Day 106: Amazon & Smashwords



As soon I pressed ‘approved’ on my Createspace paperback, everything was live.  The paperback was in queue to be sold via Amazon.

It was easy to upload the e-book.   Amazon’s system is fully automated and for the parts that are not, the dashboard is easy to navigate.  If you’re not a US citizen and you want to provide Amazon your W-8BEN form, you can also do that online by authorising them to accept your ‘digital signature’ instead of having to mail in the form (like Smashwords).  I thought that was awesome.  You will need your EIN and personal Tax ID number handy – when I reached that place in the form I went exploring through the drawers for longer than I was comfortable with, worried I might ‘time out’ of the website.  I also learned the Australian tax treaty with the States was actually 5% not 10% like I first thought.  Bonus!  Amazon is very good at taking you by the hand and leading you through their process.  You have to have a minimum of tech savvy to navigate your way through (i.e., not be terrified of computers) but that’s about it.

After I’d uploaded the e-book, I could log into Author Central (which has a very easy to follow dashboard) and connect the paperback and e-book together.  You want to do this, so readers can see the link to and price of both products and your reader reviews can be read across both products.

I can now clearly see why some authors deal exclusively with Amazon; it’s painless.  Right now I want widespread distribution, so I said nay to KDP Select.  I did sign up to Kindle Matchbook though, which means anyone that buys the paperback can get the Kindle version for a reduced rate or free.  I chose to make it free.

I also chose not to apply DRM (Digital Rights Management) to the e-book because I feel the only thing it’s good for is peeving off legitimate readers.  Everyone should not be treated like pirates.  Yarr.


Uploading to this distributor/re-seller was a slower process but I’d figured it would be, when I found out they wanted me to upload a Word document.  They auto-convert it into different formats (which you can view before it’s live so don’t panic), and they have a booklet sized ‘Smashwords Style Guide‘ (which shows you some nifty things, if you don’t understand how to do things like set indents and such)

My first attempt at joining their premium distribution (iBooks, Kobo, Nook, etc) got knocked back because I had something called ‘paragraph trailers’.  Um…?  I checked out the style guide and nothing specifically referred to that, but I did find some content on space trailers and I think I know what they meant.  I hope I know what they meant… On my second attempt at uploading, the file was accepted.  So yes, that was what they meant.  Sigh of relief.  Could’ve been easier.  Also, the maximum number of keywords for your Smashwords edition e-book is ten.  If you have more, they might knock back your book; I couldn’t find where they listed a maximum number, but ten keywords is generous.

Here is where I made life hard on myself:

I’d chosen to use my existing Word doc and cleaned it up to their specifications before submitting to them.  The better way would be to have removed all formatting and go through it using their style guide step-by-step because the booklet thoroughly explains what they need and where on Word to find it (with pictures).  I took the chance that my formatting was good enough (along with a quick scan through of their style guide) and I paid for it with an extra two days because I was forced to re-submit.  Don’t do what I did unless you are a Word Ninja.  Get it right first time, I implore you – if an extra couple of hours saves you two days (or more), you’re ahead.

Other Distributors

I’m sure there are other websites/booksellers out there, but it would take me too much time and effort to hunt them down.  I’d rather spend that time writing.


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