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FOTSGreg
10-10-2010, 06:43 AM
I'd really like to hear from people who've self-pub'd, especially using Smashwords, what the advantages, etc., are to using each service.

In your opinion, is PubIt a direct competitor to Smashwords, especially since I thought that they had established a license relationship earlier this year?

Kemp
10-11-2010, 10:49 PM
Smashwords does a very nice job with its file conversion; the author ends up getting many, many different formats. However, the site design is a bit clunky, authors basically have to give people direct links in order for anyone to actually find the book, and the work might be surrounded by gigantic piles of erotica (not meaning any offense by this, but there's a lot of that on SW), which may or may not make a difference. The premium distribution is okay; it takes bloody forever.

Amazon DTP has a simple interface with what I believe is the best royalty deal around: 70% (read the terms, it's not without strings). Amazon also has the biggest ebook market at the moment, so the sheer amount of potential traffic is staggering. Case in point: Haven sold maybe 50 copies on Amazon in several months. Last week, Amazon put it to free for 5 days. Haven had 9000 downloads in that time, and, after being put back to the normal 99cent price, has sold 500+ more.

I can't say anything about PubIt at the moment, as I don't have experience.

In the end, I'd say that self-publishing at all places independently is the best bet when possible. Smashwords premium distribution is nice but not anything spectacular, and it takes so long that going to it directly seems quicker and entails less fuss. Since it's possible to opt out of any individual distribution deal, do so with the PubIt and Amazon and upload to those sites individually. However, since there's still Kobo, iBooks, etc, put it on Smashwords as well to get the greatest potential site exposure.

wilhem spihntingle
10-12-2010, 12:52 AM
I agree with what Kemp said re: Smashwords and Amazon DTP. One bonus of SW is that you can download your MS in .mobi format and upload it to Amazon DTP, so you don't need to covert via DTP. SW is also good when a reviewer requests a digital copy of the MS, because the coupon generator on the site lets you provide a free download. Have also been very happy with Createspace for the print version. No experience with Pubit, but SW gets it on B&N as part of the Premium cataolg. DTP just increased royalties to 70% for the UK site, and SW pays 85%

Peace,

Sean

nitaworm
10-18-2010, 08:25 AM
I say offer your book anywhere, anywhere you can. Then do a trade study to see which location makes you the most profit. My friend did smashowords and kindle with great success.

annaelliott
10-22-2010, 06:53 AM
One advantage of Smashwords over PubIt is that you can set the price (even on B&N) to zero if you choose. I was giving a couple of short stories away and found that they got more readers on B&N via the Smashwords Premium catalog for free than they did at the minimum PubIt price of $.99. (I used PubIt while waiting for the Smashwords version to show up.) One drawback to Smashwords is that I don't think there is a way to track your B&N sales figures in real time like you can with PubIt.

annaelliott
10-23-2010, 05:11 AM
Oh, and for those who don't care about the ability to offer ebooks for free, another reason to use the Smashwords route to B&N as opposed to the PubIt one: The Smashwords edition does not come with the notice underneath saying, "Not compatible with Mac and Blackberry Clients." I want to reach as many potential readers as possible.

Bookmark
11-02-2010, 01:09 AM
I agree with Nitaworm, offer your book anywhere you can. You never know where your best sales are going to come from.

azbikergirl
11-11-2010, 01:07 AM
Also, books published to B&N via PubIt! have a big, red, blinking arrow on them saying Self-Published! OK, maybe it's just the PubIt! logo, but the Smashwords versions don't have it. The drawback to using SW to publish to B&N is that the book's blurb is much shorter. Using PubIt!, you could write a longer description.

SarahMacManus
11-11-2010, 08:55 PM
Smashwords is great for file conversion if you want to sell at your own author page. It's also great for giveaway copies for blog reviewers, etc., but they're incredibly slow to get books into B&N and iBookstore and even slower to report sales.

I have a 'short novelette' listed on both, and I've managed to sell a couple thousand on Kindle, thanks to them putting it on sale for a few days for free (sales continued at a brisk pace thereafter). But absolutely nothing on Smashwords. I think most of the people who go to smashwords do not expect quality work, so they don't download anything unless it's free.

I'm planning on placing it on Pubit! and iBookstore asap.

FOTSGreg
11-11-2010, 11:14 PM
I have, unfortunately, been less than satisfied with the quality of the Smashwords conversion of RTF files generated under Word or OpenOffice. Twice in three tries the formatting has come through entirely unsatisfactory. I'm not blaming Smashwords as there may be something in the Word-generated original files that isn't being adequately stripped out on my end.

However, with that said, I'm also almost certainly going to go the Kindle route at this point as I've seen exactly 1 sale in nearly a hundred views. While that's probably about average statistically, or maybe even a little high, I've come to the opinion that options are far better, saleswise, with the Kindle unless you're already a Big Name or have a huge fanbase. I've seen total crap sell on Amazon.

