Calling All Kindle Publishers: Please Share Your Experience Using CreateSpace and/or Smashwords

by KateD
26 replies
NOTE: I, like most of you Warriors, hate having redundant and unnecessary threads. I did a search on the WF for both CreateSpace and Smashwords, and couldn't find anything relevant and useful posted about either one of these opportunities in the last 6 months - go ahead and check for yourself if you don't believe me.


My Fellow Warriors....


Kindle publishing changed everything for me. I had tried so many of the typical IM income ventures (Adsense, affiliate marketing, CPA offers, etc) with little success. It wasn't until I started to write and publish on Kindle that I finally began to see positive and lasting results.

Now, I am still at the beginning of my journey. Although I do have 15+ titles on Kindle and am making a few hundred dollars per month (and growing), it still isn't enough (yet) to cover all of my living expenses. I am supplementing my income in the meantime by offering ghostwriting services to others looking to join the Kindle opportunity.

Now that I have a number of titles published on Kindle, I am looking for ways to maximize the content that I have already publishing on Kindle. Two options come to mind.

CreateSpace.com (owned by Amazon) allows publishers to offer physical copies of their digital titles.

Smashwords.com allows publishers one place to submit their digital titles to Barnes and Noble (Nook), Apple, Sony, Kobo, and more.


I have looked at both sites, and have a decent understanding of how they work, and what their potentials COULD be. However, what I am searching for is REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE from those that have used either of these websites in order to increase content distribution and sales/income.


So if you have used either CreateSpace or Smashwords, I am asking, ever so politely, for you to share your experiences (both good and bad) on this thread.

Kindle is the big dog and will take up most of my focus, time, and effort. But if there is a way to generate even more royalties on the titles that I have already published on Kindle (or will eventually have on Kindle), then I am very interested in learning more. And if you are a current Kindle publisher, you should be too. It just makes sense, right? We do all this work to publish on Kindle, it just makes sense to take those same titles and distribute them as widely as possible, on as many places as possible.


Thank you all in advance.


Best wishes,

KateD
#and or or #calling #createspace #experience #kindle #publishers #share #smashwords
  • Profile picture of the author Slate Marketing
    Kate,

    We test lots of different things and without a doubt, Kindle authors who ALSO published a print book increased their "Kindle" sales by a huge margin so I highly recommend this.

    Yes, they also sold print books and made money that way but they ended up with 30%+ increases in their ebook sales...most likely because they were perceived as more "legit" since they had a print book and not just a Kindle book.

    If you have any specific questions about this, let me know.
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    • Profile picture of the author KateD
      Originally Posted by Slate Marketing View Post

      Kate,

      We test lots of different things and without a doubt, Kindle authors who ALSO published a print book increased their "Kindle" sales by a huge margin so I highly recommend this.

      Yes, they also sold print books and made money that way but they ended up with 30%+ increases in their ebook sales...most likely because they were perceived as more "legit" since they had a print book and not just a Kindle book.

      If you have any specific questions about this, let me know.
      Thank you so much for sharing that. I truly appreciate that.

      I do have a question.

      Ok, so you use CreateSpace to have print books. Now, once you do that, does your print copy show up along with your Kindle version? Meaning, you know how when someone has a paperback, hard cover, or Kindle versions of their book, it shows up one one listing (as opposed to separate listing for each version).

      Is there anything special that you need to do, or does the fact that Amazon owns CreateSpace allow that option (showing the title in its various formats) to happen seamlessly and without further effort?

      Thanks again.

      KateD
      Signature
      Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


      --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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      • Profile picture of the author DianaHeuser
        Originally Posted by KateD View Post

        T

        Ok, so you use CreateSpace to have print books. Now, once you do that, does your print copy show up along with your Kindle version? Meaning, you know how when someone has a paperback, hard cover, or Kindle versions of their book, it shows up one one listing (as opposed to separate listing for each version).

