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Writing and Publishing > Snobbery against SmashWords?

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message 1: by Laurel (last edited Nov 18, 2013 01:56PM) (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 55 comments Has anyone else experienced snobbery for publishing through SmashWords? There was one remark on a GR forum where the person essentially belittled me for publishing on SmashWords and using the standard word doc to Smashwords option.

The context was along the lines of how I have to publish my books a little different for SmashWords than for Kindle because the meat grinder has its own ... quirks.

The person came down on me with something like "well, you shouldn't use the meat grinder" and an implication of shame on me for not knowing about or using something really exotic for converting my word docs to the different digital formats.

I just don't get it.


message 2: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) Yes, I've seen this. I dismissed it. MeatGrinder has worked fine for me, and got me into the Premium Catalogue without a hitch. Don't listen!!!


message 3: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 418 comments Haters gotta hate.

There are some authors on GR who attempt to make themselves look smarter by insulting anyone who disagrees with them. You can let them drive you crazy or you can just ignore them.

So what if they look down on you for publishing on Smashwords? Who cares about their opinion? Here's what really matters: What do your readers think? If you have a good book and you can connect with your audience, the opinions of a few authors are of little value.

In my humble opinion, I think you should do what you want to do. Write a good book. Listen to your readers. Tune out the noise. The rest is just wind.


message 4: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) With charity I might put it down to a leftover rumour from MeatGrinder's early days, for it's been in constant improvement. Whether there was ever any real grounds for the rumours I have no idea.


message 5: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) Maybe it was someone jealous because they couldn't figure out how to format the manuscript for it to work,,, :>


message 6: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 55 comments There are plenty of things about SW I am not happy about. I use Asian units of distance in my books and render them in Chinese characters. SW won't accept that like amazon does for kindle. But do I feel like I've DRAMATICALLY had to alter the books by rendering the names in just pinyin instead of pinyin plus their actual characters? No, not really. I just have to be mindful during my editorial passes -- just like I have to remember to put in the Smashwords script on the title page.


Since SW lets me opt out of publishing to Kindle, everything works fine. And for what we gain in distribution, isn't the meat grinder headache worth it?


message 7: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 62 comments A lot of authors seem to only be on kindle, which is a shame, but I do find it odd when the meatgrinder is highlighted as their reason for not using smashwords.

Now I've had a mixed relationship with the meatgrinder - sometimes my work goes through first time, sometimes I need to do the "nuclear" reformat job to get it in. But I don't resent it, there's nothing worse as a reader than to pick up an e book and find it unreadable. Many readers would write off everything from a site if they picked a poor product up first.

At the end of the day Smashwords is a business and its reputation depends on ensuring that its content meets certain minimum standards.


message 8: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 35 comments I last used the meatgrinder about 18 months ago, so I'm sure it's a bit different now, but even then it seemed to go off without a hitch. The only "quirks" came up as a result of operator error.

I've seen a lot of snobbery about Smashwords from established authors, though, generally after they've swung past the home page while a particularly, ah, "niche" short is being displayed as a new release ;)


message 9: by Ross (last edited Nov 19, 2013 03:08AM) (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 354 comments Am I incorrect in thinking that our work goes through the meatgrinder no matter what? We simply have the choice of just throwing a normal Word document at it and hoping for the best, or doing a full format so that it has little to no work and doesn't really alter our book...right?

As for Belittling Dick, as he shall henceforth be known, he's only making himself look bad to his potential readers. Everything we write in forums is available, obviously, to our readers to see. Perhaps he thinks he's making himself out to be an expert because naturally the purchases will just come pouring in then... But surely the writing of the book is the important thing? The fact that you have an actual, complete book to publish in the first place?


message 10: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 55 comments Ross wrote: "Am I incorrect in thinking that our work goes through the meatgrinder no matter what? We simply have the choice of just throwing a normal Word document at it and hoping for the best, or doing a ful..."

Yes exactly. Isn't the quality of my books more important than how I obtain distribution for my books or how I format for publication?

