I know that there are a lot of aspiring authors out there and I thought it might be helpful if I shared my recent experiences of epublishing. I've now published five books at Smashwords.
I first became aware of Smashwords in the comments section of an online newspaper article about the demise of the Borders and Angus and Robertson chains of bookshops here in Australia. The commenter mentioned that they had decided to epublish using Smashwords and were happy with the result in comparison to publishing in hardcopy, particularly in a small market such as Australia. So I checked out Smashwords and decided that I would take that leap of faith and finally put my "babies" out there for public scrutiny.
After I published Heller, I read a few articles on the internet complaining about Smashwords' strict requirements for formatting to satisfy its automatic text converter "Meatgrinder" (and yeah, it would have been smarter to do more homework before I published, but hey, you are what you are). I can appreciate the point of view that if you have high standards of presentation and really want to produce a professional-looking book for your readers, Meatgrinder's requirements reduce your lovely formatting down to basics. But I also appreciate that Smashwords can only exist if it provides an automated process and that fancy formatting is not perfect for ebooks. So I stripped down my formatting, took out the beautiful calligraphy "H" I was using to show the Heller's logo, removed all the accents from words, changed my preferred sans serif font into boring old Times New Roman and turned my book into the best formatting for ebooks, following Mark Coker's very precise instructions (which are free to download).
And although I had no autovetter errors, when Heller published and I checked it in the HTML format as recommended, I noticed some slight wonky formatting that I was able to immediately fix and upload a new version. And I think there might be some more formatting problems (nothing major, but I'm a perfectionist) that I'll sort out in my next upload of it.
The pros of Smashwords
The cons of Smashwords
Don't die wondering - maybe you are the next Shakespeare. Let the world decide.
Blogs/forums on Smashwords
Here are some of the ones I read regularly:
JDN 25 January 2012