Nearly all indie authors publish their books to Amazon Kindle, and it’s no surprise since they are far and away the market leader claiming 74% of the U.S. e-book market. It’s a no-brainer to publish on Amazon, and the majority of your sales will come from there. However, I advocate that indie authors not limit themselves to one single e-book platform.
Why Self-publish using Draft2Digital?
First, multiple platforms mean more potential readers—so why limit yourself to only one? Second, Amazon has been known to change its rules periodically. For example, they rolled out the Kindle Unlimited program in 2014, where readers pay a monthly fee to download up to 10 books at a time. This resulted in a major shift for authors. Royalties from book sales decreased; Amazon created a formula where authors were paid by the number of pages read.
Authors run a risk if we rely solely on one company. When I develop a financial investment strategy, I try to diversify as much as possible. Why should it be any different with self-publishing? For these reasons, I distribute my books to Amazon AND Apple iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and other platforms using Draft2Digital. I also publish to Smashwords (learn how by clicking here).
Draft2Digital (D2D) is an e-book distributor. The company makes it efficient for authors to upload their books once, and publish to a variety of online book retailers. The key difference from Amazon and Smashwords, is that D2D distributes to online book retailers on your behalf, but they don’t offer their own store.
-Distributes your book to the following online book retailers: iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Oyster, Inktera, Scribd, Tolino (Germany’s largest e-book store), 24Symbols, and Createspace (for print-on-demand).
-Access to a dashboard that presents your book sales in one place and includes a graph of daily sales.
-Increases your audience beyond just Amazon.
-Offers a formatting tool that requires minimal pre-formatting and allows you to upload your Word document as is. In seconds, your book is available as an ePUB file, which you can then use as you want. Also provides your file in .mobi (for Kindle readers) and PDF.
-Provides customer support that will help you with any formatting issues you encounter with their tool.
-Saves you time and effort since you upload your book once and Draft2Digital handles the distribution to various online retailers.
-Most importantly, you are the publisher and retain all rights to your work.
-Per their website, they are currently pursuing a distribution agreement with GooglePlay among others.
-You can list your book for free anytime you want.
-Payments made monthly.
-Free ISBN can be assigned, or provide your own if you already have one.
-No Draft2Digital online store.
-In this author’s experience, there were a few formatting issues with the Draft2Digital tool upon initial upload; however, this can be addressed through customer service. The best way to reach them is by phone and they can help with any formatting issues you can’t figure out on your own.
-Draft2Digital takes 15% of the net royalties on your sales. They are essentially taking a cut for the convenience of distributing to so many stores at once.
How It Works
- Create an account and upload your book:
To get started, visit http://www.draft2digital.com to create an account. There’s a simple sign-up form you complete. After you add your payment method, you’ll see a button that says “Add New Book.”
The big advantage of Draft2Digital is that, unlike Amazon and Smashwords, they don’t require you to format your Word document according to a style guide. That’s a huge time and money saver for busy authors.
The steps to upload your book are straightforward—just follow the screens to upload your Word document (the tool also accepts .docx, RTF, and formatted ePUBs). Remove the Table of Contents you created in your Word doc for Kindle because D2D will automatically detect your TOC and add a new one.
Similar to Kindle, you’ll complete a series of fields that include title, publisher, series number, description, etc.
You can also set your publishing date in advance (up to 90 days in advance as a pre-order). Have your keywords and potential categories ready—you can add up to five categories (although only some retailers only support the first one or two, so choose those wisely).
You don’t need to add an ISBN number because Draft2Digital will create one for you. Many indie authors don’t use ISBNs at all.
- Convert your file and preview:
Once you complete this initial information, click the button to “Save and Convert.” Within a few seconds, you’ll be moved to a new screen that asks for your cover image, which you should upload. Another unique feature of Draft2Digital is that it will create end matter for you. You can check which items you want them to create (e.g., title page, copyright page, dedication, about the author, etc.). If you don’t already have these parts of your book, this is a good time saver.
From there, Draft2Digital allows you to preview your book layout. The website allows you to download your book in the following formats: Mobi (for Kindle devices), ePUB (suitable for iPad, Nook, or Kobo), and PDF.
