Monday, August 31, 2009

Smashwords Distributing to the Big Guys

If you've been published by an itty-bitty publisher or even self-published, you shouldn't forget about the world of E. Ebooks, that is.

Smashwords announced to its users that the distribution process will begin for selected books within a couple of weeks. The plan is to distribute through Fictionwise and Barnes & Noble by supplying a catalog of books that meet the criteria. The authors can opt out if they want or set their own price (sort of like William Shatner). The memo mapped out the criteria for a book to be approved for the program. A definite upside is that the authors don't have to pay anything for this service. As it should be. It's sort of like having a real publisher. Let's hear a big ol' LOL for that.

I uploaded my latest book to Smashwords at the recommendation of a fellow author. I had to un-fancy my file a bit, since Smashwords doesn't like a variety of fonts or font sizes, and drop caps are a big no-no. However, at the end of the (long) day, after uploading and fixing about ten times, I got a reasonable facsimile of an ebook. Even better, Smashwords provided several formats:

PDF - Reads well on the PC using Adobe Acrobat.
EPUB - My computer fired up Adobe's Digital Editions reader.
PDB - For Palm readers, but also appears to be a flavor usable on the B&N reader.
MOBI - Mobibooks are getting a good market share of the e-market. This format is great for uploading to the Kindle engine at Amazon.
HTML and Javascript - Okay for an excerpt, but tends to find ways to screw up even the most vanilla of Word documents.
LRF - For the Sony Reader.
RTF - Rich Text Format is a universal language for most word processors, however, I don't like the idea of my book being edited by someone without my okay.

I recommend Smashwords for those of you who'd like to publish your own ebooks. Cost to me to upload, have a product page, get into the distribution channels - ZERO. Can't beat that.