Smashwords Review

When I first heard about Smashwords, I wasn’t impressed with the name. Nonetheless, I had read great reviews about it, so I decided to check it out. This was several years ago when I decided to self publish my books. After two experiences with vanity publishers – one was great; the other one not so good – and learning more about indie publishing, that route seemed the way to go.

Smashwords Review

There is, of course, Amazon KDP, another excellent self publishing platform for indie authors. Not everyone likes Amazon, though. Some customers won’t purchase there, for ethical reasons. The recent cuts in referral commissions has Amazon affiliates in uproar, which may result in many canceled accounts, who knows …

As the famous saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There are many other platforms that do just as well, or even better, and I must say that Smashwords offers all the tools an indie author needs.

eggs in one basket

Background on Smashwords

This company was founded in Los Gatos, California, and it is a platform for self-publishing e-books. It has been operating since 2008.

The founder and CEO is Mark Coker. He founded Smashwords to change the way books were being published, marketed, and sold. He has written several books to help the author with Smashwords marketing and style guides. If you want to know more about the founder, his profile is available on Smashwords.


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How Do You Self Publish?

You can publish your e-book for free. The process is easy. You upload a Word document or PDF, but before you do that, make sure it is formatted and edited.

If you’ve never formatted a book before, the first time can seem daunting, but after a few times you’ll get the hang of it. There is, of course, the easier option of letting someone do it for you. At a low price you can pay a professional to format your book.

Your uploaded document goes through the “meat grinder” where it is checked for any formatting and spelling errors. After it has passed that test, it will be checked by a real person. The process doesn’t take long.

You can also upload your book cover. If you have your own book cover, you need to make sure to have the required pixels that Smashwords requires.

After you have published your book it will be distributed globally, which means that it will be displayed on major book retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple Books, Fnac, Hive, and so on, except for Amazon.


smashwords review

And there’s more. 


smashwords tools

What Does Smashwords Offer?

The list is pretty good.

  • Daily sales reporting
  • smashwords pre-sales
  • audiobook production and distribution
  • Pricing manager
  • Smashwords interviews
  • Coupon manager
  • Smashwords alerts
  • Centralized media data management

And more, as you can see here.

smashwords global distribution


  • It’s free
  • It’s easy to use
  • User manuals
  • Much help available
  • Great help desk with quick response times
  • Book sales platform
  • Author interviews
  • Helpful author tools
  • Global e-book distribution


I just found one. There is a lot of information on Smashwords, which is a good thing, but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming when you’re looking for some specific info. I would not list this as a big con, though.

booksgosocial slow books sales?

Final Thoughts

thumbs upDo I recommend Smashwords? Yes, absolutely. I’ve had nothing but good experiences on this platform. I signed up with them many years ago, but after I opened an author account with Amazon, I forgot about using Smashwords, yes, shame on me …

I’m beginning to realize that Smashwords – despite being a large company – is still very customer oriented. They care about their authors and readers. You can’t say that for many big businesses, can you?

If you’re an author and you would like to try Smashwords, I’d say, go for it. I will definitely revive my old account. I just had a look, and there are several books I have not published on there yet. I have much work to do.

If you have any more questions about Smashwords, please let me know. I’ll be happy to help.

22 thoughts on “Smashwords Review

  1. This is interesting, as I had the first reaction to the company when I first heard of “smashwords” as well. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one! 

    Thanks for the solid advice about all the eggs in one basket. It’s very true that we should keep an open mind (and backup plans available). Smashwords does seem to offer a lot and it’s good to see it recommended here. Thanks for going through the main features to get from the program!

  2. Hi,

    I’ve been writing books for a few years now and published them on many different websites but I am not happy with my sales. I make a few sales a day but I would like to ramp things up because it seems competition is a little difficult to beat. How does Smashwords stack up against other website? Is it easy to rank and make lots of sales? Thanks.

    1. There is indeed much competition. I think that Smashwords offers authors many tools to get their books noticed. The platform was designed by someone who wanted to make a difference for writers. I have not used Smashwords fully yet, but I think that if you use the free promotional tools that Smashwords offers, you may see an increase in sales. 

      Authors don’t have it easy, I know 😉 It’s hard to get our books noticed. Try out Smashwords and see if it works for you. And let me know if you have any more questions.

  3. What an intriguing article,  I had the first reaction to the company when I first heard of “smashwords” as well. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who was triggered by it.

