Draft2Digital Adds Discoverability for 2018

Draft2Digital has stepped up their game. Over the past year D2D has made nice additions that further their distinction from Smashwords, another longtime choice for self-publishing distributors. What was done in 2017 is substantial:

  • ebook style templates
  • paperback layout improvements (much needed)
  • automated end matter
  • Findaway Voices for audiobooks and narration
  • better email notifications and payment options
  • added distribution partners OverDrive (libraries), Playster, Kobo Plus
  • added distribution to Amazon

That last one is huge. Smashwords does not distribute to Amazon (except for special requests from authors with sales over $2,000/title)

D2D’s focus for 2018 is helping authors and readers connect even better. In their words;

Books2Read is all about Discoverability

In 2017, we focused all of our development power and energy on building as many new things for the indie author community as possible. The result was dozens of amazing tools and resources that help make it so much easier to build and grow your author career.

You can read all about those here!

Now, we’re turning all that attention and energy to tackling one of the biggest challenges an indie author can face: Discoverability.

The Idea is Simple, the Impact is Huge
Discoverability means making your books easy for readers to find. It’s one of the primary goals of marketing, and for authors it can be the difference between having a hobby and having a career.

After all, you can perfect your craft, invest in professional editing and covers, get your manuscript converted to a professional-looking eBook or print layout, and distribute it to some of the biggest online retailers on the planet—but if no one knows it’s there, the sales won’t come.

Solving the challenge of discoverability isn’t going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight. But we’re taking aim at it with the same problem-solving skills and expertise that have made Draft2Digital the best eBook distribution service on the planet.
In other words, we got this.

Enter Books2Read

If you’ve been with us for a while, you’re already familiar with Books2Read. It’s currently the home of one of our favorite tools: Universal Book Links (UBLs).

Since introducing them in 2016, we now have more than 200,000 UBLs out in the wild, generating millions of clicks. UBLs are used by authors to promote their books on websites, in social media, in podcasts and videos, even on printed materials. They’re evergreen links that take your readers to everywhere your book is sold online, with a single, customizable URL.
That was just the first step, though. Now, with 2018 ahead of us, we have bigger plans.

Books2Read will become our reader-centric source for indie author discoverability
We’re going to build a platform that helps promote your books to the readers who will love them!

Here’s what we have in store for the next year of development:
UBL Search Filtering—We’ve already started! As we wrapped up 2017, we added a new feature to our UBLs that authors have had on their wish list. Now you can quickly search through your UBLs to find just the one you need, to check data, add new storefronts, or make any other changes quickly.

Author Pages—Another in-demand feature, and one we’re very excited to offer! Author Pages will give you a single platform for directing readers to your work, complete with an author bio and photo, and a list of your books that will be updated as your catalog grows! This can be your home online, and a central place for readers to find you, without the cost and overhead of creating a website.

Book Tabs—You’ll never have to worry about manually creating book pages again. Book Tabs will let readers learn more about your book, and they’ll find a Universal Book Link that lets them pick it up anywhere they prefer to buy eBooks online! Your book will be beautifully presented, with a cover image and description, and with a UBL to make it fast and easy for readers to get their hands on it. Plus, you’ll have all of the data that UBLs provide, as well as their ability to include affiliate links from various retailers.

Custom Bookshelves—You’ll be able to group your books together any way you like! Segment them into series, genre, co-author, preferred reading order, even the color of the covers if you want—it’s all up to you!

Improved UBL Analytics—More data means more control, and UBLs will be getting an overhaul to provide you with better analytics. Get a deeper insight into your readers, their habits, and their preferences!

More. So much more. Both in the spotlight and behind the scenes, Books2Read is evolving, with new features and resources that will make it much easier for readers to discover your work.

Over the next year, we’ll be turning out these features and more, as rapidly as we can make them ready, with an eye toward making your author life easier and your author career more successful.

We’re gearing up for 2018 to be the Year of Discoverability. And we can’t wait to see what it means for the indie author community.

Keep watching your inbox for more to come!

