If you haven’t encountered Smashwords on the Internet, it’s an Ebook site where authors can easily (Ahem) upload their books and readers can easily download a wide variety of great reads. Imagine Amazon many years ago and you get the idea.

For readers, Smashwords offers 450,000 books, 70,000 of which are free. And, you can get many books not found on Amazon, plus Adult content. Two years ago they offered 372,000 books. They are growing.

For authors, Smashwords is also a portal of sorts, offering book distribution to “Apple iBooks (51 countries), Barnes & Noble, Kobo (which powers the bookstores of multiple other retailers such as FNAC in France and WH Smith in the U.K.), OverDrive, Flipkart, Oyster, txtr, Baker & Taylor (Blio.com and the Axis360 library platform), and others.”

Although Amazon might be the largest bookseller in the world, the platforms listed above sell a lot of Ebooks too. So authors that want to “go wide” do have options. With Smashwords, you’ll have to take the uploading with a grain of salt because it’s not simple.

Just make sure you follow their rules for changing the format of your book TO THE LETTER in what they call The Meat Grinder and you’ll eventually manage to get it just right. It took me several days to get my books “just right.”

Smashwords accepts most everything, from novels to personal memoirs, to short and long fiction (which I did have some early success with). And, when you get all the kinks out you’ll find that your books are soon available across many retailers.

On Smashwords, you get to set your story prices and the size of each book’s sample read. You receive 85% of the net sales proceeds from your work (70.5% for affiliate sales) for sales at Smashwords.com retail operation, and you’ll earn 60% of the list price for sales through their distribution network. Amazon pays 35% for books under $2.99 and 70% for books at $2.99 to $9.99.

If you are going wide, don’t forget to market the best you can. It’s easy to remember pushing your books on Amazon, but don’t leave out your other sales reps!

Also, remember that you can go directly to most any bookseller (perhaps with the exception of Google Books) and save the “distributors fee” Smashwords charges, but you’ll do more work setting up your accounts. Another option is Draft2Digital, but I’ll give my opinion on them at another time.
As for my success with Smashwords, I do get a direct deposit regularly from book sales, and I’ve written several short stories under Pen Names that have done well enough to make me happy. In fact, I’ve had better success with the short stories on Smashwords that Amazon, where readers have gotten used to lots of free or 99-cent books.