Frankly, I think Sarah might be right. People expect less on Smashwords and therefore want anything they get there to be free.

jana13k
11-12-2010, 05:21 AM
I just started this entire process two weeks ago because I got rights back to my backlisted books. After a lot of consideration, I decided to do bn and amazon myself and use Smashwords to fill in all the gaps those don't meet. The amazon and bn files were easy to load and I could use the same word doc for both. I just uploaded my first book on Smashwords, so the juries out on how good I did with the formatting requirements.

But, these are backlist books, not new works, so it's a totally different game. I wouldn't even know how to begin marketing a book from scratch.

Erik M
11-12-2010, 09:40 AM
I put two short stories on Smashwords, more or less as practice formatting them, one that had been previously published and an old one that I had no plans for. Following their guide, I had no problems with the conversion (Admittedly, they were short and simple manuscripts) and had about 75 downloads apiece during the first week. Both stories were up for free at that point. After a week or so, they were approved for the premium catalogue. That was actually today, they have yet to appear on the various sites premium catalogue items get placed on (Amazon, Sony, Apple, Kobo, B&N). I kept the old one free and raised the price of the previously published story to .99. I'll see how it goes.

Euan H.
04-12-2011, 10:48 PM
I don't know if my experience is typical, but Smashwords has been very frustrating. They take an age to check for the Premium Catalogue (one of my books has been waiting for approval since 13th of March, so it's now coming up to a month). Their autovetter also throws up errors. I had one of my books rejected for the Premium Catalogue--but not reason given. The space for 'fix this error' was blank. Two emails about this have so far gone unanswered (waiting a week for a reply). The volume of books they're getting is also telling on their infrastructure. I tried resubmitting a reformatted ms. today (after going through the Style Guide for the nth time), and it's now #1924 in the queue for the meatgrinder.

Compared to Amazon, very frustrating indeed. Not impressed.

efkelley
04-12-2011, 11:02 PM
You might give bookbaby.com a look. They don't distribute to as many places as Smashwords, but they've got all the big distributors.

Warning though: they charge an up-front fee. However, they take no percentage. I do not have experience with them yet, but I'm leaning their way.

Euan H.
04-12-2011, 11:55 PM
Thanks for the suggestion, but bookbaby are asking $99 per ebook. As I'm selling reprints of short stories, that doesn't really make economic sense. If it was a one-time sign-up fee, I'd consider it, but per ebook, that's a lot.

efkelley
04-13-2011, 12:35 AM
Oh, yeah, definitely not for shorts. Sorry I missed that part.

Todsplace
04-13-2011, 03:24 AM
Thank you for the great opinions. I'm also weighing up whether to do smashwords for their plethora of smaller retail outlets, but haven't made up my mind.

Is it possible for a self published author to gain access to the Sony Reader and the Apple Bookstore on their own?

If so, maybe it's worthwhile dealing directly with Kindle, PubIt, Apple, and Sony to get a larger slice of royalties? (As in, not paying a cut to Smashwords.)

I mean, writing books is not just an art but a business too, right? I tend to think that the extra cents per sale you could get should be weighed against the pros of what Smashwords can give.

Edit: did some looking around, and Apple does have a page where you can contact them about getting into their store, but i'm guessing they might refer you to an aggregate at their discretion and Sony has a page which says publishers can contact them and deal directly... unless you are a publisher with only a handful of titles, wherein it's suggested you deal with SW.

Links:
http://ebookstore.sony.com/publishers/
https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wo/6.0.0.9.7.3.1.1

jimbro
04-13-2011, 06:57 PM
...
Is it possible for a self published author to gain access to the Sony Reader and the Apple Bookstore on their own?
...
Edit: did some looking around, and Apple does have a page where you can contact them about getting into their store, but i'm guessing they might refer you to an aggregate at their discretion and Sony has a page which says publishers can contact them and deal directly... unless you are a publisher with only a handful of titles, wherein it's suggested you deal with SW.

Links:
http://ebookstore.sony.com/publishers/
https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wo/6.0.0.9.7.3.1.1

One of the reasons why Apple encourages authors to go through an aggregator is so that the aggregator (Smashwords, Lulu, etc..) will validate the conversion. But copyblogger has step-by-step directions for doing it directly with Apple here (Note: You do need to have a Mac!):
http://www.copyblogger.com/publish-in-ibookstore/

Lulu is also an aggregator for Apple:
http://www.lulu.com/blog/2010/04/03/lulu-on-the-ipad/

Todsplace
04-14-2011, 02:08 AM
One of the reasons why Apple encourages authors to go through an aggregator is so that the aggregator (Smashwords, Lulu, etc..) will validate the conversion. But copyblogger has step-by-step directions for doing it directly with Apple here (Note: You do need to have a Mac!):
http://www.copyblogger.com/publish-in-ibookstore/

Lulu is also an aggregator for Apple:
http://www.lulu.com/blog/2010/04/03/lulu-on-the-ipad/

Thanks Jimbro! I will investigate both links.

dgaughran
04-14-2011, 04:50 PM
Important note for international authors:

PubIt is currently for those in the U.S. only.

So, for us, Smashwords is essential to get listed on B&N. And as far as I am aware, Smashwords is the only way to get listed with Diesel and Kobo (unless you are set up as a business with financials, Kobo will send you to Smashwords).

