Since I began self-publishing, I've stuck with Amazon. It hasn't always been easy (don't even get me started on the nightmare that revolved around trying to get picture files to merge with .doc files and .doc files to merge with zip files and zip files to upload without shuffling the order of the picture files) but I stuck with it, read enough html how-to articles to make my eyes bleed (do you need a website built from scratch? 'cause I can do that), scoured the KDP select forums day in and day out, and finally - FINALLY - figured out how to publish a book that looked halfway decent. And NO, I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT HOW NOW AMAZON HAS SWITCHED ITS COVER REQUIREMENT SIZE FROM 800 TO 1000 (MINIMUM!!!!) WHICH MEANS I HAVE TO REDO EVERY SINGLE COVER I'VE EVER DONE IN ADDITION TO BUYING BIGGER PICTURES WHICH COST 3X WHAT I WAS PAYING BEFORE AND ARGGHHHHH.
I've always known that other distribution outlets for ebooks existed. I even tried Barnes & Noble once upon a time, but it was a lot of work for little result. However, a few weeks ago, I read Keary Taylor's blog (which I tend to do from time to time since she's an amazing indie author who has provided a lot of inspiration for me) and she wrote a post about publishing on iBooks. Basically, she said it was awesomesauce and she made a bunch of extra money and - okay, she had my attention after "bunch of extra money" (I can't help it! I'm weak, I tell you... Weak!). On a more serious note, I think until I read that post I more or less existed in a happy bubble of "EVERYONE buys their books on Amazon and of course that's the only place I have to sell and the world is a happy place lalalalala". Well, I'm here to tell you my bubble has been popped.
After some impromptu research, I decided to try out Smashwords, an indie book distributing company which sells books on their website but also distributes to Barnes & Noble, Apple (iBooks), Kobo, Sony, and more. I get 60% of the list price, I upload my book once, and they do all the dirty work. Sounds great to me! Actually, it sounds almost too good to be true... Which is why I am testing the waters with only one of my books (the holiday novella The Winter Wish) before I jump straight into the deep end.
I've read mixed reviews on Smashwords. Some people say don't waste your time. Others say it's great. Since I like to make up my own mind I decided to give it a shot. At the very least I will be able to offer my book(s) on several platforms that were unavailable to me before.
Right now The Winter Wish (the new and improved, completely re-edited version of The Winter Wish, by the way) is pending approval on all of Smashword's distribution channels. I've heard you have to jump through hoops to get in, but so far everything has gone pretty smoothly. Suspiciously smoothly, but I'll take what I can get after the nightmare (NIGHTMARE, I TELL YOU!) that was learning how to format my books for Amazon.
But don't worry Amazon. We're still besties.