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Website Commercial Disclosures

The purpose of the Robert’s Roundup columns is to report on and recommend certain low cost ebook deals. Opinions expressed here are generally that of the website owner, Robert Nagle. You can contact me by writing SMASH at fastmailbox.net.

This page will disclose financial ties and relationships resulting from my mentioning and linking to various ebooks. In so doing I hope to demonstrate compliance with the FTC guidelines for online advertising/marketing/endorsing.

Articles on this website will sometimes contain links to titles published by Personville Press, which Nagle runs as a side business. Most of the time, these ties will be disclosed in the context of the article.

When an ebook is mentioned in a Robert’s Roundup column, it will link to an author page (or the publisher book page). But it can also include a link to an ebook distributor like Amazon, Smashwords or Google.

The website owner (Robert Nagle) is a member of the Smashwords Affiliate Marketing program. That means that the URL to the Smashwords ebook for sale will include an “affiliate code” suffix. If clicking on this link results in a sale, then the website owner will occasionally receive a portion of the sales (usually 11% or higher of the purchase price from Smashwords).

I have joined the Smashwords program for several reasons. First, because I think it is important to support alternatives to Amazon. Second, because ebooks are generally cheaper on Smashwords than on Amazon. Third, because Smashwords gives higher royalties to authors for ebooks priced at the lower range. Fourth, because Smashwords pay higher affiliate payouts than other vendors for ebook purchases. Fifth, because Smashwords sometimes offers ebooks which are unavailable on Amazon. Sixth, because Smashwords makes it a lot easier to offer ebooks for free than Amazon does. (See my blogpost comparing Smashwords vs. Amazon).

Let me be clear. Amazon is already the giant of the ebook business. Their ebook inventory is significantly larger than what you find on Smashwords. On the other hand, some very respectable small publishers are starting to pop up on Smashwords: Fomite, Unsolicited Press, Whitepoint Press, Personville Press (my own press!) Several indie authors are publishing on Smashwords. One reason that I am concentrating on Smashwords is that there are more unpublicized deals there.

Guidelines for Linking to Ebooks in Robert’s Roundup

Here are my guidelines for reporting/linking to ebook products:

  1. Whenever the price on Smashwords is lower than the Amazon price, I will link to the Smashwords page.
  2. If the price on Smashwords and Amazon is the same, I will generally link to the Smashwords product page.
  3. If the Smashwords price is higher, I will almost always link to the Amazon product page.

I will almost always provide a link to the site of the author or publisher if possible. Occasionally I may link to other websites (Apple, Google, Tor, Humble Bundle, BN), but only if the sale is exceptional and unique to that site. This is a policy I generally follow — although it is subject to change.

Guidelines for Sidebar Ads

Here are guidelines for what ebook ads I run on the sidebar. (Note: If you are interested in running an ad for your own ebook, check my advertising guidelines).

  1. Any ad must meet be for ebooks meeting AT LEAST these minimum criteria: Must have a minimum number of words must be 50K (and 20K for poetry). Although I would consider running ads for adult topics, the cover/description must be semi-classy and more story-oriented than sex-oriented. Strong preference is given to fiction/poetry/creative nonfiction.
  2. I will occasionally run ads promoting titles by Personville Press (my own publishing company).
  3. Occasionally I run paid ads for ebooks. While I may not always accept each ad, generally I will run ads that interest me and probably my readers.

I like to put “book cover ads” on the sidebar. These ads will link to the Smashwords ebook page, include an image from my own domain and usually a caption written by me.

  • In many cases I will run the ad without notifying the author/publisher ahead of time.
  • In many cases I will run the ad AFTER I mention it on a Robert’s Roundup column.
  • My selection of titles can be arbitrary. For example, I want to run at least one ad for poetry per month. In some cases I will run ads for free ebooks which result in no affiliate earnings for me.
  • At the beginning of every month, I will chose which sidebar ads to run and also the order in which to stack them. Some factors that affect my stacking order include: the affordability of the ebook (how cheap is it?), the percentage of the affiliate payout (what percent of the purchase can I earn?), my determination of the artistic value (very subjective!) and the length of time the ad has been running (I want to vary the ads a bit).
  • In some cases I may solicit publishers or individual authors on Smashwords and offer advice about price or affiliate percent to give their ebook.
  • In some cases I may run a free ad as incentive for the author to increase their affiliate payouts in future months.
  • If you’d like to pitch me a proposal to run a Smashwords cover ad for your ebook, read my advertising guidelines.

Finally, let me say that this is a One Person Blog (OPB) and my time to write for and manage the site may be very limited. This page declares my stated intent and policies. This does not necessarily mean that I have followed these policies strictly. In some cases I may have failed to include links or disclosures simply because I am behind or haven’t had time to review legacy content. Please be patient. If you need clarification or have ideas about how this site can better acheive its objectives, feel free to drop me an email.