Somehow this gets lost. It's much easier to use a fancy piece of software than it is to write a truly great book. :)


message 11: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 35 comments This sort of snobbery pervades writing. I write much of my first draft stuff longhand. The same people who curl their lip when I'm sitting in a pub scribbling with a biro on a shopping list pad will coo with admiration when I sit in a cafe with a fountain pen and a leatherbound notebook. I can guarantee the words produced need the same amount of editing afterwards.


message 12: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 62 comments There's definately a pecking order all through the writing business. What I really hate though is that there's enough snobbery against self-publishing in general without getting snooty over the platform and software choices!

Does it really matter if my book is on smashwords or kindle, or both? Loading it on either takes approximately 30 minutes - writing the thing took years. Which do I think is more important?


message 13: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments There is a perception, for good or evil, that one's book is not "real" unless it is on Amazon.

I will not go into my lengthy rant against KDP-S, but suffice it to say that I have used KDP alongside Smashwords ... and my sales via Smashwords outlets outnumber Amazon by a factor of 20:1 (I know, because I do the metrics periodically). I personally think it's poor business practice to make yourself discoverable only to one lot of readers; honestly, it's tantamount to saying to every Nook/Kobo/iPad user that s/he is not wanted (or important enough to be bothered with) in one's audience.

I was a fairly early adopter of Smashwords in 2009, and have nothing but good words to say about them. The one time I ran into a problem with a manuscript being uploaded, Mark Coker himself walked me through fixing it. Can you imagine Jeff Bezos doing that? I can't ...


message 14: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments Andrew wrote: "This sort of snobbery pervades writing. I write much of my first draft stuff longhand. The same people who curl their lip when I'm sitting in a pub scribbling with a biro on a shopping list pad wil..."

Ah, a fellow technophobe (for the first draft only, then I type it on my PC)! :)
I've been using Smashwords since 2011 and never done KDP-Select, but those KDP-S authors can be very noisy. Sharon is right, though, why cut out everyone non-Amazon? ;)


message 15: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments L.L., Smashwords authors should rejoice that some authors are on kindle only. That means less competition and more sales opportunity for Smashwords authors. For "kindle only" authors I say hurray, and please don't ever sway.

Sharon, I joined Smashwords about the same time as you and, like you, Mark replied to a formatting query within one day of my contacting Smashwords. Back then Mark didn't have the support staff they do now, so it wasn't unusual to get a reply from Mark.


message 16: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 62 comments I dipped my toe into the KDP-Select water with a collection of short stories, but the only volume it ever generates is from the five day free offer so I'm letting it lapse in December so I can put the collection out with Smashwords.

Since taking up with Smashwords earlier this year I've had no trouble with them at all, and my sales are higher than they ever were with Amazon.


message 17: by R.E. (new)

R.E.  Carter (papasmurf1911) | 6 comments Some people just talk down to people period! Because I've read some pretty rude things from some folks in this group about various topics. Amazon works for some people and the same could be said about Smashwords. To be honest with you they only time I hear this debate is from people in this group. It seems to me that some people in this group are obsessed with this topic and the tone of their post are like they are sticking it to the man by not using amazon. Im sorry to be so short...but give it a rest.


message 18: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 354 comments I'm always surprised when people say they have higher sales on Smashwords than Amazon. It's so much smaller. My sales are atrocious on Smashwords. Always strange, I think, to see how much difference there is between different authors and their success on the different platforms.


message 19: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) How long does it take for SW to let authors know they got sales from other stores such as ITunes, B&N, Kobo etc.? For kicks I bought my own book on ITunes back on October 17th. It still doesn't show anywhere on SW's report. It makes it kind of hard to know how the prime catalog sales are going...
Personally, I like SW for their coupons and because authors get more royalties from them without having to raise their prices.


message 20: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments G.G. wrote: "How long does it take for SW to let authors know they got sales from other stores such as ITunes, B&N, Kobo etc.? For kicks I bought my own book on ITunes back on October 17th. It still doesn't sho..."

