The main reason I love Smashwords.com: it allows self-publishers to distribute their books to places previously only available to Big Publishers. As you all know by now, all my books are FREE. I pay nothing for everything Smashwords does for me, though they should charge me for harassing their I.T. folks with stupid questions.
Smashwords is a free site that formats your ebooks into multiple formats, distributes to all major eReader stores, and allows you to track your royalties and distribution from one easy-to-use interface.
There are no upfront costs with Smashwords. They operate off royalties, so they take money out of each sale you make, then return the rest of the $ to your account. As long as you can format the interior and exterior of the book on your own, you will never pay a dime up front!
The advantages of Smashwords:
– If your books are free and you epublish through Smashwords, you never pay a cent. My books have cost me nothing to distribute to all the major ereader stores.
– They’ll give you the option of a free ISBN.
– They distribute to all the major ebook reader libraries (Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Diesel, Sony, Apple, etc) People really don’t realize how important this is – but only major book distributors can get into some of these places, like Apple, and no one else does it for a self-published author FOR FREE. Smashwords does.
– It’s pretty simple to use and has awesome, awesome customer service. (On twitter, you can follow @smashwords and @markcoker, the founder of smashwords.)
– They format it into all the different formats you need, so you can direct anyone interested to their site while you wait for Smashwords to distribute to all the major ereader libraries.
The disadvantages of Smashwords:
– They can be a bit slow. It can take 2-3 wks to see your books in all those libraries. If you’re in no rush, it’s worth waiting, because you can only have free books on sites like Barnes and Nobles if you go through a book distributor. Otherwise, you have to charge.
– They don’t have a distribution agreement with Amazon, so you’re better off uploading to Amazon yourself. The good thing here is that you can use a PDF for Amazon, and it takes a few days. The bad thing about posting it yourself to Amazon: you can’t post it for free. If you post it for .99, Amazon keeps 70% of the book sale. If you post it for 2.99 or above, YOU keep 70% of the book sale.
– For Smashwords, there’s a double whammy: the store they go through AND smashwords will take a cut, but their cuts combined are still LESS than what any other distributor charges for paperbacks.
– The Meatgrinder – Smashwords’ ebook format conversion tool – can kick your butt the first time you try to submit your book. Smashwords has really detailed formatting instructions, and if you don’t get them 100% right, the Meatgrinder will kick them back. There are people who will format your books for you for $25/hour, but my suggestion is to learn to do it on your own.
Interested in more? Visit Smashwords or post a comment, if you want to know anything about my experience with them!