I recommend that you download all three formats to view how they turned out. Sometimes there are errors introduced that you will need to work on reformatting. The Draft2Digital customer support team has an excellent reputation. I recommend contacting them if you happen to get stuck on something. They’ll work with you to figure out the issue.
The PDF version is great for quickly producing a copy that you can use for your beta readers. And as a bonus, once you’re satisfied with your PDF format, you could use that to load your book into Createspace.com for publication into a paperback.
- Set your price and publish:
Indicate your price. Currently, $0.99 is the lowest price at which you can set your book, and Draft2Digital recommends between $2.99 and $4.99. Note that you can make your book free. There’s also a button that lets you manage the territorial pricing so you can see how the price converts in various country currencies. I recommend you take a look at this and round the currency up or down in others countries so the price points end in .99.
Next, select the retailers you want to publish to. What I like about Draft2Digital is that they show the projected royalty for each platform based upon the price you entered. I can see, for example, that I’m making nearly a 60% profit for my book’s list price. You need to choose at least one sales channel (retailer) to proceed.
Draft2Digital says it can take anywhere from two hours to two weeks to distribute your book to the various retailers.
- Create a paperback (optional):
**UPDATE December 2016** Draft2Digital is reviewing their POD service and told me they “may discontinue print services in the near future, based upon cost compared to demand for these services.”
The final screen within Draft2Digital is an alternative way to publish your book as a paperback through Createspace. It’s quite simple, in fact. Once you’ve loaded your book in e-book form and sent it to one retailer, move to the next step—the “paperback” screen.
Here, you’ll need to upload a cover image that meets their specific size requirements. Next, determine your print price. Draft2Digital shows you the minimum price required for materials and printer’s fee per copy. Enter in pricing and see instantly what your royalties will be.
The main disadvantage with this approach is that Draft2Digital takes a 10% cut of your retail price (15% of net royalties). It’s up to you whether you want the ease and convenience of using D2D and being able to prep your book for paperback within an hour, versus ramping up to learn the formatting nuances of Createspace.
The Draft2Digital process is so simple and straightforward that you’re able to upload your book within minutes and hit publish to send to downstream retailers. The more time-consuming step is downloading and checking the formatting within your book. Should you need to contact the support team, you’ll need to factor in some back-and-forth time.
There’s a delay from the time you hit publish to the time your book will appear on each individual retailer’s website. This varies by company.
- Use Draft2Digital to quickly turn your draft into a nicely formatted PDF file that you can then send to your beta readers or offer for free on your website.
- Save time and money by using Draft2Digital to create a PDF file that you can use to upload your book to Createspace for print-on-demand set-up.
- Although Draft2Digital says they don’t have a style guide, they recommend you do some basic formatting of your Word document. Be consistent when making page breaks between chapters by using either a Heading style or centering and bolding your chapter titles. Be sure to do those simple things for a smooth conversion.
- Remember, if you’re publishing to Kindle Select (exclusive), you can’t publish to other Draft2Digital retailers. A trick you can use is to go through all the Draft2Digital screens prior to publishing and download the print-ready PDF. Stop there and go no further. You can load your PDF file to Createspace yourself, saving you time, money, and headaches when formatting. And you get to keep the extra 10% of your profit.
- D2D customer support is awesome! Most books loaded to D2D are fiction, and the default is to indent the first line of each paragraph and not have spacing between lines. Since my book is nonfiction, I phoned customer support and explained the issue. The support rep explained that she can reformat my book to have block formatting. Within an hour, she emailed me my book with the new formatting. This ended up being a huge improvement in appearance. Since most of the books I upload are nonfiction, she offered to set my account to have block formatting by default. This saves me having to call every time I load a new book. If I ever want to publish fiction, I can simply call and have my account setting changed.
I hope that by reading this, you’ll see how easy it is to go beyond Kindle and self-publish using Draft2Digital. For more about book launch strategies including how to launch your book in only 3o days, check out my book: Author Unleashed: Simple Strategies for a Successful Book Launch. While you’re there, be sure to download my FREE book: Author Unleashed: Simple Strategies to Write Your Book–Fast. Click here to learn more…