Here’s a very informative Q&A with Mark Coker, founder and CEO of the d-i-y (do-it-yourself) ebook publishing site Smashwords. Smashwords launched about a year ago as a way for self-publishing authors to get their books turned into ebooks and sold. The ebook conversions, into all the common formats including ePub, are done free in exchange for a modest revenue share of 15% to Smashwords and 85% to the author. It deals with a lot of the things you need to do to create and sell ebooks.
What makes Smashwords especially interesting now is that it’s about to extend this service to indie publishers. The publisher service will allow publishers to upload multiple books from multiple authors and have them cross-linked to the publisher’s page and managed together from a single publisher’s account. It’s potentially a simple and effective way for small publishers to get started, helped by its flexible terms of service which are non-exclusive and allow an author or publisher to sell their books elsewhere, electronically or in print, and to terminate at any time.
As well as giving some background to Smashwords and what it does, the interview offers some insights into issues such as pricing and some of the promotional techniques that are working for authors and publishers.
Martin Taylor (@nztaylor) has been involved in the publishing, technology and internet fields for more than 20 years. He operates a digital publishing consultancy and founded the Digital Publishing Forum, an initiative to accelerate the development of digital publishing in New Zealand. In a former life, he published technology and business magazines.