COUNTING DOWN THE STORM (Temporarily Unavailable) A Novella by D. Ryan Leask
For two days the storm has taken over the city, and two people's lives. A man convinces himself that his life is worthless when his lover leaves him for another man. Alone and depressed, he allows his life to sink into the bowels of civilization. When a wife and mother discovers that her husband is having an affair she abandons logic and gives in to the perilous abyss of jealousy and revenge.
Re-Launch Tentatively Scheduled for Oct 17th:
¦Goodreads - For All E-Readers ¦Smashwords - For All E-Readers ¦Diesel E-Books Store - E-Pub ¦iTunes - For Your iPad/iPhone/Mac¦ ¦Kobo - For Your Kobo¦Sony - For Your Sony E-Reader¦Barnes & Noble - For Your Nook¦Direct From the Author - Mobi E-Pub or pdf¦

Monday, June 20, 2011

Smashwords is NOT the Devil: Why you should not overlook publishing your e-book there

As you may have ascertained from my previous blog I was not very impressed with Amazon and although I did upload my book there I did so only because it is currently the #1 seller of e-books on-line.  I had originally planned on uploading to what I consider the big three:
  1. Amazon - aka Kindle Direct Publishing
  2. Barnes & Noble - aka PubIt
  3. Smashwords
I discovered in the process that B&N was going to be a pain in the ass as I would need to set up an American bank account in order to publish there, I also found out that if I made the Premium Library with Smashwords that they published to B&N so I skipped it.  I have nothing good or bad to say about B&N as I have no experience in that regard.

I was told by some people that there was no point in uploading to Smashwords, they (authors) had sold few books there and even went as far as saying that they were incredibly unprofessional.  This is a comment thread that made me almost skip Smashwords.  It involved (and was on the blog of) someone that I think is a bit of an expert on e-books (their text is highlighted).  (I will leave out names):
…My question is: how do I get this to Smashwords? They want a .doc file, which seems like a step backwards at this point.

Thanks for all your help!

It is indeed a step backwards. Everything about Smashwords is a step backwards.

The best way to go about it is probably to start Word and then open your source HTML file from within there. Word can interpret HTML files – it may require setting an import toggle – and the result may be fairly close to what you formatted. Once it is imported properly you should be able to save it as a DOC file.  I’ve never done this because I do not use Word and I also do not do Smashwords because I am completely dissatisfied with the quality of their output – apart from the fact that they generate zero sales and are thus a waste of time – but it should work in theory.
Thank’s **********. I had to tweak my HTML, but I finally got Word to open it.
I just looked at the Smashwords style guide, and I just want to scream now. I had perfect HTML with CSS and I have to reformat the whole thing again!? I have epub done, and I have to reformat it again!?

Yikes. That’s just too much (for now at least).
That’s why I keep telling people, forget about Smashwords. They are forcing you to a low quality output.
The style guide from Smashwords (which is free to download) isn't that bad and if you go through it and have followed everything you should have absolutely no problems.  It isn't any more involved than the steps I gave for formatting for kindle and when you are done the book reaches a broader group of e-book users.  The reason why Smashwords uses the *.doc format is for their meatgrinder which takes one format and literally pumps it out into the various formats that different platforms need.  This saves you from having to format your story differently for each reader and if there is a new reader or format change they take care of the reformatting for you.  This takes a couple of days to do as far as getting it into the premium catalogue, (mine was loaded on the standard catalogue on one day).  This process also stops a lot of crap from getting published, unlike Amazon where you can put whatever the hell you want up, Smashwords does it's best stopping people from plagiarizing works or posting public domain articles.  Color me impressed!

Formats Through Smashwords:
  • Kindle (.mobi)
  • Online Reading (HTML)
  • Online Reading (JavaScript)
  • Epub (open industry format, good for Stanza reader, Kobo, Nook, others)
  • PDF (good for highly formatted books, or for home printing)
  • RTF (readable on most word processors)
  • LRF (for Sony Reader)
  • Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)
  • Plain Text (download) (flexible, but lacks much formatting)
  • Plain Text (view) (viewable as web page)
If you publish to Smashwords your books can be purchased at:
  • Barnes & Noble -"Counting Down the Storm" was available after 1 week of being on Premium Catalogue
  • Sony - "Counting Down The Storm" Available after 1 Month
  • Kobo - "Counting Down the Storm" Available after about 3 months due to technical difficulties at Kobo
  • Apple -"Counting Down the Storm" was available after 3 weeks
  • Diesel -"Counting Down the Storm" was available after 1 week of being on Premium Catalogue
  • Scrollmotion (Provides for: Apple, Android, Windows Phone 7 and HP's WebOS) -Not sure how to check availability
  • Amazon -Someday soon hopefully will work too, saving me the trouble of having to go through them here.
UPDATE: With the exception of Amazon my book is available at all of the above locations! and more.
Uploading your *.DOC file to Smashwords

It's a pretty straight forward process as long as you have followed the style guide (have I made it clear how important this document is?).  I think I could pretty much skip over all of the details and go right to pricing.

There are three options.  Free, user sets price (not available for B&N) and you set the price.  Unlike Amazon the amount of percentage of royalties is not greatly effected by price.  Here is the breakdown:

Note that these calculations may be off by $0.05 or so.

You can play around with how much you make per book using the calculator here.

In the end I really like Smashwords, would love to publish and distribute only through them and am so happy to be paid though Pay Pal as opposed to check or direct deposit.

Thanks For Reading!

D. Ryan Leask

P.S. I have a new review on Carolyn Arnold's Ties That Bind on DRyan DReads!


  1. Of the three big epub services (BN, Amazon, Smashwords) I actually found Smashwords the easiest to use and most professional. I guess everyone has a different experience.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience with us! I think I've said it in your previous blog posts, but this is SO useful to read.

    Keep us posted!