Of course, you could always just list on Smashwords and turn off the distribution channels you don't want. And there are some sales through Smashwords site itself, but I don't think anybody is making real money there.

Irysangel
04-14-2011, 07:04 PM
Not to confuse things, but shouldn't this be in the self-publishing forum? I think the lines between e-publishing and e-self-publishing are being blurred a little. :)

rsullivan9597
04-14-2011, 07:41 PM
I really like that Smashwords works to support so many of the platforms ibookstore, kobo, etc. But...some of the time for updates to feeds and royalty reporting from other sources can be VERY slow. The more distribution sources the better so I say you should be on all the platforms. For me, that means using DKP for Amazon Kindle, Pubit for B&N Nook, and Smashwords for all else.

dgaughran
04-14-2011, 07:53 PM
I had planned to submit directly to all the ones I can (just to learn the ropes), but that's interesting about the delays with Smashwords. Good to know.

Todsplace
04-16-2011, 02:49 PM
Darn. PubIt is only for American citizens?

dgaughran
04-16-2011, 03:07 PM
At the moment, yes (although you can get around that with a U.S. address & bank account).

With Smashwords, you can get listed on B&N (and others), but the downside is they take 10%.

Irysangel
04-17-2011, 12:00 AM
I think one of the really nice benefits of Smashwords is that people from anywhere in the world can download the files, which is not necessarily the case with B&N or Amazon. So if you have international fans, Smashwords allows them to purchase your self-published works as well.

I was going around Smashwords for my most recent self-published items until a fan in another country pointed that out to me. So just another thing to think about.

dgaughran
04-17-2011, 12:05 AM
Irysangel,

Thanks for pointing that out, I'm an Irishman living in Sweden, and I'll be focussing on the US cos its the biggest market, but my peeps are all over. Good to know.

I can't wait until I have a "fan". Even my mother is so-so about my stuff.

Dave

efkelley
04-17-2011, 07:58 AM
With Smashwords, you can get listed on B&N (and others), but the downside is they take 10%.

BookBaby takes no percentage, and has all the big distributors. They do charge a flat fee for listing, however, and they don't cast as wide a net as Smashwords.

Definitely something to consider though.

dgaughran
04-17-2011, 12:35 PM
Have you used BookBaby? I only heard about them just the other day.

efkelley
04-18-2011, 07:04 AM
Have you used BookBaby? I only heard about them just the other day.

I have not, but I'm seriously considering it. I'm wondering if I can select whom Smashwords will distribute to on my behalf. If anyone knows if they've got this capability, I'd be interested to hear.

movieman
04-18-2011, 08:10 AM
I'm wondering if I can select whom Smashwords will distribute to on my behalf. If anyone knows if they've got this capability, I'd be interested to hear.

Yes. You can turn individual sites on or off in the distribution channel manager.

efkelley
04-18-2011, 11:29 AM
Thank you very much, Movieman!

dgaughran
04-18-2011, 12:57 PM
Thank you very much, Movieman!

Hey efkelley,

Someone had this to say about Bookbaby on Joe Konrath's forum the other day (although you should keep in mind that they run an alternative service):

Bookbaby's fees do add up, and it leaves you on their reporting timeline. If you're going to pay the fees anyhow, much better to have it under your control as much as possible. That leaves you more flexibility for price changes, etc.

Also, this means YOU get the email from Amazon, Nook, etc. when there's a problem with your file, not someone else. Telephone game isn't good to play when your livelihood is at stake.

MonikaRuth
04-24-2011, 04:47 AM
So, just out of curiosity (I'm just starting to look at all these options), you could submit to more than one of these publishers? I mean, I could submit to SW as well as Amazon etc?

dgaughran
04-24-2011, 04:50 AM
Hi - yes you can publish through all simultaneously (Amazon, Smashwords, B&N etc).

You should maximise your potential sales by using as many channels as possible.

GradyHendrix
04-28-2011, 06:02 PM
I just self-published my first ebook and I spent forever and a day getting my HTML formatting right so that I could convert into epub. That loaded up fantastically well on Amazon, and then I put my book into Barnes and Noble (still...endlessly...processing). Then I went to Smashwords and d'oh! They will only put MS .doc format through their meat grinder. So all my careful formatting had to be redone.

Basically I had to go HTML to epub to .doc to Smashwords which converts to epub. It's hardly the end of the world, but if you're putting out a book keep this in mind. You need .doc for Smashwords and it's going to require a fair amount of format tinkering.

movieman
04-28-2011, 06:45 PM
You need .doc for Smashwords and it's going to require a fair amount of format tinkering.

I honestly didn't find anything difficult about Smashwords formatting: I spent more time reading through the style guide than reformatting the text, and it came out fine and went straight through their approval process.

Of course if I'd needed something more complex like a table of contents I might be complaining :).

dgaughran
04-28-2011, 06:50 PM
I really depends on how "clean" you produce your Word docs. Some people will be fine.

KevinMcLaughlin
04-28-2011, 08:53 PM
Honestly, I just lay out my word processor in final Smashwords-ready/Kindle ready format from the start. When I type now, I type in conversion ready mode. ;) There's a lot less fiddly bits to deal with when you're done, that way!

