This opens a new page where you need to enter your title, list price, publication date, publisher, and contributors. These are you – as the author – and then any illustrators, co-authors, etc. You are allowed up to five.
Scroll down to upload your book. B&N accept word documents, HTML, RTF and TXT files. Us the browse button to locate your file, then click Upload & Preview. (You may get warning that you have not filled in all the information, but don;t worry, we’re coming to that)
This will upload an instant preview. you can use the tabs to switch between Nook and Nook Color views. use the Prev and Next at the bottom to navigate the pages. When you’re finished use the close preview in the upper right:
If the conversion looks good, then it’s time to upload your cover. (if not, make changes to the interior file and reupload.) Your cover image MUST be a .jpg and has to be at least 750 pixels tall, but no bigger than 2000. To upload the cover use the browse button.
The cover preview will look a little fuzzy, but it will look fine on your final page:
Now to fill out the pesky questions that caused all those crabby “errors”. They’re pretty easy: Do you have an ISBN? Is the book part of a series? Is it available in print and, if so, how many pages is it? Is it public domain? What group is it suited for? What language is it in? Where do you have publishing rights (aka, US, IS?Canada, or World Wide) and do you want DRM protection?
Now you want to add the categories your book fits in. Click the add/edit categories button
This drops down a box, and each selection you make may open another box to the right. When you have it chosen, click the Add Category button
You can choose up to five categories for your book, though you don;t have to pick that many (I have only three). When you’re done, click Save.
Now it’s time to enter your keywords (separated by commas), your book description and your author bio. You can also enter editorial reviews if you have them.
Double check that everything is the way you want it, and then it’s time to put your title on sale! Check mark the box to confirm that you own the work and hit “Put on Sale”
And that’s it! Now you just need to wait 24 – 72 hours for your book to become available through B&N.
On a side note, there was a rumor that Barnes & Noble promotes books published through pubit over those through Smashwords, so i have done some experimenting.
I published Ties of Blood directly through PubIt because, at the time, Smashwords was having trouble getting books out to them and I had some Nook readers who wanted to read it. Though the advice was to remove the Nook version as soon as the Smashwords version showed up, I’ve left both to see what happened. As you can see on the listing page, the smashwords version has the priority listing and you have to use the + NOOK book button to even get the PubIt published version:
This might have to do with the fact that Smashwords has an older Publication date. When it comes to slaes it stands thus:
PubIt edition all time: 4 (all were sold before the smashwords version cleared)
Smashwords edition (through B&N for December only): 31
So, it’s safe to say that in this case that B&N isn’t pushing the pubit version over the smashwords. Whether it happens to other people I can’t say.
Each month, Amazon will make a “pool” of money – $500,000 in December. To get a cut of the money you have to enroll your book. Each time it is borrowed, you get a “point”. At the end of the month, the total points are counted, the money is divided up by that number (for example if there are 500,000 points from all authors and $500,000, each “point” is worth $1) and you receive your share of the “pot” which would be X$ x How-many-times-your-book-was-borrowed (not purchased, but borrowed through the kindle Library lending program – which only Amazon Prime members can borrow from.)
So if no one borrows your book, you make 0% of the pot.
And you should. While at first this seems like a way to earn royalties on book borrowing, there is one condition: You must have your book (in digital format) EXCLUSIVELY published with Amazon. This means it can not be on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or even your personal website or blog (blogs and websites are specifically mentioned in the terms). This further means that if your book is already published elsewhere you must first remove it so that Amazon is the only person who carries it. (This does not effect paper back/dead tree versions)
Before you take your books down from B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. and enter the program, ask yourself this question, “Is my book likely to be borrowed enough times to make up the money for those lost sales?”
The answer for me is a simple “No”. Your answer may be different, but as Writer Beware has cautioned, make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Go to smashwords.com, log in and click the Publish option in the overhead menu:
(You’ll notice I have a “requires attention warning – this is because I have a “test” book that is archived and unpublished that I use to test files before upload, so I haven’t given it an ISBN number. If you have this warning and don’t have something similar then it means one of your books needs an ISBN assigned.)
