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Publishing on smashwords

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  #1  
Old 01-22-2011, 04:16 AM
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Default Publishing on smashwords


Just a couple of questions.

If I publish an ebook using Smashwords, do they distribute to all the ebook retailers? So if someone has a kindle, they can search it up and purchase it?

Also, is it worth it saleswise? My career choice is to be a writer. It's my dream. would publishing on Smashwords be a wise choice?

Also, is there a chance a distributor might pick it up? For example, a distributor might see it and decide they like it to be able to print some off and ship them to stores. I am not asking if this is a likely scenario but is it a possible one?

Thanks.

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  #2  
Old 01-22-2011, 05:35 AM
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What I know about Smashwords.

They distributes to some retailers. Not Amazon though, not as far as I know.

When you publish through Smashwords, they own the ISBN, and take a cut out of every sale after the retailer takes a cut.

They don't do any promo for you.

They're responsible for only a very small portion of any of my sales.

They do distribute to Apple and Barnes and Noble, but I don't personally know that many people who buy from those retailers.

It doesn't sound like Smashwords would be the way to go for you. I could be wrong. This is just from my experience.
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:39 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

So are you saying ebooks in general wouldn't be the way to go for me? or just Smashwords?

Is there a better ebook alternative?
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:04 AM
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I prefer ebook, especially if, for some reason, you have to make quick editing changes in your work. As for the ISBN, I would save up and buy your own and you can still use Smashwords or DTP Amazon/Kindle to put your book up for sale. I wouldn't depened on someone giving me an ISBN because usually THEY own it.
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:37 AM
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After reading the USA Today article, I've done a lot of research on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and PubIt! from Barnes & Nobel. As they're the major distributors, that's where I'm thinking hard of going.

As for ISBN, unless you're looking for hard copy sales, it appears not to be required. If I'm wrong, please set me straight.

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  #6  
Old 02-10-2011, 09:58 AM
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Oh no, you're not wrong. You're right. But for some publishers, they want an ISBN for the ebook just to help in their database sorting and search stuff. But if you're selling off your own website using Paypal for instance, you won't need one. It all depends on what you want to do with your book.

For Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for example, they state for the ISBN field:

If your product has an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), enter it here. If not, you can skip this field. Note that this field should not be used to enter the ISBN of the print edition of this book.

++++++++

SMASHWORD on ISBN

Do I need an ISBN to publish on Smashwords?
No, you don't need an ISBN, although your book will be more successful if you have one. Why? If your book is in the Premium Catalog, it must have an ISBN if you want your book distributed to Sony and Apple. An ISBN number also increases the discoverability of your book, and yields additional marketing benefits such as getting your book listed in more online catalogs and databases.

What is an ISBN number?
An ISBN is a unique number that identifies your book. Many ebook retailers require an ISBN number in order for them to stock your ebook on their digital shelves. It's how they keep track of orders of your book so they can report these orders back to Smashwords so you can be paid. It's also how they keep track of the book inside their own systems. For example, there could be two different books with the same title, like "How to Grow to Tomatoes," but if they have different ISBNs the retailer will know they're really different books, associated with different authors. The number is registered with the the international ISBN agency and it helps customers and sales outlets (retailers, libraries, distributors) discover your book and differentiate it from other books. If you want to learn more about ISBN, Bowker, the US ISBN agency, has great information at the Bowker FAQ.

I already have an ISBN for my print book. Can I use it with Smashwords?
No. The International ISBN agency is very clear that you should not use a print ISBN on an ebook. Your Smashwords ebook ISBN should be unique to that book.
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2013, 09:32 AM
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Default ebook ISBN question

I'm still really confused about the whole ebook ISBN thing. According to Bowker, you need a different ISBN for every single format (one for Kindle, one for epub, one for pdf, etc. etc.). I understand the need to separate digital from print, and I understand the need to be clear as to what format a customer is buying in digital form. However, it all seems kind of crazy and expensive. I plan to buy the set of 10 because I "THINK" I'd rather be my own publisher (may even get a DBA or LLC in order to create a name), but do I really need a separate ISBN for each format? And is that really true that I do not need an ISBN for any format (meaning digital formats or print) I sell on my website. I have another question about the website part, but I'm going to make another thread for that.

Sorry for all the questions!
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  #8  
Old 09-24-2013, 11:12 AM
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Yes, smashwords will distribute it with the channels they have.