    Thanks for the solid advice about all the eggs in one basket. It’s very true that we should keep an open mind and other alternative ways Smashwords does seem to offer a lot and it’s good to see it recommended here. Thanks for going through the main features to get from the program!….We appreciate

  4. Hi Christine,

    Thanks for introducing us to another alternative way to promote indie books. Although I am not an author like you, I still think this article is precious for people who want to pursue a career as one indie author.

    I believe this diversity is an excellent way to mitigate the impact of Amazon’s recent commission reductions, and it’s good to know that you consider going back to Smashwords.

    For an indie author, do you recommend Smashwords than Amazon? Or you can add some comparisons between these two for a better understanding? People might get a clear picture to choose the platform that suits them the best.


    1. Hi Matt,

      That’s a very good questions. I think the biggest difference between Smashwords and Amazon is that Smashwords is more dedicated to helping the author, while on Amazon you are just another author who has published books on a gigantic business platform where you are just a number. While Amazon offers authors to sign up for Kindle Unlimited which basically pays for the pages that a reader reads in your Kindle book, I have made more money on Smashwords than on Amazon.
      Amazon KDP certainly has a very good helpdesk, but at Smashwords, I find the help I get is more decidated to help an author succeed. Smashwords is a big platform, but I find it more helpful than Amazon.
      I find that Amazon is focused on success through its merchants and authors and anyone else who uses the platform to sell products. Smashwords seems more focused on their authors’ success. To me, that’s an important difference.

  5. Hi 

    Great content!

    I’ve been looking for ways to make money from home especially the COVID19 situation will for sure going to change how the new normal for many people. I am still blessed to have my work, but not sure how long that’s gonna last. In the mean time, I don’t want to wait here for that day to come. I want to find ways how to make money using online my interent.

    I love your article. It is definetly a viable option for me. I know about Amazon KDP, but I didn’t know that there are alternative. I am starting to dislike Amazon because I feel they are a bit greedy. 

    Anyways, like what I’ve said this is an awesome option. 

    Just a couple of questions: 

    1. I know it’s free but there is nothing is free. How do they make money/ how will I be charged? Is it commision base?

    2. Do you think it will be okay if I asked a freelancer to write me a book and Im the one to market it there? Also will they allow if I buy publishing rights from other authors and I sell it there?

    Thanks in advance!

    John Greg

    1. Hi John,

      You use the platform for free, so you don’t pay a membership, but smashwords obviously earns something from your books sales. You earn your percentage and so do they.  As for your second question, I am not sure about that one, but I think it would be best to ask their helpdesk. They always respond right away. I hope that helps 🙂

  6. Christine, It looks like there are some great pros with Smashwords as you point out in this Smashwords review. I have been looking for a good self-publishing platform for my new eBook and this has helped me out a lot. One of the pros I like about Smashwords is how much help they seem to offer. I could see myself getting stuck very easily with other platforms. 

    1. Hi Russ,

      Their helpdesk is excellent, they have quick response times and they are very friendly. The site itself also offers a lot of information and help. 

      Good luck with your ebook!

  7. Wow! This is an awesome review that you have got here. Apart from the services Smashword offers to its members, I am also fascinated about how they care for their authors and readers unlike other big businesses. They provide exceptional services and their mode of notification for new release is automatic such that you always informed.

    Thanks for sharing this with me.

  8. Hello there thanks for the review, it was really helpful. I really do not know much about writing or publishing books but I think this is a great tool for writers and anyone who wishes to publish their books. I strongly recommend this tool because it is easy to use and totally free

  9. Heloo over there, I must say abig thanks to you for sharing this beautiful review on smashwords… I really find this review very fascinating, interesting and useful . Anyways I know of a friend who definitely needs this article I will forward to him I’d you don’t mind. Anyways thanks for sharing once again.

  10. Helooo dear, that’s for sharing these valuable content with us, I was actually doing some research online when I saw your post about Smashwords, I really fancy it name, I love that site it was really helpful to me when I was selling my ebooks on line, thanks for really going deep to explain more about Smashwords, for us thanks  for the info, I’ll surely do some recommendations

  11. I know that finding a good article does not come by so easily so i must commend your effort in creating such a beautiful website and writing an article to help others with useful information like this, Smashwords is one of the largest e-book distributors for independent authors and publishers, its website is a little underwhelming and aesthetically bland, and while all the information an author needs to self-published an e-book is there.thanks for sharing

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