For self-publishing distribution, Draft2Digital wins on almost every count over Smashwords
I have been a (very) long time user of Smashwords, but I have to say from the outset that I am now moving all of my ebooks over to Draft2Digital for distribution to ebook retailers other than Amazon Kindle.
Why? Read on.
Smashwords created a fantastic service over the years for self-publishers. Without Smashwords, there would be no competition in self-published ebooks today, and Amazon would own the market.
However, using Smashwords today feels slow, sluggish and cumbersome.
Sure, there have been changes and improvements to distribution, but Smashwords’ metagrinder and autovetter have not changed in years.
The process of uploading an ebook and having it approved is slow, tedious and cumbersome.
Enter Draft2Digital and ebook publishing becomes a totally different experience.
Fast, simple, easy and highly automated. There are so many features that I love about Draft2Digital that I’ll have to do this in list form.
Unlike having to wade through Smashwords’ 170 odd page Style Guide to get a manuscript approved, Draft2Digital only requires your text in a Word document with chapter headings styled in Header 1 and body text in Normal.
You don’t need a title page, credits page or other books pages as they are all added later. All you need is Chapter One to The End.
When I uploaded my first ebook, I immediately checked the .epub version thatDraft2Digital prepared for me to download, and the formatting was 100% perfect. No fuss, no bother, no errors.
Your book description can be styled a little with bold and italic, which is a nice touch, but I really like how easy genres and keywords can be added. Genres have a search box, so it makes selecting genres quick and easy.
For keywords, simply copy and paste your comma separated keyword list into the box, and they are automatically listed individually.
Automated End Matter
This is where Draft2Digital absolutely shines. Once you have uploaded your manuscript, cover and entered your book details, it’s time to let Draft2Digital’s automation take over.
A list of tick boxes lets you add a Title Page, Credits Page, Dedication Page, Books Also By Page, New Release Email Notification Page, a Teaser Page for another book, About the Author and lastly an About the Publisher Page. What a list of add-ons!
Best of all, most of these pages are created automatically. You only need to enter your author and publisher details once, and they can be added to all books.
For me, the winner here is the book teaser page.
Being able to select a book with one tick box to add at the end of a book is a fantastic book marketing tool, particularly for books in a series.
All of these tick boxes add valuable features to an ebook. It is so simple, you have to ask why nobody thought about this earlier.
One Click Updating of Other Books
This feature is the BIG, BIG, BIG reason I am moving to Draft2Digital.
On every other platform, including KDP, every other already published ebook needs to be changed when I publish a new ebook or delete a title.
For me, with eighteen ebooks to manage, this has always been a nightmare.
When I publish a new ebook, I have to add the new title to all my other books back matter, and then upload every one again, and wait for the approval process all over again.
Yes, eighteen times for KDP and eighteen times again for Smashwords. That takes days and days!
But with Draft2Digital, it’s a one-click process to have every one of my ebooks updated and distributed with all new ‘Also By’ pages.
Anything that saves me days of work gets my vote.
There is no doubt that Smashwords has more distribution channels than Draft2Digital, but for me, Apple, B&N and Kobo are the only ones that have reasonable sales potential.
Draft2Digital distributes to these main three, plus some others, so that’s all I need.
I have also noticed that Draft2Digital seems to get titles published and available for sale much faster than Smashwords for the bigger retailers.
Another nice touch is that Draft2Digital sends a confirmation email every time one of my titles is published on a retailer’s site, with a link to my book page.
It’s far too early for me tell, but for the few sales I have made so far, the reporting has been super fast. As I have sold ebooks through Apple, B&N and Kobo for many years now, I expect sales will be the same.
Another big win here for Draft2Digital because it pays monthly by EFT or Paypal, unlike Smashwords that still pays quarterly.
It is worth mentioning here too, that when I set up my account withDraft2Digital, it gave me the option to complete my tax details online, which only took a few minutes.
I have only sent only one message to Draft2Digital support, but it was answered in a very timely and helpful manner. My experience over the years with Smashwords has been the same.
Unlike KDP support, which is notoriously hopeless and unhelpful.
Why did it take me so long to get around to trying Draft2Digital?
All I can say is that it is by far the easiest platform to self-publish with features that are useful, practical and very time efficient. It is far, far better than both Smashwords and KDP.
The only major disappointment I have found is that Draft2Digital has been very slow to launch their reader site, Books2Read.
From what I have read on the Internet, the site has been ‘Coming Soon’ for a very long time now.
As the email notification page is a feature that I would imagine hooks into Books2Read, some progress on this seems well overdue.
Update Note 1: Draft2Digital also has an option to publish a paperback version with Createspace. I have not tried this feature but will keep it in mind for my next book.
Update Note 2: Books2read is now working and is the site from where you can set up universal book links. A very handy tool for open-publishers.
Update Note 3: Draft2digital has added a new typography feature for ebooks. It’s beautiful!
You can read my earlier first impression post about Draft2Digital here.
Update Note 4. Draft2digital now distributes to Amazon. Read the details in this Draft2Digital blog post.