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Anybody used Smashwords before?

  1. profile image0
    ryankettposted 6 years ago

    And with how much success?

    I am trialing it with a book of quotes, and will be doing the same using another book at Createspace.

    Ultimately I have something much larger and more significant that I would like to get out there, but want to be careful with my distribution channels and promotion.

    Anyway, back to Smashwords for now. Is the affiliate network any good? Does a higher affiliate % result in extra sales? How do you go about SEO and winning traffic to the page?

    Ultimately the aim of the game will be getting Apple store and Barnes & Nobles listings right? Feel free to link to any of your Smashwords listings in order to emphasise any points wink

    1. bgamall profile image85
      bgamallposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Sandy Mertens is the expert. She will do one for you for a fee. http://hubpages.com/profile/Sandyspider And she is a sincere person. smile

  2. profile image0
    ryankettposted 6 years ago

    And... has anybody experimented with keyword rich titles?

  3. frogdropping profile image84
    frogdroppingposted 6 years ago

    No idea, haven't used it. Came by to ask ... why are me and you up? I sure don't know smile

    1. profile image0
      ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Well.... I've been messing around on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/44598

      lol

  4. profile image0
    ryankettposted 6 years ago

    Testing out new things, in anticipation of bigger and better things wink

  5. frogdropping profile image84
    frogdroppingposted 6 years ago

    I'd like to say the same. Can't though. I had the damn lurgy this last week, got behind with everything. Everyone belonging me is sleeping (Boo too, there must be a God!) and I'm still not finished working hmm

    Oh well.

    Ask my friend Charles. I don't know who he used but he's just published a book. Had a look at it last week. Awesome. Seeing his name in print. I want one.

    I hope yours is a great success. What is it? Or is it a secret? smile

  6. lrohner profile image85
    lrohnerposted 6 years ago

    I don't know anything about Smashwords, but I had always planned on using CreateSpace. Did you check that out? I'd be curious to hear your input.

  7. Marisa Wright profile image94
    Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago

    I planned to use CreateSpace, but have never managed to get going with it.

    Two reasons -

    One, because I'll be selling a physical product (a book) not just electronic articles, I'll have to jump through various American tax hoops.  I have to submit my passport, which is in my maiden name so I'll have to get a new passport first, then ... oh, cut a long story short, it's in the too hard basket!

    Two, you have to do some pretty fiddly formatting to get the book set up exactly right.  Every single chapter needs its own formatting, with two different formats within each chapter for left and right pages.  They do give you a template but it still did my head in, so I shelved it until I get the aforesaid tax problem sorted out. 

    I'm 90% convinced that I'm going to start with Smashwords instead.  It looks good - formt your book once and they will offer it in several ebook formats.  They also have several distribution channels set up, including Amazon in the near future. 

    Tax may still be an issue, but unlike CreateSpace, they allow you to publish before you finalize your tax status - they just withhold the money.

    1. Aya Katz profile image87
      Aya Katzposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I publish with CreateSpace and I don't format every chapter separately. I use OpenOffice, and the pagination is in mirror format, so left and right pages have the number on different sides.

      1. Marisa Wright profile image94
        Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        That's interesting. I also have Open Office and I noticed it had the mirror feature etc, so I was a bit mystified why the templates were so complicated.

        From memory, the reason was that a professionally printed book has the Chapter number in the header on each page, which means you need a different format for each chapter, and the book name should appear in the header as well.  I did wonder whether a reader would really notice - and since we're moving away from traditional publishing, you could ask why should we stick with those conventions anyway!

        1. profile image0
          ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Have you tried Kindle Direct Marisa?

          I got my book accepted within 18 hours, and it will be live within the next 24 hours!

          No complicated formatting, dead easy to set price, and ultimately you can use Amazon capsules to promote!

          Of course, this was just an experiment, I don't expect to sell ANY but I will be familiarising myself with each before attempting to promote something of genuine quality and which represents a lot of sweat smile

          1. Pcunix profile image88
            Pcunixposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            You got in that quick? Both of mine are still in review..

            1. profile image0
              ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Mine just came out of review smile

              Although in fairness, it's just a book of quotes, could it be that yours requires a keener eye than a mere book of quotations? wink

              In other words, some lazy bastard probably put yours aside to do the easy ones first!

