But especially since I started writing fiction, I’ve been wanting to be on outlets like Apple, Kobo, Scribd, etc. So, I finally bit the bullet a couple of days ago and uploaded one of my multicultural romance series to Draft2Digital. Following are my observations.
11 Things You Need to Know about Self-Publishing with Draft2Digital.com
1. It’s so easy! That’s the first thing that stood out to me. I thought publishing with Amazon was easy. Draft2Digital makes it super easy! Once you know what you’re doing, you can upload an ebook within five minutes – really. And part of that is just looking at the formatting to make sure it came out ok.
With that being said, the one thing that stumped me was the scene breaks, which brings me to the next point.
2. Putting in scene breaks was a big problem. As it’s not a chapter heading, the system was taking the symbols I used for them and turning them into a double space. FYI, I tend to use three asterisks (***) or three pound signs (###) to indicate scene breaks. Again, it wasn’t working.
So I hit the internet to see what I could find out about how to insert scene breaks on Draft2Digital. As it turns out, it’s not nearly as discussed as I would have thought. I found posts that suggested three asterisks with spaces between them; using this symbol (~); using o0o; etc.
How to Insert Scene Breaks When Publishing with Draft2Digital
I finally took some advice I ran across in a post like this, where someone suggested the following:
I used a tiny image (height about 25 pixels), centred [sic], and that seems to be left alone by D2D and looks OK at all the different text sizes in the epub….
This finally worked. I used an asterisk, but (just 15 pixels in width/height) and it converted beautifully.
3. Frontmatter/Endmatter generated for you. I love this feature almost the best because I’ve never took the time to figure out how to generate, for example, a Table of Contents (TOC) for my books.
All you have to do with Draft2Digital is click a box and it automatically generates these pages for you, ie, TOC, copyright page; a dedication page, About the Author page, etc.
4. Outlets. When you publish with Draft2Digital, they distribute your book to the following outlets:
- Barnes & Noble
- Inktera (formally Page Foundry)
- and CreateSpace!
I publish directly to Barnes & Noble and I don’t publish paper books, so don’t use CreateSpace, but now my books can be found on all these other outlets, in addition to Google Play, All Romance Ebooks and Amazon, which accounts for the biggest chunk of my ebook sales (for fiction).
5. Published quickly. I like that D2D keeps you updated on where your book is in the publishing process with each vendor. I uploaded my first book on November 3rd and the next day I received the following notice …
Within 24 hours, it was already live on Kobo, and had been submitted to all the other outlets. FYI, it’s live on all outlets (Apple, Kobo, Oyster, Page Foundry, Scribd), except Tolino – less than 48 hours after submitting!
6. Use of keywords. One of the things that helps users find books on sites like Amazon is keywords, which I use in my titles, eg, Priced Out of Love: A Multicultural Romance. The last part is not only part of the title (Multicultural Romance), it’s a keyword phrase. But apparently, some outlets don’t allow you to name your titles like this.
I received the following notice from D2D today (see bold part).
Our sales channels have asked us not to send certain material to them. Draft2Digital’s automated content review has detected some of this declined material in your book, A Ruthless Love: A Multiracial Romance (Part III). As a result, we cannot send this book to the following sales channel until you have corrected the matter:
The types of material at issue include:
Metadata Issue: There is an issue with your metadata that prevents distribution. The reviewer included the following note:
Current Apple formatting guidelines prohibit additional information, such as search terms, series information, keywords, or advertising, that isn’t necessary to identify the book in the metadata title field. Series information will still be visible to the reader as it is sent to our vendors as Metadata. Please remove: A Multiracial Romance (Part III)
Sales channels not listed above continue to receive this material at this time.
To remedy this, I just went back in and renamed the book, eg, Ruthless Love: Part III. The cover has an interracial couple on the cover (another reason to have cover art that is indicative of the subject matter), so it’s obvious the type of romance it is. And there is a place to put in keywords on D2D, so you do get to use keywords – just not in the title if you want your book to be published on those outlets that don’t allow this.
