Smashwords gets self-published e-books to market - SFGate

Monthly U.S. e-book sales tripled between February 2010 and 2011 to hit $90 million, while sales of printed books fell by 25 percent, according to the Association of American Publishers. Most of today's e-book purchases are works from major publishers - digital versions of print bestsellers like "Water for Elephants" or Tina Fey's "Bossypants." Reaching readersBest-selling thriller writer Barry Eisler made headlines in March when he turned down a $500,000 advance from a mainstream publisher and opted to self-publish instead. [...] Amanda Hocking - a 26-year-old novice writer of young-adult fiction about vampires and other supernatural beings - landed a $2 million contract with St. Martin's Press after selling more than a million self-published e-books. Many companies that let people publish their own printed books - traditionally known as vanity presses - now offer an e-book option too. Smashwords lets writers format their work for a wide variety of competing e-reader devices, not just a single device like the Kindle or Nook. [...] Smashwords charges a share of sales - 15 percent of the revenue that an author receives after online retailers take their cut. Coker, a former Silicon Valley publicist, started Smashwords in 2008 with the lofty goal of using technology to democratize publishing - allowing writers to appeal directly to readers without having to deal with gatekeepers such as agents and editors. The only e-books Coker refuses to distribute are ones that contain plagiarism, illegal content or incitement to racism, homophobia or violence. If e-book conversion and distribution become a standard part of writers' software, it would undercut demand for Smashwords' services. Jack Erickson, a Burlingame financial adviser who has self-published seven mystery and suspense e-books, is closer in sales to the average Smashwords author than he is to a Hocking or McAfee. [...] five months ago, he started giving it away. -- Fast Pencil ( www.fastpencil.com): This Campbell company allows writers to create both e-books and printed books and offers social-networking capabilities through which family and friends can contribute to a writer's work-in-progress.
Smashwords gets self-published e-books to market