How (But Not Why) to Publish on Smashwords

I got what seemed to be a trick question the other day: “How do I publish a book on Smashwords.”

It seemed like a trick because Smashwords is built to make publishing available to everyone. They have extensive documentation on their website covering all the particulars. It is ridiculously easy to publish an ebook there.

However, if your confidence needs a nudge, here is what you need:

  • A manuscript file — such as a Microsoft Word document — that is your book
  • A graphic file that is your cover image

That’s it. Get those two things, and you’re ready to become an independently published ebook author.

So how do you create a manuscript file with MS Word?

The Word document must have a title page and then some content. Begin chapters with Heading 1 styles. Use the Normal style for the content paragraphs.

You will need to create an account on Smashwords and then follow the step-by-step process for publishing. The most important steps are to upload the manuscript file and the cover graphic.

Smashwords will take several hours to process the files. Shortly thereafter, the book is published.

Don’t forget to protect your work with a copyright. That, in case you’re wondering, is far more involved than publishing on Smashwords.

(I’ll probably write about that soon, as the copyright application process is frustrating for me even after 18 different copyrights.)

None of this addresses the question of why you may want to publish a book. And that, too, is the topic for another post.

In the meantime, have fun as you pursue this publishing adventure.

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