Friday, 10 December 2010

E-books and Distribution

Hi all,
On Wednesday I had some good news on the writing front. If you've been following my blog you will know that my Fishing book has been available from, in their Kindle version for quite a while. However, there are other e-book platforms to be exploited, so I decided to find out more.

Having done some research I found a company called, that seemed to offer everything I wanted. When I tell you that they will distribute my book to all the major e-book retailers and I get to keep 80% of the revenue from each book sold, you'll understand why that's a cracking deal for any author.

Smashwords, will distribute your book to: Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple ipad, ibookstore, Borders, and the Diesel ebook store, plus all major smart phone platforms via app providers, such as Stanza, Aldiko, Kobo, and Word Player. They also distribute to Amazon for sale in their Kindle store, but I opted out of that distribution channel because I already have an agreement in place with Amazon.

Now, before you all nip over to Smashwords to publish your latest blockbuster, there is something important that you need to know. The standards at Smashwords are very high; books have to be formatted to a certain standard before they are accepted and your book will also need to have an acceptable cover image. Well in my mind there's nothing wrong with that, In fact I actually think it's a great idea because I welcome high standards. After all, if my book is going to be sold through the biggest book retailers in the world, it needs to be damn good and indistinguishable from the books of major publishers.

Right, having told you that the standards are high, don't get all down-hearted because help is at hand. Log onto, (Click here to visit the Smashwords site) and you will find they have a free downloadable book that will take you through the formatting process, step by jolly step. It's a lengthy book, but following it religiously is the only way to get your book into the premium catalogue that gives you access to the full distribution service.

The process is easy to follow. If you've got a print version of your book just do a "save as" and create a separate copy which will be your e-book. The next thing to do is follow the free guide and create your e-book. The next stage is to join Smashwords and upload your book. Once you have done this, you will be faced with a spinning wheel that says your book is being processed. Don't sit there looking at the wheel waiting for something to happen because it could take a couple of days. The best thing to do is get on with writing your next book and check progress every now and again.

What happens after you've uploaded your book is that it goes into something called the meatgrinder. This apparently is a piece of software that does a rough check on your book, to make sure it is at least something like acceptable. If it gets past the meatgrinder, it then goes into another approvals process that is even tighter. Don't be surprised, if on your first attempt you fail at this stage because that is what happened to me. My sin was that I'd got a paragraph return in mid-sentence and that is not allowed. Anyway I fixed my mistake and uploaded the book again.

And that brings us neatly back to the good news I spoke about at the beginning of this post. On Wednesday, I went onto the Smashwords site and found that my book had been approved for the premium catalogue. Then later in the day, I received an e-mail to say that I'd just sold my first copy, which was fantastic news and hopefully just the first of many. Click here to see my Smashwords page

Having become involved in the world of e-books, I am now considering whether it's worth while bothering with creating a print version at all, especially when you look at the costs involved.

In my next writing post I will give you my thoughts on print versions and information about the book I'm working on which I'll be giving away absolutely free? If you would like more information about me or my books and even a free to enter competion Click here

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