Everyone who’s wrestled with Smashwords’ required .doc files breathed a sigh of relief when SW finally announced that we could now upload an epub, formatted exactly the way we wanted it. But if you were expecting that the epub would be a substitute for the hair-tearing .doc file, you can go right back to the hair-tearing — unless the only format you want your book to appear in is epub. The SW blog is pretty clear about what’s involved, but I suspect most of those passing around the “good news” haven’t actually read it.
“Smashwords Direct has some important limitations compared to our standard Meatgrinder workflow. For example, when fed a Word .doc file, Meatgrinder converts the book into as many as nine different ebook formats, making it readable on any e-reading device, and ready to be sampled both through our two browser-based formats or a downloadable file. If you upload an EPUB instead of a Word .doc, you won’t get the multiple formats (PDF, MOBI and browser formats are most important), nor will you get the downloadable samples.“
So much for convenience. We can now struggle through two separate files: an epub, which is worth the bother only if you have special formatting that the meat grinder would destroy, and the usual Word file for the rest.
Not exactly the big step forward that we were hoping for.