I think that will start becoming the norm for more writers. Why waste time tinkering your doc into conversion-ready state when you can *type* it that way in the first place? Saves a ton of time, in the long run.

dgaughran
04-28-2011, 09:28 PM
Oh I agree, I just have a lot of bad habits to get rid of first, like always two-spacing after a period, even if it's the end of a para - I blame all those years of temping in law firms where I was typing letters as the lawyer stood at my desk, dictating.

Saul Tanpepper
04-28-2011, 10:21 PM
Just poking my head in to say thanks for al the info. I'm looking into SPing some old stuff I'm getting rights back on, so this is all good to hear.

The Grump
04-28-2011, 10:32 PM
Thanks for the ideas, guys. I'm dithering on what to do with a short novel which has strong language and young teens speaking it.

I think it falls into the market of adults reading fantasy about young kids rather than a tween.

KevinMcLaughlin
04-29-2011, 07:43 AM
Oh I agree, I just have a lot of bad habits to get rid of first, like always two-spacing after a period, even if it's the end of a para - I blame all those years of temping in law firms where I was typing letters as the lawyer stood at my desk, dictating.

I feel your pain. Took me a good month to get rid of double periods. I've been typing since the 70s, so it was a *deeply* ingrained habit. I still have lapses, but a quick find...replace on the ms. heals all double space wounds. ;) Not putting tab before a paragraph was even easier - I touch type, so I am looking at the screen while I type. I set the word processor up to automatically indent each new paragraph (what you want to do for ebook conversion anyway!), and my eyes see the indent already there, so they don't reach for the tab.

Many of us have little habits like that. My strong advice: get over them. They will do you a lot more harm than good, in the long run.

Medievalist
04-29-2011, 08:24 AM
Thanks for the ideas, guys. I'm dithering on what to do with a short novel which has strong language and young teens speaking it.

I think it falls into the market of adults reading fantasy about young kids rather than a tween.

Oh, I don't know . . . .have you looked at current YA? Holly Black, for one, comes to mind.

You might take a gander at YA. Your public library will likely have a "children's librarian" who can give you a list of the YA that's being devoured.

dgaughran
05-01-2011, 03:01 PM
I think someone was asking about the Smashwords queue earlier in this thread.

I uploaded at 11pm GMT last night, and was number #3400 or so. By noon GMT today, that was down to #1666 today, so it looks like they get through it pretty quick. At that rate it could be finished just after midnight, which would make the queue time, at the moment, around 24 hours.

I thought it would be much slower, but we'll see if that pace keeps up, at this right it could be up on Smashwords before Amazon, which would surprise me.

It's 2 short stories, total 4,000 words; I don't know if length makes a difference (or how clean your .doc is).

Dave

Carmy
05-02-2011, 05:57 AM
Smashwords is superb, and Mark Coker is friendly and easy to deal with. I have three books published on Kindle and Smashwords. Smashwords sells far more of my books than Kindle. I haven't tried pubit.

dgaughran
05-02-2011, 10:48 AM
Hi Carmy,

Do you have any reason why your books are selling more on Smashwords (I presume you mean through the channels rather than the site itself), than on Kindle?

Nearly everyone else is the opposite.

Dave

James D. Macdonald
05-02-2011, 05:57 PM
Epub conversion (http://www.lulu.com/services/pre-publishing/ebook-conversion-services/epub-conversion-251-to-500) at Lulu.com for 251-500 pages: $199.00


That isn't happening.

Irysangel
05-02-2011, 06:34 PM
Or you could use the 2epub.com website for free...

KevinMcLaughlin
05-02-2011, 08:51 PM
Epub conversion (http://www.lulu.com/services/pre-publishing/ebook-conversion-services/epub-conversion-251-to-500) at Lulu.com for 251-500 pages: $199.00


That isn't happening.

Yeah, that's pretty ridiculous. Amazon's offering the Kindle conversion through Createspace for $69, and honestly - I think even that is overpriced. But for folks who have absolutely zero understanding of markup language and no willingness to learn, it's a cost they'll have to add into their calculations, for Amazon sales.

But epub? Yeesh. Just upload to Smashwords, they convert for you for free, and you download an epub of your book from them. Poof, done.

FOTSGreg
05-03-2011, 02:34 AM
I think I finally found one of the problems with my Smashwords stories - somewhere in the Style Guide I thought I'd read that setting a 0.4" space between paragraphs was okay, but that's the only possible thing that could be stopping all my manuscripts from being accepted to the Premium Catalog.

LO! And behold. Removing the spacing gets a story approved.

Doh!

Angkor
05-03-2011, 07:15 AM
I've listed my two books with Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Google Editions and XinXii.

Amazon was hands down the easiest to use. B&N and Google are convoluted and offer no real-person support. Smashwords is a nightmare. They kicked back both of my books for the "premium" distribution, citing dozens of format problems. I couldn't begin to tackle them with two 390-page books, so I've left it. My books are both on three Kindle bestseller lists. My other ebook sales are minuscule. Amazon is leagues ahead of its competition.

jnfr
05-04-2011, 03:58 AM
That's interesting, Angkor. I got very clean RTF out of Scrivener (which I love with the power of a thousand suns) and uploading to Smashwords via Word was a breeze. I went over their formatting guide carefully and had to do almost nothing to the manuscript, other than adding the licensing notes.

