J. Michael Gonzalez

Enter Smashwords

After I made the scary but surprisingly liberating decision to self-publish, I felt as though I had been released from prison. Suddenly, I was surrounded by possibilities and had so much to do and so little time to get things done: reorganize Legacy; add new scenes to restore my original vision of the work; edit the existing work to make sure everything still flowed cohesively to name a few! Beyond the actual writing/creative process, I also found myself needing to determine the best medium for self-publication, making decisions about pricing -- not to mention learning how to go about marketing a book once it's been e-published!

The reality, of course, is that I'd need to do most of marketing and editing things whether I self-published or traditional published -- if I'd been picked up by an agent, there would almost certainly need to be rewrites to enhance the marketability of my work, I'd still be doing most of my own social media marketing, and even if I was picked up by an agent and a really great deal was made, I could still end up waiting for many months before my book appeared in print (as if the arguments for self-publishing outlined in my previous post weren't already compelling enough).

With all that in mind, I began editing, rewriting, arranging, etc. It was exhausting work, because my basic editing style is intensely iterative, with no clear demarcation for "done". Essentially, I read a chapter over and over making corrections and edits until I can make it through the whole scene with only cosmetic changes. Then I move on to the next scene...times 40 or so for Legacy. It's nowhere nearly as rewarding to me as actually writing, but the end product is far more palatable (I'll readily admit -- the unedited prose in Predestined is pretty substandard stuff). But as I worked, my friend Elle repeatedly asked me where I ws going to publish, how I was going to go about it, etc.

Elle absoutely hates DRM and the restrictions DRM imposes on the consumer -- she likes being able to transfer things she buys freely amongst her fleet of devices (she's not a copyright violator or someone that pirates the hard earned work of others). With that in mind, she nudged me to check out Smashwords. I didn't exactly resist her suggestion, but I hesitated because I didn't fully understand what Smashwords really is; I thought it was a niche indie publishing house.

I'll write more about Smashwords and the process of publication later, but when I finally did start reading up on it, I was very very surprised at what I found. Smashwords is basically a distributor -- it has a Premium Catalog which other big ebook publishers subscribe to (publishers like Apple Books, Barnes and Nobel, Kobo, etc). You upload your book to Smashwords and not only does it appear on the Smashwords store, but (with a little tweaking) it shows up at mnany other online retailers as well.

Okay, Smashwords! Point to you (and, to me!)...