Some people seem to love it, other’s seem to hate it. Personally, I think that Smashwords is a brilliant tool for e-book self publishing, and though I am yet to make any actual sales through the portal, I fail to see why people don’t utilise it more. Yes, KDP Select limits Smashwords use, and the difficulty of withdrawing previously distributed books so as not to break Amazon’s guidelines can be hard. However, if you’re never going to opt into KDP Select, like so many authors I know, Smashwords can be a great place to sell.
Today, I finally looked at my dashboard and saw the result I wanted – Premium Status. This means that Inside Evil can now be distributed to stores such as Sony, Apple and Barnes and Noble. Unfortunately, as a British resident, I can’t use B&N’s own Pub-It application, so finally getting my work into their ebook stores is a great thing.
Gaining Premium status with Smashwords wasn’t too difficult, and if I’d have avoided a few hurdles, then it would have been achieved far earlier.
- Prepare your Kindle document first. I did almost nothing aside from changing the indexing to produce a Smashwords copy for the Premium Catalogue. Kindle’s guidelines are, on the whole, easier to understand. So preparing your Kindle copy first might save you a lot of time and confusion.
- Remove your page numbers. This was something I didn’t realise I had to do, and it was flagged up in Smashwords, pushing back my approval but ultimately offering a better publishing format.
- Avoid Tweaking. Being new to self-publishing, I’ve tweaked and changed, and tweaked again, several times. Whilst this isn’t so much of a hassle for Amazon as updating is very easy, every time you put a new version onto Smashwords, it’ll hold back your Premium Catalogue approval. If you can, get it right the first time so that you don’t have to constantly put yourself at the back of the queue when uploading a new version to Smashwords.
I’m obviously expecting a great flurry of sales now – not. Inside Evil should appear for distribution sales from one to two weeks depending on the platform. And, whether sales are made or not, I’m glad that the nice bold tick has appeared in my dashboard. It’s fulfilled my Friday.