But I'm having a heck of a time getting Amazon to recognize my formatting decisions, and I don't know why. I am reduced to trimming the HTML myself—which I can do because I have done HTML for years, but what a PITA it is.

Carmy
05-04-2011, 09:49 PM
Hi Dave. Sorry for being so tardy in answering. I've had computer problems.

I don't know why SMW sells more than Kindle, because I price them the same on both systems. I know SMW has many types of downloads for different systems whereas Kindle has only one. What I do know is that anyone buying internationally doesn't affect me on SMW because SMW pays me via Paypal. It's a different matter if someone in the UK buys a Kindle from Amazon. They don't use Paypal but another type of similar system. SMW makes it so easy for me.

I hope that helps.

Carmy
05-04-2011, 09:56 PM
Why are some people having problems downloading to Smashwords and Kindle? Download their easy-to-follow guides and then go step by step. SMW and Kindle have slightly different format settings.

jnfr
05-05-2011, 12:19 AM
For me, it's a learning curve. That's why I started with a short piece to put up. But I've got it mostly nailed now.

KevinMcLaughlin
05-05-2011, 02:35 AM
For me, it's a learning curve. That's why I started with a short piece to put up. But I've got it mostly nailed now.

I think starting with a short piece, even a couple of shorts, sounds like good common sense. Great way to practice and get it right before trying to publish something longer or more complex.

dgaughran
05-05-2011, 02:48 AM
I think starting with a short piece, even a couple of shorts, sounds like good common sense. Great way to practice and get it right before trying to publish something longer or more complex.

I started with a short piece.

I made a couple of mistakes. Not biggies, but all the same I was glad it was a short and not my novel. It kept the freak-out at level 3 rather than 5.

jnfr
05-05-2011, 05:55 AM
There is a lot to learn for sure. I feel fortunate that much of the learning is in fields I've already practiced. And yet, still learning.

deana
05-06-2011, 05:46 PM
There is a lot to learn for sure. I feel fortunate that much of the learning is in fields I've already practiced. And yet, still learning.

You got that right! If you already have somewhat of a background on MSWord and HTML and graphic design, it really helps. If you're jumping in without having used any of these skills...I don't know if I could do it. I learn something new every day on something.

It's neverending.

SJS DIRECT
05-10-2011, 08:39 PM
I publish on all three. But I'll admit Kindle is the easiest of the three. No hassle posting text, no hassle on the cover. I've posted novels and books with complex formatting on Kindle with no problems. The only disadvantage is that there's no free option. Otherwise, they'd be perfect.

Smashwords is OK, but really finicky. Everything has to be EXACT to get approval to their premium catalog. The only advantage I see to them is postingup free books for people to sample.

Pubit! is easy to use, but getting the final book to look right again, is about following precise guidelines for the text and cover. Plus B&N's website is a headache to work with when buying books.

jeffw
05-18-2011, 07:21 AM
I put two short stories on Smashwords, more or less as practice formatting them, one that had been previously published and an old one that I had no plans for. Following their guide, I had no problems with the conversion (Admittedly, they were short and simple manuscripts) and had about 75 downloads apiece during the first week. Both stories were up for free at that point. After a week or so, they were approved for the premium catalogue. That was actually today, they have yet to appear on the various sites premium catalogue items get placed on (Amazon, Sony, Apple, Kobo, B&N). I kept the old one free and raised the price of the previously published story to .99. I'll see how it goes.

For short stories on SW is a cover image also required?

FOTSGreg
05-19-2011, 02:59 AM
Jeffw, only to get them listed in the Premium Catalog (which is where you want to be listed).

jeffw
05-19-2011, 04:48 AM
thanks Greg. I have been kicking around the idea of using SW for some time, and self-publishing in general. I will definitely look into it. Thanks!

FOTSGreg
05-20-2011, 02:56 AM
Hmmm, I still seem to be having that same formatting problem. I did everything absolutely according to Smashword's formula and my latest addition, HATCHINGS, was bounced back with the same damned problem.

Is it an Open Office artifact? I've been doing most of my latest work using OO and converting it from OO to Word. OO doesn't have a function for that "at least" thingie if you set the text to single spaced. I've set the paragraph leader and endings to 0.00", but it doesn't seem to have made any difference at all.

Maybe converting to an rtf file would work?

dgaughran
05-20-2011, 02:59 AM
Is it an Open Office artifact? I've been doing most of my latest work using OO and converting it from OO to Word.

I'm just trying to remember off the top of my head, but isn't there something in the Style Guide about not using Open Office?

movieman
05-20-2011, 03:40 AM
I'm just trying to remember off the top of my head, but isn't there something in the Style Guide about not using Open Office?

I used Open Office and got straight through their style checker with no problems. I think they just say the Style Guide is designed for Word and with Open Office you're on your own.

KevinMcLaughlin
05-20-2011, 04:29 AM
I used Open Office and got straight through their style checker with no problems. I think they just say the Style Guide is designed for Word and with Open Office you're on your own.

