Tuesday marked one year since I published He’s With the Band and it’s been an amazing year. I had no idea that within a year I’d have two more ebooks published, be available in so many stores, and have my ebooks downloaded so many times!
For those who don’t know, when I publish an ebook it goes directly to Smashwords, a company whose sole purpose in “life” is to get the ebooks from independent authors into ebook stores where readers can find them. Anyone can self-publish via Smashwords and get their ebooks on the Smashwords website, but if an author is willing to do a little extra work to meet the requirements of the Smashwords Style Guide, which is things like cleaning up the formatting, creating navigation within your book, getting the front and back matter together and creating a professional-looking cover, then authors can submit their books to the Smashwords Premium Catalog. If the book is approved for the Premium Catalog it means it goes into a whole host of stores:
- Apple’s iBooks
- Baker & Taylor Axis360 (provides digital media to libraries)
- Baker & Taylor Blio
- Barnes & Noble
- Flipkart (India’s biggest ebook distributor)
- Library Direct (they provide ebooks directly to libraries)
- OverDrive (they handle ebooks and other digital media to libraries like the Boston Public Library)
- Oyster (an ebook subscription service for iOS devices)
- Page Foundry (the backbone for estores like Inktera)
- Sony (who left the ebook business earlier this year)
The star next to Diesel is because you can’t find anyone’s books there at the moment. Diesel eBooks and eBook Eros (a romance ebook store) have been working on something for several months and their website simply says “We’re Cooking Up Something Really Cool. Get Ready.” There’s no clue when they’ll reopen, which is a shame because they had a nice site.
Of course there’s missing form that list that’s pretty conspicuous by their absence. Of course I mean Amazon, and there’s a good reason they’re not on that list. All the other ebook stores in the list have set up a facility so ebook distributors can upload titles in bulk but Amazon chose not to to that. Instead they set up Kindle Direct Publishing so that authors can upload their books themselves. That’s how I get my ebooks on Amazon and Smashwords can do that but it’s a bit of a pain so they ask that authors sell at least $2,000 dollars of sales through Smashwords before they ask Smashwords to distribute their ebooks to Amazon. I don’t blame them but I’m glad Amazon makes things easy for us indy authors. The only thing Amazon would like to do is have me put my books in KDP Select. To do that I would have to give Amazon exclusive rights to distribute my ebooks and there’s no way I’d do that. I’d give Smashwords “exclusive” rights before I’d give it to Amazon and Amazon never gets my ebooks before they’re at least approved for the Smashwords Premium Catalog.
What about some numbers?
I won’t talk about “sales” for my ebooks, partly because it could get confusing between downloads for He’s With the Band, which is free, and sales of Somewhere… and More and No Budget, No Pay. Actually that’s not true. It’s because I’ve gotten a ton of downloads for He’s With the Band but very few sales for the other two. But I’ll be more than happy to share the download numbers.
The numbers in this image are for straight downloads of He’s With the Band but mostly preview downloads for the other two ebooks. Either way I think it’s safe to say I’ve had an amazing first year as a published author.
You’ll have to click on the image to see the whole thing but it’s 1,264 downloads of He’s With the Band this year alone, with the vast majority going through Amazon. Adding in last year’s numbers it’s been downloaded a whopping 1,584 times! That may not be a lot to an established author but for a brand new author with an ebook that should have been looked over by an editor before being published that’s pretty damn good.
That’s the big question, isn’t it. Since I won’t be working on my photobook of Franklin Park it doesn’t mean I don’t have anything in the works. I’m still trying to do a rewrite on He’s With the Band and I really hope to have it out by the end of the year. I’ll put a sample of the rewrite up once I get a scene I’m willing to share with everyone.
I also have the mystery that I was working on last September when my laptop died but I still don’t have a way to get access to the files so I can’t do any work on it. I also have a book I started back in 2002 when I finished writing the first draft of He’s With the Band but I’m not ready to work on it again yet. Part of that is because I had already done some overall work on it on my laptop so I don’t want to do anything with it until I can get at what I did with it last year.
Beyond that there’s no telling what will come up. I can say that writing longhand is an absolute pain and a time sync for me so I’m hesitant to do much of that, especially on anything longer that can simply be posted to the site. Other than that all I can say is keep watching this space. Something may come up and surprise both of us with how quickly it gets written.