One of the toughest hurdles for a self-publishing author to overcome is distribution. In the e-publishing world, it’s easy to sell at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s a little harder to sell in the iBookstore, but it can be done. Beyond that, it gets trickier, since other vendors don’t allow authors to directly sell their books. To get in those stores, you have to go through a third party. BookBaby offers distribution for a low cost. And then there’s Smashwords.
Smashwords has always scared me a little. Sure, they offer distribution to a large number of stores. No upfront cost. And I know that many, many authors use them with success. There’s one little word that has always sent me running.
If you’re familiar with Smashwords, you know what I’m talking about. The Meatgrinder is the name of Smashwords automatic convertor. It takes your Word doc and changes it into multiple formats for various e-readers. And in the words of Smashwords, it can turn your book into “hamburger” if you don’t follow their instructions.
I don’t want my book to look like a hamburger. To be fair, it likely wouldn’t, especially since I’m pretty obsessed with following directions in general. I don’t know though, it just doesn’t sound that appealing to me. My personal thought has always been that I would prefer to sell a better formatted version of my book in less locations than to sell a potentially minced product. So I’ve chosen to go that route. For the record, there are over 55,000 authors and publishers using Smashwords, so my view is clearly in the minority. 🙂
Enter Smashwords Direct.
Smashwords Direct launched on December 31 and is now in open beta. This makes a girl like me incredibly happy. It gives me the option to upload an ePub file directly, avoiding the Meatgrinder altogether. Given, there are limitations. This method will only make an ePub version of your book available for Smashwords distribution, with no conversion to MOBI, HTML, or PDF. You can still use their automatic converter to change your Word doc to those formats if you so choose. The even better news is that more direct uploads possibilities (from MOBI and PDF) may be on the horizon.
The bottom line: if you have a good quality ePub file of your book, you can now use that file at Smashwords.
So lets take a look at what Smashwords has to offer.
Smashwords distributes your book to the following:
Barnes & Noble
Sony Reader Store
the Diesel eBook Store
Baker & Taylor’s Blio
There is no upfront cost to add your book at Smashwords. You will receive 85% of the net for books sold at Smashwords.com, and 60% of the list price for books sold at the major e-book retailers. Not a bad deal.
Smashwords is now on the table for me personally. I’m likely going to put Self-Publish up for sale there and give it a try. I’ll let you know how it goes.
What distribution channels have you used for your e-book? Have you been happy with the results?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!