Yup, that.

In fact, I've talked to a few folks who've had *less* problems using O.O than they did using Word.

James D. Macdonald
05-20-2011, 04:42 AM
The one they warn against is WordPerfect, which is a pity, since WordPerfect is the best word processor out there for novelists.

KevinMcLaughlin
05-20-2011, 07:01 AM
The one they warn against is WordPerfect, which is a pity, since WordPerfect is the best word processor out there for novelists.

OK, this is way, way off topic, but I've got to ask: why?? =) I used to use WordPerfect pretty much exclusively, back in the 90s. Sort of lost track of it over the years, and haven't seen a need to actually *buy* a word processor since running into O.O a number of years back. But I used to like WP a lot - it was a good tool, back in those days. I'm curious how it's evolved to have you call it the best word processor for novelists.

JoleaB
05-20-2011, 07:49 AM
I'm on the learning curve here. Could you say what format that is. I use word on a mac and now I'm getting worried it's going to take me forever to clean my document of all the formatting weirdness. I'd much rather type clean from the start too. But how? Thanks!


Honestly, I just lay out my word processor in final Smashwords-ready/Kindle ready format from the start. When I type now, I type in conversion ready mode. ;) There's a lot less fiddly bits to deal with when you're done, that way!

I think that will start becoming the norm for more writers. Why waste time tinkering your doc into conversion-ready state when you can *type* it that way in the first place? Saves a ton of time, in the long run.

dgaughran
05-22-2011, 01:02 AM
Hi,

I uploaded a new story today, and Amazon had it up on sale, with working links, cover, fully searchable, viewable sample - everything - in less than an hour.

I uploaded a story 3 weeks ago and it took almost 3 days to clear.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Dave

P.S. Smashwords is down to around ten minutes (from over 24 hours).

FOTSGreg
05-22-2011, 01:35 AM
Somebody upgraded their servers?

Just about 2 weeks ago or so Amazon took about 24-36 hours. Smashwords took a couple of days.

dgaughran
05-22-2011, 01:37 AM
I'm on the learning curve here. Could you say what format that is. I use word on a mac and now I'm getting worried it's going to take me forever to clean my document of all the formatting weirdness. I'd much rather type clean from the start too. But how? Thanks!

At this stage, I find it quickest to do the "nuclear" option.

Copy and paste the entire document, drop it into something like Notepad.

You will lose all the formating, but that's good, you want to.

Then format according to the guide.

It gets a lot quicker after the first time.

Remember to wrap tags or markers around your bold or indented text, then you can convert those in Word

dgaughran
05-22-2011, 01:42 AM
Somebody upgraded their servers?

Just about 2 weeks ago or so Amazon took about 24-36 hours. Smashwords took a couple of days.

Yeah Smashwords made a big announcement about it.

Premium still takes as long though - that's manual I believe.

Amazon was a surprise. On Twitter other others told me they uploaded yesterday morning and are still waiting.

Maybe I was lucky.

jeffw
05-22-2011, 08:21 AM
Just finished formatting for the meatgrinder. Took a bit, but after reading the guide, it went smoothly. Now to work on a cover...

FOTSGreg
05-22-2011, 09:29 PM
I think I found the problem.

OpenOffice apparently has a default of 0.14" line spacing if you select single spacing. You then have to right click over a paragraph and it will show a setting of "at least" and 0.14". You can then set the format to single spacing and get rid of the extra spacing.

I'm going to try it out with my stuff today.

KevinMcLaughlin
05-22-2011, 10:20 PM
With Smashwords, you can get listed on B&N (and others), but the downside is they take 10%.

Isn't it 5%? Smashwords pays 60% on B&N sales, and I thought Pubit only paid 65% for $2.99-9.99.

(Not trying to pick nits here, just wondering if I missed something, or if maybe it's different for folks from overseas.)

FOTSGreg
05-22-2011, 10:46 PM
Well, they're all uploaded and converting. I have an ePub problem with HATCHINGS which probably relates to my source notes and links in the back of the book, and Far Horizons still needs a cover.

I've got my fingers crossed that the formatting problem has been solved though.

On a related topic, I see someone's trying to sell a 160-word (not page) "book" for $5.99.

They'll probably do better than anything I do.

:)

jeffw
05-23-2011, 04:43 AM
Well, they're all uploaded and converting. I have an ePub problem with HATCHINGS which probably relates to my source notes and links in the back of the book, and Far Horizons still needs a cover.

I've got my fingers crossed that the formatting problem has been solved though.

On a related topic, I see someone's trying to sell a 160-word (not page) "book" for $5.99.

They'll probably do better than anything I do.

:)

I noticed that also. There are alot of short stories posted with 200-300 words. I am having a few of my shorts put on for free as samples, but they range from anywhere from 600 to 4000 words.

indiriverflow
06-07-2011, 12:00 PM
I agree with what Kemp said re: Smashwords and Amazon DTP. One bonus of SW is that you can download your MS in .mobi format and upload it to Amazon DTP, so you don't need to covert via DTP.

Excuse me for responding to a fairly old post, but I think this may violate SW's TOS.



