Smashwords is quickly becoming one of the central portals in the e-revolution. This week Smashwords.com unveiled an affiliate marketing program, available to anyone who signs up with the site (check the sponsors button in the upper right). Mark Coker describes the affiliate program on the Smashwords blog:
[Affiliate revenue] comes out of the author’s percentage. As we mention in the documentation at https://www.smashwords.com/about/smashwords_affiliate_documentation this service offering was designed in careful consultation with Smashwords authors and publishers. We surveyed all our publishers a couple months back and asked them to provide input on the proposed program. We asked: 1. Are you pleased SW is launching an affiliate program? 2. Do you think the proposed revenue split of 70.5/11/18.5 is fair? 3.Would you like the personal freedom to give more of your royalty to affiliates as added promotional incentive to them? 4. Should enrollment be automatic and mandatory?
This is how they voted…
1. 100% answered they were pleased to learn Smashwords was building an affiliate program.
2. 99% answered they felt the proposed 70.5%/11%/18.5% author/affiliate/Smashwords split of net revenues was fair. A couple of our authors even suggested Smashwords should take a larger cut. Thanks!
3. 90% answered they would like the personal freedom to offer affiliates an even greater incentive to promote their books by offering more of their margin to affiliates. This is why we offer “juicing.”
4. 76% answered they thought program enrollment should be automatic and mandatory. Several of authors wrote they felt it was important that all authors participate to ensure maximum simplicity and appeal for the affiliates. A minority of authors felt there should be an opt-out, so authors who don’t want to participate are not forced to participate.
Based on the feedback, we implemented 1-3 as stated, and for #4 we made enrollment automatic but NOT mandatory. Publishers can opt-out if they choose.
In addition, Smashwords has teamed up with Wordclay to offer an ebook formatting service. With Smashwords, this is already free: users can upload a file – commonly a Word doc – and the Smashwords engine will format the book into Kindle (.mobi), Epub, PDF, RTF, LRF (Sony Reader), Palm, HTML, and Java to be read on the site. Though this is a free service via Smashwords, it can be difficult to effectively format an ebook – especially if you can’t take the ebook out for a test drive on all the different readers.
As it says in Smashwords style guide, one of the main problems with ebook formatting is hard returns in a document, as opposed to page breaks. With so many different ebook formats available, it can be difficult to lay out each ebook individually. The issue of different ebook formats will likely (hopefully) get worked out in the future, but currently it can be a headache to create an accurate and readable version of an ebook in all the separate formats now available.
In May, this service is cut in half @ $75 and it is normally priced $150.