The key to writing for publication via Smashwords is to study the Smashwords Style Guide before you do anything else. It is free and available for downloading. In fact everything you need to know is explained on the website www.Smashwords.com.
You should write with Microsoft Word and avoid the urge to use fancy formatting, because (think about it) an eBook has to be able to adapt to all kinds and sizes of fonts, various orientations, etc. That is why you can’t pre-format a page. You have to start thinking about format in a new way for eBooks.
Study the Style Guide and strip your work of unneeded formatting as required. Then you upload your word document onto the www.Smashwords.com site per directions. Smashwords takes in your Word document and spits it back out in several eBook formats. You will have the opportunity to provide information—marketing material—about yourself and your work, what the price should be etc. Getting your ebook accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalog is your goal, since that provides you with automatic distribution to most of the major online retailers (Barnes & Noble, Apple, etc.) around the world. The fabulous thing about Smashwords.com is that it is free. Smashwords handles distribution of your eBook and computes sales figures (giving up-to-the-minute info about sales or free sample downloads). You specify price (with some requirements by Apple, for instance), and Smashwords pays you 70% of the sales price/ copy sold.
Very soon after submitting your work to the Premium Catalog you will learn if it’s accepted. If not, you’ll be given the reasons why. In my case I had some problems with Chapter Headings and links to the Table Of Contents, and some photos were too big to fit in the margins. After re-studying the Style Guide, make corrections and resubmit. Once accepted, it is about a week before your work is available to online retailers—just as if you were a famous author! To make it so, you can get help via the Smashwords Marketing Guide.
As the author you can download your publication in any of the several formats that Smashwords provides. You can also monitor sales, change the price, offer coupons etc.
For example a Smashwords author, Edward Patterson, set up ‘Operation eBook Drop’, a free eBook program for U. S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it was easy for me to send coupon info to interested military members.
I also sell an eBook version of Right Now Is Perfect for Kindle on Amazon. Smashwords is much easier to use, and oddly enough the standards for acceptance are much higher than for Kindle submissions on Amazon.
So, what are you waiting for? Smashwords even has marketing tips to help you sell eBooks. See the FaceBook site for even more info!