I started by putting my toe in the water, decided the temperature was right, and shifted all my books from Draft 2 Digital (D2D) and Amazon, over to Pronoun. All the titles are now available again on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and iBooks. But they all have different URLs because of the change in distributor.
It’s not a simple move. Links had to be updated on my own website not just on the book pages but also in posts I’d written. Fortunately, I have a broken links widget that tells me (um) when links are broken, and where. Apart from that, there are the links at SFR Station. Then I had to ask Amazon to kink the new version of books to the earlier one, so the accumulated reviews would appear. On the way through, I tweaked a few blurbs (book descriptions for those not in the know), and changed a cover. That’s the new cover for A Victory Celebration at top left. It’s a sexy little story, and the previous cover didn’t reflect that. (It seems readers like a bit of sex. With me, that’s about as sexy as it gets)
Why did I move?
Well, for a start, Pronoun doesn’t charge for its services, whereas D2D charges 10%. Pronoun, which is owned by Macmillan, has obviously negotiated a royalty deal with Amazon. If you list a book for less than $2.99 directly with Amazon, your royalty is 35% of the list price minus costs. For all other values, authors get 70%. But Pronoun pays 70% on ALL books at Amazon. Hey, if you have a $0.99 short, you get $.70 instead of $.35 (rough figures to make it easy, okay?) Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it all adds up.
Then there’s the formatting. You load your Word .docx (no other format is accepted) to Pronoun and you’re given a choice of six very good looking layouts for your ebook. D2D does a good job, but Pronoun adds bells and whistles. You can load your own epub if you’re specially enamoured of it – Pronoun will convert to .mobi.
Pronoun is also helpful when setting a price, providing comparisons of prices with books in the selected genre of a comparable length.
You’re given assistance when selecting the all-important key words. When you pick your two genres, you’re presented with a list of search terms, with a figure for how popular they are with users, and how high you might get in a sub category of that name. You can also enter your own search terms, and Pronoun will process your words in the same way, showing suggestions and popularity. It’s all good information to help you reach the highest possible audience.
And the main reason? One stop shop. I make a tweak and load it in one place. Pronoun does the rest, including Google Play, where I haven’t been able to jump through the publishing hoops before. I get paid into Paypal once a month, two months after the money is earned (that’s pretty standard). And I have a lovely author page for you to look at. Here it is.
The Pronoun support people have been great, even fixing up a bug I told them about when I first signed up. The formatting guidelines are well-written and easy to understand, as is their contract. I did have to dig just a little bit, though, to find out how to tell them about my EIN tax document – without a recorded EIN against my name, US companies have to charge foreign folks like me 30% US tax. Check the FAQs – they’re good.
- The graphical presentation of sales is nice, but I’d like monthly figures in an Excel spreadsheet, much as D2D provides.
- It takes a little longer to get your books loaded at the retailers. B&N is usually the longest, taking several days to a week. But even Amazon might take three.
- You don’t get the instant gratification of watching sales on Amazon’s sales charts. However, if you’re desperate, you can always check a book’s ranking to give you some idea.
If you want a bit more detail about working with Pronoun, I wrote a blog at Space freighter’s lounge when I first dipped my toe. Here it is.
In a way I’m sorry to leave D2D. They do a great job, provide good reports, provide great user support, and offer access to other distribution outlets like 24 Symbols, Oyster, and Tolino. I could have left my books there to gain access to those additional channels, but I wasn’t making any sales there, so opted for the simple life. Besides, D2D cannot distribute to Amazon or Google. And I already mentioned about royalties, layouts, and marketing extras. Did somebody mention Smashwords? I took my books from there several years ago. It was all too hard, with none of the marketing extras, and with no return on investment.
So… if you have my books listed anywhere, be advised – the links have changed. Except for print, of course. That still happens through Create Space, who STILL operate in the Dark Ages and send people in third world countries like Australia printed paper cheques.