You will be taken to a new page. Here you will enter all the information on your book. First up is title and the short description.
You’ll see that there is a 400 character limit for the short description (not words, characters – aka letters, spaces, punctuation, etc.). This is one of the reasons I say it’s good to have several of different length ready to go. Something to consider for shorter works: though Smashwords has the word count clearly posted on each book’s page, not all their distributors do, so it’s best to put Short Story, Novella, Short Work, etc. at the beginning of the description to avoid angry reviews on Barnes and Noble and other sites.
Now comes the “long” description. If it’s the exact same thing as your short description then it’s up to you if you want to bother with it or not. However, if you have a good hook written up that was too long for the short description above then plug it in here.
Choose the Language of your book and whether it has adult content or not. (A note on this. Smashwords has changed its policies and when you first visit the site, or visit it without being logged in, all books marked with adult content will not show up. You now have to remove the “adult content” filter instead of having to activate it. While I understand this change, it’s not one I’m happy with as most of my books don’t show up for a casual visitor. But, don’t try to be sneaky and skip marking it as adult content if it really is. It just hurts everyone in the long run.)
You can also see there are pricing choices. Free is obvious – your work is free for others to download. Is this a good idea? There are blogs by the thousands that tackle that topic, so I’m not going to.
The next option is Reader Sets Price. My advice on this option is to only use it on a book you would have otherwise marked free because most people’s determined price is free. However, once in a while you run into someone who pays more (I has someone pay 10$ for one of my books when I had this option set.)
Lastly is to set your own price. Type a number in and suddenly these magical pie charts will appear:
These show you what percentage of the price that everyone is getting from your book. Again, there are articles galore on ebook pricing, so I won’t get into that here. I will say this; there are probably people out there who will pay $10 or more of an ebook (there’s at least one person!) but they are the minority.
Once your price is set determine how much sampling you want by changing the numbers. If your ebooks is free (mine is), then this will be grayed out.
What is sampling? Go to any smashwords book page (in a new window!) and scroll down past the description and you’ll see a table that looks much like this:
See where it says 50%? The author has chosen to share a 50% sample, or half the book, for free. It’s up to you how much you want to share, but I do recommend making at least the first chapter available.
Now it’s time to choose the categories your book fits in.
You’ll initially have one box and, as you choose subcategories, new boxes will appear. Find the best fit for your book. For instance, there is no vampire category (sadly) and though this particular story doesn’t really have any horror in it, the other stories in the series do, so I chose Fiction>Literature>Horror so that it is in the same category as the rest of the series.
Now add some tags
Use words that you think someone would use if they were searching for your book. As you type them in they will appear above the box. If you decide you don’t like one – or you have a typo – then use the “remove” to take it off.
Now you need to choose what file types you’d like your book to appear in
Rule of thumb is the more formats, the more potential readers, however, some books just don’t work well in all types. For instance, plain Text means text only – no images. If your book needs pictures then you should uncheck this option.
Now we’re ready to upload the files!
Use the Choose File button to get a pop up box and find your book cover on your computer. As the box says, it must be a .jpg, .gif or .png and needs to be at least 600 pixels tall. I prefer to use high res images, myself, but it’s all a matter of choice.
Now upload your pre-formatted document. (For help with formatting see some of our previous posts).
Check over the publishing agreement and hit the happy publish button!
Usually my browser window will sporadically pop back up to the middle of the page and stare at me for a few moments. If this happens to you, don’t panic. First, check the bottom left of your browser window and (depending on your browser) you will likely see something that says “Uploading” and has a percentage. This means your files are uploading – it can take a moment. If you don’t see that, then scroll through the page to make sure there are no red errors. If several minutes pass and still nothing has happened, then check your dashboard in a new tab to see if the book is listed. If not, then hit the publish button again or refresh the page and redo the forms.
Once the files are uploaded a new page will appear that says something like:
Your number will be different. As it says, you can leave it opened or close it out. I prefer to leave it opened.
When it has finished converting you will get an email with the conversion results – including any file errors – and the page should change. If you have no errors it will look like this:
Click on the “View this page’s Smashwords page” link.