          2. Marisa Wright profile image94
            Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Seems I'd be restricting myself to just one channel that way?

            Like I said, I found the Smashwords style guide fairly easy to follow.  It looks daunting at first glance, but a lot of it is repetitious.  Actually if you have a text only book, it's a doddle.

            Here's the quick version:

            - Open your manuscript in Word, "Select All" and "Clear Formatting". 

            - Modify your "Normal" style to suit your preferred paragraph set up (either block paragraphs or first line indented), with a 10pt space after each para.  Font can be Times New Roman, Garamond or Arial.

            - Set up your Heading styles, no more than 16pt.

            - Don't set up any other styles.  Go through your text and bold or italicise anything that needs fixing. 

            - Head all your chapters with "Chapter x: Title" not just "Title". 

            - Copy the title page template and enter your own info.

            - Create your Table of Contents (this looks fiddly, haven't done it yet).

            1. profile image0
              ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Marisa, you are able to publish at both Smashwords and Kindle Direct. All that you need to do is edit the Copyright to remove the word 'Smashwords' before uploading.

              Smashwords do not list their books on Amazon, so they work well in tandem. They have been saying that they will list books on Amazon "soon" for over a year, judging by some blog posts that I skimmed through yesterday.

              I suspect that Amazon just want people to list directly wink If you list directly with Amazon you take 75% of revenues, that is something which Smashwords won't be able to promise if they open up that distribution channel internally.

        2. Aya Katz profile image87
          Aya Katzposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Those conventions don't even apply in all cases. John Wheatcroft, a well established author, has just signed with my press to put out his new novel. He sent me an autographed copy of an older book by him. It doesn't have title headings or chapter heading across the top of the page. It doesn't even have mirrored page numbers. Each page number appears in the bottom center in brackets, like this: [145]. The book came out in 1983 and was published by Cornwall books.

          I think sometimes we try to outdo the professionals!

          1. Marisa Wright profile image94
            Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Interesting...

            Amazon has a paid service whereby they help you through the formatting process.  If you're still struggling, you can use their (even more expensive) service which does everything for you.

            I could be cynical and think maybe they set these silly standards just so you willbe bamboozled enough to sign up for the paid services!!

            1. Aya Katz profile image87
              Aya Katzposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              I've published three books with them so far and I did not use their formatting services. I just kept resubmitting until they approved my format, and not all the items you mentioned were required in order to win that approval.

  8. Rising Caren profile image78
    Rising Carenposted 6 years ago

    I'm in the process of writing a book. I was going to test it out at hulu, then move it to createspace, but maybe I'll test it out on smashwords instead.

    I'm planning on releasing a "zero edition" (beta edition) for extremely cheap to see how users rate it, then fix it up and put it up as a real book on createspace.

  9. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 6 years ago

    Okay, my books are published on Smashwords,Createspace and Amazon Kindle.  Smashwords you have to fiddle quite a bit with the formatting to get it just right so that it is accepted for their expanded distribution to Apple, B&N etc, but it is worth it.  I've sold quite a few books on there and they put your royalties into your Paypal account each quarter.
    Createspace is VERY easy to use.  You don't have to use their template, you just see what size book you want from their list of sizes.  Format your word document to that, set it as a mirrored document, change the margins to what they require, and Word will format it like a book for you.  You won't have to fiddle around yourself on the left and right side pages.  If you choose the mirrored option, Word does all of that.  Once you have that done, you save it as a pdf and upload.  The cover creator on Createspace is very easy to use as well.  Createspace send me a royalty cheque quite regularly, and they used to take off 30% withholding tax as I'm not an American and don't live there.  However, I applied for my US tax numer (itin or something like that) and filled in another WE8 form with my new tax number on it, and Createspace will now no longer take off withholding tax as my country (South Africa) has a tax treaty with the US, and all deducted withholding taxes will now be paid back to me by Createspace.  I plan to do the same with Smashwords.
    Amazon Kindle is probably the easiest to use.  You upload your cover you made and type in the book's info, and then upload the manuscript as a Word file.  As a non-US person, Amazon only pay when you reach $100.
    If you want to know anything more, just contact me via HP, or you can check out my books on Createspace, Smashwords and Amazon Kindle, all written under Cindy Vine, and take at look at the book covers all made on Createspace.  Hope this helps!

