science Fiction Book Club, Signet, Simon & Schuster, St Martin's Press, TOR/Forge (Now Macmillan), Walker & Co and Wm. Morrow.

Here you go, arranged by category:


Deb Baker -

Goodbye Dolly - 25% off code AK47D
Dolly Departed - 25% off code YX75W

L.L. Bartlett -

Murder On The Mind - 25% off code QD93P
Dead In Red - 25% off code KY47G
Cheated By Death - 25% off code DW97R
Bound By Suggestion - 25% off code BB87Q

Lillian Stewart Carl -

Ashes to Ashes - 50 % off code XU39Z
The Secret Portrait - 50 % off code TN95C
Shadows in Scarlet - 50 % off code QS26E

Mark Chisnell -

The Defector – Free -
The Wrecking Crew - $.99 -

Rae Davies -

Loose Screw – 67% off code LM78F

Anne Frasier -

Pale Immortal – 35% off code EK68H
Garden of Darkness – 35% off code VA98T

Lee Goldberg -

Judgment - 75% off code MC97F

Jackie Griffey -

The Devil in Maryvale - $.99 coupon code QJ74B
The Nelson Scandal - $.99 coupon code ZH98B

Gemma Halliday -

Hollywood Scandals - 100% off code SD74L

Libby Fischer Hellman -

Easy Innocence – 50% off code SD27E
Doubleback – 50% off code TX78H
Nice Girl Does Noir, Vol. 1 – 50% off code DJ95B
Nice Girl Does Noir, Vol. 2 – 50% off code ZL96E

Mary Ellen Hughes -

Resort to Murder – 25% off code NN95H

Julie Hyzy -

Deadly Blessings – 25% off code RR79T
Deadly Interest – 25% off code ZK65V

N.C. Hyzy -

Playing With Matches – 25% off code UB74V

Maryann Miller -

One Small Victory - $.99 -

Lise McCledon -

The Bluejay Shaman - $.99 code BL87Z
One O'clock Jump - $.99 code EL93T
Blackbird Fly - $.99 code UE79W
Sweet and Lowdown - $1.64 code WC48Y
Painted Truth - $1.64 code PJ85W

M.C. Walker -

Blood Son - 50% off code QL25Z

Beth Orsoff -

Honeymoon for One – 25% off code NV45J

P.B. Ryan -

Still Life with Murder – Free -
Murder in a Mill Town – 30% off code HA99Y
Death on Beacon Hill – 30% off code AN43Z
Murder on Black Friday – 30% off code GN87G
Murder in the North End – 30% off code JS22T
A Bucket of Ashes – 30% off code FQ23U


Judith Arnold -

Loverboy - $.99 -
Aztec Sun - $.99 -
One Whiff of Scandal - $.99 -
Barefoot In the Grass - $.99 -
Cry Uncle - $.99 -
Safe Harbor - $.99 -
Change of Life - $.99 -
Found: One Son – $.99 code -
Found: One Wife - $.99 -

Becky Barker -

Hanchart Land – 50% off code TA28D
Bridleton – 50% off code YT68U

Pamela Burford -

Snowed - $.99 -
Too Darn Hot - 67% off code CB36M

Christina Crooks -

Thrill of the Chase - 50% off code BZ54B
L.A. Caveman - $.99 -

Jana DeLeon -

Trouble in Mudbug - 80% off code PF92Q

Lori Devoti -

Love is All Around - 50% off code GP27G

Donna Fasano -

The Merry-Go-Round - 50% off code UQ79A
Talking Love in Stride - 50% off code DA72X
Mountain Laurel - 50% off code QX47K

Alison Kent -

Love In Bloom - $.99 -
At His Mercy - $.99 -

Patricia McLinn -

Principal of Love – 66% off code ST62W
Prelude to a Wedding – 66% off code PU32H
A New World – 66% off code RY77C
Hoops – 66% off code XL36D

