How to Create, Publish, and Distribute Ebooks with Smashwords



Publish your ebook to Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, Flipkart, Oyster, Scribd,  Baker & Taylor's Blio and Axis360 (libraries!) and more


Earn 60% of List Price from Major Ebook Retailers and 85% Net at


Smashwords Highlights:

  • We make ebook publishing fast, free and easy!
  • World's largest indie ebook distributor
  • Upload your book once and reach multiple retailers.  Spend more time writing and less time managing multiple retailer platforms!
  • Daily sales reporting from iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive and the Smashwords store (learn more)
  • 300,000+ titles published by 100,000+ authors and publishers around the world
  • Global distribution to Apple iBooks (51 countries), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive (reach 20,000+ public libraries!), Flipkart (the largest bookseller in India), Oyster, Scribd, Baker & Taylor, Page Foundry and more on the way
  • Named "One of America's Most Promising Companies" by Forbes Magazine two years in a row (2014, 2013)
  • Distribution to libraries via OverDrive and Baker & Taylor
  • Earn 60% list at major retailers, and up to 80% list at the Smashwords Store!
  • NEW! Publish preorder books to Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo!  Accumulated sales during the preorder period causes your book to rise in the bestseller lists.  Learn more here
  • Participate in exclusive Smashwords promotions such a Read an Ebook Week and the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale
  • We provide simple, step-by-step instructions that make it easy for anyone to create, publish and distribute an ebook
  • FREE ISBNs.  Or, use your own
  • FREE ebook conversion to multiple formats from a Word .doc
  • FREE unlimited anytime-updates to books and metadata
  • FREE consolidated sales reporting simplifies year-end tax reporting
  • FREE centralized metadata management
  • FREE exclusive marketing and selling tools such as our Smashwords Coupon Manager, Smashwords Series Manager and Smashwords Interviews!
  • We DON'T employ sales people.  We'll NEVER try to sell you anything (because we don't sell anything!)
  • Since we only earn income on commission, we're 100% focused on helping our authors, publishers and literary agents reach more readers and sell more books
  • Named the #1 self-publishing service in 2014 by ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors)


Getting Started is as Easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Sign up for your free account.  Your confirmation email will summarize your next steps.

  2. Download The Smashwords Style Guide for simple instructions on how to format your manuscript as a Microsoft Word .doc file prior to upload.  No technical experience necessary!  The Style Guide is available in multiple languages, including German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian and Bengali.  If you don't have the time to do the formatting yourself, check out "Mark's List" of low-cost ($40+) Smashwords ebook formatters and cover designers.  Smashwords also accepts direct uploads of professionally designed EPUB files.  Learn more at Smashwords Direct.

  3. Click Publish and follow the simple steps to upload your book and cover image.


Access These Powerful Publishing Tools from the Smashwords Dashboard:

  • Centralized Metadata Management - This is a huge time saver.  Metadata is data about your book, such as pricing, categorization and book description.  From the Smashwords Dashboard, you'll have centralized and consolidated control over your book's metadata at multiple retailers.  Update once, broadcast everywhere.

  • Daily Sales Reporting - We offer daily sales reporting from iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive and the Smashwords store.  Detailed charts and analytics help you spot trends and measure the effectiveness of your sales and marketing campaigns.  Learn more.
  • Smashwords Coupon Manager - Generate custom coupon codes to enable free downloads or discounted promotions.

  • Preorder Distribution to Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo - List your book for sale weeks or months in advance.  Preorders allow you to capture more sales and increase the odds of hitting bestseller lists at major retailers.

  • Smashwords Channel Manager - Opt in our opt out of specific distribution channels, monitor retailer shipments

  • Smashwords Series Manager - Improve the discoverability of series titles.  This powerful tool gives series writers a competive advantage.

  • Pricing Manager - Centrally control your pricing, and set custom pricing for public libraries.

  • Smashwords Interviews - Our fun, self-interviewing tool helps you tell the story behind your stories.  Create and publish your interview today!

  • Global Distribution - Smashwords helps you reach exclusive sales outlets that are otherwise difficult or impossible to reach.

Smashwords for Authors, Publishers and Literary Agents

Smashwords is the world's largest, and the original, ebook distributor for indie authors.  Smashwords was created by an author (Mark Coker) to make it fast, free and easy for any writer, anywhere in the world, to publish an ebook (Click here to read the profile on Smashwords in Forbes Magazine).  Our mission is to empower you with professional publishing and distribution tools.

