Smashwords-survey-resultsBelow you’ll find a fabulous 132 page slideshow of the 2014 Smashwords Survey, their third annual survey that reveals new opportunities for indie ebook authors to sell more books.

As in prior surveys (view the 2013 Smashwords Survey and 2012 Smashwords Survey), Smashwords examined aggregated retail and library sales data of Smashwords books and then crunched the numbers based on various quantifiable characteristics of the book.

For this year’s survey, over $25 million in customer purchases  aggregated across Smashwords retailers including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, the store, Sony (now closed), Diesel (closed), Oyster, Scribd, Kobo, public libraries and others were examined.

According to Smashwords’ Mark Coker, “The goal of the survey is to identify Viral Catalysts.  I first introduced the concept of Viral Catalyst in 2012 with the publication of my free ebook best practices book, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success.  A Viral Catalyst is anything that makes a book more discoverable and more enjoyable to readers.”

Enjoy the free slideshow from Smashwords and download the free ebook above, and you can read the full report behind this year’s survey HERE.

A sample of key findings in this year’s survey:

  • Readers prefer longer ebooks – Longer books sell better, and when you view the data through the prism of the power curve, it becomes clear why longer books give authors such a huge sales advantage.
  • Pricing – The highest earning indie authors are utilizing lower average prices than the authors who earn less, but this doesn’t mean that ultra-low prices such as $.99 are the path to riches.  $2.99 and $3.99 are the sweet spots for most of the bestsellers.
  • FREE still works great, but it’s losing some mojo – Free remains one of the most powerful book marketing tools because it makes it easier for readers to take a risk on an author brand that is unknown or untrusted. Yet the effectiveness of free is down dramatically compared to our 2013 (91X) and 2012 (100X) survey results. If you’ve never utilized free, now’s the time to do so before your window of maximum opportunity closes further.
  • Preorders yield sales advantage – Preorders today are where free was five years ago.  The first authors to effectively utilize preorders will gain the most advantage, just as the first authors to enter new distribution channels gain the most advantage.

2 thoughts on “Freebie Friday: 2014 Smashwords Survey Reveals New Opportunities for Indie Authors!

  • July 11, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Very general information.
    What does “longer” book mean? Longer than what? Page length? Vs. Kindle Singles?
    For some readers, a longer book might be 500+ pages. For other readers, any book over 150 pages is longer.

    • July 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      You need to view the actual slideshare — slides 32-36 deal with word count lengths of the books. Not done on pages because that’s so dependent on size of book, type-face, and of course no relevance in ebooks. Enjoy!

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