Draft2Digital would be a better option. The interface is simple, and from what other authors have said, it is much quicker than smashwords. But they don't have as many contracts with retailers as smashwords has. D2D currently distribute to: B&N, Kobo, ITunes, createspace and amazon.

Yes, it is worth it sales wise, because you will reach a wider audience.
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2013, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Lisa M. Green View Post
I'm still really confused about the whole ebook ISBN thing. According to Bowker, you need a different ISBN for every single format (one for Kindle, one for epub, one for pdf, etc. etc.). I understand the need to separate digital from print, and I understand the need to be clear as to what format a customer is buying in digital form. However, it all seems kind of crazy and expensive. I plan to buy the set of 10 because I "THINK" I'd rather be my own publisher (may even get a DBA or LLC in order to create a name), but do I really need a separate ISBN for each format? And is that really true that I do not need an ISBN for any format (meaning digital formats or print) I sell on my website. I have another question about the website part, but I'm going to make another thread for that.

Sorry for all the questions!
Here's a blog post by Hugh Howey about ISBN's. He makes some interesting points.
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  #10  
Old 09-24-2013, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FutureFootball View Post
Here's a blog post by Hugh Howey about ISBN's. He makes some interesting points.
Yes, that was interesting. But it seems to provide more questions than answers, especially if you read through his responses to the comments.

"And you can use the free CS ISBN for your ebooks. Whether or not that’s kosher or legal is irrelevant. You can. It works. And your book can go on to be a NYT bestseller and get shelved in major chains. So why not do it?"

RED FLAG FOR ME! Is it legal? Kind of important isn't it?

One thing I think about is separating myself from the others who have Amazon, Createspace, Smashwords, etc. listed as their publisher. Maybe that's a stupid thing to worry about. Maybe it means nothing. I don't know. That's what I'm confused about.

Also, for my print books, if I decide to go with Lightningsource as I currently plan to, I will HAVE to have an ISBN. Why don't I want to go with Createspace? A) Unless I sell a ton of copies, I can handle shipping myself (selling that much would be a great problem to have)...and B) Createspace is a RIP-OFF in terms of how much you make off each book. I used their calculator with my estimated numbers, and it said I would make between 20 and 30 cents per printed book. Ridiculous. Plus, I do not need any of the other benefits of any of these sites (formatting, cover, etc.) because we've taken care of that ourselves (my fiancé is a professional, so no we're not just winging it). Smashwords...I don't know about their numbers yet as I haven't checked, but I imagine a similar situation. Maybe not. I've yet to find any site as horrible in royalties as Createspace. Don't get me wrong: it would be great for someone with zero clue on how to do any of the other stuff. But I honestly don't see the benefit for me. That being said, I'd have to get an ISBN if I don't go with one of them. So again, this is where I'm still not clear as to the best decision.

The concerns they were discussing over metadata are another set of issues I worry about. Just read the Terms and Conditions for KDP, and you almost want to faint. I guess you just have to trust them, but I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm very protective of my intellectual property.

Last thing (I know this is horribly long): From what I understand, no matter who you use or how you do it, Apple requires you to purchase your own ISBN for their version. Someone correct me if that is wrong. So, I'd need at least one for that no matter what if I plan to have a version for Apple. Plus the printed version if I ship myself (that's two). Already I'm buying a stack of 10. Is all of this wrong? Also, I am still unclear about selling on my website (print and digital). Do I need ISBNs for that?

Sorry for hijacking the thread...
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  #11  
Old 09-25-2013, 12:52 AM
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Sorry for hijacking the thread...
You're not hijacking the thread, Lisa. The conversation has just developed, that's all.
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  #12  
Old 09-25-2013, 03:15 AM
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I think the area is still very grey around this. I know in the UK there is no legal requirement to have an ISBN. It's an identification number for a product (or format in this case). Some major distributors may require ISBNs, but if you're selling from your website, I can't wee why you would have to have one. You're not a major distributor.

The wider you go with placing your work in different outlets, the more ISBNs become valuable. ISBNs are used for identifying the different formats you use, so you ideally need them for that reason, otherwise if you have a standard one for all of them, the reader could get the wrong format (in theory, at least). Most will recommend you having ISBNs for different formats.

But here it gets a little sketchy. my Smashwords and AllRomanceEbooks ISBNs are the same. From what I can gather, a lot of publishers work like this: one ISBN for ebooks. However, I thought Amazon assigned their own unique ASIN number? They only list the ISBN, but don't actually use them? *Shrugs* If you're only selling from there, do you need an ISBN?