The author/publisher is not authorized to independently sell or distribute Smashwords-generated file conversions outside of the Smashwords site or Smashwords distribution network without first receiving written permission from Smashwords (in other words, you cannot use Smashwords as a free file conversion service so you can sell the files elsewhere). You acknowledge that if you violate this requirement, you may forfeit any accrued earnings at Smashwords, and your account may be deleted without notification.


Or maybe Amazon DTP doesn't count, being a part of the SW distro network. It seems like it would apply to any product of Meatgrinder without letting SW get a cut of the sales.

FOTSGreg
06-12-2011, 10:03 PM
Just as an aside, once I made the corrections and resubmitted, everything on Smashwords was approved in about 2 weeks time. So, 9 of my stories and my novel are now available or will soon be available for everything Smashwords distributes to except Kindle, but you can already find my stuff at Amazon.

James D. Macdonald
06-16-2011, 09:30 PM
Smashwords is down from around 36 hours to convert a text (with a 4,000 item queue) to around two minutes (and maybe ten items).

It looks like they've got some new capacity on line.

I know this from finishing up putting my back-list into e-form:

http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/ebook_thumb_airy_mountain_small.jpg (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/63105)http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/ebook_thumb_hollyivy_small.jpg (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/67045)http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/ebook_thumb_witchgarden_small.jpg (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/67048)

dgaughran
06-16-2011, 09:33 PM
I think they have four souped-up Meatgrinders working in parallel now, which has cut the queue to virtually nothing.

No change on the 2-week or so check for the Premium Catalogue however. Finally got both my titles in last week. Should be appearing at the respective retailers shortly.

Interestingly, while direct Smashwords.com sales account for around 5% of my sales, they contribute 8% of my revenue, because of the higher royalties they pay on 99c titles.

movieman
06-21-2011, 08:58 PM
No change on the 2-week or so check for the Premium Catalogue however.

I'm pretty sure there was an update on the site recently saying that they were hiring more people to improve the review speed.

What puzzles me is where all the new books are, because in the genres I've been looking at there are typically only a handful of new releases appearing every day. Perhaps the majority are sparkly vampire stories?

Archie1989
06-21-2011, 10:19 PM
Hi all; this may be a dumb question, but I'm starting to consider self-publishing with a site like these (I was originally told that createspace.com was the best to go with) but I'm pretty much in the dark about which is the best to go with if you're looking to have an e-book as well as hard copies available.

Anybody willing to help out a newbie??

jairey
06-22-2011, 02:27 AM
I used Createspace for the hard copy and then put it up on Kindle and Smashwords. If you can do the formatting for a quality POD, then you should be able to handle an e-book format. (IMHO) I've used a dtp to do the 'real' format for the hard copy, and what I've found is that I should have done all the editing in the .doc format before putting it into the dtp. A really 'clean' .doc seems to get translated to the e-pub formats nicely -- there are some sites that tell you how to prepare it. (which I can't remember off the top of my head, but I'll look them up for you if you want.)

Archie1989
06-22-2011, 02:34 AM
That's insanely helpful, thanks. I'll google how to set them up, but I should be able to handle it, I think. However, with the risk of sounding stupid, what's a dtp?

Robrealm
06-27-2011, 05:48 PM
Yesterday I uploaded my long awaited debut novel to Kindle and Nook. Within 8 hours it was already up on Amazon and I had already sold one...yeepee!!
I was shocked at the turnaround time.
As of this morning, it's still not up on B&N. (They do state that it takes 24-72 hours)
Have a good day!

MMcDonald64
06-28-2011, 04:02 PM
I'd really like to hear from people who've self-pub'd, especially using Smashwords, what the advantages, etc., are to using each service.

In your opinion, is PubIt a direct competitor to Smashwords, especially since I thought that they had established a license relationship earlier this year?

I don't sell many books on Smashwords or Pubit, but the advantage of Smashwords is you can make a book free or generate coupon codes.

There's no reason you can't use Smashwords, Pubit and Kindle. With Smashwords, I use their premium catalog to get my book into Sony, Kobo, Apple's bookstore and a few others.

Some authors, especially those who write erotica, have great success with Pubit. I don't know why, but erotica is a huge seller at B&N. That and YA. Thrillers, not so much. Pubit does not allow for making a book free.

What I'm in the process of doing is making my first book free on Smashwords and opting in for Barnes and Noble distribution through them. That way, my book can be free at B&N. My plan is to then have people come back and buy the second, and eventually third, fourth books, as they are completed. The plan has worked wonderfully at Amazon.

Once it's distributed to B&N (takes a few weeks to show up), I will unpublish my Pubit versions of both my books.

filmnut
07-26-2011, 08:49 PM
Hi All,

I'm looking into smashwords... I want to publish there, Kindle and B & N... I'm in the process of signing up and on their page SW has the following all lumped together to be checked off or not checked off:

Your most important format. This is the format Smashwords distributes to the Apple iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, B&N, Stanza, Aldiko and others. Also very popular with Smashwords.com customers. EPUB is an open industry format.

How would I opt out of B&N and still have then sell on the others?

