Alright, I've done it. I've published my first two ebooks on Smashwords, to get a feel for the process, and to validate all my platform efforts.
I followed the Smashwords guide thoroughly. It took a few hours for each story to be cleaned up and formatted the way the guide suggested. A little longer for me than it might be for a lot of people, since my stories are written in a text editor, not MS Word. I had to add Chapters, hot links, the entire front matter and appendices. I also needed to reformat all the paragraphs, so the effort was not trivial.
In the end it was worth it. Both ebooks went through the acceptance and conversion process cleanly on the first try. The site said it might take up to a week for each to be reviewed and approved for the premium catalog.
I can tell you I was quite pleased to find it took less than half a day for them both to clear the last hurdle and be approved for premium status. I had published The Big Tease as a free story and had more than 150 downloads before I went to bed. Ultimate Fantasy Football was priced at $0.99, another short story and a teaser. I had two sales within the first few hours, with no promotion whatsoever. It's clear that everything works.
Now it's time to go out there and let the world know my stories are available as ebooks, and to fill out my inventory.
Next step, see how things work on the other retailers. I'll give it a few days before I check to see if the books are available and selling.