Smashwords publishing is free, uses all popular formats, and has great distribution.
The first step in Smashwords publishing is opening an account. They will need your financial information if you elect to be paid electronically. I am paid through my Pay Pal account, and that works well for me.
You also have to supply your tax information, either your Social Security Number or your Tax Identification Number, so they can report your book income to the IRS. If your income exceeds $600.00, they will generate a 1099 Form for your tax returns.
Complete Your Personal Profile
You should, of course, complete your personal profile. Readers enjoy knowing about an author who's book they are about to read. Pictures also help sales. If you have a website or a blog, be sure to link back to it. Never miss an opportunity to link to your website. Links build your page rank and help your website to be found.
Summarize Your Ebook
You will be asked to write a 400-character summary of your book. This is difficult, so put some effort into it. It is an important sales tool. I think mine took about three hours.
Language, Content, Price, and Sample
Select the language you are writing in; check whether or not your book has adult content; set your price, and select how much of your book readers can sample. A larger sample increases the chances of your book being found in a search.
Choose the Correct Category
Selecting the proper category is critical if you want people to find your book. Tags (keywords) are also used to help people to find your book. If a reader searches on one of your tags, your book will be added to a list of books for the reader to choose from.
Select Ebook Formats
You also get to select the different eBook formats for your book. I cannot think of a single reason why you would not want your book to be available in all of the eBook formats. More formats means more sales potential.
When publishing with Smashwords, you will need a cover to be included in the Premium Catalog, and believe me, you want to be in the Premium Catalog. The long dimension needs to be at least 600 pixels. Online resolution is normally 72 dpi.
If you have a paperback copy of your book, you can just scan the front cover. Since your cover will most likely be seen online as a thumbnail, it doesn't have to be fancy; just the title and your name on a colored background will do.
You can learn more about cover design at http://www.self-publishing-solutions.com/coverdesign.html. To match your cover's colors to the theme of your book visit http://www.self-publishing-solutions.com/colors.html.
When your cover image is ready, click on the Browse button, find your file, double click on it, and then click on the Upload button.
You need an ISBN number for your book to be included in the Premium Catalog, and again, you want to be in the Premium Catalog. You have two choices: you can either elect to have Smahwords listed as the publisher, in which case Smashwords will provide the ISBN for free; or you can choose to publish the book yourself and pay Smashwords $9.95 (a fantastic value) for an ISBN.
Smashwords publishing would be impossible without reading The Smashwords Style Guide. Since you can download it for free, I won't dwell on formatting.
Smashwords Publishing Agreement
You really need to read the Publishing Agreement. I know it's boring. Do it anyway.
When your book file is ready, click on the Browse button, find your file, double click on it, and then click on the Upload button. Congratulations! You have published your book.
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