Just do a little research of a few titles on your E-BOOK shelf: see if each title differs with each distribution company. Do they use the same or not?
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Last edited by Whiskers; 09-25-2013 at 07:05 AM.. Reason: Taken out ISBN info now Lisa has seen it.
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  #13  
Old 09-25-2013, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Whiskers View Post
...otherwise if you have a standard one for all of them, the reader could get the wrong format (in theory, at least). Most will recommend you having ISBNs for different formats.
But your publisher does not follow this rule according to your ISBN numbers. Now I'm even more confused.

However, none of this matters IF it truly does help your sales to publish under yourself (or as a DBA preferably) instead of having Amazon, Createspace, Smashwords, etc. as your publisher (I did read Smashwords site now, and it does state that you retain your name as publisher even with their ISBN, but they are listed as distributor). But you see my point. If it is really true that it's better to break away from the mound of self-publishers by getting your own ISBNs, then it's worth it. If the vast majority with experience say it makes zero difference, then I may change my mind.

Speaking of Smashwords: Now that I've looked at their site, I have a question. It states their "Meatgrinder" spits out all the different formats, but then it clearly states they only work with the epub version. What is the purpose of having six or seven different formats if they don't use them? I'm sure I missed something somewhere, but I'm really new to all this and I'm trying to learn.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Lisa M. Green View Post
But your publisher does not follow this rule according to your ISBN numbers. Now I'm even more confused.
.
It's why I state it gets sketchy. Some follow this ISBN per format rule, some don't. I think that's why you're best of doing your own research to see just how many share the same ISBN.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:05 AM
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It states their "Meatgrinder" spits out all the different formats, but then it clearly states they only work with the epub version.
Means the only e-reader version they'll let you upload into their "meatgrinder" without too much worry that the final product will come out all haywire. What can be downloaded is much different than what I can uploaded. Uploaded - Word document (better make sure your formatting's correct, or it'll look hideous) and epub version. Downloaded - epub, mobi, rtf, pdf, plain text, etc.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Devon View Post
Means the only e-reader version they'll let you upload into their "meatgrinder" without too much worry that the final product will come out all haywire. What can be downloaded is much different than what I can uploaded. Uploaded - Word document (better make sure your formatting's correct, or it'll look hideous) and epub version. Downloaded - epub, mobi, rtf, pdf, plain text, etc.
Do they allow you a proofread before they distribute? I know it has to fit their guidelines to be accepted, but what about things being off on their end that don't bother them but are not correct? Does the author get a say? If not, I've made a definitive decision not to use them. I'd rather it be correct. I've seen very poorly done ebooks that passed inspection at Amazon, but I would have balked at as an author.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:47 AM
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You can download it from their site, then "unpublish" (hide it, really) to view it for yourself on whatever e-reader(s) you have and make changes as needed. I know I did that several times with my first collection just to get things right (looking "just so"), and people will only see one uploaded selection to download, whereas you'll see all of the ones you'd uploaded. Unless they'd already downloaded the project, then they'll see different choices listed. In other words, if the reader's new, they'll only see the current upload available so they won't download any of the unfixed versions.

I know . . . I went through the same hesitancy. I didn't want a completely sloppy project out for the viewing. I wanted to make sure it looked right before anyone saw it. So yes, you can hide it from availability until you're happy with the output.

One thing, though. Smashwords tends to stick in a stupid line space at what they call the "midpoint" of the project. I think it's sloppy, to be honest, and I have yet to see what to do to remove the line space out. (Irks the heck out of me, but I have no other place to offer up my collections for free!) Otherwise, though, everything else comes out clean, so long as you'd done the formatting correctly.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:46 PM
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Do you mean an extra space between two lines in the middle of the book? How freaking bizarre...and completely arbitrary...
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:20 PM
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Do you mean an extra space between two lines in the middle of the book? How freaking bizarre...and completely arbitrary...
Yes. Lol! And yes, I totally agree.

(There. I've subscribed to your blog, and "Liked" your FB page. )
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Old 09-26-2013, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Devon View Post
Yes. Lol! And yes, I totally agree.

(There. I've subscribed to your blog, and "Liked" your FB page. )
*bows humbly*

I hope it's a genuine "like." Though I won't turn down a forced one, either.

As one of my students insisted one day, beggars can't be juicy
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Old 09-27-2013, 12:42 AM
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I hope it's a genuine "like."
No worries, 'tis, 'tis. "nods*

beggars can't be juicy
Hahahahaha! That's priceless!
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Lisa M. Green View Post

I hope it's a genuine "like."


