Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.

Problems with Smashwords! Amazon’s looking easy.


I’m in the process of publishing all my books on Smashwords, one at a time, as their KDP Select runs out on Amazon. I knew I was up for some re-formatting but some were already on there–I’d just archived them and only had to open them up again. Easy, right? Ha! If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about self-publishing, nothing is easy!Stony_Creek_Cover_for_Kindle

It may be something to do with Apple, which apparently is where we all want to be published. Something about their requirements with TOCs or whatever. Blah blah blah. I might just forget about it all for a while. Is it a waste of time? Time I could, maybe should, be spending writing? I’ve had very few sales on any of my Smashwords stuff and the same books sell pretty well on Amazon but I like the idea of having them available everywhere. I suppose I’ll figure it out eventually. Feels a bit like housework now. Something that needs to be done and I might feel a sense of achievement when it is finally finished, but then I’ll just have to do it all over again the next time and if no-one sees it is there any point?

We’re in for a week in the high 30s to low to mid 40s Celsius, about 102 to 109 F for those of you who don’t speak Celsius. It’ll be horrible but we do have an air-conditioner so I can’t complain too much. I plan to spend most of the week in the lounge room, hopefully writing, not torturing myself with Smashwords. I’ll have to get that done though–having anything half-done gnaws away at me and I cannot forget about it. Of course I also have two stories under way as well which are nagging me a bit. Quite a bit.

I’m well aware of the horrible weather some of you in the US and UK have been enduring, with ice and floods, so sorry to be whining about a bit of heat. I hope things are improving for you if you’re in an affected area.

I hope to have my book, Her Flesh and Blood, up next week. It’s a fiction story based on a murder trial in Australia, in 1910, and I enjoyed writing it. I also enjoyed writing Stony Creek, which is an outback romance I published a few weeks ago. It’s doing quite well, so thanks to you if you’ve read it.


Author: cmsgardnerblog

I'm a writer of fiction and non-fiction, for teens and adults. I live in Central Victoria, Australia and my books are available at

12 thoughts on “Problems with Smashwords! Amazon’s looking easy.

  1. Trust, me. The first time I attempted to publish with Smashwords, I nearly had a bird too. That 75 page formatting guide makes your eyes cross. But if you follow every rule, step by step, it’ll work. You CANNOT cut a single corner though. I can tell you that after a bajillion auto vetter errors the first time around (from trying to cut corners), the second time around was a cinch.

    Once you’ve done it once, you’ll know how to format your next one. I had no errors for my second book, without having to review the formatting guide again, and my first submission was accepted for premium distribution!! It is worth it in the end, since Smashwords is responsible for at least 40% of my sales. Don’t limit yourself to Amazon. You’re limiting your fan base.

    • Thanks Christa. I’ll get there. I just have to summon some energy/motivation from somewhere. I did watch their video on hyperlinks the other day and learnt something there. Had a go at my short story book which I think is okay–still waiting on the review process. I suspect some of the others may be more of a problem, particularly older stories where my Word formatting was awful in the first place.

  2. I’ve heard Smashwords can be a chore at times, but some people have good sales through it. I’m just getting my first my book up on Amazon right now. Once that’s all ironed out, I guess I’ll check out Smashwords. The bigger the audience, the better. 🙂

  3. I actually sell more books through Smashwords than I do Amazon, but I definitely like the control I have with Amazon when it comes to marketing. I just wish reviews and such that are done on the Smashword retailer sites could be carried over to Amazon LOL

  4. I’ve gone the self-pub route via Xlibris, having signed for a 2 book deal both of which are this minute being exhibited sumultaneously on Amazon et al in paperback form and Ebook. I am interested in turning a previously-published novel into Ebook format as well as the sequal (unpublished so raw material) and looked at Smashwords. I must admit to feeling daunted too.

    • Honestly if you’re only doing one or two it might be worth paying some-one to do it for you. I think Amazon is a far better option than Smashwords though there’s no reason not to do both. If you plan on doing more it’s worth persevering; read the instructions and just keep at it until it’s all good. It does get easier but I’m back to square one with Smashwords, having got used to Amazon to some extent.

  5. I’m afraid I’ve put you up for the super sweet blogger award. You don’t have to do it, but it gives me an excuse to give your blog a plug! ;-). So if you want to find out about it, it’s here…



  6. I am not publishing with Smashwords, thank you very much. The 2 novels ‘INTERREGNUM’ and ‘FARADAY’S EYES’ have been published simultaneously in paperback and Ebook format ( my idea as I took advantage of a 2 book deal) via Xlibris and can both be viewed on Amazon et al sites. So far I have no complaints on their professionalism or the quality of the product. I am however considering republishing my first novel ‘PAPER ROUND’ as an Ebook along with the follow up ‘PAPER BOY’, and would appreciate advice on who best to approach.

  7. I think I need to update this post–I’m almost exclusively with Amazon now, apart from one small free book on grammar I left at Smashwords because I can’t make it free at Amazon (permanently). I really can’t see the point in any other method of self-publishing. Amazon has a POD dept., Createspace, as well as the ebooks and I have no complaints now I’m pretty used to their formatting requirements. Check out my Books page for more details.

    Updating yet again! While I haven’t gone back to Smashwords I now have most of my books on Draft 2 Digital, which means Kobo, Apple, and several others. Still on Amazon though. See my Books page for details.

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