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Draft2Digital: Going Wide Made Easy

In my last entry, we talked about the pros and cons of going exclusive with Amazon’s KDP Select program. Today, we’ll take a quick look at Draft2Digital, a company that makes it easy to publish your book(s) to several marketplaces.

So, You Want to Go Wide

You’ve decided that you want to make your work available on several platforms. Maybe you feel that it’s the best route for more exposure. Maybe an exclusive distribution isn’t an idea that appeals to you. Whatever the reason, you should know your options before you jump in.

You may be wondering what the benefits of a wide release are, and you should. This is, after all, your business and you want to make the best decisions for that business. That said, there are a couple of obvious reasons to consider this approach:

  • Go To the Readers: yes, Amazon is a massive marketplace and gets a ton of traffic each day. There are, however, people whose preferences lie elsewhere. Maybe they like Barnes and Noble or perhaps they’re die-hard Apple supporters. Remember, going wide doesn’t prevent you from listing your book on Amazon, it just prevents you from enrolling it in KDP Select.
  • Hidden Benefits: a little extra food for thought
    • Barnes and Noble is a well-established bookseller and one with a large base of loyal customers. They also have their own line of e-readers, the Nook.
    • Apple has some of the most ravenous fans on the planet. Millions of readers have either an iPhone or iPad, if not both, and they all come with Apple Books, the company’s e-reader/ebook service.
    • Kobo currently has a partnership deal with Walmart, meaning your ebooks show up in searches for people looking for content like yours. Walmart, like Amazon, is a hugely popular (for better or worse) retailer, meaning more eyes can find your work.

Okay, So Why Draft2Digital?

Excellent question!

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the distribution partners that Draft2Digital works with:

  • Barnes and Noble
  • Apple
  • Kobo
  • Amazon (yes, you can also publish to Amazon via Draft2Digital if you don’t already have a KDP account)
  • Scribd

Yes, you can publish to those platforms yourself. As a matter of fact, I used to that myself. What swayed me? It’s simple: having to log in to multiple sites to check sales and royalties was a pain in the butt. Now, I just log into my Draft2Digital account and access everything from there.

They also create Universal Book Links (UBLs) that you can use for marketing. A reader clicks on the link and is then given the option to choose their retailer:

Bermuda Universal Book Link page

I like that you can edit each book’s UBL to include additional sites (I added Amazon since I publish there directly) and that you can add links to any audiobook versions. You can also label books as First in Series, Series Finale, and Latest Release.

Pretty cool.

On top of that, you can choose to make any books that you publish through Draft2Digital available to a quarter of library services (OverDrive, Bibliotheca, Baker & Taylor, and Hoopla).

Another cool feature is that once your book is uploaded and prepared, you’re given the option of downloading the formatted ebook in a trio of formats:

  • Mobi (full book or sample)
  • ePub (full book or sample)
  • PDF (4.5×6 or 5×8)

I’m a fan of the sample downloads since they make for excellent promotional material.

How Does It Work?

Another great question!

Once you set up an account, you upload your work in a similar manner to KDP or any other service. Draft2Digital currently allows you to upload manuscripts in the following formats:

  • Word (.doc or .docx)
  • Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • ePub

It’s important to note that, while you can upload an ePub, using this file type will not allow you to utilize their formatting tools. This isn’t a make-or-break rule, for me at least, but it’s worth noting.

Once everything is up to snuff (you’re given ample opportunity to preview your progress) you can publish your book to whichever outlets you choose or all available.

My only real gripe is that publishing to some outlets can take a few days, though that can’t be pinned on Draft2Digital. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a minor pain. That is, of course, assuming you plan ahead for releases that you have scheduled (you can also edit your UBL to show a book as Available For Pre-Order).

Note: Draft2Digital has a new feature called D2D Print to give you another option for creating physical copies. It’s currently in its Beta phase and, while I’ve registered for it, I have yet to use it, so I can’t offer any insight there.

The Herman Ingram Series

What’s This Going to Cost Me?

There’s no upfront cost when using Draft2Digital, so no need to stress there. Like most ebook retail outlets, they do keep a percentage of each sale (roughly 10% of the retail price).

When you consider everything that they offer, it’s a pretty good deal, at least in my estimation.

Draft2Digital: Should I Try It?

The only reason I would say not to try them out is if you’re having a ton of success running exclusively through a lone retailer (likely Amazon). After all, there’s no reason to mess with a good thing.

That said, if you are interested in having your book(s) available from many top ebook retailers, give Draft2Digital a look. I’m a fan of having a single dashboard that gives me a full sales breakdown and I absolutely love the UBLs.

Check out their website and give them a follow on Twitter.

Speaking of social media…

Until we meet again…

-Jeb