        KateD
        Hi Kate,

        Once your print book is showing in Amazon, you just email the KDP Support team and ask them to link the two books. Give the ISBN number for the print book and the ASIN number for the Kindle book. They will link it for you and it takes a few days to show up in Amazon.

        Then when you do a search on your book, you will see to the right of the cover the two format options.

        Di
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        • Profile picture of the author KateD
          Originally Posted by DianaHeuser View Post

          Hi Kate,

          Once your print book is showing in Amazon, you just email the KDP Support team and ask them to link the two books. Give the ISBN number for the print book and the ASIN number for the Kindle book. They will link it for you and it takes a few days to show up in Amazon.

          Then when you do a search on your book, you will see to the right of the cover the two format options.

          Di
          Thank you, Diane. I was thinking that since CS was owned by Amazon, that it would happen automatically. However, a quick email to them is no big deal.

          KateD
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          Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


          --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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  • Profile picture of the author KateD
    Slate....

    I had another question: what were you averaging in royalties from CreateSpace?

    Obviously this is dependent on factors like number of pages, expanded distribution, etc. I was playing around with their Royalties calculator (not as straight forward as Kindle sales), and was surprised at the royalties being lowered than I thought they would be.

    Let me give you an example:

    If I were to publish a 200 page book on CS priced to sell at $9.99, my royalty will be just $2.74. If I were a 300 page book @ $9.99, my royalty would be $1.54. And at 500 pages @ $9.99, my royalties would be NEGATIVE $0.86. I'd have to pay CreateSpace each time someone bought book at that price.

    This is a different avenue than Kindle. But I think that the added time it took to publish on CreateSpace would be worth it because some people simply want a physical copy of a book, and because (like you pointed out) the added credibility would result in more sales of the DIGITAL copies of my book.

    All very interesting to me.

    KateD

    P.S. Has anyone used CreateSpace's "Expanded Distribution" option? It's an additional $25 PER TITLE published, but gets you distribution in "online retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, and distributors within the United States."
    Signature
    Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


    --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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    • Profile picture of the author Slate Marketing
      Originally Posted by KateD View Post

      Slate....

      I had another question: what were you averaging in royalties from CreateSpace?

      Obviously this is dependent on factors like number of pages, expanded distribution, etc. I was playing around with their Royalties calculator (not as straight forward as Kindle sales), and was surprised at the royalties being lowered than I thought they would be.

      Let me give you an example:

      If I were to publish a 200 page book on CS priced to sell at $9.99, my royalty will be just $2.74. If I were a 300 page book @ $9.99, my royalty would be $1.54. And at 500 pages @ $9.99, my royalties would be NEGATIVE $0.86. I'd have to pay CreateSpace each time someone bought book at that price.

      This is a different avenue than Kindle. But I think that the added time it took to publish on CreateSpace would be worth it because some people simply want a physical copy of a book, and because (like you pointed out) the added credibility would result in more sales of the DIGITAL copies of my book.

      All very interesting to me.

      KateD

      P.S. Has anyone used CreateSpace's "Expanded Distribution" option? It's an additional $25 PER TITLE published, but gets you distribution in "online retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, and distributors within the United States."
      Kate,
      On Createspace, my royalties average around $4 - $5 per book and I'm usually doing 150-200 page books.

      One cool thing is that with traditional publishing, it's not uncommon for authors to only make $1 profit per book sold, and this is even on $25+ dollar books, so doubling or tripling that via Createspace is a great thing.

      Many of our books are Non Fiction so using Createspace helps us make plenty of money on the back end in various ways:

      1. Enhanced credibility
      2. Better reach/more traffic
      3. More Kindle Ebook sales
      4. Most importantly, upsells from within our print book.

      I love this business model and if you ever want to mastermind and compare notes, let me know and we can do a Google Hangout and learn from each other.
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  • Profile picture of the author junkofdavid2
    My real world experience.

