As I take The First One’s Free and Gimme Shelter wide, I’ve started using a previously unavailable channel to get my books out to the public. Draft2Digital.
Folks, I never knew publishing ebooks could be so easy. It likes Word and can convert documents on the fly, but if your Word doc doesn’t translate well, it will let you upload an epub file to correct formatting issues. And it will do it without argument or complaint. This is a vast improvement over Smashwords’ Meat Grinder, which converts .doc and .rtf files (but not the newer formats or html) into various formats, nor does Draft2Digital wait days to tell you something (but not what) is wrong. In fact, you can preview your files online.
Moreover, when you publish on Draft2Digital, you (or your imprint) is the publisher, not Smashwords. Not Amazon.
And setup? I was done before it sent me a notification I needed to fill out my tax information for royalty payments. I’d already done that when the email came through. As for the books, not only was I up and running in 10 minutes, but The First One’s Free as available on Barnes & Noble’s site the next day with a message from Apple requesting a change to something in a link. (Gimme Shelter‘s page on this site still said “exclusively from Amazon.”) The only setup I’ve found to be easier is Kobo, which I went directly to so I could take advantage of their author programs.
So why still use other sites? Well, for starters, Draft2Digital covers the biggies: Nook, Apple, Kobo, Tolino, and others. But they don’t do libraries and some of the smaller outlets covered by Smashwords. Also, Draft2Digital’s only link to Amazon is via CreateSpace (something I want to check out eventually). D2D has no current ties to Kindle, and Smashwords’ link is so restrictive that they actually recommend against it unless you’re selling a huge amount of books a month. So it looks like Amazon will keep the Kindle channel locked up in-house for the foreseeable future.
Still, D2D is so easy that it eliminates a lot of the prep work that goes into creating ebooks. It even allows you to upload front and back matter separately. Imagine that. Just changing your back matter with a couple of mouse clicks and having it propogate out to multiple outlets (even CreateSpace) in seconds. My only question is why would you not use it?