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Pros and cons of using Smashwords for ebooks

A number of Ebook 18a self-publishing companies exist, and most are rip-offs. Yes, they may turn out a quality-looking product, but they don’t get you an Amazon.com landing page for your title or you’re unable to sell your title across several platforms such as Kindle or Nook. Worse, they are extremely expensive.

Without a doubt, KindleDP – a divisions of Amazon.com – offers the best deal, as it's free and gets you a landing page with high SEO and your book’s various platforms all linked, but they don’t get you on an ebook for Nook, iBook or Kobo. The simple solution is to also load your ebook to another self-publishing site that offers this option and that also is free, namely Smashwords.

Based in California, Smashwords was founded in 2008 as an ebook publisher and distributor. As of early 2017, the company had published about 440,000 books.

There are a couple of major benefits to using Smashwords. First and foremost is it offers one-stop shopping for all of the major ebooks formats (Kindle, iBook, Nook, Kobo) including ways readers can download them to their PC, laptop or tablet. That’s a lot easier than formatting a book for each of those vendors and uploading it at their website. Secondly, Smashwords gives you a nice landing page for your book that gets fairly good play on search engines. Even better, you really don’t have to do anything to promote that page to get a high ranking.

Of course, Smashwords, like anything, carries some downsides. One issue is its very finicky formatting rules. What is acceptable when uploading at Kindle Direct probably won’t cut it at Smashwords. That’s because Smashwords needs a format that works across-the-board for Nook, Kobo and iBook as well as Kindle. Getting your book formatted correctly can be frustrating the first time around. Another issue is that you’ll still need to upload your book separately at Kindle Direct if you want an Amazon.com page for your ebook. Though Smashwords can create a format that Kindle ebooks can read and shows up high on search engines, when most people want an ebook for their Kindle, they go to Amazon.com, which on search engines almost always shows up in a spot ahead of your Smashwords landing page.

Verdict: Use Smashwords to get your ebook on iBook, Nook and Kobo. If you format your Kindle ebook to Smashwords’ specs, all you’ll need to do is add a paragraph on your title page about Smashwords, and you’ll be good to go across several platforms.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.


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