As I explained in my last post, my publishing arrangement collapsed when the company I worked through, folded. For me, writing is a hobby and with nine books published, I didn’t want to find myself up to my armpits in the mire of managing a whole bunch of accounts with Kobo, Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Before, I’d left most of that (not Amazon) to Smashwords but I’d never been too thrilled with the Smashwords process. Having worked in IT for many years, I understood the pain of different strokes for different folks and formatting to suit. Smashwords makes its premium product available on many, many platforms and lowest common denominator is certainly the way to go. If that’s what you want.As far as I can tell, I’ve never made sales to palm devices or the more basic readers. In fact, I have never made many sales through Smashwords at all, so I was open to considering another choice.
Enter Draft 2 Digital (D2D), a new player in the formatting market. I decided to try the concept with The Iron Admiral, a book which I had only published on Amazon. It wasn’t even a simple choice, since it is an omnibus, a combination of both my Iron Admiral books. When I write, I use Microsoft Word with two basic styles, one for normal text and one for chapters, which I allow Word to number for me. I don’t use drop caps on the first letter of a new chapter, but I do make it bold, and slightly larger than the rest. It works well and I end up with clean, well formatted documents. No headers or footers needed. D2D’s software picked up the styles and created a table of contents. The system will generate a simple copyright page if you want, but I did my own, which it recognised. I did not enter an ISBN. In fact the company quite correctly states that an ISBN can be more of a hindrance than a help because you should have a separate ISBN for each format of any given book.
Draft 2 Digital puts your uploaded MS through the process, and shows you the structure of your chapters as it has recognised them, on this layout screen. It allows the user to select several special sections, as shown here for Supertech. I asked for an ‘about the author’ section, which you set up as part of your account, with profile and (optional) author photo. I created my own ‘also by this author’. The system will generate an ‘also by this author’ but the books have to be on D2D already. Bearing in mind the system is still in beta, I ‘went it alone’ for most of these. That way, I have control.
Having picked your options and selected your cover, press save and D2D will produce three files for you. One is a mobi, for Amazon, one is an epub for Kobo, Apple and Nook, and one is a print file for Create Space. Although I didn’t proceed with the Create Space option, I tried it out. Personally, I feel a print file needs more tweaking to look really good, so although the pdf wasn’t bad, I had my reservations. For instance, do you want all your chapters to start on the right hand page? Where do you want your page numbers? Do you want headers giving the book name or something? That said, D2D worked out the number of pages and sent me an email with a template for the print cover – class act, IMO. I would have ended up with a good, clean paper back if I had proceeded.
Once the system has generated the files you can (should) check each format you intend to use, and go back and reload your files if something hasn’t worked as you expected. I had a slight problem with the auto-generated pages and sent an email, asking for help. The response was prompt and personal, not a generated page spouting boiler plate pearls of wisdom.
When you’re happy, move on to selecting your outlets. I chose Amazon, Kobo, Apple, and Barnes & Noble. Although D2D states that it may take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to process the file at all outlets, The Iron Admiral was loaded to all outlets within a couple of days. I was so impressed, I used D2D to republish all my books.
Reporting is a breeze. Sales are shown by outlet and by book and is updated pretty much immediately the data comes through from the outlets. And payment is through Paypal, not messy paper cheques. Unless you want a messy paper cheque. Alternatively, they’ll make a direct deposit to a bank account.
Of course, Draft 2 Digital takes a share – generally 10% of list price. See the Pricing page for details. It also has to take 30% taxes out of your earnings, as per US Government regulations. But non-US authors can apply for an ITIN or the more easily obtained EIN. The D2D site has help information in its FAQs.
I’m impressed with this software. It works with writers, using the best of Word. If, like me, you don’t want to mess about with multiple accounts and you’re not too fussed that your books won’t appear on EVERY platform, give them a try. Draft 2 Digital.
Since I wrote this, Draft 2 Digital has had to weather a couple of vendor storms. First, there was some fuss over Kobo, to do with labeling of erotic content. It took a little while, but Kobo and D2D have adjusted their processes and all’s well. Later, Amazon refused to load any books from D2D. At that stage, I shifted my Amazon content direct to KDP. My main issue with Amazon had always been method of payment (by cheque to Australia) but somebody finally saw some sense and payments are now made electronically.
D2D is widening its reach, adding agreements with Scribd and Page Foundry. I’m very happy with how it’s all working out.