Scott Marlowe
Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher

I'm stepping into the way-back machine today to highlight a series I wrote back in 2009 about selling your eBook without a publisher.

Back then I was just getting started with self-publishing. A lot of people were. I used the series of posts primarily as a way to familiarize myself with the various retailers, services, and how to actually produce an eBook. I've learned a lot since then. Still learning, in fact. But I think this series is still relevant. In fact, I think I could expand on it. For example, Kobo and CreateSpace are missing as retailers and service providers, respectively. Both are used by yours truly.

But, for now, here is the 8 part series in its original form broken down by post.

  1. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 1: Introduction
  2. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 2: E-book Formatting
  3. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 3: Book Covers
  4. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 4: Amazon.com
  5. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 5: Smashwords
  6. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 6: Scribd
  7. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 7: Lulu
  8. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 8: Selling Strategy

Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 8: Selling Strategy

This is the final post in a multi-part series about self-publishing your eBook. Posts include:

1. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 1: Introduction
2. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 2: E-book Formatting
3. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 3: Book Covers
4. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 4: Amazon.com
5. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 5: Smashwords
6. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 6: Scribd
7. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 7: Lulu
8. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 8: Selling Strategy (this post)

This post is about selling strategy. What I mean by this, or rather what I don't mean, is marketing or self-promotion. Both of those topics are important, and in fact this topic probably crosses over into those, but what I'd like to talk about here is this: I've listed one eBook on Amazon, Smashwords, Scribd, and Lulu, but with another novel soon to be complete, what's next? Where do I go from here?

As I see it, here are my options:

1.) Go the traditional publishing route

This may smack of heresy after I just posted seven (eight, including this one) posts all geared towards circumventing the traditional process, but hear me out. There's no doubt we're entering into a new world as far as publishing is concerned, but just because we can sell our work direct to readers does not instantly make the agents, copyeditors, publishers, and other personnel in the publishing industry obsolete. In fact, for those who truly want to embrace writing as a full-time occupation, I still think they're necessary. They bring expertise, leverage, and make distribution into real, physical bookstores a reality. They have access to the channels where most people still get their books from. This is to our benefit as writers.

2.) Give my eBooks (or short fiction) away for free

It's no secret that the most successful eBooks selling on Amazon are given away for free. Some think we're heading towards $0 eBooks, anyway. But free doesn't pay the bills; for full-time writers this obviously isn't an option. But for a new writer who can sustain him/herself in other ways, it might be a viable option for gaining readers. The idea might be to give away one book hoping to sell copies of another. Giving away short fiction fits into this as well. By no means does this mean giving away content for free forever. It might just be for a limited time, to perk up interest.

3.) Serialize my novel here

John Scalzi serialized his first novel, Old Man's War, on his blog before selling it to Tor. J.C. Hutchins serialized in audio format his first novel, 7th Son. The end result for both authors was a publishing contract. In Scalzi's case, he was already getting 1,000 hits/day on his blog (I get 100 on a good day; Scalzi probably gets 100/hour now). Serializing a novel for free no doubt brought in even more readers and attracted the attention of Tor. Hutchins, an unknown when he started, marketed his novel like a madman, gaining a huge following and an eventual contract as well. In these two cases, serialization worked. In general, giving away anything for free is going to work, to a point. Also, keep in mind that just because you're giving away something for free does not mean everyone is going to come to your site to read/download it. Some people still like going to bookstores and buying a "real" copy of a book. Serialization is just another way of getting your work in front of more people. Given the choice between "more" and "less", I'll take the former.

4.) Sell my eBooks here on my blog

Many authors do this, especially as rights revert back from a publisher. It's a great way to get some more life (and revenue) out of a title that has otherwise been remaindered. It's also a nice way to get your novel out to people while you're seeking a contract, which can take a very long time if it happens at all. The biggest plus of selling from your own site is you get to keep 100% (or near to that) of the revenue.

5.) Sell my eBooks through the various eRetailers I covered in this blog series

There are a lot of people who visit, say, Amazon, who probably will never come to my web site. It is therefore important to also sell through other channels, even if you are giving up a larger piece of the pie by doing so. Keep in mind, too, that eBooks that sell well via online retailers sometimes are picked up for publication.

