- Sign up for a free account.
- Format your manuscript as a Word .doc document. (Not the new .docx document)
- Click Publish.
Certainly, there are some other steps involved, like choosing the price for your eBook, the distribution channels, checklists for iPad eBooks, etc. but Smashwords has excellent FAQ pages and free downloadable and printable guides which make it easy to get your eBook published.
Mark Coker, Founder of Smashwords, wrote an article on Smashwords' Blog with 32 Links to Author pages who report about their experiences with Smashwords and give further advice how to publish and distribute via Smashwords.
You can follow Mark Coker's Tweets @markcoker on Twitter.
After reading the FAQ on Smashwords' Support Page it is recommended to download (free in lots of formats) and read the detailed guides
- Smashwords' Style Guide (How to format your eBook?)
- How to publish for Apple's iPad Bookstore (you will learn that your eBook needs a ISBN for the Apple Bookstore and other Apple Rules for Pricing, Royalties, etc.)
- Smashwords' Book Marketing Guide (30 simple Do-It-Yourself Marketing Tips for your eBook)
Smashwords pays out in general 85% for your books sold on Smashwords. If your eBook is sold through other channels like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Sony - the payout for your eBook is 60% of the suggested retail price, which you set for your book. Find here more details about payments & royalties at Smashwords.
At present (Dec.31, 2011), Smashwords has 92,000 Titles from 32,000 Authors published (almost tripled in 12 months). See graphic from Smashwords' Blog.
[...] "The practice and professionalism of self-publishing grew by leaps and bounds in 2011 as indie authors collaborated. The best indie authors and small presses are publishing books of equal or higher quality than traditional publishers, and they're doing it faster, smarter and less expensively. Because the indies are earning 60-80% of the list price as their royalty, they're earning higher profits while producing a product that is more affordable and more accessible to more readers around the globe than ever before."
Smashwords' plans for 2012
- Re-categorization of the Catalog and turning attention to the retail side of Smashwords for a better discovery and customer experience.
- Adding new distribution channels.
- Faster sales reporting.
- Faster Premium catalog Approvals.
- Give Authors more and better control about aspects of publishing, distribution, and metadata.
Just in case, you didn't know yet: "It's free to publish and distribute with Smashwords!"
Did you self-publish with Smashwords? Please, let us know about your experience with Smashwords in the comments to this post.