I’m leaving this post as it stands for now, but as of the start of February 2014 D2D have had a major falling out with Amazon and all books published through them to the ‘Zon have been delisted.
D2D states that they will be pursuing a better working relationship with Amazon in the future, but for now the 2 companies are not dealing with each other.
Formatting and uploading to all other platforms D2D support, including Createspace, are continuing as normal. When the situation changes, I will update this post again.
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Do you have time to learn formatting? To figure out how to upload to all the different platforms? No?
Me neither. That’s where I was soooo relieved to find Draft2Digital (and no, I’m not on commission!)
I’m not precisely tech-phobic, but thought of having to learn HTML gives me cold sweats. I started following instructions from some of those wonderful bloggers out there who are so generous with their knowledge – people like David Gaughran and Catherine Ryan Howard – but I would get overwhelmed within two steps.
I’m a writer, not a software engineer, Jim.
I daresay I might take the time sooner or later, because the rewards are greater if you do it yourself, and they say it gets easier after that first time. But right now, I’m struggling to find writing time – I don’t need to be learning something else new!
And I know many other writers in the same boat. How about you?
So that’s where these guys come in. If you want the lazy man’s version of indie publishing, these are your guys. NO formatting needed. NO uploading to individual platforms. Just a quick, dead simple process to follow, and they do the rest for you.
Of course there’s a price tag – they take 10% of your sales (that’s 10% of your selling price, so more like 15% of your profit after Amazon or whoever have taken their cut), but to me for now, it’s a price I’m willing to pay to take out all the hassle. And if you don’t sell – you don’t pay!
Apart from paying for a good cover (and you MUST pay for a GOOD cover, or you won’t sell anything anyway), and editing of your manuscript, there are no other upfront costs.
Uploading to D2D
Once you have created your account with D2D, this could hardly be simpler.
- ACQUISITIONS. Upload your Word or RTF file. Fill in: Title, release date, description (as you want it to appear on the sales platform – the blurb designed to sell your book), author and publisher (that’s you, if you’re self-publishing), search terms (the sort of things people might put into a search engine that would bring up your book), ISBN number (if you have one – not necessary in most cases), and keywords (3 words that define the categories you want your book to appear in). Then click on ‘Save and Continue’. Your book will now be transformed into a formatted file.
- On the next page, LAYOUT, you upload your cover image – an RGB .jpeg file (that’s Red Green Blue, for all you non-techie types like me) and then tick boxes to add pages for: title page, copyright page, dedication page, Also By page, About Author page, About Publisher page, teaser page. Some of these are auto generated, others, like the dedication or about pages, you design and fill yourself with photos and text – there are easy to follow instructions at each step. At this point, a list of your chapter headings comes up for view. If all looks ok at this stage, you click ‘Save and Continue’. If not, there’s a little box saying ‘Help! These aren’t my chapters’ for you to click and get help.
- At this stage, it is worth going to the home page and clicking on ‘My Books’. Click on the book you are uploading. Details of the book will come up, along with a dropdown box where you can download your file to check it for errors – and this is one of the fab benefits to the service – you haven’t yet published, but you can download epub, mobi (for kindle) and PDF files, and send them to your own ereader, or anyone you want to, as ARCs (advanced reader copies) to get pre-publishing reviews. Check your file carefully for errors, either formatting or typos, which you are more likely to see on screen than in your original file. You can go through these stages as many times as you want, re-uploading corrections, adding or removing pages, change the cover, whatever you want, until you are satisfied your book is ready for the world to see!
- PUBLISHING. Set your price, tick the boxes of the platforms you want to publish with (at present D2D offers Amazon, Apple, kobo, nook and createspace, although the latter requires a little more effort and a bigger cover image), check the box to confirm you have the rights to all the material, and that you have read the D2D terms of service, and then click ‘Publish my book!’
- You are now a published author! Within a short space of time you will have email confirmation that your book has been published to each of the platforms – some within minutes, Apple usually 2 – 3 days.
Errors I found I had to correct included:
- My chapter headings – they looked amateurish in my first attempt, so I went through and changed them all, then re-uploaded, checking them again on my kindle with another downloaded mobi file.
- My cover was hideously dark, so I asked the D2D helpline – wonderful, helpful people who have answered so many questions so quickly and patiently – and it turned out my cover was in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) – the right format for print, but not for digital. A distressed email to my cover designer produced the RGB version which then looked perfect.
- I had one line that came out centred, and in huge type, for no reason that I could discern until I contacted the ever-helpful team at D2D, and they pointed out the error in my Word document – a really easy fix, then uploaded the file – yet again!
- Apple refused to publish at first, because in my endmatter I’d stupidly asked people to leave reviews on Amazon, and Apple don’t like the competition! So that took a separate tweak to the wording, and finally, I was done!
- I’ve even made another small correction to the wording about 3 weeks after publishing – you can tweak your original manuscript, add, change, do whatever you want, then simply upload it again and bingo – the new version is published.
Another fantastic feature of D2D is daily reporting. I’m still so newly published I like to check my sales by the day – and with D2D you can! A daily sales chart tracks how many copies you’ve sold, and with which platform. Love it!
At the end of the first month, I had emails detailing my sales on each platform, with price, deductions, and expected income all laid out in a chart. I found some of the column headings unclear, so I queried D2D and received another email, telling me precisely what each column represented. They collect payment directly from the platforms and, after deductions, pay me – choice of cheque, direct bank transfer or paypal. So simple.
I’ve just gone through this process, which required a little more tweaking of the final layout (I have a map in my frontmatter which caused some small positioning issues), but again D2D have been really easy and fast to work with.
There are always going to be downsides, aren’t there? I just feel that I’m happy for the moment to live with these small issues until I am more ready to take time out to deal with the publishing process myself.
- I’m not earning quite as much as I would if I’d done this myself
- I don’t think I can change my book’s categories easily – but I haven’t tried emailing D2D about this yet.
- Can’t think of any others off hand 🙂
D2D are still in beta testing, and they promise they will add other platforms to those already mentioned.
Oh, and if you want to set your book to FREE, you can, except you can’t on B&N, their minimum price by this route is 99c, so you might have to unpublish from B&N in the short term to set Amazon to free, else they may price match that 99c.
Questions, anybody? If I can, I’ll answer them. Otherwise, just take a look on the D2D website, where their FAQ page is quite comprehensive.
And I re-iterate – I’m not on commission, just a satisfied, lazy (read over-worked) author!