An aside. I said the page SHOULD change. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes it will say “complete” next to all the files and just sit and stare at you. If that happens then 1- be sure to check your mail to make sure the conversion has no errors and 2 – go to your dashboard and access the book’s page from there.
Check the page over – make sure your synopsis is correct, that the book cover looks right, etc. Then scroll down to the table of download options and save the epub version to your computer (I throw mine on the desktop).
Choose file (make sure it is the epub version you just downloaded and NOT the doc you used for smashwords!) and then hit the validate button.
It may take a few minutes, but if there are no errors you’ll get a screen like this:
If so, then you’re done. Share your new Smashwords link with the world and revel in your accomplishments!
But, what if you have errors? There are too many possibilities for me to cover in this blog, so if you have errors, either in the epub or with the meatgrinder, be sure to check Smashwords FAQ at – http://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq
Assuming you have no errors, pop back to smashwords and go to your dashboard and then your ISBN manager (or if you have that handy warning on top of your page just click it!)
There is a LOOONG article describing the different types of ISBN numbers. Read it and choose the option that is right for you (I use the free ones).
When you’ve decided you’ll find, at the end of all that text, a table listing all your books and telling you whether or not you have ISBN numbers – as you can see Benjamin does not have one (and neither does my test book)
Click Assign ISBN.
You’ll go to a new page where you make your selection:
Make your choice and click “Review Order” (don’t let this scare you – it does not mean you’re paying for anything .)
You will get a new page detailing your choices (and I assume payment options if necessary). Check to make sure it is what you want and press Confirm.
And then – congratulations – a new page will appear that will list your title, ISBN, etc. on it. Save the info to your records (if you do that) and then go back to your dashboard.
Now we need to double check the distribution, so go to your Distribution Manager
Scroll down to your book and make sure that it is opted in – and out – of everything that you want. If not, make changes. (As of this posting Smashwords is still not distributing to Amazon, however, I recommend adjusting the settings for this so that when they do you’ll be ready).
And that’s it. There’s nothing else to do until your book is approved for the Premium Distribution (you can check the status on your dashboard at any time.) It takes a few days, and even after it is approved it takes some time to ship. I uploaded Ties of Blood on September 10th and it has still not shipped a month later, despite being approved, meanwhile, the last story I uploaded shipped within two weeks, so I think it depends on volume at the time of your upload. Either way, be patient and, if it seems to be taking too long, file a ticket through the help at the top of the page.
Raise your hands if you have a smart phone loaded with apps.
Now raise your hands if you have no idea what I’m talking about.
Smart phones, tablets and other devices are taking the world by storm, but I know a lot of people who don’t have one. My mother, for example. So I thought I’d take a minute and do a quick run down so that you can understand what Smashword’s new distribution agreement means for you as an author or reader.
Apps – short for applications – are like programs that run on your smart phone (such as the iphone or Android), on tablets (like the apple ipad) and other devices (I imagine all ereaders will eventually be able to run these, too.) Applications are purchased through the marketplace, a “page” on the device (think like a web page), and they can be anything from wallpaper to ring tones, games, kitchen timers, movie players and yes, even books.
With Smashword’s new agreement with ScrollMotion, the Smashwords Premium catalog will now be available to purchase in the app marketplace – and as an author you don’t need to do anything to opt in. If you’re in the premium catalog already, it will be automatic. Of course, you can always opt out, if you want to. But, with authors getting 60% of the sale price, and with the potential to reach readers who are using Apple, Android, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS, why would you?
What’s it like to read a book on a phone? I read Stephannie Beman’s My Lord Hades using the Kindle app on mine, and it was okay. I wasn’t a huge fan (of reading on the phone, not of the book. I LOVED the book), so I bought a Kindle. But, I know people who not only read on their phones (Or on the much bigger ipads) but love it because their phone goes where they go – meaning their library is always with them, too, and they don’t have to buy an expensive, second device such as a nook or kindle.
However, books are expected to be delivered to the app marketplaces later this month, and I’m going to have to check it out. From what I understand, unlike the Kindle app, each book will be an individual application, meaning you will download and install each book without having to also install the program to read the book. Is that going to take up more of the precious phone space, or less? I’m not sure yet, but when they become available I intend to find out.
