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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm uploading my debut Thursday. What is everyone's experience with Smashwords? I'll receive my files Thursday from my ebook formatter. I'll have an iSBN, as well. Should I go direct to Itunes, Amazing and B&N and upload? I'm currently reading about the publishing process on Smashwords and was wondering what everyone's experience is. Thanks so much!
 

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First of all, congratulations on getting your first book out!!

Personally, I would upload to Amazon (who can be Amazing! :) and Barnes & Noble directly. You'll have faster control over pricing and editing, sales reports, etc., and they'll almost certainly be your biggest markets, so it's important to have that.

I would upload to Smashwords, too (the process is a bit of a pain, but it you follow their style guide it's not that bad), and this will give you distribution to a number of other outlets (including iTunes, Diesel, Sony, Kobo, etc.).

Best of luck!
 

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That's great and exciting news, Lacy!  :D

I love Smashwords and haven't had a problem with them yet. The most intimidating part of the whole process was initially making sure my file was formatted properly via their Style Guide. Thankfully, that went off nearly without a hitch my first time around. The plus side of that process was I learned quite a bit about how styles are used in Word and now use them all the time.

As far as distribution goes, you will need to upload directly to Amazon because Smashwords isn't distributing with them yet. I'm not sure if the files you're receiving will include one already to go for Amazon, but if not, I'd caution you to really go through the previewer on the upload page. Despite having what I think is a clean file, inevitably my formatting is a bit wonky the first time around. I simply download the Amazon-generated file and fix the HTML file with Notepad++.

A lot of KB authors seemed to have strong sales going through B&N's PubIt directly so that's definitely something to look into.

I don't have an experience uploading directly to the Apple store but I'm sure there are some authors here who have and can give you some info on that.

Good luck with your debut and be sure to let us all know how it turns out.  :D
 

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I too have had trouble with SW and basically gave up & unloaded to AMZ & B&N separately.
If you get the formatting for SW down, sure, do it, but it was a PITA.

Congrats & Good Luck!
 

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as mentioned above, i uploaded to amazon directly (because smashwords doesn't distribute to it) and thought i would simplify things by using smashwords to distribute to the other e-book retailers ...

i'm grateful i read the smashwords style guide; i learned a lot about basic e-reader concepts. my first round with smashwords went really well. my books all passed through auto-vetter and were approved for premium distribution quickly.

i test drove them on an iPad at an Apple store and they looked *fabulous.*

but since then, smashwords has made some changes and i have had very frustrating problems updating one of my books (with a new ms. that corrected a few typos and a new cover) due to alleged NCX errors (which are supposed to be avoidable when you provide a linked table of contents stripped of hidden bookmarks, as mine has been).

i have to ask: is your formatted manuscript a word document prepared according to the smashwords styleguide? no? then you can't upload to smashwords. yes? then move on to my next question: do you have a table of contents? if yes, you may face the same problem i'm having. do you just have chapter headings? if so, and if you have prepared them the way the style guide says to prepare them, you should be ok.


 

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I only go direct to Amazon and B&N. For everyplace else I use SmashWords. I can't say that's the best way but it's my way. From what I hear it depends on the price of your book whether you're getting better royalties off B&N by going with them direct or through SW.
 

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If you have the capabilities to go direct, then go direct, with the except of Kobo. We went direct and it's been one problem after the other. Smashwords is good and we will use them to distribute to Kobo.
 

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For those of us who aren't American, we can't go through B&N directly (i.e. I needed an American address and bank account, but Smashwords didn't care). So, just FYI since you didn't state what country you are from.

 

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I also recommend going through Amazon directly. I used their mobipocket creator as suggested through KDP help, followed all their steps and it feels like so much more control over Table of Contents, cover and metadata than you get through Smashwords. I still recommend Smashwords as well for other channels.

Also with Krista on B&N's Pubit. Sucks that you can't be part of it if you don't have a US bank account, but thankfully you can still get in through Smashwords, who ALSO allow payment via paypal, which is also a benefit compared to receiving foreign checks in the mail (only option from most places if you don't have a US bank account). Maybe I should just look into getting a US bank account somehow...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you everyone for your reply and advice :) Oh, and I'm American. Everyone has been so helpful around here and I wanted to make sure everyone received my gratitude again :). I even mentioned you all in my acknowledgement page for my debut! Such great support here.

