After some positive experiences distributing free short stories with Feedbooks, I thought I should take a look at the other widely used option for self-publishing ebooks: Smashwords.
Smashwords is much more orientated to authors who want to get paid for their work. Therefore it seems to attract longer pieces as well – I guess it’s hard to convince readers to pay for individual short stories. It also seems to be a place where one might be able to distribute short story anthologies or even individual issues of magazines, something I think Beneath Ceaseless Skies do.
As with Feedbooks I decided to publish one of my older short stories with Smashwords. The experience is interesting – it’s a lot more complicated in some ways – you really are asked to make sure the formatting is spot on and to include things like copyright statements if you want your work published on Amazon or the Apple iBookstore. I think this is good in a way as it encourages you to be more professional about your work, but it does take longer than Feedbooks. Also for Apple and Sony you require an ISBN, which you can ask Smashwords to provide for you. Now I think if you were deadly serious about self-publishing being your future, you would be better off getting your own batch, as presumably you would also be organizing your own printed books then this would be a good idea. But for the purposes of my experiment I just went with Smashwords’ free ISBN option. After all I want to get my story distributed as widely as possible with as little fuss as possible.
What I found quite good was the author support provided by Smashwords. For instance they make revenue per sale quite clear for each distribution method, they also show you exactly how your book appears on search engines, and provide lots of Social Media buttons too. You can also submit your blog url and Twitter username to provide updates in your profile. All in all they seem committed to providing authors with a professional and positive experience.
The story I have published with them is called Bisclavert and you can buy it for $0.99 or sample the first 6 or so pages free.
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2 thoughts on “Experimenting with Smashwords”