    I published an AMAZON BESTSELLER (hit #2 for Advertising category). This is "paid" bestseller, mind you (not the "free" bestseller); with both a print and Kindle version.

    Amount I earn from royalties (past launch day and hit-bestseller-day) is extremely LOW (and that's despite having been ranked in the top 1 to 3 in the search results for quite a period of time).

    In contrast, I also sell $29 to $97 ebook sets on my site (with only 300 unique visitors a day, not IM niche) and I earn a "helluva" lot of money compared to the Kindle thing. I'm really wondering where all the Kindle hype is coming from (perhaps I'm doing something wrong?), but there I only earn $2 per book compared to up to $92 per ebook set (net of Paypal commission) with the downloadable PDF ebooks.

    Will be publishing my 2nd book (in both print and kindle) and can make it a bestseller in a jiffy (I have around 30,000 followers if we combine my mailing list, facebook fans, and youtube subscribers) but I'll only be launching that to boost my credibility in my day-job. In reality, I'm expecting long-term royalties which are miniscule. (Will probably earn a little nice money only on launch day when I hit bestseller)

    Will the Kindle experts care to enlighten me??
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  • Profile picture of the author KateD
    Junk Of David....

    This thread was supposed to be your real world experience using CreateSpace and Smashwords.

    But let's analyze what you shared:

    You had a #2 best seller in the Advertising category. At first, I was impressed because I thought you meant you had a #2 best seller in the entire paid selections. While getting a top ranking in an individual category is nice, it doesn't really say much. What was your overall sales rank?

    This thread wasn't intended to debate whether Kindle was better than other forms of income generation. There are already plenty of threads about that topic. The true purpose of this thread was for those sharing their real world experience using CreateSpace and Smashwords, which it appears you have neither.

    And you are basing your opinions on ONE published title on Kindle? Hey, if you can make a broad opinion on Kindle on such a limited amount of experience, best of luck to you.

    I am no Kindle expert, but just in terms of basic human psychology, maybe your lack of success on Kindle has more to do with your minsdset/expectations for it rather than Kindle itself. (ie. "I'm expecting long-term royalties which are miniscule.)

    God, and you have 30,000 followers? I have zero followers and I'm already doing $300+ in Kindle after just a few months.

    Again, the point of the thread isn't to debate whether Kindle is a viable means of income generation. I have no idea who you are and whether what you are saying is 100% accurate. What I will go on are my own personal experience, the experiences of my clients, and the countless positive feedback of those individuals who HAVE figured out how to successfully earn ongoing and suffcient royalties from Kindle.

    Look, not every method works best for everyone. You are making good money selling digital products off of your website. Good for you.

    Now, going back to the title of this thread, do you have anything RELEVANT to add?

    KateD
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    Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


    --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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    • Profile picture of the author TinkBD
      KateD - You might also consider using D2D rather than Smashwords except for reaching the Smashwords Retail store. Among other things, D2D offers better sales data.

      https://draft2digital.com/

      Do keep in mind, that both Smashwords and D2D are merely distributors and as distributors, they'll need a cut of your royalties.

      In many instances, going direct might be a better bet, provided you have the technology. I'll be using D2D to reach Apple since I don't have a Mac, but I'll go direct for most other sales venues.

      HTH,
      Tink
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      • Profile picture of the author KateD
        Originally Posted by TinkBD View Post

        KateD - You might also consider using D2D rather than Smashwords except for reaching the Smashwords Retail store. Among other things, D2D offers better sales data.

        https://draft2digital.com/

        Do keep in mind, that both Smashwords and D2D are merely distributors and as distributors, they'll need a cut of your royalties.

        In many instances, going direct might be a better bet, provided you have the technology. I'll be using D2D to reach Apple since I don't have a Mac, but I'll go direct for most other sales venues.

        HTH,
        Tink
        Tink....

        Another great share by you. Thanks.

