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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Achieving Indie Publishing Success: Two Stories That Provide Inspiration for Indie Authors

CBS News recently profiled a couple, Jack and Jasinda Wilder (pen names), who were able to save their home and family’s future by writing and self-publishing steamy romance novels. Last summer, the couple was facing foreclosure and a deep financial crisis, so they decided to take to writing romance novels as a means to dig their way out. They took a shot in the dark, and it paid off. In six months, they turned out 20 e-books. And now in less than a year, they’ve sold nearly a million e-books. Let’s look at their story and a more recent independently published author, Richard Blomberg, the various levels of success they’ve achieved, and the ways in which any independent author can find success with indie publishing.

For the Wilders, they were likely thrilled when they sold a few e-books, bringing in some much-needed cash. And then they sold enough books to pay their $1,200 mortgage each month by selling e-books. Now, the home they almost lost is a self-publishing powerhouse. With each book, their audience grew and sales climbed higher. Then this spring, one of their novels jumped onto the New York Times Bestseller list and hit #1 on Amazon.

While the Wilders’ story may not be typical and such meteoric sales won’t happen for everyone, they serve as an inspiration for independently published authors everywhere – diligence and perseverance can pay off. They found success in a niche market, romance novels, and they ran with it. And they have published around 30 books in one year – unheard of in the traditional publishing world.

You can see the full story here, “Couple’s steamy romance e-books save their home.”

We recently featured SDP Publishing’s Warpath by Richard Blomberg  on our blog. Richard (Dick) Blomberg’s Warpath, just released as an e-book on June 1, has performed well in the Amazon rankings. Its Amazon Bestsellers Rank was #76,589 Paid in Kindle Store on June 14, 2013. On June 24, it was #33,000. These numbers fluctuate on a daily basis, but it shows that conscientious marketing and audience-building efforts can make a significant impact on getting your book noticed.

Among some of the reasons Dick is finding success with his book include receiving a great review from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Reviews and setting up a comprehensive marketing plan. You can learn more here,  “Warpath by Richard Blomberg – A Case Study on Successfully Marketing Your Independently Published Book.” After just one month, Dick has seen some great potential for success.

These two very different examples show us the possibilities of independent publishing. What these two stories of independently published authors share can provide lessons for anyone thinking about independent publishing, such as:

  • Persevering with your writing and self-publishing efforts
  • Understanding the importance of getting professional and reader reviews
  • Building an audience through an Amazon, Goodreads, website, blog, social media presence, etc.

You may not achieve the kind of success that the Wilders have, but you will definitely see demonstrable results, as Dick Blomberg has. If you’re interested in learning more about how to maximize your book’s exposure and gain credibility by polishing your novel and creating a solid marketing plan, contact SDP Publishing.


SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal 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!