For Kindle it says it caps and bold letters... DO NOT disable this format... Should I just ignore this and un-check if I plan on uploading myself directly to Amazon?

Last question to the experienced out there... What are your thoughts on the value of turning an ebook into an audio book? SW has a company they work with but it looks as if you can't set a fee for it, that users can download for free and any payments are voluntary... do you recommend any alt. sites for this?

Thanks for any info. you may provide... I emailed SW weeks ago for their list of formatters and cover artists, never heard back (found info. pretty easily on-line the next day) so figured posting my questions here might be faster :)

James D. Macdonald
07-26-2011, 09:19 PM
Hi All,

I'm looking into smashwords... I want to publish there, Kindle and B & N... I'm in the process of signing up and on their page SW has the following all lumped together to be checked off or not checked off:

Your most important format. This is the format Smashwords distributes to the Apple iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, B&N, Stanza, Aldiko and others. Also very popular with Smashwords.com customers. EPUB is an open industry format.

How would I opt out of B&N and still have then sell on the others?



Later on, you'll have the choice to not-distribute to B&N specifically. Don't worry about that.



For Kindle it says it caps and bold letters... DO NOT disable this format... Should I just ignore this and un-check if I plan on uploading myself directly to Amazon?

SW doesn't distribute to Amazon anyway. They say not to uncheck it, don't uncheck it.


About audiobooks, I have no opinion.

filmnut
07-27-2011, 12:56 AM
Thank you James.

Jeff

James D. Macdonald
07-27-2011, 01:11 AM
To be totally clear:

When you upload your .doc file at Smashwords you'll be asked what formats to convert it into.

Later, after it's converted, you'll be explicitly asked which bookstores you want those converted files to be distributed to.

filmnut
07-27-2011, 01:57 AM
Ah...That is what I gleaned from your first response but this definitely clears up... thanks!

filmnut
07-27-2011, 06:59 AM
Next question for you James (or anyone :-) How much of your book to let people sample/ download for free on SW? I'm actually giving the whole thing away for free for about for 2 weeks but beyond that what do you guys do?

FYI... I wasn't asked about which stores I wanted in or out of... SW's default is that you want to sell to all once you pass that page with the initial boxes that are checked... There is a distribution channel manager link on the account page... I clicked on that and was able to opt out of B&N and Amazon

FOTSGreg
07-29-2011, 11:41 PM
Just to make things clear and update matters a bit, I'm pubbing via Smashwords and Kindle right now and just received my first royalty check from Amazon.

I'm becoming disappointed with Smashwords as there does not appear to be any movement in sales since last year on my account despite nearly 5 hundred downloads of all my stories all told in the last 6 months alone. Most of my initial sales were via Sony for a game-related work, but everything else appears to have stalled dead. I have at leat 10 times the sales on Amazon as I have via Smashwords although Smashwords distributes to Sony, Kobo, Stanza, and at least 2-3 other platforms.

My Smashwords royalties earned hasn't updated in 6 months. The count of samples downloaded hasn't updated in at least a month.

I'm beginning to suspect a problem in the updating software.

Sheryl Nantus
07-29-2011, 11:51 PM
Just to make things clear and update matters a bit, I'm pubbing via Smashwords and Kindle right now and just received my first royalty check from Amazon.

I'm becoming disappointed with Smashwords as there does not appear to be any movement in sales since last year on my account despite nearly 5 hundred downloads of all my stories all told in the last 6 months alone. Most of my initial sales were via Sony for a game-related work, but everything else appears to have stalled dead. I have at leat 10 times the sales on Amazon as I have via Smashwords although Smashwords distributes to Sony, Kobo, Stanza, and at least 2-3 other platforms.

My Smashwords royalties earned hasn't updated in 6 months. The count of samples downloaded hasn't updated in at least a month.

I'm beginning to suspect a problem in the updating software.

My Smashwords stories have gotten updated. Just got the notification that I sold one story on Kobo and I had two samples downloaded yesterday.

So... may not be the software.

FOTSGreg
07-30-2011, 12:31 AM
Maybe not, not saying I'm the best writer since sliced bread, but I checked awhile ago and it's like my dashboard has been frozen for a month or more.

No movement.

Zero.

Nada.

When I was seeing at least a dozen hits or more a day throughout my combined stories.

Now, nothing.

It's time for an email to Mark Coker to see if there might be a problem.

Donna Brown
10-31-2011, 04:19 AM
Irysangel,

Thanks for pointing that out, I'm an Irishman living in Sweden, and I'll be focussing on the US cos its the biggest market, but my peeps are all over. Good to know.

I can't wait until I have a "fan". Even my mother is so-so about my stuff.

Dave

I know this is an old post, but I don't care. It made me laugh.

Donna Brown
10-31-2011, 04:27 AM
Why are some people having problems downloading to Smashwords and Kindle? Download their easy-to-follow guides and then go step by step. SMW and Kindle have slightly different format settings.

I didn't have any problems with Smashwords (other than the length of time it took to create the file for submission), but I did have a bit of trouble with the Kindle (or so someone said) so I took it down and resubmitted a new and improved version only to find that the only real "problem" was a lack of a table of contents, which I understand is necessary with Kindle but not that hard to fix.