        Yes, I realize that Smashwords and D2D will get a cut of the royalties. And although I could make slightly more by going through each publisher individually, the amount of time and effort saved is definitely well worth it (for my specific writing/publishing goals).

        D2D seems to be a younger, hybrid of CreateSpace and Smashwords. Actually, D2D can distribute to CreateSpace for physical copies of book.

        Although it does have better stats to use for analysis, it only distributes titles to Amazon, Apple iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. Whereas Smashwords distributes through those channels, plus Sony Reader Store, Flipkart, Oyster, the Diesel eBook Store, Baker & Taylor's Blio and Axis360.

        That being said, on D2D's website, they state that they are currently going after working with the following sales channels: Sony Reader, Diesel, Google Play, Ingram, ARe and Omnilit, and Goodreads.


        I'm still leaning toward using Smashwords over D2D, but further research will need to be done. I want to see what feedback, good and bad, is being left for it by people that have used them before.

        Thanks again, Tink, for the share.

        KateD
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        Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


        --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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        • Profile picture of the author TinkBD
          Originally Posted by KateD View Post


          Although it does have better stats to use for analysis, it only distributes titles to Amazon, Apple iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. Whereas Smashwords distributes through those channels, plus Sony Reader Store, Flipkart, Oyster, the Diesel eBook Store, Baker & Taylor's Blio and Axis360.

          That being said, on D2D's website, they state that they are currently going after working with the following sales channels: Sony Reader, Diesel, Google Play, Ingram, ARe and Omnilit, and Goodreads.
          Hi KateD - The other issue in SW vs D2D ;-) is payment schedule...

          Obviously, this is just part of a far large equation, as you realize... and I am making the point here for others as well. LOL

          D2D pays monthly -- once you meet their threshold

          Smashwords pays quarterly... 30-40 days after the close of the quarter.

          In any event, it is always nice to have multiple options, since rarely does one size fit all.
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    • Profile picture of the author junkofdavid2
      Originally Posted by KateD View Post

      Junk Of David....

      This thread was supposed to be your real world experience using CreateSpace and Smashwords.

      But let's analyze what you shared:

      You had a #2 best seller in the Advertising category. At first, I was impressed because I thought you meant you had a #2 best seller in the entire paid selections. While getting a top ranking in an individual category is nice, it doesn't really say much. What was your overall sales rank?

      This thread wasn't intended to debate whether Kindle was better than other forms of income generation. There are already plenty of threads about that topic. The true purpose of this thread was for those sharing their real world experience using CreateSpace and Smashwords, which it appears you have neither.

      And you are basing your opinions on ONE published title on Kindle? Hey, if you can make a broad opinion on Kindle on such a limited amount of experience, best of luck to you.

      I am no Kindle expert, but just in terms of basic human psychology, maybe your lack of success on Kindle has more to do with your minsdset/expectations for it rather than Kindle itself. (ie. "I'm expecting long-term royalties which are miniscule.)

      God, and you have 30,000 followers? I have zero followers and I'm already doing $300+ in Kindle after just a few months.

      Again, the point of the thread isn't to debate whether Kindle is a viable means of income generation. I have no idea who you are and whether what you are saying is 100% accurate. What I will go on are my own personal experience, the experiences of my clients, and the countless positive feedback of those individuals who HAVE figured out how to successfully earn ongoing and suffcient royalties from Kindle.

      Look, not every method works best for everyone. You are making good money selling digital products off of your website. Good for you.

      Now, going back to the title of this thread, do you have anything RELEVANT to add?

      KateD
      My fault for not clarifying that I made both a print and Kindle version. Yes, I did use Createspace. I didn't earn much money with either (compared to my downloadable PDF), despite having hit so called "bestseller."

      I don't quite get how having a bad mindset could've caused me to be successful in the non-Kindle realm.

