Some things I learned from… Jim Azevedo


Some things I learned from…


(Marketing Director, Smashwords)

I was lucky enough to head to this year’s RWNZ conference on Thursday so I could catch the free presentation from Jim Azevedo of Smashwords.

I’d met Jim, and his utterly delightful wife, at the airport when they first flew in to NZ, and then I picked Jim up from a domestic flight and dropped him at the conference hotel, so I already knew he was a personable guy. I can now also vouch that he’s an excellent presenter.

I first began self-publishing using Smashwords in August of 2011. I’ve since published thirteen books via the Smashwords platform, so I like to think I’m reasonably up with the play when it comes to electronic self-publishing, and wasn’t expecting to hear anything I didn’t already know. However I wasn’t in any way bored by Jim’s presentation . He was funny, engaging, and despite his presentation including A Lot (!!) of graphs and statistics, he got across an enormous amount of information in a way that even those who’d never heard of Smashwords prior to that evening, or were only just starting to contemplate self-publishing, could understand.

Plus, as an author of a genre that’s often looked down upon and sneered at, I was delighted to see hard facts and figures confirming how successful the romance genre truly is, and learn just how well respected romance writers are by the team at Smashwords :)

Here’s just some of the  points Jim made during his 10 Trends that are Transforming the Publishing Industry presentation (RWNZ Conference, Thursday, 14th August 2014):

  • The eBook market is maturing; the trend is for eBooks to overtake print.
  • Bookselling is moving to the web: bricks-and-mortar stores are declining as consumers become more focused on price, convenience and selection. Two years ago, there were more books purchased online in the US than in bricks-and-mortar stores.
  • eBooks are going global; 45% of Smashwords’ iBooks sales are outside the US.
  • Indie authors are gaining competitive advantages:
    • faster to market
    • global distribution
    • never go out of print, therefore there’s time for readers to discover them
    • control (i.e. cover design, price, category, description etc.)
    • lower expenses => lower prices => more readers (book buyers are becoming more price-sensitive; indie authors can gain readers through pricing strategies)
  • Self-published authors are scaling all the bestseller lists.
  • Romance dominates at Smashwords:
    • 70% of the top-10 bestsellers at Smashwords are romances
    • 70% of the top-100 bestsellers at Smashwords are romances
  • Top romance sub-categories for the top-100 bestselling romances on Smashwords:
    • Contemporary 54%
    • Paranormal 13%
    • Young adult 7%
  • 7/10 bestselling series are romance; 7/10 have a free first-book-in-series.
  • Longer books sell better; the average wordcount for top-selling romance on Smashwords is 96,197 words.
  • Bestselling series have longer books; authors face reluctance from readers if series books are under 50k words

Take risks.


Share your experiences.


Jim Azevedo, Smashwords




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