In closing this post…

I don't think any one method is the sole way to go in today's world. Rather, I'm considering a hybrid approach of some of the above once my second novel is complete. I still want to go the traditional route because I think it's the best option for success. On the other hand, I don't want my novel languishing in a drawer while I wait for the luck of the draw to deem my work worthy of being published.

Concluding this series

In conclusion of this series let me just say that I hope I've shed some light on the different options for publishing online. The publishing world is changing; it's best to remain aware of the new possibilities.

Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 7: Lulu

This is the next post in a multi-part series about self-publishing your eBook. Posts include:

1. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 1: Introduction
2. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 2: E-book Formatting
3. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 3: Book Covers
4. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 4: Amazon.com
5. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 5: Smashwords
6. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 6: Scribd 
7. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 7: Lulu (this post)
8. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 8: Selling Strategy

The next ePublisher I want to look at in this series is Lulu.

Home page of Lulu.com

What is Lulu?

Lulu is a bit different from the other ePublishers I have featured so far because in addition to offering traditional eRetailer services, Lulu also sells traditional books by using the magic of POD.

POD, or Print on Demand, is a service where a paper book isn't actually printed until someone orders it. Once someone places an order for a traditional paper book through Lulu, Lulu's machinery kicks into high gear, prints the book, and next thing you know you've got a printed, bound book waiting on your doorstep. The advantages of this model is cost (from the publisher's perspective) because no inventory exists until it is needed. This differs from a traditional vanity press in that there is no upfront cost associated with the POD service. Lulu doesn't "make" anything until someone buys one of your books.

Besides for POD, Lulu also sells straight eBooks. That will be my primary focus here.

You can follow Lulu on Twitter or subscribe to the Lulu blog.

How much does Lulu charge?

From their FAQ:

Lulu takes a small commission when your content is purchased. Lulu's commission is 20% of the profit from a purchased item.

Sounds great at first glance. Dig a little deeper and you'll find that Lulu also charges a "base price" which is built into the price of your eBook which, of course, ultimately increases your asking price. The standard base price for eBooks is $1.49, which goes to cover "file hosting, bandwidth, and credit card transaction costs".

Previous analysis showed the following charges for the other eRetailers I've covered: Scribd charges 45%; Amazon, 65%; and Smashwords, 42%.

So, let's say you're charging $5 for your eBook. How much are you really making on each sale with Lulu? The breakdown is this:

$5.00 (asking price) - $1.49 (base price) = $3.51

20% commission of the seller's profit: $3.51 * 0.2 = $0.70

So, $3.51 - $0.70 = $2.81

You'll see later on that Lulu provides a calculator to make this process a little easier. Using it, I found that I have to charge readers twice as much as I what I might charge on Amazon, for example, just to make the same amount of money for myself. Here's a quick screenshot to illustrate:

Lulu price breakdown

That's a whopping 84% commission Lulu charges to sell eBooks on their site at the $2 sale price. Put the price at $5/eBook and it comes out to 44% (56% in your pocket). The base price obviously skews things very badly at lower price points. Unfortunately, lower price points are where eBooks want to be.

What file formats does Lulu support?

Lulu sells eBooks in ePUB and PDF format:

Lulu eBook formats

For both, you have the option of selling with or without DRM.

See my post for more info on E-book File Formats.

The Lulu Storefront

Lulu sells a variety of items, including books, eBooks, calendars, photo books, DVD's, etc. Since I'm principally concerned with eBooks, I'll take a look at that storefront.

The Lulu.com eBooks storefront

Lulu does a very nice job of breaking down their available eBooks into the many genres and categories. Clicking on "Science Fiction & Fantasy" brings up what you might expect. By twiddling with the interface a little you can search just the section you want, but only by Title and/or Creator:

Lulu's Science Fiction & Fantasy section

I like the Lulu interface, especially that they're upfront and center with price and the format available for purchase.

Publishing with Lulu

Lulu publishing can be accomplished in three easy steps:

3 easy steps to publishing with Lulu

I'm going to go through those publishing steps here and now, as I write this post, so I'll see firsthand just how easy the process is. ;-)

Here are the steps:

1. Start a New Project

The first step is creating what Lulu calls a "project". I'll use the title of my book as the "Working Title", my name was already filled in since I'm logged in, and I'll select "Make it public to sell in the Lulu Marketplace" since that's the reason I'm here.

