Draft2Digital: An Alternative To Smashwords

As I’ve been dipping my foot back into the self publishing pool, some things have gone exactly as expected or better.  Amazon and Barnes and Noble got Riven up within 24 hours.  And I got through the Smashwords meatgrinder really quickly, with only one small detail I had to change with a bit of random garbage code that came from I know not where.  But it’s nearly a week later and Riven is still in the queue for review for premium distribution at Smashwords.  Given that I have a fair chunk of readers through iBooks this…annoys me.

So when someone mentioned Draft2Digital to me as an alternative, I went to go check it out.  And, I have to confess, I am impressed.  Enough so that I immediately uploaded Riven there to test it out.  There is some overlap between the distribution channels of the two.  D2D currently distributes to Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Amazon (and I don’t think Smashwords has ever gotten THAT worked out).  You can, as at Smashwords, opt out of any channels, which I did since I am direct through Amazon and BN.  I uploaded my already formatted EPUB and in LESS THAN 12 HOURS they had already submitted it to Kobo and iBooks.  :eyes “Pending Review” at Smashwords Dashboard:

Some of the other selling points, IMO, of D2D.

  • They have direct deposit (in the U.S. at least), so I don’t have to wait on Paypal to transfer my funds (though they do have Paypal as an option for those who prefer it).
  • They pay monthly (as opposed to quarterly).
  • They have almost REAL TIME SALES TRACKING, as opposed to questionably updated sales 2 to 3 months after the fact.
  • And, while this isn’t a thing for me in particular, for those who quail at having to properly format their manuscript to get through the Meatgrinder at Smashwords, D2D will let you upload your Word file and they’ll fix it all for you.  Their list of things they need you to do in terms of formatting is like 3 bullet points long.  It’s truly the idiot-proof method of getting your stuff out there.
  • And they don’t have any rules about you downloading and adapting their converted files for use on other platforms.
  • They are in talks to expand distribution to Sony, Diesel, Google Play, Ingram, ARe and Omnilit (which would be awesome as their platform is a total PITA), and Goodreads.

Smashwords still has a handful of others–Page Foundry, Baker & Tayler, Library Direct, Flipkart, and Oyster (though I am pretty sure I haven’t sold a damn thing on any of them), and right now they already have Sony and Diesel, so for the moment, I think it’s sensible to still distribute through Smashwords to whatever venues aren’t covered either directly or by D2D.  For anyone with a sales record and ranking, it’s not worth (IMO) unpublishing through Smashwords to go through D2D instead, but I can tell you that moving forward in the future, I will definitely be using D2D where I can.

A few other points:

  • The royalty rates are the same as with Smashwords
  • Both take a 15% cut
  • Their minimum threshold for payment is $10
  • D2D is not a storefront itself (so Smashwords still has the edge for international readers)
  • D2D does not currently provide ISBNs (but apparently is looking into adding this feature)

All in all, I think Draft2Digital is setting itself up as a worthy competitor to Smashwords in the self publishing marketplace.  I’ll be interested to see if they remain this quick and efficient as they become more popular.

UPDATE: Draft2Digital got me actually INTO Kobo in 24 hours (and sent me email notification of that fact.  Smashwords finally approved premium distribution after a full week, though who knows when they will ship).

12 thoughts on “Draft2Digital: An Alternative To Smashwords

  1. I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never looked into it.

    The last time I went through Smashwords, they were pretty quick with the premium catalog, but it looks like they’re back to being slow again. 🙁

  2. It might be how long it takes me to write a book, or maybe my books aren’t that great, but I haven’t sold well through Smashwords at all. In fact, I’ve taken down my books from Smashwords and one of them I’m doing Kindle exclusive. Just to see what happens with that. Whenever I get off my butt to write my next book (and stick to it, I have so many discarded drafts so far), I’ll definitely give this platform a try. Thanks for sharing!

    • I’ve never sold particularly well via Smashwords proper. I go through them for the expanded distribution.

      • Well, I guess I should say… I haven’t done well even with their distribution. But, I also haven’t written a new book in three years so my buzz is nonexistent now.

        • Yeah…2 years for me. I’m not TOTALLY starting over, but definitely much lower on the totem pole.

          • Maybe we should start some kind of club…

            • As long as there are cupcakes…

              • Probably there can only be pitiful, stale, bakery cast-off cupcakes, possibly rescued from the dumpster because we’re so poor from not publishing.

              • That is not a good endorsement for the dark side….

  3. Thanks for the information. It’s nice to have other options.

  4. I’m really enjoying D2D. I’ve only distributed one of my titles through them, but if they continue as they currently are (or get better), it won’t be the last. (I uploaded an epub instead of letting them format it. I’m sure they’d do a good job, but I found I really like formatting. Go figure.)

  5. This is probably a lame thing to say, but I really wish the same listing for the same book at the same vendor could remain, regardless of distribution partner, so that these relationships didn’t have to be lifetime commitments. My first book has hundreds of ratings at BN and I will be dealing with NookPress–or whatever they make of it next–for the rest of my life or theirs. The finality of this decision stresses me out. Well, less so when I don’t FINISH MY BOOKS and publish them, but I still manage to stress out about it.

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