#Smashwords vs. #Amazon for #Indie #Authors #ebook #epub: Pros and Cons

Roger Gerald Scott, co-founder of the “Authors Helping Authors” site, posted an article detailing his views on the pros and cons of Smashwords vs. Amazon for Indie Authors considering ebook publishing. I left the following lengthy comment with my differing views, below,but it was not approved. The moderators believed it was too negative and called it derogatory, which certainly were not my intentions. They also claim I do not have the authority to link to his article, which mystifies me, since anyone can link to anything, any time. However, the moderator sent me several lengthy emails endeavoring to explain her/their position, for which I am grateful, but also saying they would “block” my links.

So, if the link does work, just copy and paste it into your own browser. I think Roger’s article was confusing and misleading, so I am continuing to post my corrections, explanations and comments, here, not to put him down but to inform any other new self-pub authors.

First, I link to his article, then post my comments here. Let me know what you think!



I have two corrections to the above article, which is very helpful and factual, otherwise. As an author who has published her ebook for the first time on first Smashwords and then, immediately on Amazon, I am uniquely qualified to speak to the “differences” and “similarities.”

I prefer to start with Smashwords and then upload to Amazon. Here are my corrections/clarifications to Roger’s article and the reasons for my preference, below.

1) First correction/clarification: Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is not the same as Kindle Select on Amazon. The first is their regular, free, UNRESTRICTED upload available to any author, any time, regardless of wherever else this ebook appears/is distributed. There is no problem having my ebook distributed on and via Smashwords AND available on Amazon via KDP, which is the route I chose.

Kindle Select, on the other hand, DOES have the restricted distribution rules listed in the above article (which is the main reason I did not use it).

2) Second correction: I did all my own formatting. While it was tedious, it was NOT difficult. I literally went through the Smashwords guide page by page and did it all myself. My ebook (which is sci-fi, 323 pages or thereabouts) went through the Smashwords “meatgrinder” with no problems, first time through. I don’t know why so many people have trouble; they must not follow the directions.

If an author really can’t follow directions (which begs the question how this person can be an author), there are people Smashwords keeps a list of and provides the list to anyone who asks for it who will format your ebook for you.

***HOWEVER, some of the formatters advertising who are NOT on Smashwords’ approved list are NOT worth hiring. Buyer beware. Many scams.

And, none of the formatters is an editor/proofreader. Still have to do that/get that done separately.


3) Furthermore, since Smashwords’ formatting requirements are the most stringent, once my ebook was ready for SW, it is was easily uploaded to Amazon and went through without issue.

Further benefits to using Smashwords:

a) Smashwords provides every format free to the author after the ebook is accepted. I downloaded them all and can send them out via email any time I want. During my pre-order period, this is the way my ebook got to reviewers. All formats means including Kindle’s .mobi, so I had Kindle versions before I uploaded to Amazon.

b) Once I had all the formats provided by Smashwords, I am able to provide coupons at any discount I want, up to and including free, to any individuals I choose, any time, for a period I can select in advance and then also change. I can have more than one coupon active at the same time.

c) This means my pricing is steady across all formats and distribution sites, which forces Amazon to keep my pricing at the price I chose, but that I can provide my ebook free or at a discount any time to anyone via Smashwords and Amazon is none the wiser. The stated price is still the same as on Amazon and elsewhere.

d) Smashwords, like Amazon, provides many author features including one place for reviews, an author page, and “extras.” Nook, Kobo, iBooks and other sites do not have these options. Once I had materials for one site it was easy to upload them to the other, although, for some weird reason, Amazon uses a third party site, Shelfari, for uploading most of the extras.

e) Mark Coker, the owner/founder of Smashwords, provides many FREE webinars, data, fora and help via his staff and himself, that are critically important and useful, especially to new authors of ebooks and new indie authors of any format. I highly recommend that every author view all of these webinars prior to publishing (at least 5 months prior is best) so you can market your ebooks well and use all features available.

f) Smashwords provides a URL with the author’s name in it AT NO CHARGE rather than Amazon’s silly numbering system.

I dislike both Amazon’s and Smashwords’ renumbering the books for the book pages’ URLs; it’s cumbersome to have 2 ID numbers for the same book and completely unnecessary.

Overall, I recommend doing ebook publishing first via Smashwords so that the author can have a pre-order period and build up sales (which all “count” on release day, helping boost rankings) and then on or after release on Smashwords, publish via Amazon KDP (not Kindle Select). This covers ALL the bases very well for indie authors.

I hope this helps everyone. Best to you all. Links below.

Sally Ember, Ed.D., with author pages on:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW
Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a1002726320/Sally-Ember-Ed-D-/books
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyEmber

and book pages:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 (USA only)
and http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8?tag=viewbookat0e-20 (for all countries)
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-changes-everything-sally-ember-edd/1117444256?ean=2940045417921
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/this-changes-everything-3
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/this-changes-everything/id746840776?mt=11&ls=1
Also on Diesel, Flipkart, Oyster and several others via Smashwords agreements.

This Changes Everything cover
cover art by Willowraven.

My website: http://www.sallyember.com Visit! Welcome! Comment!