May 22, 2022

Self-Publishing: Smashwords Publishes Results of Annual Survey

From a Post by Smashwords Founder, Mark Coker:

The Smashwords Survey [embedded below] takes a data-driven approach to identify potential best practices that can give you an incremental advantage.

The Survey also helps us identify habits of the most successful authors.


f you’ve followed the Survey in prior years, you know the Survey is based upon verified sales data, aggregated from across the Smashwords Distribution Network. This means we included sales data from Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, the Smashwords Store, Scribd, Oyster (now closed), OverDrive and others.

A Few Highlights

We looked at actual retail sales over the 12 month period between March 2015 through February 2016.

Fiction dominates – 89.5% of our sales were fiction titles. Despite fiction’s dominance, a number of non-fiction titles were among our top performers of the year.

Bestsellers have a greater social media presence – It’s not a huge surprise, but better-selling authors are much more likely to have a social media presence in the form of author web sites, blogs and Facebook and Twitter presence.

Romance dominates – Romance continues to dominate sales for Smashwords authors and publishers. Romance accounted for 50% of our sales during the survey period. Writers in other genres and categories can gain much inspiration from romance writers. Romance writers are typically ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new best practices, and certainly this is underscored by their early adoption of series writing, free series starters and preorder usage.

Read the Complete Blog Post/More Highlights

Previous Surveys

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.