Thursday, 15 July 2010

Smashwords vs Scribd



One of many things that I love about the blogosphere is that it promotes discussion, and information sharing. People with experience and knowledge can pass it on to others, who can then in turn pass it on again.

Some people already know that the first phase of my web serial, Tales from Vertigo City, is almost over. Within a few weeks, The First Tale will be finished - and you'll all know what happens! Well my plan from there, aside moving onto The Second Tale, is to tidy the serial up, and make it available as an e-book. Some people don't have the time to sit in front of their computer to read the serial in dribs and drabs, but I still want them to be able to read it. I know that as e-readers become more popular, I'd like for more people to be able to read, and hopefully enjoy, The First Tale.

This is where the plan becomes a tiny bit more epic, because I'm not exactly known for making things easy on myself. I know that e-books that are available across many formats are text-only affairs, and that's fine. I want to put The First Tale out as a text-only version, so people can read it wherever they happen to be with their e-reader. Inspirational self-published author J. A. Konrath advocates Smashwords for selling e-books for iPad, Sony, Kobo (Borders), and Barnes & Noble, and up-and-coming writer Emma Newman used Smashwords for the release of her collection of short dark fiction, From Dark Places. She talks here about the minefield of pricing.

Thing is, there is a lot of supplementary material I want to include, things which I hope will expand or explain a few points about this particular incarnation of Vertigo City. With a background in graphic design combined with a passion for comic books, I'd like those things to take a more visual format, which precludes their inclusion in an e-book in the traditional sense of the word. Smashwords is therefore useless to my purpose, and as printing hard copies would end up being too expensive, I’ve now been considering Scribd

As far as I can tell, both services have their advantages and disadvantages, and this is where things get interesting, as my Net friend Benjamin Solah is having the exact same dilemma! He has both a project to be released as a text-only e-book, and a magazine he wants to keep in graphic format. It's all very exciting, and you can check his post on the subject here. It's at this point that we're both going to throw open the floor to anyone who either has experience of services like Smashwords or Scribd, or anyone who has any advice they'd like to share regarding e-books.

Come on, get involved!

Image by AJ Leon.

5 comments:

Leslie R. Lee said...

I've posted short stories onto Smashwords which are then available via Stanza on iPhone/iPad. I have no idea whether that was a good idea or not. I've not used Scribd so have no opinion about whether one is better than the other. All I can say is that Smashwords certainly makes it easy to get things on its site. And if you need ISBN, then that is available as well. This is an author I follow who has some good thoughts on Smashwords http://marianallen.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/kindle-and-smashwords-ftw/ I am interested to see what you'll do but good luck on whatever you do!

Benjamin Solah said...

I'm really thinking offering it on both appears to be the best option for both of us, if we can do that so if commenters could address this, that would be great.

I'm thinking with my zine, which sounds a lot more like your project, I just want to go with the visual format and this is primarily a print thing.

Also, lulu.com is a great POD print service that won't cost you anything except if you get an ISBN. I've used them before and the print quality is good. You could offer that option too if people are willing to pay, but if they're not, you've still got the eBook versions for those people too.

Icy Sedgwick said...

I'll admit, I thought lulu.com solely did books - I didn't realise they offered other formats as well! It's something else I think I'll have to look into.

Emma Newman said...

Thanks for the mention! I haven't had any experience with Scribd but I've found that getting the e-book up onto Smashwords is easy if you follow their excellent style guide to the letter. The problem is actually keeping it in the public domain without ramming it down people's throats (don't want to be one of *those* authors), rather than the technical side.

Scribd is definitely the way forwards if there are any images it seems - Smashwords is tricky on that front from what I've heard.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Yeah, I still think I'm leaning towards Smashwords in order to get it out as an e-book. I like the layout of their site, too, and something like that makes all the difference!

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