Don't hassle with direct uploads to retailers.  We'll handle it for you.  We help you spend more time writing and less time wasted on everything else.  We also help you reach multiple sales outlets that are only accessible via Smashwords.

Within minutes of uploading your book to Smashwords, it's featured for sale on the home page at the Smashwords store.  But the most exciting action is with our retail distribution network, which is where our authors earn over 90% of their sales.  Upload your book once to Smashwords and reach multiple global retailers. 

From your Smashwords Dashboard, you control all aspects of your publishing.  Track daily sales performance across our largest retailers.  If you want to run a promotion, simply click to your Smashwords Dashboard and change the price.  Smashwords will transmit the change to all the retailers.  If you decide to update your cover image, book description or anything else, you do it once at your Dashboard and then Smashwords updates all the retailers. 

This centralized publishing and metadata management is a huge time saver for writers.  The time-savings and simplicity of working with Smashwords are the primary reasons thousands of professional indie authors choose to consolidate their distribution with Smashwords. 

Literary Agents!  View The Literary Agent's Indie Ebook Roadmap presentation, which explores how literary agents can assist their clients' ebook publishing efforts.


Smashwords for Libraries

Smashwords proudly supports libraries, and we're working to make our ebooks available to every library in the world. 

Libraries have two options for acquiring Smashwords titles: 

  1. Library aggregators - Smashwords distributes its books through OverDrive (reach 20,000+ public libraries) and Baker & Taylor's Axis360 platform. Other leading aggregators now in the works. 

  2. Smashwords Library Direct -  If your library operates its own ebook checkout platform under the Douglas County Model, you can establish a large opening catalog by purchasing directly from Smashwords.  The average price of Smashwords titles is under $4.00.  We'll help you select a large opening catalog leveraging our first-hand knowledge of what's selling at our major retailers.  Minimum order:  $20,000.  Click here to learn more about Smashwords Library Direct.

Libraries:  Launch a Co-Branded Publishing Portal in Partnership with Smashwords! 

Read the story of how Los Gatos Public Library created a co-branded publishing portal for their writer patrons at Huffington Post:  Click the "support" link at the bottom of the page to request our fact sheet.


Smashwords for Retailers: Co-Branded Publishing Portal Service

If you operate a Smashwords-authorized ebook retailer, or a library, and you want to provide indie authors and small publishers a fast, free and easy onramp to list their ebooks at your store, contact Smashwords to inquire about our co-branded Publishing Portal service. As a retailer, you want to serve your customers by providing them the greatest possible selection and diversity of ebook content. Yet, as you know, it's time-consuming and cost-prohibitive to enter into contractual relationships with every individual author or small publisher. This is where Smashwords can help. We're the leading independent ebook publishing and distribution platform. At no cost to you, and no cost to authors and publishers, we can create for you a co-branded publishing portal, similar to what we previously created for Sony and the Diesel eBook Store. Our co-branded Publishing Portal makes it easy for you to accomodate the titles of indie authors and publishers, while at the same time gaining permanent brand recognition at Smashwords. The co-branded Publishing Portal requires an ebook distribution agreement with Smashwords.


Great Resources to Help You Publish Like a Pro:

1.  Read our Frequently Asked Questions. Learn how to get the most out of Smashwords!  Includes a NEW glossary of ebook terms.

2.  New to ebook publishing?  Check our YouTube video tutorial, An Introduction to Ebook Publishing.  This primer demystifies ebook publishing.  Or, check out our complete collection of ebook publishing tutorials. After watching these videos, you'll have the knowledge you need to publish like a pro.

3.  Download the Smashwords Style Guide to learn how to prepare your manuscript for upload to Smashwords.  Learn how to professionally format your book so it satisfies readers.

4.  Read the Q&A with Mark Coker, our founder.

5.  Download the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide for 39 book marketing ideas you can implement at no cost.

6.  Download the Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, our free ebook that reveals the 29 best practices of the most commercially successful Smashwords authors.  This book teaches you how to think and act like a professional publisher.

7.  Learn how preorders work at our Preorder Help page, or view our online presentation to learn how to make your book launch more successful with preorders

8.  Create a Smashwords Interview, a Q&A-style interview of you, the author!

9.  Read our terms of service (our author-friendly publishing contract). At Smashwords, you're the publisher, and you control all your rights.

10.  Check out the Smashwords blog, where you'll be the first to learn about ebook publishing best practices, and exciting new developments at Smashwords.  There's even an email subscription option so you never miss another post again. 

11.  Read the buzz about Smashwords in our press room.

12. Visit the official Smashwords Facebook page to network with fellow Smashwords authors, publishers and readers.