Firstly, thanks to Robert for allowing me to do a guest post on his blog. This is my very first guest post and I’m thrilled to “be” here!
This is an exciting time to be a writer, full of opportunity and scary possibilities. It’s easy to become paralyzed. I know I felt like that for some time over the past year as I watched the e-book market explode. I knew I wanted to start putting up my back list of pre-published short stories but I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. I decided to jump right in.
One of the sites I decided to post my work on was Smashwords. According to their website, they claim over one billion words published. That’s a lot of typing!
Of course, the very first step is to create a free account at Smashwords. Make sure to print out and read their publishing agreement. This is true for any site you wish to publish on. When you load up your work, you are effectively acting as your own publisher and need to know what kind of agreement you are making with the site that is acting as a distributor. Take the time to print and read the contract before putting anything up. Remember to take responsibility for your own writing career.
Once you’ve completed the proper formatting, Smashwords takes your single format file, processes it through their Meatgrinder software and outputs it into approximately 10 separate ebook formats, including ePub, PDF, Mobi (Kindle) and RTF among others. There’s no trying to figure out how to do it yourself. Smashwords’ Meatgrinder does it for you!
I created my cover page and formatted my first short story according to the style guide and I was ready. From the top menu, I choose Publish. This took me to the upload area.
Section 1 “Title & Synopsis” included Title, Short Description (400 characters allowed), Long Description (4,000 characters allowed) and Language of Book with a part for adult content.
Section 2 is Price and Sampling. Unlike Amazon, Smashwords allows for free content, readers set the price (with a note that Barnes & Noble no longer accepts books with this option), or with a price set from a minimum of 0.99 cents or up.
Sampling allowed me to choose the amount of my work available for a reader to download to review before buying. I chose 40% as an option, to give readers a good chance to read my work. I have downloaded e-book samples that don’t even go past the table of contents page before the sample is done. I never got a chance to even taste the author’s writing. That’s not a book I would buy. Sampling is the equivalent of being able to pick up a book and crack it open to take a look at the writing. It’s a good idea to give readers a real opportunity to see if they like your work and also to get hooked on your story. Give them enough to really get into it and they’ll want to buy to find out what happened at the end.
Section 3 is Categories which open up to the right, from general categories to more specific subjects.
Section 4 is Tags that I used to tag my e-books.
Section 5 is eBook Formats and the default is set for all of them. I left all the defaults in place. My thinking is that the more formats, the better for a reader to find one that works for her.
Finally, Section 6 Covers and Section 7 Select File of Book to Publish are where I was able to upload my cover and my e-book file. Section 8 is the Publish button. Once I pressed this, my file was uploaded for processing.
My first e-book took about twenty minutes to upload. Others have taken as long as four to five hours. It seems to depend on how many other books are being uploaded at the same time as yours.
After uploading my first ebook, I created my Smashwords author page under My Smashwords tab. Here I uploaded a photo, a small bio and was able to link to my website, blog, Twitter account, Facebook and LinkedIn. On this page, all of my uploaded e-books are listed with a tag cloud at the bottom of the page.
Smashwords includes a Dashboard tab where you can obsessively track your sales or sample downloads. As one writer suggested online, the best thing to do with e-books is to publish and forget it. It’s very tempting to check on the Dashboard every day or every few hours and become disappointed when you aren’t rivaling Amanda Hocking’s sales. The best cure is to keep writing and keep publishing. The more e-books you have available, the more chance you give the readers to find you and like your work. When that happens, they’ll look for more.
That’s my plan as I continue to move forward into this new world of publishing. And I’m sticking to it!
Rebecca M. Senese is a writer of Horror, Science Fiction & Mystery. Now that you’ve read about how she uploaded to Smashwords, complete your research and go by her stuff!
- Writers: Action Items and Mega-links! (chazzwrites.wordpress.com)
- EBookNewser interviews Smashwords’ Mark Coker on e-book pricing, costs (teleread.com)
- Smashwords – Ebook Publishing and Distribution Made Easy (smashwords.com)
- Writers: The short form is roaring back (chazzwrites.wordpress.com)
- Smashwords renegotiates deals with publishers, ups royalty rates, adopts agency model (teleread.com)
- Smashwords year in review, plans for 2011 (teleread.com)
- Smashwords 2011 Predictions for Book Publishing (teleread.com)
- Smashwords Adds Longer Book Descriptions (smashwords.com)
- Smashwords Author Brian S. Pratt to Earn over $100,000 in 2011 (smashwords.com)