As a publisher (digital or not) avenues of distribution are key to any strategy. It’s our job, after all, to get the stories of our authors in front of as many people as possible. Smashwords.com is one of the more open and promising ebook distribution outlets at the present (it is DRM-free as well), and we’ll be releasing our ebooks and digital files of Usok on the site. Smashwords distributes through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Sony and Shortcovers as well (we’ll let you know when/if Usok pops up in those sites) so it’s a great place to be.
For starters we’ve got Usok #1 available as a single file download at Smashwords in a variety of formats, which I’ll discuss in a bit. Since Usok #1 is free, you don’t need to register at Smashwords in order to download it, but if you’ve got the time, feel free to go through the process so that you can review Usok on Smashwords (pretty please? ^_^), and so you’ll be all set when our non-free offerings come out.
Aside from reviews and helping spread the word, trying out the different formats and letting me hear your feedback would be of great help as well. Which format did you prefer, and what would you like us to improve on in the future? There’s a bit of a trial-and-error type learning curve involved in Smashwords’ ebook formatting system, which is why we’re testing this out with Usok, a free offering, rather than with our first anthology, Ruin and Resolve. The good thing about Smashwords is that after you purchase an ebook, if there are any updates to the file made afterward, you can re-download it for free. (This also opens interesting possibilities for a book with constantly updating content that can be made available for a flat fee, but I’ll save that for another day…)
Note that none of the versions includes the new cover which you can see above (file size considerations I assume) but you can download the cover image here or from Smashwords, and certain readers (like Stanza) allow you to attack a cover image to the ebook file.
For those interested in the details/differences of the downloadable versions, I’ve got a breakdown of the versions, file types, and a few desktop readers after the cut.
Smashwords allows an ebook to be downloaded in the following formats:
- .mobi (for the Kindle [free desktop edition here])
- .epub (for Stanza and a few other readers)
- .pdf (Adobe Reader or alternatives such as Fox-it)
- .lrf (for Sony Reader)
- .pdb (for Palm devices, but Stanza can read this as well)
- . rtf
Of course while the book is made available in all these formats, they are not “created equal” so to speak, and your choice of file will have a lot to do with the device or program you’re going to use to read the book.
While I don’t have a dedicated ereader device (so I don’t know for sure how Usok 1 looks when viewed through a Sony ebook reader or the Nook) many of the formats can be read from your PC desktop with the right program (I’ve linked to a few above). If you’re considering that route, here’s a comparison of the files for your convenience:
The PDF and RTF versions best retain the formatting of the source document, including the images such as the Rocket Kapre logo and scene-breaks. At the moment, I’m thinking that “Ruin and Resolve” might be limited to these versions, because of the need to retain the format of the poems in the anthology. If so, I’ll try to put in a hyperlinked Table of Contents (this was not recommended for Usok 1 since I was converting to all formats, and hyperlinks might have caused a failure to convert.)
The Kindle desktop app can read the .mobi file, and while there seem to be extra spaces added and the line-alignments and images have been stripped, I have to admit the interface is easy on the eyes.
The epub and .pdb versions can both be opened by Stanza, but they seem to be the most bare-bones of the conversions. The .pdb file doesn’t even retain the author data, although the epub version does. Still, the Stanza readable versions (Stanza can read .mobi, .rtf and .pdf files too, albeit stripping them of formatting and images) have the advantage that they can be read on the iPhone or iPod Touch using the Stanza mobile app.