Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Great Smashwords Experiment

...otherwise known as Jodi admits to being so detached and cynical, she was kind of iffy talking about it. I blame it on my myers-briggs type. Not that it covers everything wrong with me, but if you know how the types are set up--it explains a lot.

I enjoy watching things. And most of all I enjoy watching how things connect, which is probably why I'm good at trend-casting. If you want to know what that is in practical terms, visit Faith Popcorn--and after the totally nifty intro, click on "how we work".

'das me. I intuit. And I intuit the fall of NY. Not here and now, but as part of the structural shift in both purchasing and reading habits.

I haven't been in a brick and mortar bookstore for over a year. They're overpriced and the loyalty programs get on my nerves. I'll be damned if I drive twenty miles out of my way to buy an overpriced book so someone who doesn't read but looks cool can try to sell me a membership card that I pay for so the company can benefit and thank them for the experience.

I love me some Amazon. Fast, free (since I buy so much) and in my mailbox. What's not to like? Same for fictionwise. Instant gratification.

With the new publishing models, and I "don't" mean the rise of the e-pubs, but smashwords and kindle uploads, NY is hemorrhaging, but too stubborn to die. There's so much infrastructure, there's no way it'll just vanish, but...another generation or two? Yeah.

I have this idea and as part of the greater whole, figured I'd check smashwords. I spent half an hour reading Kristen's thread, what people said about smashwords, how it worked and reading her motivation. ...which led me to ta-dah! Jodi's smashwords experiment. A little more extreme, and a lot more jaundiced 'cause I have no shame.

What sells? What would totally sell (or download for free) with the least amount of resistance and the right kind of keywords? Yeah.


Lots and lots of blatant, in your face, sex on a silver platter. Although my cover sucks, and that's another thought. As of this morning, a little over 12 hours since it went live, I had 157 downloads of a book with a plain black cover. What kind of download speed would I get with the "right" kind of cover?

I used keywords, I had a good blurb. I, fairly decent product. For a story I wrote as a joke, because seriously--how many erotica's have you read where the hot fairy prince who's turned into a gargoyle by his evil Fae godmother who's really a hot cougar mama with magic powers has a even hotter bodyguard with bad attitude and lusts after his boss, and they both meet a woman who wants nothing more than to help this poor guy out of his curse, and because she's a nice person has sex with them both only to have the evil Fae godmother-cougar find out, and then...well, you see where I'm going with this. Right to the kitchen sink. Which I threw in absolutely free of charge.

...maybe I should up that download number. It just keeps going.

Sex. Sells.

Or rather, downloads like the wind.

Since I'm feeling this out as a distribution channel (they have incredible distribution!) I'm going to do another experiment. The first was just to see if it was all people said it was--the next needs to show me where the people are. Does mainstream move? How fast does it move versus the same book with lots of sex, marketed differently? Do keywords count? Do people even "use" keywords, or are they using "filter by" and looking at the most recent uploads? Does a cover matter?

Two books. Almost the same (I'm thinking of using a regency historical short dust-bunny), except that one would be written as a "mainstream" story and the other would be "erotica". They would need to have the same cover (it's not fair for one to have an advantage)and blurb. Although I'd think keywords would have to be tailored to the category.

A warning, and I'm dead serious about it. If you're not over 18 I don't need you reading my freebie. If you can't deal with erotica? Check it out, but don't download it. It's 22 formatted-pages of sex with about a teaspoon of plot. And I don't use euphemisms.


Hailey Edwards said...

You've got me curious now, you know that right?

I must go forth and download.

Also, if you want a book cover to add to your experiment, lemme know. I'm a stock art junkie and I do my own website stuff. *coughs* If you flip through the pages of my website, it's probably obvious. I go more overboard every time I redesign it.

Anyway making book covers is not my thing but since I'm free and easy, I've helped a couple of people out with their Smashwords projects.

Email if you decide you want a cover. ;)

jodi said...

lol, Hailey. I kind of like the black cover. My kid wanted to help until I told him what I wanted and why.

But, since Cowboy was the one who came up with can't be a user-name since it's a pen name, but pseudonym and we both killed each other with laughter doing this particular story, he can damned well come up with a hot cover for the snippet I'm going to pull from the first story we ever talked about.

something with lots of chest and a cravat maybe? I dunno. Very Avon historicals.

Funny how what started out as purely intellectual interest in how smashwords worked turned into interest in the implications of the software itself. What a brilliant concept. It almost runs itself, is mainly a passive income stream and keeps growing bigger as more people get sucked in.

deanna said...

Hey, maybe you'll find the income stream you're needing, writing something for these sites...
I may read it sometime, when I'm curious enough, will probably blush...
But I get that you're experimenting and finding what works, so more power to ya. :o)

jodi said...

lol, Deanna. I blush you see is that I care what you think of me. I actually write great nothing-but-sex, because there's so little plot, just a smidgen of arc and over the top situations.

I have this great idea for were-raccoons. I could sure use some kind of income stream, and this might be the best part time job I'll ever find.

Then...maybe I can take my numbers to an agent. :) You never know.

Unhinged said...

Holy crap, Ms Chandler. I hardly know what to say because I've got these certain images of bobbling body parts on my mind...

I totally dare you to write the were-raccoon thing, even if you did mention it as just a joke. It makes me grin just thinking about it.

Ms Powers

p.s. How many downloads/views are there now?