This winter past I spent a fair bit of time thinking about how best to finish the editing process of my short story collection, The Year of the Elm. In particular I considered a number of possible proofreading solutions in order to track down as many typos and errors as possible. Along with hiring an editor, doing the work myself, or using a service like Bite-Sized Edits, I came up with what I thought might be a way to merge the inherent functionality of Smashwords with the goal of open-source proofreading.
9d. You further warrant the book represents a complete work:
• this is not a work-in-progress
• the uploaded file is not a partial sample or sample chapter, or is not a collection of sample chapters
• the uploaded book represents a complete story with a beginning, middle and end
The reason we have a rule of “only finished works” is that we don’t want Smashwords to be viewed as a place where you post works in progress to gain feedback. There are dozens of writing communities that already do an excellent job of this. We’re for finished works that are ready for readers and distribution.However, you have an interesting situation here. This is really for advance marketing, with the side benefit of crowd sourcing typo discovery.Your book is essentially and advance reading copy, also commonly referred to as an “uncorrected proof.” Its what publishers would send out for reviewers as an ARC. Why don’t you label it as such. Above the title, add the words (centered):
ADVANCE READING COPY – NOT FOR SALE
ON SALE DATE: JANUARY XX 2010
After you publish it at Smashwords, go to your Dashboard’s Channel Manager and opt it out of the distribution channels (this is optional. Just understand that the day the book goes on sale, it’ll take the retailers up to several weeks to catch up and apply the new price).
In your promotion, let your readers know it’s for advance promotion purposes only. Maybe say something like, “As with all ARCs and uncorrected proofs, the book is complete but you may find typos. If you find a typo, please report them to me. I’ll mail a free signed printed copy to anyone who discover a typo.” (or whatever spiff you want to offer readers. It could also be something as simple as recognition on your blog, or a coupon code to download the book for free upon official publication)As you discover and correct typos, you can go back to your Dashboard and click “upload new version.”Throughout the ARC period, anyone who downloads the book will automatically have access to the most recent version. People can download the free version without registering.Once you arrive at your official “in print date” you can assign a price to it. Once the book is purchased, they’ll have access to the most recent version plus future updates, if any.