Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.

Giving Smashwords one more try


I decided I may have been unfair to Smashwords, writing them off as too much work for too little return. I have several books with them but not as many as I have with Amazon; much easier, with formatting etc and besides they just sell a lot more books!

Still, the books I’ve had problems formatting with Smashwords have been mostly those I wrote some time back, when my own Word formatting was pretty rough; also I hadn’t put any of my top sellers on there, partly because of formatting issues and partly because I thought I just might want to make use of Amazon’s KDP Select, which requires exclusive rights.

I’ve now put my outback romance, Stony Creek, on Smashwords, which I think is giving them as good a chance as I can. It’s doing very well on Amazon and apart from a few minor hiccups I had no problems with the formatting, so we’ll see how it goes. Since I have absolutely no intentions of giving any away I decided there was no reason for it to be exclusive with Amazon–haven’t seen any results yet though and I have to say Amazon absolutely rules! One thing I like about Smashwords is that I can make books free whenever I want and I have a small ebook on grammar, What Did You Say? and a short story free. There’s also an interview with yours truly and if you have any suggestions as to what I might add to that I can do that at any time.

not guilty 2014 coverIs there a particular type of book that does well there, I wonder? I’ve found with Amazon my non-fiction, Not Guilty, has done very well as has my outback romance. The others have all sold a few but no-where near the numbers of those two. I’d quite like to put Not Guilty on Smashwords but I think the formatting would be too hard, because it contains different fonts and different spacing for newspaper reports and public records etc. It’s all easy on Amazon, although I must admit Createspace was tricky. I have most of my books on Createspace for PODs and it’s taken me a while to get the hang of it but it’s not too bad now. Amazon ebooks are very simple but if you go through Createspace they can send it over to Amazon and convert it for you.beastfromkindlecover

I have one freebie this week on Amazon, Beast of War, a fantasy about three teens in a land called Breeland. There are three different tribes–different kinds of ‘people’, farmers, cave-dwellers and those who live off the sea, and they are all at risk.  According to prophecy only Terrus, Cener and Airien can save Breeland; they must put aside tribal differences and prejudices and journey together to fight the beast in his lair. I did write this for kids but I’m finding adults enjoy it as well–I know I loved writing it and was rather sad when I finished it and had to say goodbye to the characters! It’s free from the 16th to the 18th of June, so check it out.


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

16 thoughts on “Giving Smashwords one more try

  1. I completely agree. I’ve sold a few ebooks through Smashwords, but the vast majority of my sales are via Amazon. Every time I release a book, I have to weigh the risk-benefit of more exposure vs. KDP exclusivity. But in the end, it seems like the extra exposure through Smashwords is worth it.

  2. I’m initially going through KDP Select but once those 90 days are up I’ll look back into Smashwords. But from everyone I’ve talked to Amazon is where the majority of their sales come from.

  3. After much head-scratching and deliberation I recently published a new book through Draft2Digital. They pretty much mirror what Smashwords does, but with far less hassle. And anecdotal evidence suggests that D2D are very quick with adjusting prices, etc, when you want to run promotions.

  4. I write recipe books and I agree. Smashwords isn’t a big seller. I sell through Amazon/KDP and make good profit doing so. I do find, however, that since it doesn’t cost anything (and since my ebook formatting guy formats them in an acceptable way to Smashwords as a part of his package) that it doesn’t cost me much more effort. (It’s about as much work as setting up the ISBN on Bowker) So I do it so I can have a place to send the inevitable “I want it for Nook!” people. I also offer an iPad version although logistically it’s easier for an Apple user to just download the Kindle app and get the book that way.

    • Nikki my thinking was much the same, that it may as well be available in as many places as possible, but I wouldn’t take all my books from KDP Select, even if Smashwords formatting was super-easy. I do think the promotions there help with sales.

  5. I tried my luck with Smashwords earlier but in vain. Somehow, I couldn’t do the formatting and errors bounced back. Should probably try again.

  6. Hey there,

    Gearing up this coming week for a final edit then uploading to Amazon for my first novelette (under 100 pages),hopefully with some artwork, but I don’t know if Amazon allows that, as I’m a Noob to the self-publishing e-book paradigm.

    I write S&S, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and once in a while I get perverted and write a children’s story (they don’t come easily to me, and there’s absolutely no ‘hack ’em and hew ’em’ in it….want to make the Short People smile, not have nightmares)…….I’ve got about 12 short stories already edited, was thinking of a compendium (Short Story Collection), but again, I don’t know if Amazon allows that……..ah well, I’ll find out.

    I wanted to price things in the $1.99 to $2.99 range, is that reasonable, or out of line?

    I’ll be most grateful for any input y’all could provide me. Thank you for your time and effort in dealing with the queries from this knuckle dragging Noob………..

    • Hey Russell, I don’t know what the deal is with picture books and it might be an idea to send Amazon an email and ask for suggestions. I’m sure they allow it but I don’t know if you need to do anything different with formatting etc.
      Short story collections are fine–I have one myself–(Connections) but I don’t think they sell very well. Mine hasn’t anyway. Readers seem to prefer a reasonable length novel, but don’t let me put you off. You should definitely do it. Let me know how you go–yours might just go gang-busters!
      Pricing’s really hard, especially since 2.99 is the lowest price at which Amazon pays 70% to the writer. Anything less is only 30% but unknown writers probably won’t get 2.99 for anything less than a full novel, and I’d suggest 99c to 1.99 depending on how long your books are. It’s easy enough to change it anyway. Good luck!

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