A quick list of Ebook Do’s and Don’t’s for indie authors on the up and up


Smashwords, the popular ebook site, has done some research on the behalf of indie authors everywhere and given us some tips on what does and doesn’t sell in the ebook world. Behold:

It’s a steep curve: Most books sell extremely few copies, a few sell extremely well.

Readers prefer longer books.

The best profits are to be made by pricing your book between 2,99 and 3,99.

The authors who make the most money sell at the lowest prices.

Ebooks which are available to readers for free are read just under 40 times more than paid books.

Books which you can pre-order tend to sell better. Very few authors use this pre-order possibility.

Series sell better than one-off books.

Books with a word count below 50,000 sell markedly less well.

If the first book of a series is available for free this has a marked impact on the success of the series which it kicks off.

Factual books sell for a higher price than fiction. People who buy factual books are less worried about the price of a book. Most people who sell their factual books online do so at too low a price.

And that’s it…So there you are! A few tips from Smashwords to help you get to the most readers and make the best possible turnover doing it. Now off you go and apply that!

Article by Noel Maurice, author of upcoming memoir The Berlin Diaries

Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a 'recovering musician', he is the author of The Berlin Diaries, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site. Noel is currently completing his second novel. As well as running indieBerlin, Noel is also active as web designer, chatbot creator and business communication coach.


  • Reply September 30, 2014

    Malachi Rempen

    Do you have a source for this? Are you quoting directly, or paraphrasing what Smashwords said?

    • Reply November 11, 2014


      Hi Malachi,
      Thanks for asking and apologies for the time lapse! I got the info from a German-language article on the brilliant site selfpublisherbibel.de, which quoted Smashwords’ findings. If your GermN is ok it’s a great site to learn about self publishing!

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