Back in 2004, Rita Toews and her co-author Alex Domokos found it challenging to sell their novels in ebook format. She thought authors and publishers collaborating together to draw attention to ebooks would help all ebook authors. So she registered Read an Ebook Week in Chases Calendar of Events, making it an official event.
My first novel came out as an ebook in 1999. A group of ebook authors from Texas and Oklahoma joined together to do booksignings in Hastings Bookstores, which no longer exist. We thought that was the ideal location because it was a bookstore, but it also carried lots of electronic items. Instead of talking about our own books, which were on small floppy disks at the time, however, we spent most of our time explaining what an ebook was and showing them our ereaders. We knew we were part of history, that a time would come when everyone knew what an ebook was, and many readers would enjoy them. That has happened now. No longer do people come to me in a waiting room where I’m spending my wait time reading and ask, “What’s that?”
But when Rita Toews started Read an Ebook Week, authors were still educating readers about ebooks and trying to convince them to try ebooks. During Read an Ebook Week, readers were encouraged to purchase and read one ebook to see how they liked it. Many retailers offered sales to encourage readers to buy an ebook.
Mark Coker started Smashwords in 2008 so authors could bypass the gatekeepers of publishing who are loath to take a chance on a new author or on a story that doesn’t fit their perceptions of what will sell. I added my first books to Smashwords the following year, when Smashwords had only 6,000 books for sale. Today, Smashwords has published more than 600,000 books in all genres and has become the largest publishing platform in the world for indie authors and small publishers. Smashwords also converts ebooks to all the popular formats and distributes them to dozens of other retailers, such as Apple iTunes and Barnes & Noble.
Smashwords always has a huge sale for Read an Ebook Week, and this year is no different.
Most of my books were for sale until a few years ago, when I decided to make them all free. One that has been free since it was published in 2009, the novelette, Trapped by Love, has been downloaded almost 30,000 times. One of my favorites is Fern’s Fancies, a romance novel that includes a number of experiences—some quite funny—that happened in my own interior landscape company. The reviews for both of these stories average 5 stars.
My latest client, Maria Socorro Martinez, has her recently released memoir in both English and Spanish on sale at 50% off. This is wonderful story of her experiences as a young teacher in a rural community with no paved roads, no running water, and electricity only two hours each night. Although the book is fairly long, most people say it’s so fascinating, they don’t even realize how long it is.
Whether you are already an ebook aficionado wanting to stock up on new reading material at deeply discounted prices or someone new to ebooks who wants to try that first ebook, I hope you’ll visit the Smashwords sale before it ends at midnight next Saturday.