Starting a new project with Lulu

2. Add Files

Next step is uploading files.

Upload files to Lulu

Lulu says you can upload in a variety of formats:

Lulu supported file formats

It's nice that they added support for EPUB. Because my eBook is already in PDF format, though, I'll upload that version and make a mental note that I still need to convert my eBook to EPUB format as I would like potential buyers to have that option.

Choosing my PDF and pressing upload flashes some activity…

Uploading your eBook status

…and in no time my file is uploaded:

Your file has been uploaded

3. Design Your Cover

For those following along in this series, you know why book covers are important. Lulu has a nice feature in that you can create a generic cover using their templates:

Creating a book cover using Lulu

Besides for generic templates and background colors, you can select your own image or browse the Lulu Gallery. While the gallery had some nice images, I've already created my own. Uploading it went smoothly though I did have to tweak the image size to fit Lulu's minimum size requirement of 621 x 810 pixels.

I went, of course, with my stock image for my eBook:Upload image success4. Describe Your Project   

You'll notice Lulu said we could do this in three steps. Yet here we are on step four…

In any case, now we get to add some descriptive detail to our eBook, including keywords and copyright information:

My Lulu project described

5. Digital Rights Management

Now this is kind of interesting. I have the option of adding DRM to my eBook, but at a cost:

DRM, but at a cost

Of course, I won't be paying the extra $0.99; my readers will. I don't like DRM to begin with, and certainly don't want to make people pay more just to have to deal with it's hassles. I'll choose the DRM-free option.

6. Set Your Project Price

Note that we are now at twice the number of steps Lulu said we'd have to go through. Just saying…

This is where we'll set our eBook price.

Set your eBook price

Focusing in on the right-hand side:

Lulu's cost calculator

Because of the pricing discussion above I'm going to leave the price of my eBook at $5… for now.

7. Review Your Project

This is the last step. A quick review of what we've already entered, click the confirmation button, and we're done.

The Hall of the Wood, published on Lulu

You can now purchase The Hall of the Wood from Lulu.

Conclusion

Lulu is another viable option for selling your eBook, though I found their pricing structure not as competitive as the other eRetailers I featured in this series. Still, it's another outlet in which to gain some eyeballs.

Reference


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Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 6: Scribd

This is the next post in a multi-part series about self-publishing your eBook. Posts include:

1. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 1: Introduction
2. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 2: E-book Formatting
3. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 3: Book Covers
4. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 4: Amazon.com
5. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 5: Smashwords
6. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 6: Scribd (this post)
7. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 7: Lulu
8. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 8: Selling Strategy

Scribd is the third online retailer I'd like to take a look at as part of this blog series. Let's get into it.

What is Scribd?

From their About Us page:

Scribd is the largest social publishing company in the world, the Website where tens of millions of people each month publish and discover original writings and documents. On Scribd, you can quickly and easily turn nearly any file—including PDF, Word, PowerPoint and Excel—into a Web document and share it with the world.

One thing I discovered while trying to figure out what Scribd is all about is that it's not so much a retailer like the Amazon Kindle store or Smashwords as it is a hosting site. They host a lot more than just e-books: brochures, magazines, catalogs, government docs, illustrations, maps, slideshows, recipes, spreadsheets, etc. They do, however, host e-books, otherwise this entry would not be finding it's way into my series.

A couple of good places to visit to learn more about Scribd or to just keep up on the latest happenings there is via their blog and at their Getting Started forum. The Scribd Support Desk would be your first place to seek help.

If you're on Twitter, you can follow @scribd.

How much does Scribd charge?

If you're planning on selling your content on Scribd, then you'll need to hand over some of your sales. Scribd charges a 20% consignment fee for each item sold plus an additional transaction fee of $0.25 ($0.40 for DRM-protected content).

So, to break that down: if I charge $0.99 for my e-book like I do on Amazon and Smashwords, Scribd is going to take $0.45 of that (that's $0.99 * 0.2 + $0.25; you make $0.54). That works out to Scribd getting 45% of the sale. To compare, Amazon charges 65% and Smashwords, 42%.

