Tips for Publishing on Smashwords

Since I recently published my new ebook, “In Memory of Dad” on Smashwords, I have had quite a few other authors ask about how the Smashwords process works.  Many didn’t even know what Smashwords was, which didn’t surprise me too much since I only recently found out about Smashwords after being asked to review a few books published there.

Put simply, Smashwords in a website that allows you to publish your own ebook.  Even if your book is available in hard copy or is published by another company, as long as you have the rights, you can publish your book on Smashwords as well.  Not only does Smashwords allow you to publish your ebook for free, but they offer the opportunity to have your ebook distributed to other major ebook retailers, provided that you follow their guidelines.  Another thing I really like about Smashwords is that they offer your book to customers in a variety of formats, including Kindle, PDF, online reading and various popular phone apps.

If you are considering publishing an ebook and want to know more about Smashwords or what the publishing process there is like, here are a few tips:

1.  Above all else, make sure to follow the guidelines Smashwords provides when you upload your book.  If you don’t it will affect your chances of having your book distributed to other retailers.  Also, your book might look kind of wonky if you don’t follow the guidelines.  Luckily, Smashwords offers a great resource to help you at no charge, the Smashwords Style Guide.

2.  Make sure you have a good cover image for your ebook.  You can hire someone to do one for you or create one yourself like I did.  Of course, if you create it yourself, make sure it looks professional…your cover WILL affect sales.

3.  Don’t post your ebook, walk away and hope to sell millions of copies.  Realistically, there is too much competition for people to just keep randomly stumbling over your ebook and actually want to buy it.  Do some promotional work, even if it is only on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  If you can get your friends to review your book, that helps a lot too.

4.  Edit, edit, edit!  I love Smashwords and have found some great stories there, but far too many authors publish mediocre or downright painful prose.  If you don’t know how to edit yourself, find a friend who will help or consider hiring someone.  Even picking up a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style and studying it would help many authors to avoid common grammar, punctuation and style errors.  Check your spelling too!

5.  Read the FAQ page on Smashwords.  This resource can help you avoid ALOT of mistakes and wasted minutes!


12 thoughts on “Tips for Publishing on Smashwords

  1. Hello Maranda,
    Thank you for your kind review of my short story “My Best Friend Mio.” To answer your question, yes I did know the owner personally. She was a student as well, I could have gone into more detail I suppose, but that would have entailed another story about a poor little rich girl…Mio’s owner. As for me, don’t be sad, sending me to Ojai was the best thing my mother could have done for me. I just didn’t know it at the time. I read your article on publishing tips at I’m new at this but you are absolutely correct. Keep up your good work…it’s therapeutic. Love your website!
    Thanks again,


    1. Adele, thanks so much for getting back to me about the review I wrote! I really did like your story and was so glad that things turned out so well for you in the end. I look forward to seeing your future works 🙂


  2. Thanks for the review of my little luke Books. I appreciate your comments and the fact that someone takes the time to read it and form an opinion. You are a treasure to authors everywhere.
    I also love your blog and just tweeted it to all my followers so they’d learn more about smashwords and your children’s literature review. I’m going to go look for your own book now to read. Thanks so much. Keep up the Good Work- Tammy


    1. No problem, I enjoyed your books! Looking forward to more in the series. I like how you present the stories in a Christian manner without getting too judgemental or harsh. If you do read my book, feel free to leave a review or let me know what you thought of it 🙂 Thanks for reading my blog and sharing my post on Twitter!


    1. No problem. Since writing this post, Amazon has started a great promotional program for ebook authors, the only downside is that you have to solely sell your ebook on Amazon to be part of the program. It is an option though. I have joined the Amazon program for most of my ebooks and sell way more copies than I did before they started the program. Good luck with your book!


      1. If you sell your book for $2.99 or over you can get 70% royalties for book sales from Amazon. If you sell your book for less than $2.99 you can only get 35% royalties.


  3. i have what i think is a simple question…….but not for me……when i am formatting the book…..what things and in what order should be included in the file that contains the book chapters……i have formatted the stories…..they are in order……..what goes above the stories in the same word doc?


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