smashwords

Smashwords: Why This Ebook Distributor Didn’t Work For Me

I unpublished all of my works from Smashwords and deleted my account. I decided to focus on selling/distributing my ebooks on Amazon, my website, and Wattpad. Let me explain why I left.

Why Did I Leave Smashwords?

While I do agree that we need other ebook distributors in the self-publishing market to create competition and push improvements, these distributors will not work for everyone.

They Focus Too Much On Microsoft Word

Smashwords created their ebook creation software (“Meatgrinder”) around Microsoft Word. Granted, it is still the most popular word processing software in the world today, but many writers don’t use it. Some writers use Scrivener to write their books, while others use OpenOffice Writer or LibreOffice Writer. I personally use LibreOffice Writer.

I think focusing solely on a paid productivity software isn’t the best choice as some people cannot afford the cost of Microsoft Word or Microsoft 365. Finally, a few writers, like myself, prefer Open Source software like OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

Their Formatting Guidelines Are Too Different

I believe the Smashword Style Guide is a great resource for those new to self-publishing but some of their require style guidelines is too difficult to implement. Case in point: Creating a table of contents.

LibreOffice Writer has a table of contents creator which is pretty good. I use headings format to label my chapters and the table of contents function includes the chapter name and page number with very little input from me. This works fantastic when I upload my works to Amazon, but not Smashwords.

Their “Meatgrinder” software does not like the built-in table of content creator and wants writers to create it in a time-consuming fashion. I dislike doing this because I don’t have to do this with Amazon. Their software converts the table of contents to work properly in their ebooks. So if Amazon can use the built-in table of contents creator, why can’t Smashwords.

The Genres I Write In Aren’t Profitable There

The genres of ebooks that sell pretty well on Smashwords are in the following catetories:

  • Romance
  • Fantasy
  • True Crime / Mystery

Frankly, most of the best-selling books are in the Romance genre because sex sells.

As for me, I like writing contemporary fiction, a little Southern Gothic, and some other genres that are not as popular. Is this a “me” problem? Yes and no. I believe writers should write what they love and not what sells. Right now Smashwords isn’t the right platform for me. My non-free ebooks perform better on Amazon.

I No Longer Need Their Extended Distribution Option

While having your ebooks on Apple Books or Kobo or in libraries is nice, I’m discovering I don’t need those extended distribution options anymore.

After looking at my stats, Amazon is a better platform for me again. While people do buy and/or read books from Apple or Kobo or Scribd, those platforms do not compare to the readers I get on Amazon.


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