Happy publishing,
The Draft2Digital Team

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Draft2Digital now distributes to OverDrive

draft2digitalFor authors using Draft2Digital to distribute ebooks to retailers, the outlets just got better. OverDrive has been added to their list of partners. OverDrive currently serves more than 38,000 libraries and schools in over 70 countries, including public, college, and corporate libraries.

If you already have ebooks listed with Draft2Digital, you’ll need to opt-in to get your books sent to OverDrive. Very simple to do, just follow the prompts at Draft2Digital.

The update list of partners looks like this:

  • iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Kobo (including Kobo Plus)
  • Inktera (formally Page Foundry)
  • Scribd
  • 24Symbols
  • Tolino
  • Playster
  • OverDrive

It’s smaller than the list of partners for Smashwords, a common choice for essentially the same service, but the major players are there.

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Write On by Kindle Amazon’s Critique Group Out of Business

Write On by Kindle has gone away. This is old news by internet standards; Amazon’s online critique group shut down a month ago. It was a community where writers shared works-in-progress to get feedback from readers and other writers. But like many things internet, it was a fine idea that just didn’t last or wasn’t executed well or both.

Write On by Kindle

 

Critique groups are helpful to any writer, in my opinion. That’s what excited me about Write On by Kindle, an online feedback forum hosted by the king of book sales. Sounds like a smart place to craft your next bestseller.

Unfortunately not. One might assume since it didn’t generate revenue or spawn bestsellers that it wasn’t worth Amazon’s expense to maintain. More likely, it didn’t have what it takes to compete with established players, and Amazon was okay with that. Que sera sera.

Plenty of online alternatives still exist. Wattpad has been going strong for over 10 years, and while it’s more than just an online critique group, the same benefits can be found there.

Others include Absolutewrite, Critiquecircle, and Inkedvoices to name a few.

Jane Friedman has an excellent post called How to Find the Right Critique Group or Partner for You.

Not sure why it saddens me to see Write On close doors. I had a work in progress there, but it wasn’t getting many reads. Probably a common story.

Share any comments below.

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Unicorn Writers Conference Presentation Links March 25, 2017

Below are the links for the 2 presentations I’m giving at the Unicorn Writers Conference in White Plains, NY:

1. Self-Publishing Essentials and 2. Formatting Ebooks

1. Self-Publishing Essentials

my gift to you: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/592348 (coupon code – TA34Q)

KDP Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing): https://kdp.amazon.com/

Smashwords (free distributor): https://www.smashwords.com/

BookBaby (paid distributor): http://www.bookbaby.com/

Draft2Digital (free distributor): https://www.draft2digital.com/

Barnes & Noble Nook Press: https://www.nookpress.com/

Amazon Kindle formatting: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A14LJ3QNDNO64G

Smashwords Style Guide: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52/

LibreOffice (free Word alternative): http://www.libreoffice.org/

Kindle Format 8 complex formatting: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000729511

Calibre Ebook Management (convert .docx to ePub and more): http://calibre-ebook.com/

Smashwords List (formatters and cover designers): https://www.smashwords.com/list

Book Design Templates: http://www.bookdesigntemplates.com/ http://www.diybookformats.com/

Creative Commons Search: http://search.creativecommons.org/

Bigstock Photo: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/

Inkscape: https://inkscape.org/en/ Gimp: http://www.gimp.org/

Google Keyword Planner: http://adwords.google.com/keywordplanner

Digital Book Today: http://digitalbooktoday.com/

Self Publishing Review: http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/

Kirkus Reviews: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/

2. Formatting Ebooks

my gift to you: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/592348 (coupon code – TA34Q)

Free alternatives to MS Word: http:// www.LibreOffice.orghttp://www.OpenOffice.org

Kindle Direct Publishing (free to join and publish ebooks at Amazon): https://kdp.amazon.com/

Bookshelf where you can Add Titles and fill in your book’s information and also use the Preview Mode: https://kdp.amazon.com/dashboard

Help section at KDP Amazon: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?