      How did sharing my own experience end up as "debating?" I never even implied that it would be bad "for others" and I agree that stuff works for some but not for others; I'm truly genuinely curious as to how to earn money in Kindle compared to downloadable PDF via e-junkie which did so well for me. I truly wanted to explore Kindle as an option because of Kindle's copyright protection which is weak with PDF downloads.

      Instead it seems my 'relevant' comment instead made you feel threatened. (This puzzles me, but to each his/her own).

      Have a good day.
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  • Profile picture of the author KateD
    Tink....

    Yes, the more options, the better.

    Another reason that Smashwords still has a slight advantage over D2D (for my specific needs) is that SW also distributes books to EbookEros (operated by Diesel). I have one pen name that has published 12+ erotica titles.

    I guess I could submit to them directly. But I'm a writer more than a marketer, so I am definitely looking for ways save time on everything else, allowing me to have maximum time in what really matters: BIC.

    Best wishes,

    KateD
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    Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


    --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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    • Profile picture of the author TinkBD
      Originally Posted by KateD View Post

      Tink....

      I guess I could submit to them directly. But I'm a writer more than a marketer, so I am definitely looking for ways save time on everything else, allowing me to have maximum time in what really matters: BIC.

      Best wishes,

      KateD
      I can soooooo relate. My crit partner is trying to shame me into pubbing individually... I am leaning toward D2D... we'll see where it goes, although for Apple, I WILL have to use D2D ;-)

      Now BIC to finish Book 4 in the next series <sigh> LOL
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      • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
        In reality, I'm expecting long-term royalties which are miniscule.
        In reality, I am expecting long-term royalties to be significant.

        I have been on Kindle with high-quality nonfiction titles since July 2011, and while my royalties haven't climbed as much as I'd hoped, some of the ebooks generate very good sales month after month with no effort at all. None.

        I don't see royalties going down, so I have made this income part of my retirement plan.

        In addition, many of my titles are available as audiobooks, and that generates income that equals my Kindle income. I see that income rising as audiobooks become more and more popular.

        I hope that is real-world enough for the OP.

        Marcia Yudkin
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      • Profile picture of the author KateD
        Originally Posted by TinkBD View Post

        I can soooooo relate. My crit partner is trying to shame me into pubbing individually...
        God, publishing them individually to all of the possible sales channels sounds like a nightmare to me.

        It's about 10% on average that is lost by using a site like Smashwords or D2D, correct? I'm ok with that.

        Writing is fun. I want to keep it that way.

        KateD
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        Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


        --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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  • Profile picture of the author KateD
    Marcia...

    Have you looked into/tried expanding the distribution of your current Kindle titles onto CreateSpace or Smashwords?

    And how do you distribute your audiobook versions of your title? Audible.com?

    KateD
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    Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


    --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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  • Profile picture of the author DonnaLeeBooks
    I have self published 4 books with create space. If you have the know how to set them up you should have no problem converting your book to kindle. I have sold most of mine through the kindle. I also have a smashwords account, but it never has caught up to Amazon. My advice for fiction writers is to push the kindle. My print books mostly sell to those who want a signed copy. I offered my Volume One free for 5 days and had 16,000 downloads. I wanted readers to have the first volume and buy the 2nd one. I am getting ready to offer that again. Also I learned a hard lesson and didn't hire someone to edit for me. I found someone here on the forum who was reasonable and very good, I can give you his name. Amazon kindle has generated more sales than the other avenues.
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      Have you looked into/tried expanding the distribution of your current Kindle titles onto CreateSpace or Smashwords?
      I use Lightning Source for my paperback books, and I use Smashwords as well.

      Marcia Yudkin
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    • Profile picture of the author KateD
      Originally Posted by DonnaLeeBooks View Post

      Also I learned a hard lesson and didn't hire someone to edit for me. I found someone here on the forum who was reasonable and very good, I can give you his name. Amazon kindle has generated more sales than the other avenues.
      Hi...

      Thanks, but I have no issues with editing/proofreading.

