Present and future writers and publishers should be paying attention to Smashwords right now. The traditional publishing industry is imploding before our eyes and business models like Smashwords stand poised to take advantage of the exploding demand for digital ebooks. We’re proud to be able to announce that the barbarians are at the gate and the keepers stand a good chance of being flattened if they don’t adapt or stand aside.
For too many years, a few monolithic publishing houses have kept a tight grip on which books ultimately appear in print. If your writing didn’t happen to fit their preconceived notion of what a bestseller was, tough luck, you weren’t going to get a sniff at a contract with a nice advance. Much like today’s creative snore fest of offerings from Hollywood, New York publishers had built their ship of profit upon a business model that never anticipated the speed and power with which the Internet would penetrate their fortress.
With more and more self-published authors releasing digital versions of their books via the Smashwords platform, which formats for Kindle, Nook and many others, plus pays a very nice royalty percentage (60 to 85%), and a whole other group choosing to inexpensively publish hard copy versions via places like Lulu and Booklocker, independent self publishing is fast becoming a potential way to earn more money than all but the top traditionally published authors, names like JK Rowling and Stephen King.
But does Smashwords work? As with any endeavor, your mileage may vary but it seems to be working out quite nicely for author Brian Pratt, who received unanimous rejections from “real” publishers across the country but found a market for his fast-paced fantasy novels on Smashwords. From a first quarterly royalty payment of $7.82, Pratt is set to make $100,000 from Smashwords in 2011 and toss in at least that much on projected sales at Amazon. That’s a pretty serious vote of confidence from the people that matter, the buying public. And Platt’s not an anomaly. Names like Seth Godin, JA Konrath and others are making a killing in those bold new world of bookselling.
Is it easy? Of course not. You still have to write a great book before someone will buy it but no longer will your masterpiece be denied entrance to the arena of public consumption just because a snooty NYC editor thought it wasn’t good enough.
The Speaking of Success Team