Wait until it moves from 'likes' to companies asking if you want your writing sponsoring. (Watch out for Grammarly). And then there's those who ask for ad space on your website. The last who came my way offered $100 a year (those can be the good ones to go for so long as you support what they're advertising), but, lol, a few likes won't hurt, so long as they' are genuine (which the lady above says hers is ).

I'll like some pages, but if communication stops, then I unlike. I don't have a like button myself, but I'll help anyone out, so long as they don't take the piss.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Whiskers View Post
...so long as they don't take the piss.
Ah, not a colonist I see?
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:28 PM
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I am wondering if anyone has used My Ebook site? I would buy my own ISBN number and sell it from my site and this site publishes for free. It was designed for schools and students. It has its own library. Let me know if anyone has used it, Thanks.
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:01 PM
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Getting back to the original post

Originally Posted by Alex Slade View Post
If I publish an ebook using Smashwords, do they distribute to all the ebook retailers? So if someone has a kindle, they can search it up and purchase it?
They distribute to many of the big names, B&N (still a strong distributor of books in all forms), iTunes (a mini giant due to its fashion Apple standing and the prevalence of Apple products), Sony, Kobo, Diesel (European, I believe) and they are constantly adding new distributors. They do NOT distribute to Amazon. There, you would have to publish yourself via KDP.

Also, is it worth it saleswise? My career choice is to be a writer. It's my dream. would publishing on Smashwords be a wise choice?
Is it worth it? I think it absolutely is. They streamline the process and make it easy to reach a lot of stores at once so you can focus on other stuff. No, they don't market for you, but then, a lot of publishers don't, either. If you want to be a writer, then don't worry about where or how you get your book out there, just that you do. The more you publish, the more people see and recognize your name, the better for you. It doesn't mean you have to stay with Smashwords for your entire career, but it's a really good starting point. =) (IMO)

Also, is there a chance a distributor might pick it up? For example, a distributor might see it and decide they like it to be able to print some off and ship them to stores. I am not asking if this is a likely scenario but is it a possible one?
This I cannot answer. There are so many indie books being published every day, getting noticed at all is as much about luck as it is quality and promotion. Is there a chance? Sure. There is a chance you might meet a rep from RandomHouse on the bus one day, tell them about your book, and they'll take it on. There are no guarantees, and writers rarely make a lot of money. They rarely make enough to live on, especially at the start, so don't go into it assuming you will hit it big with your first publication. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it =) If it calls to your heart, then don't let anything stop you.
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Old 02-08-2014, 10:40 PM
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:09 AM
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Whisper View Post
There are so many indie books being published every day, getting noticed at all is as much about luck as it is quality and promotion. Is there a chance? Sure. There is a chance you might meet a rep from RandomHouse on the bus one day, tell them about your book, and they'll take it on.
Luck is such an unfortunate word! But true, I think, when it comes to trying to get your published e-books discovered. I've read dozens of blogs, and all the comments attached to them, debating how to promote your e-books. Most of us would rather spend more time writing than marketing. I'm not sure people can find my e-books at Amazon any easier than they can find my website where I promote them. Twitter and Facebook? I don't know. Seems like we should be participating in those forums to make friends and socialize, not to promote our writing. I've had lots of authors tell me to forget about marketing and just keep writing and publishing. Sooner or later... what?
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:29 AM
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I think that's a balance that needs to be learned and respected, qwerty: Knowing when to back away from promotion and target the right people: reviewers, interviewers, other authors in your genre who run blog rolls. They target readers the right way by giving an objective view that readers need to see. Talk to readers in general, sure, but not on any self-promo side.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Whiskers View Post
I think that's a balance that needs to be learned and respected, qwerty: Knowing when to back away from promotion and target the right people: reviewers, interviewers, other authors in your genre who run blog rolls. They target readers the right way by giving an objective view that readers need to see. Talk to readers in general, sure, but not on any self-promo side.
Good advice. Thanks. I've probably spent too much time writing and not enough promoting. My only excuse is being reluctant to waste my time doing it (promoting) incorrectly or ineffectively. I've read a dozen or more free and not free e-books aimed at telling independent authors how to get their writing discovered, and most of it makes the process sound like 90% promoting and 10% writing. Like you said, balance needs to be learned. No way to get in the water without getting wet. Can you recommend a book, print or digitized, you feel would be a good place for a beginner to begin?
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