  10. Pcunix profile image88
    Pcunixposted 6 years ago

    I tried it.  I found their formatting extremely difficult. If I were starting from scratch, fine, but with already written books, it's really hard.

    I just sell through my website using E-Junkie.  That's been making me about $1,500 a year.

    Eventually I may take the trouble to go through the Smashwords hassle, but it really seems like too much work.

  11. Pcunix profile image88
    Pcunixposted 6 years ago

    I just took a look at https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin

    That was painless.

    1. profile image0
      ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Wow, I didn't know about that one hmm

      I assumed that one would need to publish via Createspace to find their book on there.

      Cheers for that link Pcunix.

      1. Pcunix profile image88
        Pcunixposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Well, I found it through Createspace, but it looks to me like it stands alone unless I'm very confused (naw, THAT couldn't happen!)

        1. profile image0
          ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          That was an absolute doddle, a piece of cake.

          Although Smashwords is still necessary for the Apple store and Barnes & Noble.

          Clearly I'm not going to get a book of sex quotes in Barnes & Noble, but this is all a formatting trial and familiarisation process smile

  12. Bill Manning profile image71
    Bill Manningposted 6 years ago

    Hmmm, I have a question. Does it make sense to make an ebook or a kindle book using your best related blog post?

    Like say I wanted to make one about best Disney tips. Could I gather up all my best Disney tips blogs, tweak them a bit and use them as a ebook? hmm

    1. simeonvisser profile image86
      simeonvisserposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      It depends on how your blog posts are written I guess. If you edit them well you could group related blog posts into chapters and make a book out of it.

    2. Pcunix profile image88
      Pcunixposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I don't know why not..

      Unless there are copyright issues, of course. But if it is all yours, why not?

      I took a lot of material from my own works for my Unix and Linux Troubleshooting book. I reworked it and tied it all together, but you could find most of it at my site - just harder to read.

      For my Psst - Wanna work for yourself?,  I did the same, although that had more original content mixed in.  But still - a lot of the chapter ideas came from things I had already written.

      1. Bill Manning profile image71
        Bill Manningposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Cool, thanks. smile

  13. skyfire profile image72
    skyfireposted 6 years ago

    I see only two issues here with createspace. First, Illustration theme books are hard to get any sale on kindle and second that Marisa pointed out related to taxation. But that's just applicable to me and not for those who are into writing novels or other books.

  14. Don Simkovich profile image59
    Don Simkovichposted 6 years ago

    Glad to come across this thread. I've written hundreds of business-related articles on starting businesses, planning, market research, etc etc. I own the rights to them and I keep telling myself I need to put them in a print and/or ebook format.

  15. Pcunix profile image88
    Pcunixposted 6 years ago

    I see that if you send email to list@smashwords.com, their autoresponder sends back some folks experienced in fixing formatting issues.

    I think I'll try that..

    1. profile image0
      ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Yep, that's the only sure fire way of getting on the Apple store and in Barnes & Noble, otherwise you are stuck with pure self promotion. The 67 page style guide gave me a headache.

      1. Marisa Wright profile image94
        Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        I just formatted a 20,000 word book using the Style Guide, it took me an afternoon.

        And I don't even have Word, so I had to interpret it using Open Office. 

        I guess it helps that I was very comfortable with Word's editing features when I was in the corporate world, so it all made perfect sense to me.

        1. Pcunix profile image88
          Pcunixposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          20,000 pages?

          That's quite a book.

          I hired someone to reformat my two books. $45 each - I'd rather pay that than even read that style guide, never mind do the work.

          1. Marisa Wright profile image94
            Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Oops mistype - I meant words, of course!!  It is pretty short, if I had something longer I might be tempted to get it done -  $45 seems quite reasonable.

            1. bgamall profile image85
              bgamallposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Aussie housing inflation made you do it. Lol. Sorry Marisa, I couldn't resist.