What file formats does Scribd support?

Scribd supports DOC/DOCX (Microsoft Word), PPT/PPTX/PPS (Microsoft PowerPoint), XLS/XLSX (Microsoft Excel), PDF, the various Open Office formats, TXT, and RTF. They preface their "Support File Types" section with this:

Scribd supports most common document formats. If you're not sure, try uploading it.

So maybe they support more (?). If anyone knows, let me know. I wonder in particular if they support EPUB.

See my post for more info on E-book File Formats.

Scribd doesn't mess around with special formatting requirements or conversions like Amazon or Smashwords; the above formats are what you upload and what readers download.

How Scribd Organizes Content

Here's what the Scribd home page looks like:

image

By clicking "Explore" in the top navigation bar, you'll see Scribd's categories that they use to organize content:

image

Presumably if you're giving away your content for free your e-book would fall into the "Books" category at the top. If you plan to charge, then it should fall under the last, "Scribd Store" (I haven't uploaded any content to Scribd yet, so this is a learning experience for me, too).

One thing I do not like at all is that you cannot drill down any further than the following sub-categories under Books:

image

Clicking on "Fiction", my primary focus as a writer, brings up all fiction titles. This is not terribly helpful as it mixes in all genres. In other words, if I want to look through just fantasy or science fiction titles… well, you can't. Not without also wading through a lot of other content (most of which I found were steamy romance novels).

You can pare down results a little by selecting language, length, file types, and if content is free or for purchase:

image

Still, it would be nice to have a finer grained view into fiction titles in order to focus on just what I'm most interested in. Also, I see this as being a major hurdle that will probably keep potential buyers from ever seeing my e-book. It's bad enough to be lost amidst a sea of a specific genre, but to try to find something amidst the larger category of fiction… good luck.

Publishing with Scribd

Of course the first step is to sign up for a Scribd account. I'll assume you can handle that part and move on to uploading content.

There's a specially colored button on the navigation bar that says "Upload". That's what we want. Clicking it displays some information that asks, "Want to upload works to sell?":

image

If you're planning to give your content away, look no further than the "Upload" button. However, if you plan to sell your e-book, you'll need to upload it to the Scribd Store. Following the "You'll find the Scribd Store…" link gets us going.

Before I jump into the upload process, here's some helpful links to assist in preparing and selling your content:

Two takeaways from the "Preparing your content" link for me had to do with format and cover design. For formatting, Scribd recommends:

…uploading your document in PDF format. The PDF format was designed to maintain a documents look and feel across different computers. Word and PowerPoint...weren't. While Scribd accepts uploads as Word docs or PowerPoint presentations, the simple truth is that your document has a better chance of retaining your exact fonts and layout if you upload a PDF.

I'm OK with this as I use PDF as my primary distribution format already. Also, most (all?) e-readers support PDF natively (i.e., no conversion required). Even Amazon jumped on the PDF bandwagon.

For cover images, Scribd was where I learned of the "use big fonts" tip so that when shrunk down the text on my title is still readable.

So here's the "Publish to Sell" screen:

image

Clicking "Click to Choose Files" brings up a standard "Select files…" dialog. I selected my e-book and, after some quick edits and selections, came up with this:

image

I tried setting a price of $0.99, but Scribd modified it to $1.00. Also, as you can see, you have some "delivery" options. By default, people who buy your content can view it on Scribd. You then choose to make that the one and only way readers can view your content, or select "Downloadable PDF" to allow readers to download in PDF format, or choose the DRM option, which allows readers to download your content but view it only in Adobe Digital Editions. Think of ADE as e-reader software with a lot of restrictions (no printing, for one, though this may be configurable based on DRM settings embedded in the document; I don't know).

I went with the middle option. I'm not big on DRM and certainly don't want readers restricted to only viewing my content on the Scribd web site.

Uploading only takes a few seconds. Next, you're presented with a "Copyright Verification" page. No problem there. Last, a page where you can categorize your work:

image

Pretty standard stuff. The "Discoverability Rating" is defined as:

image

I added just the two tags, chose my category and (very limited) sub-category, and wound up with a rating of 'High'.

