Smashwords is one of the largest self-publishing websites in the world and pumps out hundreds of new titles each day. It is one of the most vibrant ecosystems for authors, and publishes exclusively digital books. Smashwords Interviews is a new service that guides authors to create, edit, and publish their own Q&A interview. Authors simply answer a series of questions, or create their own questions, and then click publish. The final interview can be easily integrated with their own websites, blogs, or in the book description area on mainstream digital stores.
In order to use this new interview service, authors don’t actually have to publish an ebook with Smashwords. They simply have to register for a free account and the system will generate a series of questions. It is a solid idea in spirit, because readers can know more about the author and also gives another marketing tool in the marketing arsenal.
Smashwords Interviews only launched today and the entire system is plagued with bugs. Many authors are getting the system message that the service has run out of questions. Mark Coker, the CEO of Smashwords, has addressed this issue and the team is currently working on a solution. Authors can still make their own questions and answer them, so it’s not entirely broken.
Many of Amazon’s top ebooks have an author interview in the description field. This is normally generated by a PR company or the author themselves. A tool such as this could lead to an increase in sales, especially when consumers are considering a work by an as-of-yet unknown author. A large number of readers might discover that they appreciate the author’s style or writing voice through the interview, especially as significant numbers of people follow specific authors via social media for more personal information.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.