It seems Smashwords have now dropped the incredibly annoying requirement that you had to put “Published by Smashwords” or some similar text on the title page of your ebook when submitting for Premium distribution.
Why such good news? After all, it’s just a line of text, right?
First, many of us don’t use the Meatgrinder. It’s good (better finish than D2D) but it’s not excellent, it’s bloody cumbersome, and it’s very limited. Professional indies usually have professionally-made epub files that we load direct to retailers, including Smashwords.
But because of this ridiculous requirement we had to have two versions, one with the extra words in to keep Mark Coker happy, and another for other outlets.
Second, professional indies do NOT want Smashwords listed as publisher on our title page when Smashwords is not our publisher. It’s called self-publishing for a reason.
Aside from which many authors go to considerable expense and effort to have their own ISBNs and their own publishing imprint. They pay so that that ISBN is assigned to their imprint and they are the publisher of record. A waste of money when Smashwords is insisting we stated they were the publisher instead.
That said, many indies assert ISBNs are a waste of money. Period. We’ll be taking a closer look soon at ISBNs and why we feel they do have something to offer.
Third, having Smashwords printed there, just like having CreateSpace on the title page of a POD, screams out that the book is self-published.
To some readers, and to some retailers and other interested third parties, that matters. Like it or not, being self-published still carries a lot of stigma and closes doors in our faces.
Those in the know understand indie imprints are still self-published, but they also understand, and respect, that those authors have made the effort to distance themselves from the NaNoWriMo first drafts that give self-publishing a bad name.
We only have to look at the Smashwords-OverDrive fiasco to see that. Smashwords titles are hidden away in a self-published ghetto while indies who used a different aggregator such as Ebook Partnership have their titles proudly displayed in OverDrive libraries and retail outlets.
Fourth, it’s disingenuous of Mark Coker, since the site clearly states Smashwords is not our publisher, but he insisted on adding wording in every ebook that said it was.
Five, we accept that Smashwords has a handful of outlets we cannot get into otherwise, so we play the game and have another epub made with the required wording.
No big deal if you make your own or are competent with the Meatgrinder. Not everyone is. Many an indie author has ended up atop the Brooklyn Bridge, ready to end it all, after yet another merry-go-round with the Meatgrinder’s utterly meaningless auto-vetter rejections.
So most professional indies have their epub files made for them, in the same way most of us farm out our cover designs or our editing or proofing.
And that becomes a very big deal if you are paying the crazy prices some ebook formatters charge.
So either you had “Published by Smashwords” in your epub even if you were going direct to Nook, or to Google Play, or whatever. Or you had to have two epub versions, one with the wording and one without. Which could get seriously expensive for those paying for the work..
But now we can load the same epub to all retailers – and of course that includes Amazon. One of the many upsides to Amazon is that you can upload a quality epub file to KDP and they will convert it to a mobi file. No-one should be paying extra for a mobi file for Amazon when your epub will load in KDP just fine, and now you don’t need a separate epub file for Smashwords.
All that said, if you use a Smashwords-allocated “free” ISBN then Smashwords will still be your publisher of record and it will still say “Publisher: Smashwords” in the metadata on the product page.
The only way to avoid that is to buy your own ISBNs. Again, more on this thorny subject soon.
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