We started GuerrillaWordfare.com a few weeks ago with one main goal: discover the best practices for independent authors to expose their talent to the world via self-publishing and e-publishing, then share these best practices throughout the indie community. We’re figuring out these methods while self-publishing the works of indie author Lizzy Ford.
While we’ve only been at it a few weeks now, we thought it was time to post some early returns on the results we’ve gotten from posting Lizzy’s work on different sites.
Overall, a dream to work with. Smashwords lets you upload your work and type in a short description for the site as well as a longer synopsis for external sites. Smashwords does a great job converting your story to several formats in a matter of seconds. Smashwords also submits your book to sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Ipod and Ipad as well. Smashwords is a great service overall.
The downside of Smashwords is speed in getting your ebooks added to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Apple ebook store. As we write, it’s been two weeks since we submitted the free full length novel “Damian’s Oracle” to Smashwords and it still hasn’t been accepted on those sites. Smashwords and Amazon are still working out the kinks for delivery, and others indie authors have said it can take up to 8 weeks for your ebook to appear in the Kindle store.
The Apple ebook store only accepts ebooks from a small handful of sources, of which Smashwords is one. If you want to get your book on the Ipod, Smashwords is the way to go. Just submit and wait. For the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble you can upload your ebooks on your own and have them available in 24-48 hours. The downside of uploading your own to these two sites is that you can’t designate your book as free.
If you’re going to charge for your ebook, you’re probably better off opting out of those two distribution channels on Smashwords and uploading your book straight to Amazon yourself via Amazon DTP and to Barnes and Noble via Pubit. If, however, you want to make your book available for free in an attempt to build a fan base (as we’re doing with Damian’s Oracle), Amazon and Barnes and Noble force you to set a minimum price of 99 cents. Publishers (to include Smashwords) are allowed to price books for free, which is an extremely good way for new indie authors to maximize their exposure.
As soon as “Damian’s Oracle” navigates the Smashwords distribution channels and makes it to Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, we’ll post our thoughts and results. So far, we’ve had over 1000 downloads on Smashwords in 3 weeks and we couldn’t be happier!!
Fairly straight forward and easy to submit to. It took a few days to get the book listed on obooko but once it did it had some quick downloads. Seems to have slowed down quite a bit since. Two weeks in, Damian’s Oracle has been downloaded 108 times on the site. There are no other tracking metrics available but raw downloads.
Great site. Feedbooks has a great user interface, and offers several graphs authors can use to track their traffic. 60% of our 300 downloads through Feedbooks have been through an Android app called Aldiko.
One bit of advice, Feedbooks is designed for an author to read or upload their work one chapter at a time. I cut and pasted the whole novel in and since it looked well formatted, I thought no more of it. Several readers said they loved the book, but wished it was broken into chapters. Lesson learned for next time. Although the book was well formatted and broken into chapters, it’s apparently easier for end users if the book is broken into chapter on the site itself.
Overall, Feedbooks.com is one of my favorite sites.
The lady who runs the site actually sent us a nice email asking if she could add our book to her site which lists free online novels. The site offers a cover picture, short description and a link to the books profile on Smashwords.
Small site, fairly easy upload process.
Small site with a nice design and a friendly owner.
One tip that can apply several places: While you probably want a .pdf and other formats of your book available on your site for different sites which require a direct link, if at all possible, use a “landing page” instead of a direct link. If you have a choice between a click on a site taking the reader directly to the text of the book, or to a well laid out page on your site with the cover art, a short description, a few reviews from various sites and download links in several formats I would choose the site. Readers coming to your site helps expose them to your other works.
Another small site run by a friendly owner. Easy submission process with a link straight to the books “landing page” on your site.
The one that surprised me the most, and proof you don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Fictionpress looks like several other sites which are more trouble than they are worth. Once I submitted a book to the site, my opinion of the site changed drastically!
No other site lets you control your profile as well as Fictionpress. It lets you write a narrative, upload a logo, even create your own little community forum if you choose! Fictionpress also has story by story tracking of analytics (with graphs) and several mechanisms for readers to provide feedback.
The most important factor is obviously traffic, and Fictionpress delivers that in spades! In our first three days on the site, we’ve had over 500 hits by over 300 unique people!
All of these resources are easy, free and have helped us get over 1800 downloads in a few weeks! We’ve laid out a few of the lesson’s we’ve learned here at the start, and we have many more to learn. If you have any you would like to share, drop us a line!