Even since the first upload of Adaptation and for the next 15 odd titles, I’ve been using Smashwords to perform the conversion and aggregate the distribution of my titles. I found working with the first few titles a bit tricky, but once I got the hang of formatting the documents and then doing the chapter links, it went smoothly.
I haven’t had any real complaints with Smashwords so far, so why am I writing this? Because it always pays to look around, see what else is out there, see where the industry is heading. For Iris of the Shadows I reassessed my options. I’ve decided to publish the softback via KDP rather than via Lulu, but there’s the eBook format to worry about. OK, there’s also the audiobook, but that’s a later thing. My first instinct was ‘well, why not Smashwords?’. Yeah, Jez, why not Smashwords?
No real reason why not, more that there’s another reason to try Draft2Digital. What’s that? It’s like this: I don’t want to go with KDP Select. That’s KDP Select, not KDP, mind. The whole 90 day exclusivity thing is, to me, not nice for those of us who don’t have a Kindle (like yours truly). It feels Draconian and, yes, I know there’s the Kindle Unlimited program doover, but that doesn’t really interest me more than having an even playing field for books. Long story short: KDP Select is out.
So that leaves Smashwords, the independent author’s friend. Only, there are other players. Ingram Spark comes to mind. I had a look and, while there are benefits, it was a case of ‘yeah, nah’ for me. Then there’s Draft2Digital.
I’ve actually used the Books2Read service for aggregating the links to my books. I didn’t realise that this was part of the D2D platform. So when I went poking about, having a tentative e-sniff as it were, I already had a sign-in. Good. That made life a little easier. Reading their description, they sound a lot like Smashwords in that they can take your work, turn it into an ebook and distribute it to a bunch of retailers. So far, so good.
The list of retailers isn’t as extensive, it seems, as Smashwords, but that didn’t really concern me since the main players – Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Overdrive and Bibliotecha – are all there. They do distribute to libraries as well, so that’s neat. What they don’t offer is a direct selling page from their own site – you can’t buy from D2D.
They do have an integration service with Amazon. I know that this is possible with Smashwords, too, but there’s a caveat that one needs a couple of grand worth of sales before they’ll consider it, and then you need to write in and ask them to help out. I prefer to upload directly to Amazon KDP, so that’s not a deal maker or breaker.
They can supply an ISBN. This is necessary for some platforms like Apple iTunes. Plus the interface looks snazzy. Not that I care too much, but it’s a nice feeling to be working with something more modern.
With all of that in mind, I did a bit of searching around and the consensus is that D2D is proving to be quite the competitor to Smashwords, and that can only be a good thing. The more players there are, the more innovation and the better the service and, hopefully, it can take KDP down a peg or two.
So, in the end, what did I do? I went and signed up and uploaded my book.
In the next few posts, I’ll be going over just how that all went. Until then, I’m going to be wrapping my head around the whole experience.