Smashwords Tutorial

How to upload and manage an account on

Hello Columbus House of Scribes!
I understand some of you had questions about what options there are for uploading your work and more importantly how to do so. Today I’ve decided to start a series of tutorials to do just that by discussing, an undeniably intricate resource for small press and self-publishers.
An Overview
Smashwords is a distributor that specializes in self-published e-books, with a high emphasis on creator control of content and sales. The website allows creators to manage a profile and upload works for e-distribution through multiple websites and formats. Having recently setup my own profile I’d like to walk you through the process of establishing your access and managing your account.

Logging In/Signing Up
As a new member you’ll have to establish access by right clicking the option Join for Free! On the blue toolbar located beneath the Smashwords logo, and create your user ID. For those of you operating under a pseudonym (or pen name) you can feel free to list this as it won’t affect your sales, which we’ll be getting to in a bit. After you’ve created your user ID you’ll need to access the e-mail address you’ve chosen and follow the registration guide provided, after that you’re half-way to published!

When you’ve completed registration you’ll be brought back to the home page of Smashwords, but this time as a member. There are literally thousands of e-books available for free so I recommend browsing when you have the time, but for now let’s discuss your profile.
To manage your profile you’ll need to drag your mouse to the far right above the toolbar, you’ll see a picture of a man reading a book. Click the icon and it will give you the options of, Manage Account, Profile, Dashboard, Library and Support. Click on the Profile option, and make yourself known.
The reason I recommend starting here is that this will be where you’ll most often link others to view your work, as you’ll notice you will have the option to not only talk about yourself but also where else you can be found. Take full advantage of linking alternate websites that feature your work, as well the author interviews, sometimes people are more open to give your work a shot if you give them the chance to know you on a personal level.
The Publish area is where you’ll be submitting your work. You’ll find the option near the center of the toolbar next to the Library screen. This is perhaps the trickiest part, because in order for your book to be available to other retailers via Smashwords you must adhere to ‘The Smashwords Style Guide’, but thankfully the website offers it for free, so as not to belabor that point I’ll just direct you here :
After you’ve completed formatting your work appropriately you may submit it on the Publish page, and voila! You’re now a self-published author! If you’ve followed the procedure found in the style guide your book is now available on multiple websites beyond Smashwords, such as Amazon, Barns & Noble, and iTunes.
If you’ve made your work available for free I’d like to thank you on behalf of the world for your selfless contribution, but if not be mindful of your prices, as your net profits will be effected by Smashwords. While on Smashwords your book will reflect the price you’ve listed for it, but on other sites this isn’t the case. Bottom line is that the best case scenario offered is retaining 85% of your profits from Smashwords,

Book Cost Smashwords Fee Net Profit
$1.99USD $0.30USD $1.69USD

This isn’t a bad figure, it’s actually very pleasant in favor of the author, but as mentioned, best case scenario. To get an idea as to how pricing will work on other websites that Smashwords will distribute to, follow this link:

This is where you’ll be spending the bulk of your time, if the Profile is the heart of your Smashwords experience then the Dashboard screen is undoubtedly the brain. To access the Dashboard we’re going to find our favorite book reading, hat man above the task bar, and access the Dashboard on the dropdown menu.
The Dashboard is admittedly the most intimidating of the areas on the website, but don’t fret, it’s not as bad as it looks. Here you’ll be able to view the amount of downloads you’ve had for your books, and also who has placed it in their Library, which as a user is the tool you utilize to save favorite reads.
The Dashboard will also allow you to adjust pricing, and control the settings of your current publications. As mentioned earlier your works will have to adhere to Smashwords Style Guide to be accessible on alternate websites, while on the Dashboard you can confirm the status of your book; if it’s red under Premium Status you may need to tweak it a bit, but if it’s green you should have no trouble finding it on other websites.

As mentioned this is just a brief overview of the website, but with this information you can begin your Smashwords experience, have fun, and good luck!


About CJE

I'm a writer from Columbus, OH. @CJEskew
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