For the last year or so I’ve offer Smashwords formatting services. Many authors ask me about pictures in Smashwords books, and it was a pain to try to find one they could look at for free so I dusted off an old children’s book I’d written back in 2001 (complete with those pesky images) and uploaded it as a free read. That way, I could show curious people what it would look like. Fast forward and, to my dismay and surprise, one day I notice that this free kiddy book has not only “sold” over 400 copies , but it has reviews on B&N as well as Smashwords and was even featured in a blog!
I have other kiddy books I wrote at the same time and with all the downloads I thought “hey, maybe I should upload them too.” But, I don’t want to be known as a children’s author. I have a tough enough time trying to convince people that my vampire books are not YA (There is a rape scene in the first book, for crying out loud! this is not twelve year old material), so linking that same author name to books that ARE child friendly… well, that’s what you call cross genre nightmares.
A pen name fixes the problem, but what about the book that’s already uploaded? The one that has reviews and links to it? Smashwords allows authors to transfer book rights to Publishers, and from publishers to authors, but what about author to author?
Turns out yes, you can do that.
I sent a mail to Mark and he explained that they have to do the switch manually (Neurosurgery, he called it) but that if you send the links to the book and both author pages – the one the book is now under and the one you want it moved to – either he or Bill will make the swap for you. How handy is that? Just another example of the excellent customer service aspect to Smashwords.
Thought I would share this as I’m sure I’m not the only one something like this has happened to, and this method is a lot easier then un-publishing and re-uploading.
I’ve noticed that a lot of authors fill in the time between their novels with short stories – or in some cases only publish short stories – and I’m curious about other people’s viewpoints on this.
I’ve been a “novelist” since I can remember and I’ve always sort of looked at short stories as the lesser cousin to the “full” story. Though I have submitted a few to various contests, like poetry, I’ve never taken them seriously. That is, of course, unless it’s in a short story collection. Then, and only then, did I consider them to be lengthy enough to qualify as “something”. Otherwise, they’re that bit of fluff, that afternoon snack while you’re waiting for dinner.
Regardless, I can’t help but notice the large – and ever growing – number of short stories available at Smashwords and even Amazon. Some authors write nothing but and, rather than publishing them in a collection, they put them up one little story at a time, for $.99 a piece. The question I have is: Is this actually worth it? As a reader, do you spend your $.99 on a short story when, in some cases, you can get a full length manuscript for that price? As an author if you do this, do you actually make any sales?
As you might guess, I’m asking collective opinions for a reason – three of them to be exact. 1) I’m curious to see other people’s feelings on this. 2) I am working (slowly) on a short story collection, and have contemplated putting them up, one 3,000 word story at a time, until they’re all done when I will then slap them together and 3) I have a LOT of random short stories laying around. Is this cash in the bank I’m not utilizing?Or does publishing a lot of short stories just brand you as a “short story writer”?
When you publish a new book, do you “bother with” a press release? I looked into it for my last book, via links from Smashwords, but even after reading the one example post, I didn’t know what to write, so I kept putting it off until it was no longer relevant.
Has that happened to you? Or have you tried your hand at a press release only to have no one show any interest? If either of those apply to you, you may find this article by Alexis Grant helpful:
Question: Hi, my name is Arthur Mills. I’m the author of the part-fiction / part-memoir book, The Empty Lot Next Door. The book is available on hardback and softback but after talking to Maureen, I’ve become interested in selling my book as an ebook on Smashwords. My concern is that Smashwords’ ebooks are DRM-free. To my understanding, that means that a purchaser could theoretically buy a copy and pass copies to all his friends. Copies could also end up on other free ebook sites. Maureen explained it best when she told me that authors would always struggle to protect their work. Is my concert valid? Do any of you have the same concern and how do you deal with it? I’m a new Author that could use all the help you are willing to provide.
Answer: Arthur and anyone else that has been interested in this question, I started out commenting to your question, but the answer got too long so I decided to make it a post. To answer your questions, yes DRM-free means that the purchaser could buy and pass around copies to all their friends and they could end up on free eBook sites. However, DRM-ing your eBook doesn’t always stop this problem.
