2014 Smashwords Survey Released: New Opportunities for Indie Authors

Courtesy: Smashwords
Courtesy: Smashwords

The 2014 Smashwords Survey reveals new opportunities for indie ebook authors to sell more books. In this survey, they examined aggregated retail and library sales data of Smashwords books and then crunched the numbers based on various quantifiable characteristics of the book.

For this year’s survey, they examined over $25 million in customer purchases aggregated across retailers, including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, the Smashwords.com store, Sony (now closed), Diesel (closed), Oyster, Scribd, Kobo, public libraries, and others.

Some key points from the 2014 Smashwords Survey:

  • The e-book sales power curve is extremely steep
    • A few titles sell fabulously well and most sell poorly
  • Readers seem to prefer longer e-books
  • Pricing — The highest earning indie authors are utilizing lower average prices than the authors who earn less
    • Sweet spots seem to be around $2.99-$3.99
    • $3.99 is a pretty good spot for fiction
  • Free still works for now, but this may change in the coming years
    • It’s still a powerful book marketing tool because it makes it easier for readers to take a risk on an author brand that is unknown or untrusted
  • Preorders yield sales advantage, it helps build anticipation for your book
  • Series yield sales advantage
    • Series books outsell standalone books!
  • Best-performing series have longer books
  • Free series starters pack a punch
    • There’s strong evidence that series with free series starters earn more money for authors than series that do not have free series starters
  • Non-fiction earns more at higher prices
    • Non-fiction buyers are less price-sensitive than fiction buyers

Here is a copy of the presentation about the survey: http://www.slideshare.net/Smashwords/2014-smashwords-survey-how-to-sell-more-ebooks.

You can read the 2013 Smashwords Survey here and 2012 Smashwords Survey here.

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) is a leader of self publishing in Massachusetts. We offer optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print, and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!


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