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Old 02-11-2012, 01:21 PM   #1
WendyUnsworth
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Is Smashwords the answer?

Hi - I am very new to epublishing. I have one book on kindle published two weeks ago. Learning so much from the good folks on this forum so I hope my first foray into the world of 'posting' isn't a stupid question.

I am looking to not have 'all my eggs in one basket' and have been investigating Smashwords, which seems to be well regarded. They seem to offer to format a book for Kindle, Nook, Sony ereader, ibooks etc - so are they a one-stop-shop so that my book, once successfully uploaded would be avaiable on the websites of all these devices?
Could it be and is it that simple?
Sorry if the answer is very obvious but I want to be sure before I make my next move!
Thanks in advance
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Old 02-11-2012, 01:28 PM   #2
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Yes, Smashwords can distribute to Amazon, B&N, Sony, Kobo, and iTunes, which are the majors who have associated e-readers, and your books will also be available directly on their site to everyone around the world in multiple formats for people who can't shop at those other stores.

The one real drawback is that Smashwords' notorious automated "Meatgrinder" can sometimes produce poor formatting, so you might be better off formatting your e-book and uploading it to Amazon, iTunes, and possibly B&N yourself (you may not be able to do B&N directly if you are not a US resident) and letting Smashwords distribute to the other stores.

Also, I think you have to do a few extra things in order to make your book eligible for distribution to the other stores, but it seems to be fairly easy, judging from the amount of Smashwords stuff that shows up elsewhere.

Hope this helps, and welcome to MobileRead!
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:30 PM   #3
WendyUnsworth
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Is Smashwords the answer?

Thanks very much, the 'meatgrinder' sounds a bit scary! I'll watch out for that!
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
HarryT
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Is Smashwords the answer?

That rather depends what the question is.
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Old 02-11-2012, 03:04 PM   #5
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Thanks very much, the 'meatgrinder' sounds a bit scary! I'll watch out for that!
Meatgrinder is their software that takes MSWord formatted document and converts it to all the required formats. They have very nice handbook for formatting your MSWord document "the proper way" that is easy to follow by any casual MSWord user. The main requirement is to keep it simple. I wish that all the people that produce .doc files I have to work with stuck to the excellent advice described in this formatting handbook.
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Old 02-11-2012, 03:28 PM   #6
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Just thought I'd point out that, as yet, Smashwords don't distribute to Amazon.
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Old 02-11-2012, 03:40 PM   #7
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You can get good results with Smashwords if you format your doc file properly. Just use two styles, one for chapter headings and one for body text (I also use a third for stars, which is just a centred version of body text but without the indent). Easiest way to do it is download samples from Smashwords until you find a layout you like, then download the RTF and use it as a template.
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:34 PM   #8
WendyUnsworth
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Meatgrinder is their software that takes MSWord formatted document and converts it to all the required formats. They have very nice handbook for formatting your MSWord document "the proper way" that is easy to follow by any casual MSWord user. The main requirement is to keep it simple. I wish that all the people that produce .doc files I have to work with stuck to the excellent advice described in this formatting handbook.

Thanks, I'll be sure to read the handbook
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:36 PM   #9
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Just thought I'd point out that, as yet, Smashwords don't distribute to Amazon.
Thanks, the book is already published on Kindle - I'm wanting to get it available elsewhere
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:37 PM   #10
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You can get good results with Smashwords if you format your doc file properly. Just use two styles, one for chapter headings and one for body text (I also use a third for stars, which is just a centred version of body text but without the indent). Easiest way to do it is download samples from Smashwords until you find a layout you like, then download the RTF and use it as a template.

Oh, samples so good, I will check them out, thanks
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:58 PM   #11
davidwfleming
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Is Smashwords the answer. That's a very philosphically deep question. What answer are we talking about? I suspect the question is: how to achieve self-publishing success.

And I further suspect the answer is to 1.) write good stuff that people want to read. 2.) publish it everywhere you can in a professional manner. 3.) steadily build your "reputation cloud" in as many online venues as you can.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:59 PM   #12
teh603
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Thanks very much, the 'meatgrinder' sounds a bit scary! I'll watch out for that!
Ain't that scary after the first time. I actually have more issues with BookieJar, because it generates a warning if you don't have any way to set up a table of contents. The Smashwords style guide works pretty well for both sites, although my simplistic formatting might have something to do with it.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:06 AM   #13
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Don't know about their customer service. I've been waiting an answer from them for a week now but have received nothing but silence.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:34 AM   #14
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Don't know about their customer service. I've been waiting an answer from them for a week now but have received nothing but silence.
This is their biggest weakness, trying to reach them about anything takes a very long time.

But yes, right now Smashwords is the best I have found for getting your book out in the non-kindle world. They are working with Amazon to add the Kindle, but because of how slow Smashwords moves, I likely will continue to handle Kindle directly even should they get it working someday.

I find their style guide works great for putting my ebooks on any store (Google, Amazon, Bookiejar, etc) and once you get the hang of it passing their meatgrinder is a non-event. Ive not had a manuscript rejected in a while.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:44 PM   #15
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This is their biggest weakness, trying to reach them about anything takes a very long time.

But yes, right now Smashwords is the best I have found for getting your book out in the non-kindle world. They are working with Amazon to add the Kindle, but because of how slow Smashwords moves, I likely will continue to handle Kindle directly even should they get it working someday.

I find their style guide works great for putting my ebooks on any store (Google, Amazon, Bookiejar, etc) and once you get the hang of it passing their meatgrinder is a non-event. Ive not had a manuscript rejected in a while.
The biggest hurdle is the formatting of your manuscript to the recommended guidelines, but really that just comes down to common sense and clean simple layouts. I've got books from narrative prose through to illustrated stories through the Meatgrinder, it really is fairly simple to master.

So if you want a non-hassle way of getting into the iBookstore, Kobo and the Sony eReader then this is the way to do it. Also if you outside the USA its the best way to get into B&N too.

When it comes to your work its about availability of it on multiple devices, and for that Smashwords is the answer.

However doing your laundry, or fixing that leaky pipe... Smashwords isn't the answer
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