DRM doesn’t keep it from being pirated, it just makes it harder to do. Anyone with good computer skills can hack into the DRM program and crack. Or they could just look online for articles on removing DRM or cracking it, the list is long. Also if a pirate really wants to share your book, all they have to do is buy the print book and scan it into a computer to distribute it for free or even sell it.
I thought I’d create a list of the pros and cons of Digital Rights Management and let you judge for yourself which you would prefer to do. Some of this list comes from reader complaints to Fictionwise and Smashwords. Sadly, the pros are few and the cons are many.
Pros of DRM ~limit the unlicensed sharing of content beyond those who paid for it
Cons of DRM ~It affects eBook sales, many people refuse to buy digital products that have DRM in place and/or objections to it on principle. Secured formats also cause ten times the number of customer service calls, when compared to unsecured formats. A customer who has a problem with a secured file is less likely to purchase DRM formats again. ~bugs in the DRM software ~The inability to use a file they paid for across multiple operating systems they own personally. Secured formats are difficult or impossible to pass from device to device. ~The inability to back up and safeguard files. ~Limit the ability of the legal purchaser to fully use the content, such as printing locked PDF files, citing material in a scholarly study, or when using a recipe from an e-book version of a cookbook. Some might argue that you have to hand type in from a paper book, but the fact is the unique advantages of e-books are stripped away by DRM. ~The inability to make the e-book into an audio book. ~The inability to print and read on the go from paper. ~The added expense of DRM, which is passed along to the reader, in the form of higher prices. ~DRM punishes honest purchasers, in a vain attempt to stop criminals. There is currently no DRM that cannot be broken. When a new form comes out, it is usually broken within a number of weeks and the hack…or the unlocked copy of the file is passed around.
While many of the current ebook publishers shy away from images in the body of your manuscript, or even discourage them, ala smashwords, Barnes & Noble has obviously decided that colored pictures are the way to go.
By abandoning the e-ink and going to LCD screens, the new color Nook makes image rich ebooks user friendly, and allows you to do a handful of other social networking things as well. I’m not going to get into the specs, since I’m not advertising for it, but the point is that if this catches on the “discouraged” images in ebooks may soon be “encouraged” images, which is great news for independent graphic novelists, children’s books, photo books and others which are forced primarily into the dead tree versions due to high graphic content, and then cost a consumer double digits to purchase. I, for one, have no intention of paying well over $20 for a children’s picture book, unless my dearest, sweetest friend is involved in the project. But, if the color ebook reader catches on, maybe I won’t have to, even if some madcap friend of mine publishes it.
Ruth Ann Nordin recently did a four part series called Publishing 101. In post four she touched on formatting and I thought, since I’ve done formatting for both myself and other authors, I would take a moment to explain some of it.
I’ll start by saying that I know very little about PDF formatting; I do all of my work in Word and then make the document into a PDF as is. So, if you’re looking for PDF tips, I am not your girl. Except that on shades of Gray the margin was too big, so I saved it as a 6 x 9.25 page size in word, and then cropped it to 6×9 in the PDF program. End my PDF tips.
(All screen caps are in Word 2007)
THE SUPER EASY SMASHWORDS FORMATTING:
If your manuscript has little or no italics or bold, then a really easy way to remove all the unwanted formatting (such as stray tabs, odd tables, page breaks, etc) is to copy the document and paste it into Notepad. Yes, I said Notepad, that archaic little document program. If you’re unfamiliar with it, you will probably find it under Programs>Accessories>Notepad.
Use the shortcut keys Ctrl+A to select all of the original document, then just copy and paste.
Yes, that removed ALL formatting.
Now save it as a .txt file (Notepad’s default) and then open in word.
(You may get a pop up similar to this, just hit Okay)
Your new document will have no formatting at all – no centering, no tabs, no bold, and no italics.
The first thing I do after that is set the tabs.
TABS VS INDENT:
East definitions: Tabs are something you put in manually by hitting the tab key, and an indent is something the program puts in. AKA Indent = good. Tabs = Bad.
