I was planning to publish my book on as many platforms as possible, Smashwords, Amazon, B&N etc. As a novice author this would have consumed a significant amount of my time learning the intricacies of formatting and publishing for each medium. But the advice I was given is the following: publish on one of the big players in the market (e.g. Amazon) and devote your efforts to promotion there, don't waste your time on the smaller outfits (e.g. Smashwords).
Why would this make sense? Wouldn't it make more sense to publish in as many places as possible to get all the sales you can? The answer is "no" and the reason is the following:
Consider the following scenario. I offer to buy 1000 copies of your book. I can do it in two ways. In option "A" I will buy 100 copies per month over 10 months or, in option "B" I will buy all the 1000 copies in one month. Which one would you choose?
The obvious choice is "B" for the simple reason that sales increase when your book acquires more visibility, and your book acquires more visibility when it sells. In other words, if you sell 1000 copies in one month the odds are that more sales will follow because your book will climb quickly in ranking and get noticed, whereas a steady but low rate of sales may keep it under the radar screen.
So the idea is to go for the spike. Make your book climb in ranking quickly and then devote all your time to do the promotion necessary to keep it there or make it go higher. This also means that making a concerted effort to combine several promotion strategies at once (say immediately after the launch of your book) would be more valuable than publishing your book and then developing its promotion piecemeal one strategy at a time.
This is of course just some advice I got, but it makes sense to me. What do you think?