Working with Smashwords

Oh. My. Goodness.

When I first published Cited to Death and Hoarded to Death, I did so through Kindle Select publishing. That way, Amazon Prime members can borrow the book for free. I’d considered other platforms, but a friend who had previously published had warned me off it. She said that Smashwords had taken a huge amount of time to sort out and her sales didn’t justify the aggravation of it.

I had no plans to publish in other formats, but then got a request from a non-Kindle owner. So I figured I’d try it. After all, it had been over a year since my friend had published her book. Maybe it had gotten easier.

Um – no.

The first thing you have to do is download a 103-page style guide. This takes you step by step, page by page, through the formatting changes that need to be made to publish through Smashwords. Basically, you undo all of Word’s formatting, then you do it over. I just finished that process this morning. It took me a day and a half. There don’t seem to be any shortcuts.

Formatting for Amazon takes about ten minutes. :-/

I understand why it’s more complicated with Smashwords than Amazon. Smashwords sends the work out to about ten different platforms, not just one. I get that, from a technical aspect. But is it worth it, to the author?

The sales will tell. My current three-month commitment to Kindle Select with Cited to Death expires on 9/2. So I’ll publish on Smashwords on 9/3, and watch to see what happens. I’m not sure how many sales it will take to make it worth converting Hoarded to Death to Smashwords style – but it’s a lot.

One thing about books that are published for Kindle – you don’t have to own a Kindle to read them. You can download Kindle for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, etc., all for free, then buy the book and have it delivered to your PC, phone, etc.

Stay tuned.

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