This is just one small part of an interview with Jonathan Maberry, a Bram Stoker Award-winning author. It appeared on the Smashwords blog on Friday, July 13, 2012. He was discussing some of the advantages in combining traditional publishing with indie editions.
Smashwords accomplished something that a lot of people thought was impossible: it legitimized self-publishing in a way that not only made it easier to do, but it made top quality self-publishing easier. And, equally as important, it created a model for publishing that makes a pretty powerful statement: no work ever needs to go out of print. This is HUGE for authors with complex and/or long careers, because eventually some of our older works go out of print, or the rights contractually return to us. That leaves us with works that are no longer earning profits or royalties. That’s dead weight, and until Smashwords, every writer I knew had some of that dead weight. Now Smashwords has allowed us to breathe new life into those works. It puts them back onto the market in a way that makes it easy for anyone to purchase. They’re much easier to publicize (a Twitter post with a URL will do it), and it uses smooth e-commerce payment methods like Paypal. So, instead of sitting idle, these older works can reach the readers.
Now, here’s a couple of interesting side-effects with that –and these are the reasons so many name authors are choosing this method of self-pubbing. First, by keeping all of your older works on the market, you have more products to feed an established readership. You don’t lose readers between new projects because there’s something to lure then back to your brand.
News about repubbed out-of-print works is also buzzworthy, so it gives you good content for social media.
It’s also a wonderful place to put those projects that wouldn’t otherwise have a home. A lot of authors have books or stories they couldn’t see because the current market wasn’t right for them. Trends change and bean-counters heavily influence what the big houses buy. So you might have a book that wouldn’t have big market appeal, but which you still feel is well written. With Smashwords, you can put that piece up, buzz it all over the place, and establish a unique readership for that piece. Since the mainstream market didn’t want it at the moment, then it’s not a competing product with your conventionally pubbed works. And, it works as brand reinforcement which will often drive readers TO your conventionally pubbed works.
And the other reason Smashwords works so well is that it was created as a class act. It looks as professional as it is, so it gives that pro look to self-pubbed works. That opens the door for writers to be read who might otherwise never be on the public radar. It reinvigorates stalled careers. And it supports the careers of top pros.
It’s all up-side.