That's it. You can now view/purchase my e-book, The Hall of the Wood, on Scribd here.

Some lessons learned

Given that this is the first time I'd gone through this process with Scribd I was bound to find a few things I should have done differently. For one, my e-book displays as:

image

No cover image. Humph. I'll have to fix that.

Also, this was right after page 5:

image

Scribd has an option when you're uploading to choose what potential readers can sample. I went with the default, which seems to randomly select which pages not to display. I'd rather allow the reader to sample the first so many pages, so I'll have to go back and fix that, too.

Conclusion

Publishing to Scribd is by far the simplest so far of the online retailers I've taken a look at. They also pay royalties comparable to Smashwords, both of which are higher than Amazon. Since the main objective here is to attract readers. Scribd seems like another good outlet in which to accomplish that.

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Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 5: Smashwords

This is the next post in a multi-part series about self-publishing your eBook. Posts include:

1. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 1: Introduction
2. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 2: E-book Formatting
3. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 3: Book Covers
4. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 4: Amazon.com  
5. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 5: Smashwords (this post)
6. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 6: Scribd
7. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 7: Lulu
8. Selling Your eBook Without a Publisher, Part 8: Selling Strategy

Unlike Amazon, which I talked about in the previous post in this series, I know next to nothing about Smashwords. That, therefore, is the point of this post: to do some research into what Smashwords is and what it can offer as an electronic self-publishing platform.

What is Smashwords?

Smashwords is best described by this excerpt from their About page:

Smashwords is an ebook publishing and distribution platform for ebook authors, publishers and readers. We offer multi-format, DRM-free ebooks, ready for immediate sampling and purchase, and readable on any e-reading device.

Key takeaways from that include "DRM-free" and "multi-format". We'll see which formats below.

Founded in February of 2008 by Mark Coker, Smashwords is a place for serious writers to showcase and sell their literary work. Unlike Amazon's Kindle store, free is an option; you do not have to charge anything if you do not want.

Smashwords has made recent headlines with deals to begin distributing their catalog to the likes of Amazon, Sony, and even Barnes & Noble. That gives them access to three of the biggest sellers of e-books, and means if you publish with Smashwords your e-book just might end up on one or more of those storefronts (of course, you can already sell your e-book through Amazon, though the direct-through-Amazon model pays less).

On Twitter, you can follow Smashwords via it's founder, @markcoker. The Twitter RSS feed is another good option for keeping up with everything-Smashwords. Also, there is a Smashwords blog.

How much does Smashwords pay authors per sale?

Assuming you are charging a fee to download your e-book, Smashwords generally pays "up to 85% of the net sale". They offer the following formula:

Net proceeds to author = (sales price minus PayPal payment processing fees) * .85

I question how up-to-date this formula is because, as you'll see below, you actually make far less than 85% based on the sales breakdown provided when you set a price for a your e-book. Still, on a $0.99 e-book, you can expect to make $0.56, or 57% of the asking price. The rest goes to "billing fees" and Smashwords. See "Pricing and Sampling" below for more info.

Contrast that with Amazon's 35% payout and Smashwords still looks like a pretty good deal.

Who owns the rights after publishing to Smashwords?

From the Smashwords' About page:

The author retains all ownership rights to their works, and is still free to publish their work elsewhere if they choose. Authors can remove their works from Smashwords at any time (although they cannot take back works that have already been purchased or sampled by readers).

The Smashwords Storefront

Upon visiting the Smashwords home page you can immediately begin browsing e-books:

image

At left are a number of choices for narrowing your browsing:

image

Or you have other options at top:

image

Each book is listed as:

image

With much of the information you might expect, as well as ratings (if readers took the time to do so) and reviews:

image

I'm a huge believer in the ratings system for online retailers and especially publishers. It's the single best way (though not fool-proof) of judging quality.

Author Page

Each author who publishes on Smashwords gets an author page which includes bio information, web site, blog, twitter account, etc. It's much more comprehensive and progressive than what Amazon offers in their own version of this. The author page is, of course, the place where potential readers can find out more about you.

Since I'd already signed up for a Smashwords account, I went ahead and filled in the information for my own author page:

image

You'll notice at the bottom it says "You have not published any books". So I haven't. I think I will remedy that.