It should tell you in the Sales&Payment Records section of your dashboard, there's a calendar that says the dates of the retailers and other partners.
Apple Nov 2, 2013
For non-free titles.
Oct 31, 2013
For free titles.
Balance adjusted to
Aug 31, 2013
so keep waiting...


message 21: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) Tks Barbara. That's exactly what I see too...
Do they adjust quarterly or once a year? :P


message 22: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments G.G. wrote: "Tks Barbara. That's exactly what I see too...
Do they adjust quarterly or once a year? :P"


Well, that's why I go to Apple and B&N with another distributor! ;)


message 23: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 814 comments Laurel wrote: "The context was along the lines of how I have to publish my books a little different for SmashWords than for Kindle because the meat grinder has its own ... quirks..."

Don't all conversion programs? Calibre adds odd hyphenation and paragraph breaks. KDP adds indents where I don't want them. Amazon may not call its upload system a 'meatgrinder', but it's effectively the same thing.


message 24: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 35 comments Barbara wrote: "Ah, a fellow technophobe (for the first draft only, then I type it on my PC)! :)
I've been using Smashwords since 2011 and never done KDP-Select, but those KDP-S authors can be very noisy. Sharon is right, though, why cut out everyone non-Amazon? ;)"


I'm not quite a technophobe, but writing longhand seems a bit more flexible in many ways - you can write in places you'd never feel comfortable taking an expensive laptop/tablet, after all :)

I'm giving Select a go with my latest as a bit of an experiment (it's a very niche non-fiction book and it's never going to make me wealthy, so I feel I can experiment a bit with the marketing/distribution/just about everything). So far I've enrolled in the programme but it keeps telling me my 'rights and pricing' section is still 'in progress' (it's really not, the book's been published and selling in several territories for 3 weeks now).


message 25: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 354 comments Andrew wrote: "I'm giving Select a go with my latest as a bit of an experiment (it's a very niche non-fiction book and it's never going to make me wealthy, so I feel I can experiment a bit with the marketing/distribution/just about everything). So far I've enrolled in the programme but it keeps telling me my 'rights and pricing' section is still 'in progress' (it's really not, the book's been published and selling in several territories for 3 weeks now)."

I think Select can be good to start off with. I had my first book in Select and it did well. Its best month was the month after it came out of Select. I think the free days help it go up the ranks and get seen more, so then people buy it even when it's not on a free day. That's my theory...

I think I'll be publishing my new book before christmas, and I'll probably put it into Select again to start with.


message 26: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 35 comments If I can get this apparent glitch sorted with 'rights and pricing' I'm going to try a few free days in early December.

And if it doesn't achieve much, I'll stick it through Smashwords as normal next Feb, but thought it was worth a shot at least.


message 27: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments Andrew wrote: "I'm not quite a technophobe, but writing longhand seems a bit more flexible in many ways - you can write in places you'd never feel comfortable taking an expensive laptop/tablet, after all :)"

My point exactly! :) Gotta love those moleskins and notebooks, LOL!


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

I think SmashWords is a pretty nice publisher. I have published a work of mine a week ago or so, and I could clearly see some advantages in their way of doing things.

I think Amazon has the advantage of being the greatest sole retailer, when Smashwords is the biggest after Amazon, and has a great distribution system... My work is still pending for review for their premium catalog, though.

It has the advantage of the gift coupons and also you reach a different audience than if you stick only with Amazon. :)

I think it gives you more freedom in a way... So, nevermind what other jealous authors may think, do what your gut is telling you to do ;)


message 29: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I will probably do one term in Select and then put any forthcoming books on SW, simply because I find it easier to format for Kindle and most of my sales come from there, although the other stores are picking up a bit.
The coupons are really useful. I don't mind offering a few books free or half price that way instead of the more generic freebies.


message 30: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Bridges (albridges) | 25 comments A.L. wrote: "I will probably do one term in Select and then put any forthcoming books on SW, simply because I find it easier to format for Kindle and most of my sales come from there, although the other stores ..."

