Smashwords Author/Publisher Alert – October 25, 2013

Written by on October 25, 2013. Posted in Indie Writers News


Smashwords Author/Publisher Alert – October 25, 2013


1. Details of the Oyster relationship, distribution begins in 3 days
2. New Smashwords E-Publishing Workshops now on YouTube (share with friends)!
3. Coming next

Your Smashwords page:
Smashwords account login email:



Oyster Shipments to Begin in Three Days

On September 5, Smashwords announced a distribution agreement with Oyster, a new and innovative ebook subscription service.  Here’s a link to our original announcement:

Oyster offers consumers unlimited access to more than 100,000 ebooks for only $9.95 per month.

At the time we announced the deal, we also announced that we wouldn’t begin shipping to Oyster until at least 72 hours after we shared the financial terms with you.  The clock starts now.

I also stated at the time that I believed the terms were author-friendly, and that Smashwords authors would be pleased when they learned the details.  Today, via this email, I’m sharing the details.

If you’re not familiar with Oyster, here’s how it works.  A reader downloads the beautiful Oyster app, available for the iPhone and iPad (new!).  If they subscribe to the $9.95/month service, the customer gains access to a massive catalog of ebooks, of which Smashwords books will soon be included.  Readers can read as much as they want or as little as they want.  The books are contained within the Oyster app, and cannot be transferred or shared.  If the customer ends their subscription, they lose access to the book.  This is fair and reasonable.  The customer is subscribing to a service, and for as long as they maintain their subscription, they read whatever they want.  It’s a very similar offering to Spotify in music and Netflix for film and television entertainment.

A single Oyster user could conceivably read multiple books by the same Smashwords author in a single month, and the author will be paid for each book. As a Smashwords author or publisher, you’ll earn 60% of you book’s retail list price whenever an Oyster subscriber reads more than 10% of your book, starting from the beginning of the book forward.  It’s an author-friendly model.  That’s the same rate Smashwords authors earn when we sell ebooks through the major retailers such as Apple and Barnes and Noble.

Oyster’s subscription service will help you connect with a segment of the reading audience you’re not reaching anywhere else.  Oyster will also give authors yet another reason to steer clear of exclusivity and embrace full distribution with Smashwords.

Smashwords authors don’t need to do anything to enjoy Oyster distribution other than ensure their books are Premium Catalog-approved.  If you previously opted out of Oyster because you were awaiting the financial details, please click to your Channel Manager at to opt back in within the next 72 hours if you want to be included in our first shipments.

As a final note on Oyster, I want to encourage you to keep you sales expectations realistic.  Although Oyster represents a new, innovative and exciting distribution channel, they are still a new company and it could take them many months or years to establish a sizeable readership.  However, as we know from our experience opening up distribution in 2009 and 2010 to new channels such as Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Apple, authors who are in first have a fan-building advantage over authors who delay.  Even smaller retailers add to your bottom line.  Every sale you get at Oyster is a sale you would not have otherwise received.

Following our first delivery, I’m going to provide Oyster, per their request, a spreadsheet identifying the bestselling books that are opted in to the Smashwords/Oyster catalog.  Oyster plans to use this spreadsheet to identify popular books their merchandising team can promote in their app. As we do with the Smashwords bestseller list we supply to Publishers Weekly each month, the list will be based on sales of Smashwords-distributed titles aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network (here’s the latest bestseller list – ).  In the future, credited sales at Oyster will contribute to a book’s ranking in our Publishers Weekly list as well.

Good luck!



I enjoy doing workshops at writers conferences (greetings today from the NINC conference in Myrtle Beach, where I’m doing a workshop tomorrow on Apple merchandising).  If you’ve ever attended one of my workshops over the last five years, you know I try to impart best practices knowledge that will help you become a more successful, more professional publisher.

A couple weeks ago, I took five of my most recent workshop presentations and narrated them as web videos.

Although I’ve been posting many of my prior presentations over at Slideshare, this is the first time I narrated them. Also, unlike my live workshops where I’m usually rushed to cover the material in 60 minutes or less, for these Youtube presentations I took my time.  I explored each topic in greater detail that I normally would.  The five workshops comprise eight hours.  View or listen to them at your leisure!

You’ll find each of them listed here, at the Smashwords blog:

Here are the direct links to each video:

#1 – An Introduction to Ebook Publishing (a primer and e-publishing checklist)

#2 – The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (best practices secrets for reaching more readers)

#3 – Smashwords Survey Helps Authors Sell More Books (pricing strategy and fun metrics)

#4 – 10 Trends Driving the Future of Authorship (indie authors are the future of publishing!)

#5 – How to Reach More Readers at Apple iBooks (merchandising secrets to grow sales!)

The complete collection is at

Please share the videos with your writer friends!



As you know, most of the new developments at Smashwords over the last few years have been author-centric, as part of our mission to provide you more and better tools to help you publish, distribute and market your books.

Recent exciting author-centric developments over the last few months include preorder distribution, Series Manager and Smashwords Interviews.

Next week we’ll launch a new feature for Smashwords customers – the people who buy your books.  And in the weeks ahead, you’ll see the first signs of our long-awaited user interface refresh.



Frequently asked questions:
Smashwords Site Updates:
Smashwords blog (subscribe today via the email option!):
Smashwords Video Workshops:
Create a Smashwords Interview (self-interviews):
Smashwords Series Manager (Manage series metadata):
Smashwords Coupon Manager (Create custom coupon codes):
How to publish and distribute ebooks with Smashwords:
Connect with fellow Smashwords readers and authors at Facebook:
Mark’s List – Low cost cover designers and ebook formatters. Now online at

Thank you for your continued support, trust and partnership.

Thank you also for distributing with Smashwords.  When you distribute with Smashwords, you’re directly supporting our ability to create new opportunities for you.

Do you know authors not yet at Smashwords? Please invite them to join our 70,000+ strong worldwide community.

Together, we’re changing the world of publishing one indie ebook at a time.

Best wishes,


Mark Coker

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Like many who enjoy the fantasy genre, Akers started reading it as an adolescent. He was fascinated with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Bram Stoker's Dracula. He currently enjoys reading works by Dean Koontz, Heather Brewer, J.K. Rowling, and Rick Riordan. Akers enjoys creating a fantasy world with compelling storylines, while injecting humor and a touch of drama into the action as he did with his first book Terra Vonnel and the Skulls of Aries, which has received rave reviews. "I start every story with this thought: Where can I take my audience now? To me it's about the journey, the escape into a world filled with the fantastic and the unexpected. There is nothing like an adventure that takes you further from reality with every turn of the page." D.C. Akers was born in Texas and after spending several years working in accounting, Akers began to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a writer.

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