Leigh Michaels -

A Singular Honeymoon - 25% off KZ34M
The Daddy Trap - 25% off code JW32X
Just a Normal Marriage - 25% off code BF69D
With No Reservations – 25% off code UL33J
Taming A Tycoon – 25% off code LS93T

Julie Ortolon

Falling for You - $.99

Patricia Ryan -

Shelter from the Storm – 100% off code RF86D

Kathryn Shay -

After the Fire – 25% off code DC34L
On the Line – 25% off code YK47Q
Nothing More to Lose – 25% off code QK93E
Someone to Believe In – 25% off code DB92T
Close to You – 25% off code VV73D
Taking the Heat – 25% off code UU56J
Promises to Keep – 25% off code XC92Z
Trust In Me – 25% off code UY68Z
Ties That Bind – 25% off code DX98K
Still the One – $.99 -
Maybe This Time – 25% off code TS73F
Someone Like You – 25% off code LG68N
The Father Factor – 25% off code BR47M
The Betrayal - $.99 -


Judy Alter -

Mattie - $.99 -

Shari Anton -

Emily's Captain - 50% off code UN75D

Marsha Canham -

China Rose – 25% off code GK49Y
Bound by the Heart - $.99 -

Sharon Ihle -

The Bride Wore Spurs - $.99 -
Maggie's Wish - $.99 -

Wendy Lindstrom

Shades of Honor - 50% off code ZX59W

Kelly McClymer -

The Fairy Tale Bride
- $.99 -

Jill Metcalf -

Spring Blossom - $.99 code SM62N
Family Reunion – 30% off code UA96Z

Miriam Minger -

Twin Passions – 50% off code WM42Y
Stolen Splendor – 50% off code GG23X
A Hint of Rapture – 50% off coupon DF38U
Captive Rose – 50% off code YH65T
Defiant Impostor – 50% off code LM58S
The Pagan's Prize - 67% off code PA58N
My Runaway Heart - 50% off code YE97Q
Wild Roses - 50% off code VV82Q
Secrets of Midnight - $.99 -
Wild Angel - $.99 -

Patricia Ryan -

Falcon’s Fire – 30% off code UT67X
Heaven’s Fire –75 % off code LT63P
Secret Thunder – 30% off code SB93L
Wild Wind – 30% off code TN24P
Silken Threads – 30% off code UL76S
The Sun and the Moon – 30% off code DP22S

Laurin Wittig -

The Devil of Kilmartin - 33% off code EG75D
Charming the Shrew -33% off code XE84C
Daring the Highlander - 33% off code SD34D


Doranna Durgin -

Deep River Reckoning – 25% off code QL33L

Michele Hauf -

Wicked Angels - 40% off code RA85T


Doranna Durgin -

Hidden Steel - $.99 -
Making the Rules – 25% off code UN27P

Anne Frasier

Cool Shade – 35% off code NH52Z

Terry Odell -

What's in a Name? - 50% off code YN92A
When Danger Calls - 50% off code DZ37H

Julie Hyzy -

Artistic License – 25% off code FE78W


Lillian Stewart Carl

Lucifer's Crown - 50 % off code WC94L

(New!) Jeffrey A. Carver

Dragon Space: A Star Rigger Omnibus - 25% Coupon Code FZ82S
Eternity's End - 25% Coupon Code JM96S
The Chaos Chronicles (Books 1-3) - 25% Coupon Code ZH68H

Doranna Durgin -

A Feral Darkness - $.99 -
The Heart of Dog - 25% off code PU45T

Melanie Jackson -

The First Book of Dreams: Metropolis
- $.99 -


Diane Chamberlain -

Secret Lives - 25% off code DB98S
Brass Ring - 25% off code UJ26N
Fire and Rain - 25% off code BB53R
Reflection - 25% off code GV38X
The Escape Artist – 25% off code FN24X

Beth Orsoff -

Romantically Challenged - 25% off code QL62Y
How I Learned to Love the Walrus (An Arctic Romantic Comedy) – 25% off code UW54E


Lori Devoti -

Demon High – 50% off code CJ27H


Mark Chisnell -

Pressure Falling – Free -
Risk to Gain – 50% off code VL93G

Gerald M. Weinberg -

Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method – 50% off code EB52D

This sale, which ends May 22, is orchestrated by Backlist eBooks, a private initiative run by Patricia Ryan and Doranna Durgin. Learn more about Backlist eBooks at

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Smashwords Quadruples Meatgrinder Ebook Conversion Capacity

On Friday we quadrupled the ebook conversion capacity of the Smashwords Meatgrinder.

