The Month-Long eBook Promotion That Wasn’t

Smashwords had their July Summer/Winter Sale last month, where I offered a 50% off discount on three omnibus ebooks and a half-dozen ebooks were automatically enrolled as they were already FREE. (See the new free ebook page for list of titles.) The results are in—drumroll, please—it’s, meh.

That’s not surprising. Nearly all my ebook sales from Smashwords are through the third-party distribution network (i.e., Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, etc.). Sales through the website itself are very rare events. The 50% off discount went over like a lead balloon. The FREE ebooks, however, went flying off the virtual shelves. The Post-It note with the pre-sales numbers disappeared, so no breakdown of how well the FREE ebooks did for this promotion.

July was such a distracting month that I couldn’t do any active promoting.

I spent three weeks trying to get a small business checking for my intellectual property holding company (IPHC). US Bank didn’t like my anonymous limited liability company (LLC) from Wyoming, or the supporting documents provided by my registered agent to represent me in Wyoming, because my name wasn’t officially listed anywhere. After three trips to the branch office and several heated arguments, the manager denied my application.

This isn’t an uncommon problem in the post-9/11 era. The stricter banking standards are to thwart terrorists, organized crime and Wall Street from opening accounts for money laundering. Not that this actually prevents that from happening. The practical application is to prevent the little guy from getting a leg up on big business. I’ll have to shop around until I find a bank or credit union that will accept my out-of-state LLC.

US Bank, however, had no problems opening a business checking for my writing business with a California LLC as my name was on all the documents. Providing a copy of my DBA statement also proved that my writing business had existed since 2006. Opening a new account still took two more trips to the branch office to get it done. The manager became shocked—shocked!—to find out that I wasn’t kidding when I told her that I was operating a “small business” with lowercase letters. I hope that will change next year.