Well, to answer a few qustions. Michael Cambell - http://www.mcwriting.com/MC/Michael-Campbell-Humor-News.html "MC writing services"

is formatting my book to Ebook/Epub where it can be uploaded to Ipad, Kindle, Sony Reader and other Epub links.

So, the reason I'm a little confused was because yesterday, I read Smashwords process to get on Itunes and they said to upload "a word" document.

I was kind of under the impression that I would receive my files from Michael, then upload them to each distributer whichever form they ask. Smashwords seems like a great idea, but how do I know that they would format it correctly for Itunes? (Since they ask for Word document?) My other thought is, I paid Michael to format my book especially for the Ipad, and he did "special" characters, etc...would it just make sense to upload to Itunes directly, then?

My next question is- ;D Say, I upload directly to Itunes, and then Amazon, and then B&N, can I then upload to Smashwords? Will Smashwords already see that I'm on B&N and Itunes? It's a little confusing. Was anyone else confused? thanks again, everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oh, and my question may have already been answered. But, everything seems a little "foreign" to me. So, I apologize if you read this and think, "Read my post! I answered you!" because, you probably did, but it's still not registering in my neural pathways, yet . But I know it will soon! :)
 

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Hello again Lacy,

I'll try my best to answer what I can (or know about). For Smashwords you do need to upload a Word doc. The tricky thing about Smashwords is that you need to format that doc exactly as they ask for in their style guide, which is available on their site for free in several formats. If you don't upload it with everything formatted as required, you'll be asked to make changes/corrections. Also, if it's not correctly formatted it won't get approved for premium distribution, which is really the main reason for uploading to Smashwords in the first place.

The good thing is, once you have you Word doc completely formatted properly they do everything else. Their system converts your book into several different formats and distributes them directly to iTunes/iBook, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, Amazon, B&N and more.

When your book is approved for premium distribution you'll have the option to "opt out" of any distribution channels you wish. So, just by checking a little box you can opt out of Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as it's better to upload directly there yourself. Both of these can also be uploaded from a Word doc. In the case of Amazon, you can convert your doc through Mobipocket Creator (very simple process), the download for which is available from the KDP publishing guide.

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help

For B&N you can also use a Word doc if you wish. Their system will convert it for you, but you will probably have to tweak it a bit, via their recommendations. But since you already have an ePub version, you may just want to go with that. Just be sure to preview it before you hit the publish button.

Hope that helps and good luck!

(Cute cover, btw!)
 

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lacycameywrites.com said:
My next question is- ;D Say, I upload directly to Itunes, and then Amazon, and then B&N, can I then upload to Smashwords? Will Smashwords already see that I'm on B&N and Itunes? It's a little confusing. Was anyone else confused? thanks again, everyone!
in that case: upload to smashwords, but when it asks you where to send the book, opt out of Apple, Amazon and B&N and let smashwords distribute to kobo and sony and its other retail partners for you.
 

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Lacy- just chiming in to say how excited I am that you're getting close! I have been eagerly awaiting the release!

To echo what most others have said, I published to B&N directly through Pubit and Amazon through KDP. I then uploaded a word doc to Smashwords. They use their "meatgrinder" to create the formats the various distributors need. I opted out of B&N once I was approved for premium distribution. I am not sure about the process for uploading directly to itunes, but I *believe* others have done it. You would then opt out of that catalog as well.

I am by no means an expert, but you know how to get a hold of me on twitter if I can help you with anything. My experience so far has been really positive.

And YAY! again for the release! Congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you, Rachel! :) I really appreciate that! I'm super excited!! :)

Thanks, Andrew! I appreciate the cover compliment! - Kim Van Meter! :) And thanks for spelling it out for me! I really feel like I understand more clearly now!

Thanks, Steve!

If I opt not to use a formatter next time around, is it easy to put book covers up, and bio pictures in your book?
 
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