There comes a time in every writer‘s life when they feel the need to publish. Not unlike the instinct that drives lemmings. This is even true for freelance writers. 30 years ago this was a daunting task that took agents and years to accomplish. Today, it could be done in hours. There are a lot of publishing options out there but today I thought I’d take you down the road of one in particular: Smashwords.
For the record, I have to say that I love these guys. I have several books published there and I’ve been signed up with them for a few years now. They are totally free and Smashwords is quickly becoming one of the most recognized e-book publishing sites on the planet. Me thinks they deserve it.
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Go to Smashwords.com and sign up for a free account. It only takes a few minutes. While there, poke around the site a bit and have a look at the titles. I think you’ll be amazed.
Publishing your first e-book is a snap. The very first step (and the most important one) is to download the Style Guide. It is your Smashwords publishing best friend. Whenever I publish a new e-book, I have the Style Guide open for reference. Read the Style Guide to get a feel for the basics. I’ll sum it up in a few words: Put your text in a Word document and remove most formatting. The Style Guide will walk you through the process of doing that.
From the Dashboard, you will be able to select “publish.” The site then guides you through the process. You will set the price, upload your cover, add short and long book descriptions and choose your tags. Choose your book file and you’re ready to go. You have the option of publishing in all of the popular e-book formats. Once you submit everything, the Smashwords “meatgrinder” will convert your properly formatted Word file into your chosen e-book formats.
Once the conversion is complete, you can get a free ISBN and if you have done your front end work well, the book will be included in the Premium Catalog for distribution to some heavy-hitter e-book players like Apple and Sony.
Once you have published, your work has really just begun. I know I’m taking a giant leap here, but I’m going to assume that you want folks to find and buy your book. If that’s the case, Smashwords also has a free Marketing Guide that is pure gold. The Marketing Guide will help you to be a very successful e-book author.
This has been the most basic of primers to publishing your work at Smashwords. The next post will go into more detail and will offer you strategies to avoid most of the pitfalls that cause frustration.
If you go to Smashwords and publish, I’d love to hear about your experience and I would be happy to try and answer any questions you may have.