Highlight all of your document (Or the section you want to have tabs, for instance the copyright info and title page shouldn’t have tabs on them) and then make sure that you have rulers visible (This will be in a different menu in earlier versions of Word, but it works the same after that):
On the left side of the ruler you’ll see two little arrow like things. The BOTTOM one determines your left margin and the TOP one sets your indent, which is what we want.
Grab that top “arrow” and drag it to the right. When you let go, you’ll see the text “magically” indent itself:
You can go back and “undo” this for parts of the manuscript you want perfectly centered, or that you don’t want an indent in. You do this by first highlighting the text to be “un-indented”, then grab the TOP arrow and move it back to the starting position:
Again, make sure to highlight any text that you want to adjust, or else nothing will happen.
ADDING ITALICS AND BOLD BACK
you can go through your stripped document and manually add in any centering, bolding, italics, etc that you want. One way to do that is have the original document open (You can use side by side view if you like), and then go to find/replace and choose the More button:
Now go to the format button and choose font:
You’ll get a pop up box. Choose what you want; in this case we want to find italics:
Hit okay and use the Find Next to find the instances of italics In your original document. When you do, you can then use the find feature to find it on the unformatted version (after first using the format to choose regular text again because there are no italics in the new document). Then, highlight any word that should be italicized and italicize them:
Alternately, if you don’t like having to flip back and forth you can keep a running list in notepad and then italicize all at once, like so:
You will see that I copied more than just the words that needed italicized so that I could insure that I found the correct instance of those words. Also, I out *’s around the portion that is meant to be italicized. You don’t have to use notepad, of course. You can use word, or you can write it in a notebook or even on the back of an envelope.
This also works for bold, and any other kind of formatting.
If you have a lot of formatting, then you may find this method tedious, but for a document that has a lot of weirdness going on, it can still be a time saver.
If, for instance, you use the title Jumping beans do America by Jillian Bilford several times in your document, but might not have italicized it every time, there’s an easy way to do this.
Open the find dialog box and go to the replace tab. Paste in, or type in, the text you want replaced, and then fill the same into the replace box (As I have no mention of that title, I’ll go with my character’s name for the example). Make sure the cursor is in the Replace With box, and choose the More button:
As in the above example, go down to the format button and choose font, then italics. Hit okay, and then you can either use “replace” to see each instance before it’s replaced, or, if you feel lucky, “Replace all”.
PAGE BREAKS IN SMASHWORDS
Different authors do different things. However, I just use a couple of enters and a few twinklies, like so:
An easy way to make these uniform is to use the replace technique. When you initially format your document, use only 2 twinklies at each “break” and then use the replace all to replace with a row of them like so:
Now, every “page break” will have the exact same number of twinklies, and look more uniform and professional. Or, as professional as rows of twinklies can look. You can also use the format button to center your twinklies the same way that we applied italics to everything. Only, you need to choose the Paragraph selection instead:
Then choose center:
Make sure that the new formatting is under the Replace With box, or it won’t work!!
IF YOU’RE SURE YOU DON’T HAVE ANY WEIRD FORMATTING:
If you’re sure you have no weird formatting, (excessive tabs, tables, sty;es, weird spacing, etc)then there’s no need to use the notepad method. I’d suggest that you double check to make sure that there are no tabs hiding in your document, though, by going to Find and typing in
(the ^ is the symbol on the 6 key)
If there are, of course, just backspace them out.
You can go to bar at the top and hit that little P looking thing. This will make all your formatting show up:
As you can see by the row of dots after “One”, I have a bunch of extra spaces there. Smashwords can reject books for too many of those, so delete the bad boys.
This will also show you where your page breaks are, so you can see if you’re using too many, and make sure that you’ve used the same number between your chapters.
And, if you find that you have a lot of extra spaces – maybe you have several instances of five or more – the use the find/replace box. Type in the number of spaces in the Find what box and then leave the replace with box empty. Yes, this will look like a blank search, but it works.
And that’s about all that I can think of. Do you know of a better way to do this? If so, please share it in the comment below. Conversely, do you have any questions about these steps, or about something I didn’t feature here? If so, please put it in the comments too, and I will do my best to answer it.