85,000 Titles Strong, Smashwords Pitches the Agents

Smashwords Introduces Ebook Publishing and Distribution Service for Literary Agents

Powerful, Proven Tools to Manage Ebook Publishing, Metadata, Distribution and Sales Reporting

LOS GATOS, Calif., November 17, 2011 — Smashwords, the leading distributor of indie ebooks, today introduced a new service for literary agents. The service provides literary agents simple but powerful tools to manage the publication and distribution of their clients’ indie ebooks. Service highlights include free ebook conversions, centralized metadata management, distribution to major worldwide ebook retailers, time-saving aggregated sales reporting across all retailers, and special merchandising at Smashwords.com.

“Literary agents will write the next chapter of the indie ebook revolution,” said Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords. “Agents represent the most commercially successful authors. These authors are now asking their agents to add e-publishing services to exploit the potential of their reverted-rights works and unpublished works. Although all authors have the freedom to self-publish, many would prefer to delegate the e-publishing and back office duties to their agent so the author can focus their energy on writing.”

Over 32,000 authors, small presses and literary agents have utilized Smashwords to release 85,000 ebooks in the last three years. 7,500 of these titles were released in the last 30 days.

Until recently, the Smashwords platform labeled literary agents as “Publishers,” even though most agents consider their authors the publishers of record. To address this subtle but important nuance of metadata labeling, Smashwords created this new service expressly for literary agents.

Agents have the ability to upload multiple books on behalf of multiple clients.Agented books appear as “Written by [Author Name], Agented by [Agency Name].”

When Smashwords distributes the book to retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Diesel, the author is recognized as the publisher, not the agent.

Smashwords has also introduced a new home page catalog to showcase agented works, making it easy for readers to browse ebooks represented and curated by literary agents.

To work with Smashwords, agents simply sign up for a free Smashwords account, upgrade the account to Agent status (also free), and then upload books and metadata on behalf of their clients. A co-branded bookstore within Smashwords showcases the agency’s clients and allows readers to view books by recent releases, best-sellers, and highest rated. When readers browse the book pages of agented books, they enjoy contextual discovery links such as “Other books by this author” and “Other books from this agent.”

The Smashwords Agent service makes e-publishing fast, free and easy for literary agents. Service benefits include:

• Centralized metadata management – Agents control the book’s price (Smashwords retailers don’t discount), marketing description and other metadata at their Smashwords Dashboard. They make a single change once and Smashwords propagates
the update to all retailers.
• Aggregated sales reporting saves time – Each quarterly payment includes a downloadable report that makes it easy to map earnings to each of the agency’s authors. Agents can perform custom queries to provide authors granular sales reporting by title, date and retailer.
• Distribution to leading e-retailers – Smashwords distributes to the Apple iBookstore (32 countries), Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBookstore. Amazon distribution is available through Smashwords on request. Books are also distributed to the native catalogs of leading mobile e-reading apps including Aldiko for Android devices and Stanza for the iPhone/iPod Touch. More distribution points in the works.
• Free – No fees for ebook conversion or setup. Smashwords earns a 10% of list price commission for books sold through major retailers (agent receives 60% list). The commission for sales through the Smashwords.com retail store is 15% net after credit card fees, with 85% net going to the agent.

Multiple literary agencies – including Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, the Beverley Slopen Agency and Larsen Pomada Literary Agents – are utilizing Smashwords to publish and distribute ebooks on behalf of their clients. Diversion Books, a publisher founded by literary agent Scott Waxman, is also a Smashwords client.

What literary agents are saying about Smashwords: “Smashwords has offered what many other self-publishing platforms do not, a way for agents to be involved with digital publishing without having to take on the title of ‘Publisher,’” said Abby Reilly, E-Book Project Manager at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, based in New York. “Giving our clients a space in the new and exciting world of digital publishing, while continuing to shepherd all aspects of their literary careers, is a thrilling challenge for our agency. We are delighted to be working with Smashwords to make this happen.”

“Smashwords makes it easy to begin exploring the new digital terrain,” said Beverley Slopen, whose literary agency shares her name and is based in Toronto, Canada. “It is an exciting time in publishing, a time like no other, and our authors want to be there. They are pushing us to broaden our knowledge and our skill set. While ebook publishing is not a substitute for traditional publishing, it adds an amazing new dimension.”

“I have been an avid Smashwords supporter since its inception, and over the past three years have integrated digital publishing initiatives in the career plans of all my clients,” said Laurie McLean of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco. “Most of my clients have both traditionally published books and ebooks in their bag of tricks, and it is exciting to see how they complement each other. While many people have been bashing literary agents as gatekeepers of the old guard in publishing, I feel that digitally-engaged agents are the perfect mentors to guide authors through these turbulent waters of opportunity. The new Smashwords Agent service has made my job even easier.”

Literary Agents – How to Get Started with Smashwords

Visit www.smashwords.com to sign up for a free account in the name of your agency. The confirmation email you receive will walk you through next steps. The “How to Publish at Smashwords” link on the home page at https://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords provides helpful links to a vast array of Smashwords resources.

For an online presentation outlining the opportunity for agents to serve the indie e-publishing needs of their clients, see this post at the Smashwords Blog and its accompanying Slideshare presentation, the Literary Agent’s Indie Ebook Roadmap: http://blog.smashwords.com/2011/08/literary-agents-indie-ebook-roadmap.html
or visit www.slideshare.net/Smashwords

About Smashwords
Founded in 2008, Smashwords is the world’s leading distributor of indie ebooks. More than 32,000 authors, small presses and literary agents publish over 85,000 indie ebooks at Smashwords. Smashwords has released over 7,500 ebooks in the last 30 days.

Smashwords makes it fast, free and easy for the world’s authors, publishers and literary agents to publish and distribute multi-format ebooks. Smashwords distributes to major online retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store, and also distributes to the leading mobile e-reading apps such as Aldiko, Stanza and FBReader. Smashwords is based in Los Gatos, California, and can be reached on the web at http://www.smashwords.com/. Visit the official Smashwords blog at http://blog.smashwords.com/.

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