If you are publishing by the ancillary path (Kindle, Nook, Lulu, Smashwords, or Blurb), you wonder who is buying your digital posted gems and where those distinguished yet singular souls live.
If you’re a publisher of others’ books, that buying knowledge is even more important because you have to send your authors their royalties!
Smashwords has been the most enigmatic to figure out. But I think I have it nailed, and I’ll share that with you if you too are smitten by curiosity or obligation.
Presuming you have an account there, and books to sell, you can start by completing your login and heading to the dashboard page (choices are on the top horizontal line). The dashboard gives you the list of your products for sale through Smashwords. Look in the blue box to the left for “Select and Payment Record,” and open that. Voilá: in that box are links to open the last quarter sales report and/or the quarterly earnings mapping report. Just poke around in both to get a look at current and earlier sales.
What makes it more fun to review purchases from Smashwords is that it sells through many key distributors in North America, Europe, and Australia, and more… (So does Kindle.)
The spreadsheet tells all. Who bought what and when, and whether the sale was through Smashwords, Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, or Barnes and Noble. The spreadsheet is divided into columns headed by author, price, quantity, amount (that you charge, retail), coupons, three discount cuts, an affiliate cut, transFee, vat (taxes), currency, the final amount you receive is US dollars, and the recording date. If your book sells in euros or Canadian dollars, those are also converted into USD before you receive your quarterly PayPal deposit.
I was surprised to see how widely our sales were distributed, and particularly pleased that through the Premium Catalog we were selling a lot to Apple, Sony, and Kobo. I think we compete with ourselves at Barnes and Noble (since we post at Pubit!—Nook), and we have sold only four items directly by Smashwords (where all earn 85% of the royalty). I was pleased to see that the extra work you must do to get your books up-graded to make that catalog (which is free) does in fact pay off with sales.
I also like that Smashwords doesn’t list a sale until the money is actually collected. Most of the other like publishers announce a sale but often pay it a month (or two) later. Confusing. What I don’t like is that it takes several months for the most recent sales reports to be broken down into buyers and titles. I know what I will receive for the first quarter of 2012 (the global amount was just deposited in my account) but I must wait for the details before I can assign that income to the royalty charts.
Who likes this seller/currency/foreign intrigue the most? My authors, when I share the distribution with them. I suspect that some of the five are already working on an accent for when they travel, hoping to find their tomes in bookstores abroad!
Nothing profound here, just an improved reporting process by Smashwords that almost puts flesh on our book buyers. I hope this makes your hunt, for royalty designation or just curiosity, easier to do.