Monday, December 5, 2011

Self-publishing eBooks on Smashwords

The eBook is taking over!
Get on board now.
Hi all,

If you haven't already noticed, I recently published an ebook version of my book, Outlaw Heroes, through the self-publishing site, Smashwords.  It was fairly easy to do, it was free and it was quick. Honestly, when was the last time you were able to say that about anything?

If you are an author of any style of book, be it fiction or non-fiction, self-help or how-to, you should consider using Smashwords to publish and distribute your ebook.  Even if you already have an eBook available through another self-publishing site, (and you still own all rights, of course), you may be able to increase your sales and distribution through Smashwords.

Why Self-publish on Smashwords

To begin with, it will not cost you anything to publish your ebook on Smashwords or to have them distribute your ebook to other outlets like Barnes & Noble, Sony and Apple iBookstores. Smashwords publishes your ebook in a variety of formats, like MOBI (for Kindle), PDB, PDF, ePUB, RTF and HTML, as well as others, so your ebook can be read on almost any e-reader device.  Other reasons to publish with Smashwords are:

  • You set your own price - and can change it anytime you want.
  • You receive 85% of your sales if purchased directly from the site - the percentage drops to 60% if your ebook is purchased through an affiliate site. 
  • You have complete control of the publishing process - no one tells you your book is not good enough to publish.
  • You can create coupons for percentages off of your book's price for promotions.
  • Smashwords has an affiliate program for authors so your friends and fellow bloggers can help sell your book for you and earn money too.
Why I Decided to Self-publish with Smashwords

My books had already been self-published in paperback and ebook formats at another publishing site but the cost the publisher set was so high that it was almost impossible to sell any books.  After checking out many other ebook self-publishing sites, I decided that Smashwords was the right site for me because they offer so many different formats.  That way, I can reach almost everyone, no matter what type of e-reader device they use.  I also liked the control I had over setting the price and the fact that I can change it any time I want.  For me, Smashwords offered the most options. 

Can You Publish On More than One Site?

The answer to this is yes, IF you still retain all rights to your work and IF you had originally published through a self-publishing site - not one that paid you money up-front.  Check your contract with your publishing site to make sure there is no fine print stating you cannot republish your work anywhere else.  I not only am able to keep my books on the original self-publishing site (since I have the paperback version there) but can also place them on Smashwords as well as any other self-publishing site I want to.

Is it Easy to Upload a Manuscript onto Smashwords?

Smashwords offers you a free download instruction manual on how to format your manuscript so it will be compatible with all file types. If you follow the manual instructions carefully, you shouldn't have a problem uploading your file.  It took me about 2 hours to completely fix my manuscript to the proper format and it uploaded fine.  If you aren't comfortable doing it yourself, you can hire someone for a reasonable cost to format it for you.  I did it myself - so if I can, so can you.

Other Requirements to Publish on Smashwords

In order for your upload to work properly, you need to have a well-written short and long description of you book and a professional-looking cover.  You can create the cover yourself or you can pay someone to create one for you.  I created my own but that is only because my daughter has all the right design programs and knows how to use them. I purchased the rights to use high-resolution photos for my covers and added the text.  All of the information you need is in the Smashwords Style Guide which you can download for free.

Be sure to check out Smashwords if you plan to self-publish an ebook.  If you've already published one somewhere else and are not happy with it, try Smashwords.  I think you will be happy with the results.

(This is my opinion, I did not receive payment for this post nor do I receive any money if you sign up for Smashwords.)

In my next post, I will give you some pointers I learned when I prepared my manuscript for Smashwords.


Do you want to learn more about Smashwords? I first learned about them from Lindsay Buroker's blog so stop over there and check out her experiences in self-publishing.

Until 12/15/2011 - Get my new ebook from Smashwords for only .99 cents! Go to this link to get coupon code:


  1. Deanna, this is a timely post. I've been toying around with Smashwords and had to put it on the back burner. My book is written in the tech writing style and has info, note and warning boxes.

    Converting it to Kindle format wasn't too tough, but I've been having a heck of a time converting it for Smashwords and PubIt. I decided to take a weeks break before attempting it again.

    Reading your post is giving me the courage to try again.

  2. Hi Felicia,

    I can understand how it would be much harder to format a book other than a fiction one for Smashwords. There is so much more formating you have to do. They do give excellent instructions though. You can always pay someone to format it but if you are anything like me, you like the challenge of doing it yourself. Can't wait to see your book there! :)