Saturday, June 11, 2011

Smashwords Premium Catalog Process Updated

Never easy to read the munged Site Updates (sans carriage returns or any other formatting) but Mark Coker (founder of Smashwords) always packs good information into those posts so let me reformat his list as a list here and share it around.

  1. As mentioned previously, we reconverted the entire Smashwords Premium Catalog to take advantage of improved NCX features.  A couple days ago, we began reshipping books to Kobo, placing a priority on books that have been awaiting their first shipment.  Due to the volume of titles, Kobo has asked us to throttle the shipments (not ship them all at once), so please expect it may take up to four weeks for shipments to complete.  We're also shipping updates to other retailers, and some have asked to throttle as well.

  2. We are backlogged on Premium Catalog reviews. We plan to hire additional vetting team members in the next 30 days.  The training takes a lot of time, so expect further delays as we staff up.  Currently the vetting queue is running about a week longer than planned, so about two weeks.  Our goal, post-staffing, once the new team is trained, is to get review cycle times down to 3-5 days.

  3. Tip:  If your book is waiting in the review queue, have you opened your .epub file in Adobe Digital Editions, as we recommend in the Style Guide, to ensure the NCX is properly formed?  See the new and improved Step 20 in the Style Guide for more.  Your assistance will help us speed the approvals process so you're approved on the first review.

  4. Why the backlog?  A few reasons:  A.  Smashwords authors and publishers have released 6,300+ new titles in the 30 days (wow).  B.  In the past, the Premium Catalog review process didn't look at the book's NCX.  Now we're looking, and so it's taking some time for our authors and publishers to iterate and get their NCXes working properly.  C.  In the last few weeks, we started reporting EPUBCHECK status.  This too has caused many authors and publishers to upload new revisions for review.  Thanks for your patience as together we improve the capabilities of all Smashwords ebooks for the benefit of you and your readers.
Of course, I'm happy to report that Coming Home (Dicky's Story) is in the Premium Catalog and looks great everywhere but not quite the same everywhere.

Personally, I still highly recommend the Free Kindle Reader App--whether for your Android smartphone, your Blackberry, your iOS device, your desktop (any operating system, Mac or PC). It's still the one app out there that makes a book look the same no matter what hardware platform you use.

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