  16. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 6 years ago

    For those of you with blogs, you can put your blogs on Amazon Kindle as well, people have to pay you whatever you want to charge them to subscribe to your blog's rss feed.  You don't have to put all your blog posts into an ebook to sell on Kindle, just list your blog there and figure out how much you want to sell subscriptions for.

  17. readytoescape profile image61
    readytoescapeposted 6 years ago

    I seem to recall reading the formatting process is automatic for the different distribution platforms as long as the original work is uploaded in either MSWord or PDF. It gets a bit more complicated if you have illustrations or photos to insert on pages or if you are publishing a non-fiction reference tied to a table of contents.

    I think the biggest advantage to their service is the larger distribution network.

    1. Pcunix profile image88
      Pcunixposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      No, it's not automatic. They have a 69 page style guide you have to follow.

      1. profile image0
        ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Has your book been reviewed yet Pcunix? On Kindle Direct?

        1. Pcunix profile image88
          Pcunixposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Yes, they both say "Publishing" now but are still greyed out..

          1. profile image0
            ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Good, mines still in that stage too. Just a test of course, just curious smile

          2. profile image0
            ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            I had my book listed, I sold 1 somehow in about 5 minutes of it going live.

            I then clicked to edit and added some keywords, as I forgot to do so. And now..... it has gone back to 'review'

            DOH!!

            1. Pcunix profile image88
              Pcunixposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Mine are now live.  Gosh, I was really surprised: for a jaded old curmudgeon like me, I was really almost giddy seeing my Amazon pages. I have to admit it: I called to my wife saying "Quick, come see this!" as though it were some ephemeral thing of beauty that would soon disappear!

              However, I'm having some reservations about the reformatter. She's made some assertions that don't match what I read in the style guide, so I'm questioning her about that.  I'll give full details later.

              1. Pcunix profile image88
                Pcunixposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                OK, my first experience with a reformatter was very, very bad.   Misinformation completely contrary to what the style guide says.  Specifically, one of my books has code listings - she said they cannot use a different font than the normal text!  That's idiotic, of course and when I questioned that, she went a bit nuts over my questioning her ability.

                I'm going to have to look into reformatting this myself.  Maybe it isn't as bad as I think.

                1. Marisa Wright profile image94
                  Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                  Was this the reformatter for Smashwords?

                  She's right, they do recommend use "Normal" font for your whole manuscript, other than Headings.  But I'd say code is a special case.  Just create a style called Code.

                  1. Pcunix profile image88
                    Pcunixposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                    Yes, that's what I intend to do. But she got angry that I dared question her expertise..  yes, one of the people they recommend.

                    Oh, well..  I'll get to it eventually.

    2. Aya Katz profile image87
      Aya Katzposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      At CreateSpace we submit pdfs. But how we create those pdf files is up to us. They do have to meet the specifications for each trim-size in order to be approved.

    3. Marisa Wright profile image94
      Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Yes, you upload it in MSWord, but it has to be correctly formatted.  That's what the style guide is all about.  MSWord has a lot of hidden formatting which you have to get rid of.

      You're right, what I like about them is the way they automatically format for a wide variety of e-readers.

      1. profile image0
        ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Did you read my post Marisa?

        1. Marisa Wright profile image94
          Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          About Kindle, you mean?  Yes, but surely Kindle is just Kindle?

          Since I'm 90% of the way through formatting the book for Smashwords,I'm planning to finish that first.

          1. profile image0
            ryankettposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Yeah, just wanted to ensure that you were aware of the need to upload to both smile

            1. Marisa Wright profile image94
              Marisa Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Actually I was also forgetting - I can't upload to Amazon because they insist on all the tax forms first.  Which I don't have.

  18. Aficionada profile image91
    Aficionadaposted 6 years ago

    Is there some place that offers a side-by-side comparison of pros and cons of each of these sites?  I want to look into them, and it would help to have the benefit of concise information.

  19. thisisoli profile image54
    thisisoliposted 6 years ago

    Would any of you guys mind sharing how much you succeed with this.  I keep planning to write a book, and have got half way through one, but it is kind of hard for me to get enthusuastic when there seems to be very little data out there on how the 'average joe' does with Amazon's services on this.

 
working