From the press release:
Smashwords, the leading distributor of indie ebooks, today introduced a new service for literary agents. The service provides literary agents simple but powerful tools to manage the publication and distribution of their clients’ indie ebooks. Service highlights include free ebook conversions, centralized metadata management, distribution to major worldwide ebook retailers, time-saving aggregated sales reporting across all retailers, and special merchandising at Smashwords.com.
“Literary agents will write the next chapter of the indie ebook revolution,” said Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords. “Agents represent the most commercially successful authors. These authors are now asking their agents to add e-publishing services to exploit the potential of their reverted-rights works and unpublished works. Although all authors have the freedom to self-publish, many would prefer to delegate the e-publishing and back office duties to their agent so the author can focus their energy on writing.”
Over 32,000 authors, small presses and literary agents have utilized Smashwords to release 85,000 ebooks in the last three years. 7,500 of these titles were released in the last 30 days.
Until recently, the Smashwords platform labeled literary agents as “Publishers,” even though most agents consider their authors the publishers of record. To address this subtle but important nuance of metadata labeling, Smashwords created this new service expressly for literary agents.
Agents have the ability to upload multiple books on behalf of multiple clients. Agented books appear as “Written by [Author Name], Agented by [Agency Name].” When Smashwords distributes the book to retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Diesel, the author is recognized as the publisher, not the agent.
Smashwords has also introduced a new home page catalog to showcase agented works, making it easy for readers to browse ebooks represented and curated by literary agents.
To work with Smashwords, agents simply sign up for a free Smashwords account, upgrade the account to Agent status (also free), and then upload books and metadata on behalf of their clients. A co-branded bookstore within Smashwords showcases the agency’s clients and allows readers to view books by recent releases, best-sellers, and highest rated. When readers browse the book pages of agented books, they enjoy contextual discovery links such as “Other books by this author” and “Other books from this agent.”
The Smashwords Agent service makes e-publishing fast, free and easy for literary agents. Service benefits include:
• Centralized metadata management – Agents control the book’s price (Smashwords retailers don’t discount), marketing description and other metadata at their Smashwords Dashboard. They make a single change once and Smashwords propagates the update to all retailers.
• Aggregated sales reporting saves time – Each quarterly payment includes a downloadable report that makes it easy to map earnings to each of the agency’s authors. Agents can perform custom queries to provide authors granular sales reporting by title, date and retailer.
• Distribution to leading e-retailers – Smashwords distributes to the Apple iBookstore (32 countries), Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBookstore. Amazon distribution is available through Smashwords on request. Books are also distributed to the native catalogs of leading mobile e-reading apps including Aldiko for Android devices and Stanza for the iPhone/iPod Touch. More distribution points in the works.
• Free – No fees for ebook conversion or setup. Smashwords earns a 10% of list price commission for books sold through major retailers (agent receives 60% list). The commission for sales through the Smashwords.com retail store is 15% net after credit card fees, with 85% net going to the agent.
Multiple literary agencies – including Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, the Beverley Slopen Agency and Larsen Pomada Literary Agents – are utilizing Smashwords to publish and distribute ebooks on behalf of their clients. Diversion Books, a publisher founded by literary agent Scott Waxman, is also a Smashwords client.