7. Pricing your book on Draft2Digital. I did a preliminary search for how to price ebooks here, but didn’t find anything (it was a very brief search).
The reason I wanted to know was because your book can’t be priced less anywhere else if it’s on Amazon. And since I try not to run afoul of Amazon’s guidelines, if a site does discount a book, I want to leave enough room so that it wouldn’t fall below the price I sell for on Amazon. Learn more about this here (see the “How to Price Your Ebook for Sale on Google Play” section).
I wound up pricing the titles I uploaded at $3.99 ($1 more than I sell them for on Amazon). It’s easy to go in and change your price – or any other feature on your book though. I did some further research today and found this post, which gave some great deals about how to price an ebook on Draft2Digital (scroll down to “Territory Pricing” section).
You Can Adjust Your Prices for Each Country Individually on Draft2Digital
Apparently, this feature was rolled out earlier this year, which is so cool and so important because it means more sales. How? As explained in the post I linked to just above:
One of the biggest problems with selling internationally is the high cost of books in other countries related to the cost of books here. We might be able to sell a solid mystery or fantasy for $5.99 in the US, but take that price to Mexico, Brazil, or India, and your book will likely sit on the virtual shelf forever. … [So] on Apple’s iBooks I price differently for many of the 51 countries they offer [selling] for $5.99 in the US, $3.99 in the UK, and 99c in many countries like India, Japan, Mexico, etc.
So I’m gonna go back and adjust my prices accordingly.
8. Easy interface: Overall, I found Draft2Digital’s interface extremely easy to maneuver. You can see sales reports, number books you have uploaded, where each book is in the publishing process with each outlet – and a whole bunch of other stuff — at the click of a button. See?
I see why indie authors rave about this self-publishing outlet. It’s awesome, for lack of a better phrase!
9. Getting paid So far, no sales – but it’s only been a couple of days. But they pay monthly. You can opt to get paid via: PayPal ($10 minimum); check ($25 minimum); or direct deposit.
10. No more conversion problems. Hallelujah! This is the part I love the most about D2D. I had to take an ebook down from Barnes & Noble a couple of months ago because of formatting problems. It looked fine on my end, but readers kept telling me that they couldn’t read parts of the book due to formatting.
I had no idea how to fix this, so did some research. One of the pieces of advice I kept running into was to use Calibre or Draft2Digital to format your book. FYI, you can take the file you create at D2D and upload it any place you please. It will let you view your file in .mobi (Amazon); epub (for iPad, Nook and Kobo readers); and pdf (to see how your proof will appear in paperback format).
This covers every format you’ll need when you self-publish, so Draft2Digital will be the first outlet I publish to because I’ll be using them to convert my file. I write in Word, and it just takes the file and does its thing. This is huge!
11. It’s free! Yeah, it doesn’t cost anything up front. They take 15% of net proceeds. So for example if you use D2D to distribute your ebook to Barnes & Noble, this means in addition to the 40% they take, you’ll be paying D2D 15% more.
I upload to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play and All Romance Ebooks myself because I’m used to them and can do it pretty quickly (especially now that I don’t have to worry about file conversion problems). My rationale is, why give away more dollars than I have to?
I won’t be uploading to any more sites like this though. I hope D2D continues to add new outlets. As of this writing, they say on their FAQ page that they’re currently pursuing distribution agreements with:
- ARe and Omnilit;
- Google Play; and
Yes — the more the better baby!
Overall, I have nothing but praise for Draft2Digital. All the good talk online about them has proven to be very true as far as my experience goes. So if you haven’t given them a try, do so, especially if you’re just starting out. Just from a file conversion standpoint alone, it’ll make your life easier.
Self-publishing is only growing and once an ebook is written, the more places you can distribute it, the more you can ostensibly earn. Draft2Digital can help with this.
As always, good luck on your self-publishing journey.
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