Draft2Digital vs Smashwords Review – One Clear Winner

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Draft2Digital vs Smashwords review

For self-publishing distribution, Draft2Digital wins on almost every count over Smashwords

I have been a (very) long time user of Smashwords. I have to say that without Mark Coker, there would never have been an alternative to Amazon for self-publishers.

But I have to say that I am now moving all of my ebooks over to Draft2Digital for distribution to ebook retailers other than Amazon Kindle.

Why am I changing over? Read on.

Smashwords created a fantastic service over the years for Smashwords authors. Without it, there would be no competition in self-published ebooks today, and Amazon would own the market.

However, using Smashwords today feels a little slow, sluggish and cumbersome.

Sure, there have been changes and improvements to distribution and ebook formatting. 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, especially for the premium catalog.

Enter Draft2Digital as a publishing service and ebook publishing becomes a totally different experience for independent authors.

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.

 

Manuscript Preparation

Unlike having to wade through Smashwords’ 170 page Style Guide to get a manuscript approved, Draft2Digital only requires your text in a docx 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 that Draft2Digital prepared for me to download, and the formatting was 100% perfect. No fuss, no bother, no errors. It was the same result for all book formats.

Related reading: How To Format Poetry For Ebook Publishing

 

Book Details

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.

Related reading: Find Keywords And Amazon Categories For Ebooks

 

Automated End Matter

draft2digital end matter This is where Draft2Digital absolutely shines for Indie authors. 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 draft2digital ebook promotion pagesonly 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 that can help authors sell books. It is so simple, you have to ask why nobody thought about this earlier.

 

One Click Updating of Other Books

draft2digital update all ebooksThis 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.

 

Distribution

There is no doubt that Smashwords has more distribution channels than Draft2Digital, but for me, Apple, Barnes & Noble 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.

 

Book Pricing

You can set your retail price automatically for all retailers, or you can select a different price for individual retailers.

This is a nice feature if you want to run a campaign for one retailer. You can also set your price to zero if you want to make a title perma-free.

You can also set your book for pre-order.

 

Sales

It’s far too early for me tell, but for the few sales I have made so far, the sales report 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.

 

Royalty Payments

Another big win here for Draft2Digital because it pays monthly by EFT or Paypal. There is no minimum threshold so you will get paid even if you only make one book sale.

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.

 

Support

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, both aggregators have great support.

 

Conclusion

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 better than both Smashwords and KDP.

What are the pros and cons? Well, all I can say is that I really struggled to find any negatives.

Draft2Digital also has a reader site, Books2Read. From the site, you can also set up universal links to promote your books with one link.

You can read my earlier first impression post about Draft2Digital here.

 

Update Note 1: Draft2digital has added a new typography feature for ebooks. It’s beautiful.

Update Note 2. Draft2digital now distributes to Amazon. Read the details in this Draft2Digital blog post.

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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

54 thoughts on “Draft2Digital vs Smashwords Review – One Clear Winner

  • Derek,

    Your Smashwords “Meatgrinder” issues don’t surprise. After finding that my previously OK books on SW were in limbo because they’d revised their standards without informing some of us, I complained. I managed to tweak my books to pass muster by creating ePub versions using Calibre that bypassed their bonecruncher converter.

    Next thing I knew, SW had blocked my sign-on and I was/am no longer able to reach my books. So they sit there limboing and I’ve had to go elsewhere for e-book publishing. I guess if my SW books sell, they’ll at least have the decency to send me a check, eh?

    Reply
  • Excellent article, and I learned alot from the comments as well.

    I’ve been using Smashwords for several years, and it’s always a hassle to get my source document through its Meat Grinder unscathed. The name alone should tell an author what to expect from their converter.

    And that’s not the only problem I’ve encountered with Smashwords. The EPUB file they generate from my DOC file almost never passes the EPUB validation. But the EPUB file my word processor develops always passes the EPUB validation at the validator.idpf.org site. Why? Because the EPUB their Meatgrinder produces isn’t the same as the EPUB my word processor developes. Their EPUB file for my e-book almost always corrupts the HTML in the EPUB file. Ugh!

    The main reason I’m leaving Smashwords, however, is that the EPUB file that my word processor develops looks great in Adobe Digital Edition, whereas the one Smashwords develops has ragged edges on both the text and the illustrations.

    I’ve complained many times to the tech support people about all of these problems but received no answer. So I’m looking forward to giving Draft-to-Digital a try.

    Thanks for the article.

    Reply

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