Draft2Digital Adds Ebook Templates

Draft2Digital templatesFormatting ebooks has always been a challenge for self-publishers. Smashwords, the original ebook distributor, literally wrote the book on universal formatting with the Style Guide that teaches authors to do it in ways that will convert and be readable at any retailer. Their system is all about keeping things simple, using basic structure and avoiding fancy aesthetics for assured conversion. A functioning solution that was perhaps a bit plain, plus the instruction was difficult for many authors to follow.

Years later when Draft2Digital came out as an ebook distribution service, it distinguished itself from Smashwords by accepting virtually anything uploaded and made an ebook from that using the artificial intelligence of its automated system. Big surprise, a lot of crappy-looking indie ebooks got produced.

Now D2D has done a smart thing, adding ebook templates where authors can display more creativity in titles, chapters and more. Obvious question: does it work? Next one: what took so long? Final question: why doesn’t Smashwords do this? Let’s answer those.

D2D Template for Drop Caps

With D2D’s templates you can have extras we thought we couldn’t have in ebooks. Dropcaps, headers, fancy scene dividers and more are now an option. It’s easy enough to do. Just upload your document and then check the Preview tab and choose a Style compatible with the new feature. Then check the Enable Drop Caps button and viola! It will convert the document and allow you to download it in epub, mobi or PDF format to inspect it.  You can use a free program like Calibre or Adobe Digital Editions to view it.

If you find it isn’t perfect, which is likely, you may want to play around with your font sizes and layout in your own document and try again. Or try one of D2D’s other styles: romance, sci-fi, mystery/thriller, etc.

It definitely does work but not flawlessly. In some cases of my experimenting, the drop cap letter overlapped with the 2nd or 3rd line of text beneath it. I had to play around with choices and options until settling on one which looked good instead of being able to use them all without issues. Clearly a work in progress.

Admittedly it’s a nice option and one that will hopefully see improvements in the following months. I doubt Smashwords will implement a similar thing since their model has always been based on teaching how-to-formatting for authors while D2D has always been about automation. In the long run, automation has plenty of advantages for those who are pressed to learn formatting or don’t want to.

For now, I’m sticking with self-formatting and using the basics I teach in my course on Formatting Ebooks.  However, this option from D2D isn’t a bad way to go. And for those who want to embrace the best of both worlds, there are ebook templates where you can copy and paste in titles headers and chapters one by one, even add drop caps one by one, although that is by far the longest way to get there.

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Draft2Digital Adds Playster to Distribution Network

Playster

For authors selling books through distribution service, Draft2Digital, the outlets just expanded. D2D has been sending ebooks to most of the usual (non-Amazon) suspects for a while now including iBooks, B&N, Kobo, Scribd and more. Now they’ve added Playster.

Playster is a subscription-based service that allows readers to pay a low monthly fee for unlimited access to thousands of books (or movies, music, and games, if that’s your thing). Their mantra: Everything Unlimited. Your readers (past, present, and future) can get a 30-day free trial, giving them access to one of the fastest growing digital libraries around.

Amazon Prime and Scribd also use subscription-based business models. Smashwords, the main competitor to Draft2Digital, has more distribution channels but presently does not have ties with Playster. For the meantime, D2D may be the only way to upload self-published books to Playster.

Of note, Babelcube is a site many authors use for translating their books into many languages. Babelcube also uses Draft2Digital for distribution to retailers, so hopefully those of us with translated books through Babelcube should soon see our foreign language versions available on Playster.

If interested, you’ll need to log in to your author dashboard at draft2digital to opt into this new distributor, and start reaching new readers right away. And when you do, you may be prompted to add your books to Kobo Plus as well, another new feature at D2D.

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(Metadata Only) Preorders Now Available at Smashwords

Big news from Smashwords founder, Mark Coker:

Ebook preorders are the single most important new tool for indie authors who want to improve the visibility, desirability and sales of their new releases.

Over the last 12 months, ebooks born as preorders at Smashwords earned more than triple the earnings of books that were simply uploaded the day of release.

Ever since we announced preorder distribution two years ago for iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, I’ve been advocating preorders as an essential best practice for all indies.

Yet despite the amazing power of preorders, and despite the copious evidence that preorders can work miracles, most indie authors don’t use them today. Fewer than 10 percent of books released at Smashwords over the last 12 months were released as preorders.

(Read full article)


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Self-Publishing with Smashwords

Self-Publishing with SmashwordsSelf-Publishing with Smashwords has just been released as my latest video course at Udemy. New to the formatting game or having trouble with your NCX file? No more worries, never fear Meatgrinder again. And the best part–for a limited time the course is available at 100% off with

coupon code: June2015

Hope you enjoy it and please leave a review 🙂

Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of self-published ebooks, making it fast, free and easy for authors to sell at major retailers around the globe. 350,000 authors have published with Smashwords and enjoy total control over the sampling, pricing and marketing of their books.

Smashwords has many unique features that set it apart from other major retailers:

1. Pays you 85% royalties on direct sales.

2. Converts your ebook into every file type for any possible e-reading device.

3. Distributes your ebook for sale to other retailers like Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Page Foundry, Baker & Taylor, Library Direct, Oyster, Scribd, Flipkart and OverDrive while handling the finances.

4. Allows you to generate ebook coupons for any amount and time frame.

5. Create an author profile with photos, videos, links to your print books and sites, interview and more.

You can always publish at Smashwords even if you publish at other retailers like Amazon. However, if you are enrolled in KDP Select then you’ll need to wait for the 90-day exclusive period to be over. Then you can opt-out of KDP Select and continue to sell at Amazon plus Smashwords, Apple, Google, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and many more!

Hurry while this coupon offer lasts. And it will be good karma if you leave a review.


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Calibre Course for Your Epub Needs

Calibre Convert to Epub File​Calibre is an open source program for making Epubs, the standard file type for ebooks at most retailers. It’s important for authors to have Epub versions of their books, and you can easily convert MS Word and other files to Epub with Calibre. Plus you can edit and do so much more.

For a limited time, this new course will be free at Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/calibre-convert-to-epub-file/

Please leave a review if you enjoy the course. Thank you!

See the video below for more information.


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