Amazon Kindle formatting: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A14LJ3QNDNO64G

Kindle reading app for any device: https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page/

Kindle Format 8 for very advanced formatting (drop caps, embedded fonts, pop up text, fixed layouts, HTML5 support, CSS3 support and more): http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000729511

Types of Formats Amazon recommends: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2GF0UFHIYG9VQ

Calibre for converting to ePub, viewing, editing, etc. ebooks: https://calibre-ebook.com/

Epub Validator to check for any problems with epub file: http://validator.idpf.org/

 
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Why Indie Authors Should Avoid the Big 5 and Instead Focus on Taming the Marketing Beast

big5Enjoy this guest post from author, Carol Vorvain, of Writers Boon.

3 simple truths about traditional book publishers all authors should know:

  • The Big 5 publishers keep authors on a tight leash. You must write about what they think is marketable. You must publish as fast or as slow as they want. The book must have a certain number of words to be considered a commercial book. They are your employer. So, you’d better listen. You are under a standard contract. You have little or no opportunity to negotiate the provisions.
  • Unless you are already famous, the Big 5 don’t help you with the marketing. They simply don’t have the cash for it.  
  • The Big 5 pay you peanuts. They offer low royalties and seize your publishing rights. A penny for your thoughts. Literally. That’s what’s left after they cover their own expenses and take the cut.

3 simple reasons why authors like you resiliently still knock on the door of the Big 5:

  • Fear of failing. I’ve got news for you. You can hide as much as you’d like behind their big name, but you, my dear freshly employed author, are still on your own. You have to make the miracle happen, you have to learn how to stand out from the crowd. And to do all this, you still need to befriend the marketing beast. You are not yet that precious for them to hire a marketing team focusing on you. And when you’ll be, you won’t need them. Right?
  • That feathered thing called Hope… Hope to be praised, get recognized and ultimately make a living out of it. It will happen. But you will make it happen, not them.
  • The Ego monster. You dream of the day when you will brag to all your family and friends that you are hanging out with them now, with the big 5. You got the golden stamp of approval. You have been chosen.  

1 strong enough reason to be an indie author:

  • Control. As the saying goes, “If we were meant to be controlled we would have come with a remote.” So, be the master of your own publishing journey. Unleash your creativity both in your writing and in your marketing tactics. You are now an entrepreneur.

Take advantage of all the resources out there that pave your way. Take advantage of Writers Boon, the digital platform that helps indie authors with marketing and the business aspect of publishing.

How?

Well, it provides guidance, tips and resources that serve as a blueprint for action on all types of marketing and public relations: content marketing, email marketing, advertising, social media marketing, SEO, copywriting.

Let’s say, for the first 6 months, you decide to focus on content marketing.

On Writers Boon, you will start by browsing and learning about all the different types of content book marketing: author and book videos, virtual book tours, public speaking, content distribution and promotion, interactive content, press releases and so on. Then, you can start focusing on finding resources, some at big discount prices: experts in the field or, if you are more of a DIY author, DIY tools &apps. There is also a how-to guides section where you can look for books, courses, webinars or blog articles to learn more.

For example, you’ve heard it’s a good idea to run giveaways. You’d like to try it, but first you’d like to understand more about the process. Easy. Simply look under the Giveaway how-to guides section. If still confused, head to the Q&A section, ask your question and a giveaway expert will answer you. Once it’s all clear, start browsing different giveaway tools. Add notes, tag favorites, read reviews and take the leap.

And don’t forget to use the power of networking. Schmooze or lose. Keep track of live training and book events with Writers Boon free Calendar of Events.

Carol Vorvain Writers BoonRemember the 3 simple truths about traditional book publishers we’ve talked about? Perhaps now it’s the time to embrace the opportunity of being an indie author rather than being frightened by it. Be confident that you can reach worldwide audience through digital marketing. And always remember this old Chinese proverb: “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.”  

Carol Vorvain (@writersboon) is an Australian international lawyer, mediator, author and founder of Writers Boon. Her books, When Dreams are CallingWhy not? – The island where happiness starts with a question and  A Fool in Istanbul – The adventures of a self-denying workaholic have been featured in a number of travel magazines including the International Traveller magazine and can be found in libraries, bookstores and on Amazon.

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