I'll probably do the same with my next book, just because it's easier to market. My sales have always been much higher on amazon as well, but this month the three books I have published independently on B&N have totaled 25% more sales than my four books on amazon so now I'm having second thoughts.


message 31: by R.L. (new)

R.L. Kenderson (rlkenderson) Sharon wrote: "I personally think it's poor business practice to make yourself discoverable only to one lot of readers; honestly, it's tantamount to saying to every Nook/Kobo/iPad user that s/he is not wanted (or important enough to be bothered with) in one's audience."

Sharon, I love this. I am an author, but also a reader, and I find it very frustrating when I want to buy a book, but the author doesn't distribute on B&N. That is at least one potential sale they have lost, and that doesn't include all the other Nook readers I would recommend it to.
I recently read that 30-40% of ebooks are sold on B&N...that's a lot of potential sales.


message 32: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 814 comments R.L. wrote: "...Sharon, I love this. I am an author, but also a reader, and I find it very frustrating when I want to buy a book, but the author doesn't distribute on B&N..."

I agree. I buy a fair few indie books, but own a Kobo and so Kindle-only titles are out. (I bought a Kobo so I could use it for proof-reading epubs prior to publication.)


message 33: by R.L. (new)

R.L. Kenderson (rlkenderson) I don't know why anyone would show snobbery toward Smashwords. However, I have heard it can have it's problems. Recently, an author I read about published her book through Smashwords over a month ago, and it's still not available on B&N and other outlets. It took her two weeks to find out she had a coding error and that meat grinder rejected it. It's very frustrating for an author when they know their readers are waiting to buy their book.
This is why I plan to publish on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo, and use Smashwords for Apple and anything else.


message 34: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 354 comments R.L. wrote: "I don't know why anyone would show snobbery toward Smashwords. However, I have heard it can have it's problems. Recently, an author I read about published her book through Smashwords over a month a..."

I'm not sure how she managed to take two weeks to work that out. When there's an error it tells you right away, and usually say what the problem is. If not, the support staff can generally give a fairly good idea.


message 35: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 62 comments It has taken them a while to push books out to B&N lately. I have one published 1st November still not made it out. There's nothing wrong with it as far as I can see, its status is approved, they just seem to have a backlog.


message 36: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments R.L. wrote: "I don't know why anyone would show snobbery toward Smashwords. However, I have heard it can have it's problems. Recently, an author I read about published her book through Smashwords over a month a..."

Only Americans can go direct to B&N. I use Draft2Digital to go to B&N and Apple, and Smashwords for everything else (and direct to KDP and Kobo, of course)...


message 37: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) Steph, I bought my kindle for the same reason. It's amazing how many more errors I catch by using my ereader to proofread.


message 38: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 814 comments Stan wrote: "Steph, I bought my kindle for the same reason. It's amazing how many more errors I catch by using my ereader to proofread."

Very true. Plus it sort-of makes the book look finished...!


message 39: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I think I went with Kindle first, as I own a Kindle and Barnes and Noble is primarily a US store and as Brit at first it didn't seem quite so vital. Kobo still hasn't reinstated my book, so I doubt they will now. I sell far more on Amazon than anywhere else after that it was Kobo then Barnes and Noble then Apple. Haven't sold a bean in the other stores as yet. I do find the coupons for Smashwords very useful, especially as gifting from Amazon is a p in the a.


message 40: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments They still hate me:(


message 41: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments A.L. wrote: "They still hate me:("

Naw! Try going direct with KWL (Kobo Writing Life)! :) Upload the same doc you put on SW without the SW license! ;)


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

I use Scrivener for producing a Kindle version for Amazon and an Epub for Smashwords. I then upload a word doc for the Smashwords meatgrinder to convert to other formats. More work but worth it. I have found that Smashwords has better ethics than Amazon. Those who turn up.their noses at Smashwords and only go the KDP route are missing out.


message 43: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 354 comments Barnes & Noble are in England too, but they're called Borders.


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