      Yes, Kindle will most likely generate most of the sales. But not distrinuting your title to other sales channels is leaving money on the table.

      KateD

      P.S. In terms of percentages, is anyone willing to give how much royalties are from Kindle, CreateSpace, Smashwords, D2D, and any other sales channel?

      Thanks, guys!
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      Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


      --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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  • Kate, while I haven't used CreateSpace or Draft 2 Digital (though I was going to use D2D at one point), I do use Smashwords, and I'm glad I did.

    I'd estimate my percentages of sales from Smashwords to be at maybe about 15%-25% or so of my total publishing income. It fluctuates, of course, but in my opinion it was well worth putting my stuff on there in addition to Amazon, because it's recurring, passive income.
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    • Profile picture of the author KateD
      Originally Posted by Long Beach Nathan View Post

      Kate, while I haven't used CreateSpace or Draft 2 Digital (though I was going to use D2D at one point), I do use Smashwords, and I'm glad I did.

      I'd estimate my percentages of sales from Smashwords to be at maybe about 15%-25% or so of my total publishing income. It fluctuates, of course, but in my opinion it was well worth putting my stuff on there in addition to Amazon, because it's recurring, passive income.
      Thank you so much for sharing! God, that's what I truly love about the Warrior Forum. Sure, there are other IM and Kindle forums. But the WF is quite a special place.

      So you are saying that Kindle represents 75-85% of your overall royalties, and Smashwords makes 15-25%. Of that SW amount, is there one of the individual channels that outperforms the others?

      And how do the sales stats (in your personal opinion) compare to that of Kindle's?

      Also, any tips that you can pass on about maximizing efforts with Smashwords?

      Thanks again.

      KateD
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      Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


      --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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  • Profile picture of the author Publisher1953
    I've used Smashwords and KDP. Smashwords opened the Apple store to me -- the challenge was the book price of $40.00 retail (selling paperback for $27.00 by Amazon) and $20.00 for a pdf directly (now $17.95 via Gumroad, a great option for direct pdf sales). Solution: I broke the $40 print/$20 pdf book into two volumes, at $9.95 each. The title, published originally in 2010, continues to sell between 20 and 30 copies a month of which about 2 to 3 through KDP and about 4 to 6 through Smashwords. I also sell a few copies through Googlebooks/play. Most of the sales continue to arise via paperback sales (I think primarily through Amazon), and Lightningsource sends the cheques for these monthly. Overall, the book generates a couple of hundred in revenue a month, which is okay because, indeed, it is passive income.

    Overall, I like Smashwords because of its multi-platform access especially with Apple (main source of revenue that way) but would also use the other methods, if only to increase distribution and revenue options.
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  • Profile picture of the author KateD
    Gumroad is a new one to me. I have never heard of them before.

    Do you have any advice for those that have only published on Kindle so far?

    KateD
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    --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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  • Profile picture of the author SwiftBlog
    I played around with smashwords about 6 months ago and honestly, it wasn't worth my time. Amazon Kindle has 90%+ marketshare and if you can't be successful there, you will have an extremely difficult time elsewhere. IMHO of course.
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    • Profile picture of the author KateD
      Originally Posted by SwiftBlog View Post

      I played around with smashwords about 6 months ago and honestly, it wasn't worth my time. Amazon Kindle has 90%+ marketshare and if you can't be successful there, you will have an extremely difficult time elsewhere. IMHO of course.
      Amazon is DEFINITELY the big dog on the block. But there are other avenues to generate income. As a writer, don't you want to spread your "words" out as far as you can? For both exposure and sales?

      Obviously, there comes a point where you could be putting so much time/effort into distributing rather than creation/wrting. Balance is key, as usal.

      KateD
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      Why Aren't You Making Money On Kindle With Erotica?


      --->I can also write other fiction (horror, romance, mystery, etc). Just ask me, I don't bite. :)
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