Smashwords was founded in 2008 and authors worldwide have published more than 278,000 ebooks. So the question is "Will Smashwords.com work for you?"
If you sign in to Smashwords.com or go to utube, you can get an hour and 42 minute presentation on the origination, the business model, the author's responsibilities, and the benefits of self-publishing online with Smashwords. Once you sign in and establish an account the following free texts are available to you at no cost:
- The Smashwords Style Guide
- The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide
- The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success: How to Reach More Readers with Your Words
First of all, you must have a very clean copy. No typos, no grammatical errors, and you have to format your book in flowing type (if you don't want to format it, there is a list of individuals who could do it for you or you need to find someone to do it for you). Smashwords is an advocate of proofreaders and beta readers in the publishing process. Their materials describe the reason and role of these two types of editing.
Secondly, those of you using WordPerfect or Scrivener, your document needs to be converted in a doc. format. Smashword takes your document and formats it into multiple formats for multiple
e-readers. This is addressed in depth in Smashwords' presentation and style guide.
Thirdly, they urge all authors to seek a professional designer for their book covers. You can make your own cover, a very good argument is presented for having help with your cover. The focus and rationale of the book cover is discussed in depth in The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success.
Smashwords takes you through a lengthy explanation of copyright and licensing your book. This company does give you your ISBN number free. That is a bonus because ISBN numbers individually purchased are costly.
Have I begun publishing? No, I am still looking for someone to design my cover. I am "pruning" my document that my proofreader has scoured. Now I am waiting for my beta readers to finish reading the document and return their comments.
Why go through this trouble? If I am going to use Smashwords, I want to end up in their Premium Catalogue because:
Once your book is accepted into the Premium Catalog, it is distributed to major online retailers such as Apple (distribution to iBookstores in 51 countries), Barnes & Noble (US and UK), Sony, Kobo,Flipkart (New September 29, 2013: India's largest online bookseller), Diesel eBook Store, eBooks Eros (operated by Diesel), Baker & Taylor (Blio and the Axis360 library service), Page Foundry (operates retail sites Inktera.com and Versent.com; and operates Android ebook store apps for Cricket Wireless and Asus), and other distribution outlets coming soon. Additionally, Kobo powers the ebook stores of multiple ebook retailers around the world. Simply by distributing to Kobo via Smashwords, your books will also reach WH Smith in the UK, FNAC in France and Portugul, Livraria Cultura in Brazil, Angus & Robertson in Australia, Bookworld in Australia, Indigo in Canada,Collins in Australia, Feltrinelli in Italy, Libris in the Netherlands, Paper Plus in New Zealand, Play in Great Britain, Rakuten in Japan,Buy.com (now Rakuten) in the US, Whitcoulls in New Zealand, and more on the way. (http://www.smashwords.com/distribution)