Self-Publishing Ebooks with Smashwords

Sell ebooks at Smashwords, Apple, B&N, Kobo and retailers around the world. Perfect for self-publishing authors.
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1,022 students enrolled
Instructed by Jason Matthews Business / Media
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  • Lectures 26
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 6/2015 English

Course Description

Smashwords is the world's largest distributor of self-published ebooks. 350,000 authors have published with Smashwords for these great reasons:

1. Pays you 85% royalties on direct sales.

2. Converts your ebook into every file type for any possible e-reading device.

3. Distributes your ebook for sale to other retailers like Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Page Foundry, Baker & Taylor, Library Direct, Oyster, Scribd, Flipkart and OverDrive while handling the finances.

4. Allows you to generate ebook discounts for any amount and time frame. Perfect for gifting books or creating sale events.

5. Design an author profile with photos, videos, links to your print books, interview and more.

6. It's a free service. They only make money when you sell ebooks.

Smashwords is ideal for authors who want to save time and money.

The course is taught by Jason Matthews, bestselling author and Udemy expert for self-publishing topics.

Everything you need to:

  • format documents with NCX file
  • pass Meatgrinder and make Premium Catalog
  • convert to ePub
  • make covers
  • upload and sell at Smashwords
  • distribute to major retailers around the world

What are the requirements?

  • students can use Microsoft Word or another writing program to format their documents
  • download the free Smashwords Style Guide
  • download the free Calibre software for converting to Epub file type

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Self publish like a pro
  • Format ebooks from Microsoft Word Documents
  • Create Table of Contents, active hyperlinks and useful features within ebooks
  • Convert MS Word to EPUB using Calibre
  • Make great ebook covers while saving money
  • Upload and sell ebooks at Smashwords
  • Sell ebooks at Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Oyster, Library Direct and many more!

Who is the target audience?

  • authors
  • writers
  • publishers

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: What Makes Smashwords Special

Smashwords pays a whopping 85% royalty to you on direct sales, plus they convert your other file types for every possible reading device. Smashwords also distributes your ebook to major retailers around the world. Every author should include Smashwords in their publishing plan, and this course shows you how.

1 page

Here are the URLs listed that appear in the videos. There are other link sections later (repeated) for cover design topics, ePub conversion, payments, taxes and site updates.


The Style Guide is a free and great supplement to your publishing endeavors. It's written by Make Coker, founder of Smashwords.

Section 2: Formatting for Smashwords

Here's a quick rundown of the most useful formatting tips before we implement them.


Let's put those tips to work in an example MS Word document. This is a great way to format ebooks.


This is a handy list for all your possible elements of front matter and the chronological order they're typically used.

Section 3: Table of Contents

See how Smashwords recommends making your Table of Contents, by inserting bookmarks at the proper locations within the text and hyperlinks in the TOC that send a reader to those bookmarks. This method creates your NCX file upon conversion.


Here's a second method for creating a Table of Contents that works great if you plan to upload an ePub file to Smashwords. We'll use MS Word's Reference tab, Heading 1 settings, and the Insert Table of Contents feature. This method is also preferred by Amazon Kindle should you decide to format a version for KDP Amazon or other retailers.


After the basics, knowing some special formatting tips will make your ebook stand out with aesthetics and fun functionality. Plus you can also hire out wisely if you decide you'd rather pay for a professional formatter.

Section 4: Cover Design

Knowing the specifics for cover design required to pass inspection will help your ebook make the premium Catalog and be eligible for distribution to major retailers.

1 page

Reference this handy list for reminders and suggestions regarding your ebook cover.


Get some great ideas for hiring a cover designer.


You may want to check out some cover template sites if you want to try making one yourself.


For the adventurous types who really want a do-it-yourself book cover, here are some great sites, programs and tips to know about.

1 page

Here's a handy list for places to get images and programs for working with them.

Section 5: Smashwords Direct for Uploading EPUB Files
1 page

This decision divides authors, so take your time and decide how you'd like to upload to Smashwords.


For those who want to upload an ePub file to Smashwords, Calibre is a free and awesome tool for converting MS Word .docx to ePub.


Validate your ePub file before uploading to Smashwords. If it passes inspection at Epub Validator, it's much more likely to pass at Smashwords. If it doesn't pass inspection, you'll be given a list of errors along with their location in the text so you'll know what needs fixing.

Section 6: Publishing at Smashwords

This is exciting because you're ready to publish! Let's fill in the content boxes and upload your documents properly.


After uploading to Smashwords, make an ISBN decision (free or provide your own?) and check the quality of your ePub conversion if you uploaded MS Word .doc.


Here's how to upload an ePub file or to update a new version and also how to download Adobe Digital Editions for another way of checking how you ePub file looks on e-reading devices.


Through the Channel Manager of your Dashboard, make sure to check the Distribute or Opt-Out buttons for each of the distribution partners to determine which retailers will sell your ebook.

1 page

These will be important for getting paid and staying up to date with new developments.

Section 7: After Publishing Extras at Smashwords

Smashwords is unique for giving authors the ability to make coupons of any value for readers. It's a great way to share or promote your ebook with special deals.


Fortunately Smashwords gives authors plenty of way to shine. It's a great idea to fill out as much information about you as possible. Readers enjoy that.


Questions and comments can be left here in the course or through my direct email. Plus my blog has money saving coupons for other Udemy courses on topics in self-publishing.

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Instructor Biography

Jason Matthews, Author and Self-Publishing Expert

Jason Matthews is the author of multiple titles, both fiction and nonfiction. His books have been translated into 8 languages and his self-publishing lessons have been viewed by students in 123 countries.

Jason works with writers around the world and teaches many courses on self-publishing topics (listed below).

He lives in San Luis Obispo, California. He's a skier, soccer player, beach lounger and loves a game of chess or scrabble. He can be contacted through his websites and social media links.

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