I can't thank Hitch enough for such authoritative posts!
And CWatkinsNash for directing me to the Baen website. While there, I browsed the site and was impressed by the quality of the writing, so much so that it re-kindled (pun intended) my interest in SF after a long hiatus immersed in other genres (that said, A Canticle for Leibowitz, by William Miller, remains one of my all-time favorites, right up there with Orwell's 1984).
How good the writing is was also evident in the blurbs, which were fresh in my mind from having followed the "red flags" thread - anyone seeking a model for how to write a good blurb, especially for the SF genre, would do well to look here. While in the hands of less capable writers, chestnuts such as "hard hitting" and "edge-of-the-seat' typically come across as overused and hackneyed, when used with flair and verve, as they are here, they work.
Turning to Baen's downloading/sideloading instructions, while clearer and more complete than Smashword's, and while they may be less daunting to presumably the more tech-savvy users of a boutique site such as Baen, they continue to show how daunting it can be for the average prospective purchaser to stray from the Amazon/BN/Apple ecosystems. The sideloading instructions for the Nook, for example, tell you to drag the file to the DOCUMENTS folder on the device, while on the Simple Touch I have, the file is to be dragged to the BOOKS sub-directory of the MY FILES folder, a seemingly minor error, but a perfect example of what Hitch is talking about.
As to his posts, my reaction to his first post was, whoa, here's someone who really knows what he's talking about! and to his second post, I'm WAY over my head here! While I believe I was coming to the same conclusion on my own, his advice has kept me from hurtling any further down the "learn the hard way" path he describes so well. Accordingly, I have printed out both posts and filed them in my "Selling on Your Own Site" folder with a yellow sticky note attached saying, "this is why you don't attempt this." There has been a bright spot to emerge from this effort, however. While not suitable for selling, I do have a convenient way of getting e-reader content to tech-savvy user for other purposes.
Again, my thanks to both of you.