Lately, the queue time has been running 30 hours from upload to conversion completion. That's unacceptable. Two years ago, it was 5-10 minutes.

Today, we're back to near-instant conversions. Upload a book formatted to the Smashwords Style Guide and watch Meatgrinder convert your book in real-time to multiple ebook formats. No other ebook publishing platform offers such rapid publishing and updating.

We now have the architecture in place to scale our capacity further as volume warrants.

The long queues were caused by an influx of new books, as well as an increase in regrinds from authors and publishers upgrading their books with improved formatting and navigation.

In addition to the increased throughput, we've made multiple improvements over the last few weeks to Meatgrinder's NCX generation for EPUB. EPUB is the format used by our retail distribution partners Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store.

NCX stands for Navigation Control file for XML. Think of the NCX as a meta-Table-of-Contents, since the file and the navigation actually reside outside the book, but point back into it (What you know as an EPUB file is really a zipped combination of multiple files of which the .NCX is only one). A well-formed NCX adds useful navigation for your reader. See Step 20 in the Smashwords Style Guide for more on how to construct an NCX and linked Table of Contents at Smashwords.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Smashwords Releases Two Billionth Word

Yesterday evening, a Smashwords author released the two billionth word at Smashwords.

If you could anthropomorphize your words - if your words could speak - what memories would they recall of the long hours touching your soul, of feeling your love and commitment?

What stories would they tell about their journey traveling from your head to your fingers to the screen of your word processor to the eyes, minds and imaginations of your readers?

What secrets would they keep?

These two billion words at Smashwords aren't just words. They represent the creative progeny and expression of 19,000 authors around the world.

As I reflect upon these last three wild years, I want to thank all Smashwords authors and publishers for your trust, commitment and support as we work to bring your words to readers. Three years in, together we've only scratched the surface of the possible.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Smashwords Partners with ScrollMotion to Deliver Indie Ebooks to Major Mobile App Marketplaces

Smashwords books are coming to an app store near you.

Today we announced an agreement with ScrollMotion that will transform over 33,000 Smashwords Premium Catalog ebooks into individual mobile apps for distribution to the largest app marketplaces for smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The relationship will gain Smashwords authors and publishers free entry into the app marketplaces for Apple, Android, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS.

Our partnership with ScrollMotion expands the distribution of our books to the largest, fastest growing app marketplaces, and will enable Smashwords authors and publishers to reach new readers.

According to Gartner Group, worldwide smartphone sales will reach 468 million units in 2011, a 57.7 percent increase from 2010. Apple, Android and Windows Phone 7 above power 63 percent of all smart phones in 2011, and this will rise to 85 percent by 2015. Separately, in the all-important tablet market, which Gartner estimates will reach 69 million devices this year, Gartner predicts Apple, Android, WebOS will collectively power over 92 percent of tablets sold. Gartner estimates sales of tablets will grow to 294 million units by 2015, of which Apple, Android and WebOS are expected to command a collective 89 percent market share.

Over 47,000 books are published at Smashwords today, with over 5,000 new releases in the last 30 days. Over 34,000 of these titles have been accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalog for distribution to major retailers.

Shipments to ScrollMotion will commence on Friday, and titles will begin appearing in the app marketplaces later this month. All Premium Catalog books are automatically opted in for ScrollMotion distribution. To modify distribution preferences, log in to your Smashwords Dashboard's Channel Manager. Like all Smashwords retail relationships, authors and publishers will earn 60 percent of the list price.

Read the official press release here.

If you're not yet working with Smashwords, learn how at our page, How to Publish and Distribute with Smashwords.