Hi -

At last I am ready to upload my mss to Smashwords - Science Fiction [well I suppose speculative fiction - fantasy in an SF context]. About 90,000 words. Expect to see it on Amazon and other sites through next week.

And thanks to Scrivener for the best novel wp since computers were invented!

Question - Smashwords meatgrinder needs a formatted Word document. Does the Word doc from Scrivener meet the Smashwords format requirements? [I have no strange formating, no text boxes, no hidden stuff].

Thoughts welcome…

John Hindmarsh
Broken Glass - Book 1 in the Glass Complex Trilogy
Website should be live next week as well -

You should be okay using the RTF compiler. They do say Word file on their site, but I noticed their examples in the Style Guide are distributed in RTF, so they might, as many do, be considering RTF to be a Word file in the same rank as a .doc/x file. If it’s got to end in .doc though, open and save it back out in OpenOffice. You’ll have less formatting grief going the long way about it. Looking at their sample, most of the particulars are in the formatting—which is something you’ll need to make sure is accurate. It looks like you’d get pretty close to the target using the 12pt Times preset, so I’d start with that. The separators between scenes will need to be changed it seems, but I’d go through that guide carefully, tweaking the compiler settings as you do. Should be pretty easy to get a nice standard output.


Thanks for your input. While they refer to RTF files, the instructions are adamant these need to be converted to Word files.

I thought there might have been some experience here to lean on.

I will test/experiment.

Thanks again.

John Hindmarsh
Broken Glass - Book 1 in the Glass Complex Trilogy
Website should be live next week as well -

Yes, though you might have better luck posting in the Tips & Tricks section, as the tech support area is less looked over by other people. If you want, I can move this thread over.

AmberV - yes please - move to appropriate section.

I’m also at the stage where I’m ready to format/compile one of my books that I’ve been using Scrivener for into a format for Smashword. Any update from you, John, or Amber, or others on what’s the best way to do this to leverage Scrivener’s compiler features and still end up with what Smashwords wants?

Of is this info elsewhere on the Forum and I’ve just not found it yet?

Thanks all. I love Scriverner too!!! Telling all my Mac friends and even some of my PC friends – I do have a few of those. :slight_smile:

Formatting particulars aside, I realise I never really followed up on the .doc file thing. If they need a binary .doc file or .docx, then the best solution would be to stick with RTF out of Scrivener, and then use something like OpenOffice, Nisus Writer Pro, or Word itself to convert it to a .doc. You just won’t get what you need out of Scrivener with a binary .doc/x compile. Line spacing and indenting will be off.

[b]You may have to wait a while to see your Smashword’s novel appear on Amazon. I’ve had an ebook “opted in” for Amazon for ever-so-long, but Smashword’s channel manager still notes:

“Ship date TBD. Smashwords and Amazon are working to complete technical integration.”[/b]

Mark Croker has said that when the integration is completed, it will be very good and offer new features. That suggests it may hinge on some upgrade at Amazon’s end.

Smashwords is a great distribution channel for authors, particularly if you don’t want to trouble yourself with multiple uploads with formatting issues, separate payments, etc, for each distributor. It now reaches almost everybody but Amazon, releasing your manuscript to the others “every Thursday or Friday.”

Typically, Smashwords takes about 10% for serving as your wholesaler and for providing an ISBN, if you don’t have one. Here are the specifics from their website:

Amazon’s larger sales volume might justify uploading directly to them for an added 10% even after Smashwords begins distribution to Amazon. For authors who don’t have hot sellers, however, the reduction in trouble in dealing with the others may be worth a 10% cut.

I seemed to have gotten in early. Based on its link, my book, The House of the Wolfings: The William Morris Books that Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, was apparently Smashword’s 262th ebook:

That link illustrates that Smashwords also lets you sell your book directly through them, although the vast majority of the sales are likely to take place elsewhere. (I’ve had hundreds elsewhere, only eight through Smashwords.) But their site allows you more options than most retailers, including an ability to offer coupons.

Keep in mind that book retailers see book buyers as the primary group to be kept happy. At Smashwords, authors are their primary customers, so it’s much more author-centered than the retailers themselves.

–Michael W. Perry, Seattle

If you want your ebook on amazon, go there directly. I don’t have anything to back this up, but I think the reason it’s taking so long to for Amazon and Smashwords to work it out is that Amazon DTP is so easy to use.

I usually make sure the book gets through the Smashwords grinder before I upload to Amazon.

It’s called Kindle Direct Publishing. The process is easy and fast.

Is it OK to publish an ebook directly to Amazon while also asking Smashwords to do the same? Do either of these guys care if two separate copies of your book turn up on the Kindle store? I’m not very clear on the process as of yet…

I’m not quite sure why you would do that. From the buyer’s POV it’s confusing and may turn them off. I publish through both and opt out of Amazon on Smashwords. If I could directly publish elsewhere I would do the same thing. Smashwords is a very convenient middleman, and they do a great job, but I don’t want to give away any royalties I don’t have to.

Well, that’s my thinking as well. The quoted line about uploading directly to Amazon “even after Smashwords begins distribution” implied a double-upload to me, but if you can opt out of Smashwords’ Amazon upload in favor of performing that task separately on your own, then it makes sense.

You can always opt out of any Smashword’s distribution to any retailer. Smashwords considers authors their primary customers and tilts heavily toward giving them as much control as possible. You can start or stop distribution in a couple of minutes by checking boxes at their website. The results may take a week or so to work their way through the system though.

Just be careful about pricing if you do multiple uploads. Amazon and Apple’s initial contracts required authors not to sell ebooks cheaper any where else, something that struck me as both stupid and bullying.

Faced with an FTC investigation, I believe Apple has dropped that provision, but I’m not sure if Amazon has. Besides the ease of one file upload, one advantage of Smashwords is that you need only set the price one place to have it reflected by all retailers. Amazon plus Smashwords isn’t that hard, but trying to manage pricing with a half-a-dozen different retailers, each with a different process, could be a headache.

Particularly if you’re like me and hate bookkeeping-type activities.

–Michael W. Perry, Seattle