Smashwords has just unveiled a new system that finally allows authors to upload their ebooks in ePub format. This new capability allows publishers or authors to upload their own professionally formatted ePub files for sale at the Smashwords store, and for distribution to the Smashwords retail distribution network.
When you upload your own ePub book it is important to note that your book will not be converted to other popular formats. Smashwords is well known for automatically converting your Word document to Mobi, PDF, ePub, and a myriad of other book types. A professionally formatted book will only be in ePub format but considering its the the most popular one, you should be just fine.
ePub creation allows for a ton of flexibility and different publishers/authors have different methodologies. You can use Adobe InDesign, Nisus writer pro, OpenOffice, Jutoh, Atlantis, Epubmaker, LibreOffice, Writer2epub, Scrivener, HTML, Sigil, and Calibre. From the limited beta test, the company noticed Sigil and Calibre were often cited to be the most popular platform to test ebooks.
Smashwords is one of the largest indie submission stores out there. The company gives authors who publish with them a free ISBN number, which is a pre-requsitie for companies such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kobo. The company will distribute your book to all the major online bookstores, giving you more visibility and traction. All sales could be tracked within Smashwords and voids the need to manually check out your sales dashboard with each company.