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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Smashwords or Kindle?

   
Author Topic: Smashwords or Kindle?
MartinV
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I remember we talked once about self-publishing on Smashwords but making a separate publish at Kindle and Pubit, even though Smashwords offers to distribute to Kindle and Pubit stores as well.

Why is that exactly?

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pdblake
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Smashwords do not publish to Kindle. The option is there but it is not live and probably never likely to be.
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Meredith
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I published to both Smashwords and Kindle.

Given that that was over a month ago and my story still hasn't turned up on B&N, I'll probably do all three next time. Which should be in a week or so.

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MartinV
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The thing is Smashwords creates a .mobi file but doesn't allow you to post it to Kindle so you have to make your own file. Does Amazon also have a file converter or do they expect a .mobi file?
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pdblake
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Amazon accepts an HTML file(save as HTML in word) and converts it to a .mobi
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Meredith
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The conversion for Kindle is easier than the one for Smashwords. Or may it's just because I used the file I'd already formatted for the Smashwords upload.
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enigmaticuser
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I did both. Smashwords originally because of the higher royalty, and it seemed like it goes more places, but even from their own website they say Amazon has a larger network, so they even encourage you to use both.

So when I direct a buyer, I send them to Smashwords.

Smashwords was harder to format, but moving forward I can simply remove the "autoformat" options which are the bulk of the work and I'll have a more versatile file.

Amazon was easy to format, all you need is Word.

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Owasm
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I make a clean MS Word document and save it as a .doc file. Smashwords has a formatting guide that really works well for B&N's Pubit and Kindle as well.

Pubit and Kindle will upload the non-smashwords file using their own software. Smashwords will convert the Smashwords file into all other formats. The Kindle/Pubit file has a different copyright page. The Smashwords copyright page has a notation that the book is published at Smashwords. That's the only difference.

So I end up with two word files. Uploading e-books has gotten ridiculously easy and you can use MS Word for everything. A year ago, you'd have to know HTML and ePub formatting rules, but that's ancient history. The converters take text files, html and MS Word files. If you don't mess around with formatting and write barebones drafts, it's all a snap. (For example don't use tabs for paragraph indentations, but do it through MS Word first line formatting.)

You can get a free ISBN number at Smashwords (Amazon and B&N have their own catalog numbers that they assign) and have them distribute your e-book to the rest of the world (Sony, iBook, etc.)

Most of my book sales are on Amazon, but you've got nearly universal coverage if you publish on those three sites. (kindle, pubit and smashwords).

I wasn't aware that Smashwords no longer distributed to Amazon. You've got to be on the Smashwords premium distribution list to go all over the place (and that includes iBook). You can opt out on Kindle and B&N or any other outlet. I opt out on Kindle and B&N and let Smashwords handle the rest.

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Meredith
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@Owasm:

I'm currently prepping BLOOD WILL TELL. Do you go through the whole "normal style" rigamarole from the style guide? I'm wondering if all of that is really necessary.

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Owasm
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I make sure that I write clean copy in the first place. No tabs or weird spacing. Just clean prose. That way I don't worry about the formatting. If I choose to make a hot links to the table of contents, that requires additional work putting in the links. I find that the links don't always work, (I've submitted five ebooks) so I ignore them. Page breaks are a little iffy as well.

For e-books the key is to keep your writing simple from a formatting standpoint. My last two went through the Smashwords converter without a peep. That conversion tool gives you the best feedback. If it makes it through that, then you are in business.

The best advice I can give is to keep it simple and come up with a good cover and a good product description.

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Meredith
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Thanks. My formats are generally fairly clean, too.

I don't mind the minor clean up and a few format changes--Times New Roman instead of Courier and single space. Removing the headers, etc. I just don't see the need for the whole "Normal Style" bit.

Yeah. Reminds me. I still have to redo the cover. It'll look the same, except just less pixelated when expanded.

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LDWriter2
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quote:
except just less pixelated when expanded
Sounds painful


Hmm, pixelated... sounds like a story idea. Got to think on it some more.

And I may send that to Dean Wesley Smith as a story title he could do.

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MartinV
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I've already went through Smashwords' Style Guide (three times, in fact) to make sure I have everything right. The good thing is that I don't have to do most of the corrections because I never got in the habit of using tabs or spaces to begin a paragraph. Instead, I took the time to learn how to do it with Words's tools.
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Rhaythe
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The SmashWords process is much easier if you make a template Word document and cut/paste your manuscript into it from notepad. Yes, you lose all your formatting, but it's much less likely to offend their converter.

Font templates are your friend with Smashwords. Kindle, it's all about the HTML.

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MartinV
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I simply modified the Normal Template in my MS Word so it has all the styles I need. I also use the Bookmark feature so it's easy to make a Table of Contents.

It pays off to know how to really use Word if that's the program you write in.

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MartinV
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Does anyone use Lulu.com?
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MartinV
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OK, I made a PayPal account just so I could publish my books. I'm making an account on Kindle Direct Publishing and they don't have a PayPal option, just international bank. So I put in my bank account and they don't accept it for Amazon.com and Amazon.uk stores, just the EU ones.

Anyone know how to help me on this?

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LDWriter2
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Lulu.com does stories and/or novels?


And Martin even though I can't help you but I will be interested in the answer because hopefully I will be in your post in three months or so.

Take that long, maybe longer, to get my novel checked out.

[ April 22, 2012, 08:17 PM: Message edited by: LDWriter2 ]

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MartinV
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It's done. Now all that's left is to check the b*** conversion errors.
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MartinV
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OK, why did Amazon change the price of my ebook? I set it to 4.99$ but Amazon has a price 8.04$.
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Rhaythe
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Did you accidentally check the auto-convert button for foreign currencies?
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Meredith
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I don't know why, but you can change the price pretty easily.
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MartinV
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I didn't check the auto-convert button accidentally, I did it on purpose. I thought it would convert the currency not change a $ price into a $ price but bigger. Thanks for letting me know it does that, Rhaythe.

And I will change the price as soon as I get home from Eurocon. I'm typing this on a busted laptop (luckily not mine) in a hostel in Zagreb, Croatia.

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