Indie Author Series: Smashwords

swWelcome to the YA Author Series, a bi-weekly discussion on indie publishing topics brought to you by the Young Adult Indie Carnival crew.

This week’s topic is one of my favorite book distributors, Smashwords. I can’t think of a company who has contributed more to the indie publishing movement.

I’ve always thought of myself as a tech-minded person. I always have to have the newest gadget. I know just enough basic HTML and javascript to get myself in trouble. So when I made the decision to self-publish, turning my work into an ebook was a no-brainer. Still, I had a ton of questions.

How do you get your ebook into the major bookstores?

How the heck do you format an ebook?

How do you market a book that you can’t even display on a shelf?

The answer, my dear friends, was Smashwords. I immediately became taken with the Smashwords experience, a cross between indie passion and an eagerness for constant improvement.

From the get-go, Smashwords gives you unparalleled access to their CEO. In fact, if you take a look at Mark Coker’s job title you will see that it is actually CEO and Chief Author Advocate. Authors choosing to publish through Smashwords (and even those who just take the time to look for it) have complete, FREE access to Coker’s books on formatting and marketing. The tips that I found in these books were invaluable. Additionally, Coker is known to take the time to publish blog posts and even email Smashwords authors with vital info about the self-publishing industry. Who else does that?

Here’s a Smashwords must-read: Mark Coker’s predictions for 2013

Then there’s the meatgrinder, a genius name for what would normally be a fairly mundane process. The meatgrinder at Smashwords is the term used for their file conversion process. Your file goes into the meatgrinder and comes out the other end in several ebook file formats. With every book I’ve published through Smashwords, I’ve found the meatgrinder improved…faster, more reliable. That’s part of the innovation I wrote of earlier. Smashwords seems to constantly tweak and improve, an effort that I very much appreciate.

I’ve had a great experience with Smashwords and would recommend the distributor to new authors. It’s not perfect. There is sometimes a glitch, but as a Smashwords support rep once told me, “No problem. Let me just jumpstart that a little for you.”

Check out what these authors have to say on the subject…

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy

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