Publishing with Smashwords

While uploading an e-book to Smashwords appears to be pretty straightforward, there are a lot of steps:

1. Title and Synopsis

2. Pricing and Sampling

3. Categories

4. Tags

5. eBook Formats

6. Cover Image

7. Select File of Book to Publish

8. Publishing Agreement

I'll go through each one as I get my first fantasy novel, The Hall of the Wood, on Smashwords.

Step 1: Title and Synopsis

Easy enough since I already have a synopsis from having published in the Kindle store, and I also keep such information on my fiction page. Smashwords limits this to 400 characters, though, so I'll have to trim.

Here's my completed step 1:

image

Step 2: Pricing and Sampling

A. Pricing

Pricing is simple enough: this is where you set a price for your e-book. Smashwords provides a nice breakdown of where the money goes. For example, on a $0.99 sale price:

image

This bears some explaining.

"Non-affiliate sales" are sales made by a reader visiting Smashwords directly or through, perhaps, a link from your site and making a purchase.

Affiliate sales, like Amazon's Affiliates Program, is where someone has posted a link to your e-book and made a sale that way. As you can see, the affiliate claims a piece of the pie.

Premium Catalog Retailers is best described by the information I found on Smashwords web site. Suffice to say it is another, possibly greater outlet for sales. Here is the description:

This new catalog is distributed to major online retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Sony, Fictionwise and other distribution outlets that have higher mechanical standards such as requiring quality book cover images, books with copyright pages, and other simple requirements outlined below. If you're a serious author or publisher, you want your books included in Smashwords Premium Catalog.

B. Sampling

The second part of this step is sampling, where you specify how much of your e-book can be downloaded for free (i.e., previewed). I went with the default:

image

Step 3: Categories

Easy enough:

image

Step 4: Tags

I went with the tags shown:

image

Step 5: eBook Formats

I researched some of the different e-book formats previously, and I find it encouraging that Smashwords offers so many formats: epub, lrf, mobi, pdb, pdf, rtf, and txt. What this means for readers is that they have maximum selection, and can download their favorite (or their e-reader's) format and not get "locked in" to one particular format (like Amazon is doing with the Kindle, which only reads azw files Amazon supports PDF natively, as well as more basic formats like TXT, but in terms of eBooks AZW is still king when it comes to eBook formats and how well your eBook will look on the device).

The default is all formats; I left mine as available on each.

Step 6: Cover Image

I blogged about the importance of cover images already. I already have one for The Hall of the Wood, so I just needed to upload.

Step 7: Select File of Book to Publish

Smashwords lets you upload e-books in .doc or .rtf format (they do the conversion into the many e-book formats for you). If you want inclusion in the Premium Catalog, you'll want to follow the basic guidelines found here.

Step 8: Publish

This is the final and easiest step: just press "Publish" and you're done. You'll see a "Your book is now converting" page as Smashwords grinds through the e-book conversion process:

image

It takes a while…

Note that I did encounter some formatting errors once the process was complete: (1) I'd forgotten I have a table on my title page which makes the formatting a little nicer looking (Smashwords does not allow tables), (2) I had forgotten to put "Smashwords Edition" on my copyright page, and (3) it was suggested I "normalize" all font sizes to just one, with '12' being considered optimal. I corrected each of these items, updated (the update process is slightly more streamlined than the initial submission process), and everything was fine thereafter.

Now, I see my e-book listed under "Newest":

image

As a final step, I submitted my e-book for inclusion in the Premium Catalog. This is what might just get your e-book into the storefronts of Amazon, Sony, and Barnes & Noble.

Conclusion

While that may have seemed like a long process… it was. Some of it was lessons learned, though, while some of it I was able to breeze through since I'd already done most of the leg-work. Your experience may vary. Unfortunately, I do have to now maintain two different online "source" versions of my e-book: one for Kindle and another for Smashwords, since they each have different requirements. Hopefully as a next step I'll be able to merge some of those differences and lessen the maintenance. Of course, once it's uploaded, it's uploaded, and hopefully doesn't require too many modifications.

Next post, I'll take a look at Scribd.

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