Review of Smashwords Publishing
Headed up by Mark Coker, Smashwords.com is an eBook self-publishing company that has been going since 2008. If you’re interested in getting your eBook onto this particular platform, check out the following review of Smashwords publishing:
Check out the Smashwords Style Guide
The Smashwords Style Guide is a document available online and is a good place to start, to ensure you have your manuscript in the correct format, which Smashword’s Meatgrinder (their automated eBook processing system) will require. Smashwords prefers to accept manuscripts in Word .doc files, although uploading in ePub format is also possible.
Smashwords does need your eBook to have headings of certain sizes, and paragraphs which need to be formatted consistently. The Table of Contents of your eBook also has to be created without Microsoft Words’ automatic Table of Contents function.
You also need to include text in your manuscript, explaining that your eBook is a Smashwords edition, and include further licence notes to deter people from reading unlicensed copies of your titles or sharing your work without having purchased a copy.
When you self-publish your eBook will Smashwords, it will become available on their eBook store. However, the real power of Smashwords lies in its distribution capabilities. It can get your title into the stores of all the leading eBook retailers in multiple countries including Apple’s iTunes stores, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony and of course India’s very own Flipkart.
Smashword’s Meatgrinder handles all the conversions to ensure your eBook can be distributed to these various platforms.
Once you’ve uploaded your eBook to Smashwords, added your cover design, descriptions, and categories, and set the price of your title, it will be added to a queue while it’s processed and converted to all the formats needed for distribution to the various retailers.
In order to distribute your eBook to certain retailers such as Apple, you will need an ISBN. If you don’t have an ISBN for your title, there’s no need to despair. You can get an ISBN with Smashwords completely free of charge.
Availability of Your eBook
Once you’ve uploaded your eBook with Smashwords, it will be available on their eBook store immediately. However, it will usually take 7-10 days to reach the other stores through distribution.
Editing Your Title
If you need to make changes to your eBook, you can just log into your Smashwords account and do this straightforwardly. You can upload new versions, change the cover designs and pricing.
Overall, if your title is sold through the Smashwords store, you will get 85% of each sale and approximately 60% of each sale made through other retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Apple and Diesel. Smashwords will pay you quarterly and through PayPal.
As Smashwords is an American company, by law they are required to withhold up to 30% of earnings for tax purposes. However, as an Indian writer, this can be reduced to 15%. In order to receive this reduction you will need to complete a W8-BEN form, for which you will also need a TIN, SSN or EIN, which are tax identification numbers. If you do not have such a number, you can apply for one from the United States Inland Revenue Service (IRS).
A good thing about Smashwords is that it is free to self-publish and distribute with them.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in February 2014.
Also published on Medium.