Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smashwords Premium Status

Having written extensively in my last post about formatting a book properly so as to achieve Smashwords' "premium status," I wanted to add some information.

"Premium status" on Smashwords means that besides being for sale at, a book will be listed in the Smashwords Premium Catalog. Acceptance into this catalog means Smashwords distributes the book to major online retailers such as Apple, Sony, and Diesel eBook Store (Smashwords also used to distribute to Borders and the Borders' ereader company, Kobo). These retailers require that the book conform to requirements, such as a quality cover image, a copyright notice at the beginning of the book, and an ISBN (which you can get free from Smashwords).

I've been helping a few other writers, notable Destiny Drake, format their books for Smashwords. Destiny's books have all achieved premium status. However, Destiny says that although 16% of her total sales are coming from Smashwords, not a single sale has come from outside In other words, no sales from Apple, Sony, Diesel eBook Store, etc.

To me this says, "Don't waste your time trying to conform to the rigorous formatting requirements of the Smashwords Premium Catalog." And especially, don't waste your money paying someone else to do the formatting, unless you're just a perfectionist, and unless you're rich, and unless you're confident you will sell to the "major online retailers."


  1. Hi Tamworth, it would be dangerous to draw such a conclusion based on a single author who's only been on Smashwords a couple weeks. On average, over 70% of our 25,000+ authors' sales are coming from our Premium Catalog retailers. Our retailers in aggregate have a much broader reach. This is why work so hard to help authors get in the Premium Catalog. Once in the Premium Catalog, we'll distribute it to Apple, B&N, Kobo, Sony, Diesel and multiple mobile apps. More here:

    Since Destiny has only been with Smashwords for about two weeks, it means they might not have retailer sales reports yet to arrive at a judgement. I'd suggest taking another look in two months.

    A well-formatted book will also help an author reach more readers, because it will read well across all e-reading devices.

  2. Hi Mark:
    Wow! I'm honored that you have commented here at my humble blog. THANKS! Although I've mastered, I think, formatting for Smashwords, it took me hours of work to do so. But you make good points, especially about how it might take some time for all that data to be in. Smashwords is a fabulous service for indie writers--Destiny Drake speaks very highly of it. Thank you for Smashwords, and thanks again for your comment.

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