Draft2Digital vs Smashwords Review – One Clear Winner

Smashwords vs Draft2Digital review

Smashwords vs Draft2Digital review for new authors.

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-published authors and small press.

But now, I’m moving to Draft2Digital for distribution to ebook retailers other than Amazon.

Why am I changing over? Read on to find out why.

Smashwords vs Draft2Digital review

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.

Smashwords is still an excellent platform and publishing service. However, using it 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 all that much over the years.

The process of uploading for Smashwords ebooks and having it approved is slow, especially for the premium catalog book retailers.


Draft2Digital shines

But enter Draft2Digital as a publishing service, and ebook publishing becomes a totally different experience for independent authors.

It is a fast, simple, easy, and highly automated way to get your books published.

There are so many features that I love about Draft2Digital that I’ll have to do this in list form.

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


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 doc with chapter headings styled in Header 2 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 file that Draft2Digital prepared for me to download, and the formatting was 100% perfect.

There was no fuss, no bother, and no errors. It was the same result for all book formats.


Book Details

Your book description can be styled a little with bold and italic, which is a nice touch.

I like how easy it is to add genres and keywords. 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.


Draft2digital Offers 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, Draft2Digital creates most of these pages automatically. You draft2digital ebook promotion pagesonly need to enter your author and publisher details once.

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 Select, 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. 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, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo are the only ones with reasonable sales potential.

But you can select Baker & Taylor, Playster, Tolino, and Overdrive, plus a few more.

Draft2Digital distributes to these main three, plus 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.

There is also an option to set your book for pre-order.



It’s far too early for me to 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.



I have sent only one message to Draft2Digital support. But they answered in a very timely and helpful manner.

My experience over the years with Smashwords has been the same.

So for this Smashwords vs Draft2Digital review, I have to say both services offer great support, unlike KDP support, which is notoriously hopeless and unhelpful.


Smashwords vs Draft2Digital review summary

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 struggle to find any negatives.

However, D2D does not have an equivalent to the Smashwords Store.

Draft2Digital 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 Draft2Digital review 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.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

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

  • Avatar for Linda Baten Johnson
    April 22, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    What about using D2D for e-book and IngramSpark for paperback?

  • Avatar for paul
    November 14, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    can anybody help me with epub invalid on d2d.its saying errors.its a poem book and uploading a docx file directly is not showing the poems as I have written them.i made an epub with calibre and it shows correctly on a reader so I want to persevere.thank you

  • Avatar for Holly
    November 11, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge about these platforms.
    I am tech savvy, so I’m not sure if that’s gonna bite me in the butt overthinking the process, however, I hope it just helps.
    My book is going to be graphic / photo heavy. Are there any downsides to that in D2D? Or any other? Obviously, I know printing costs will be high, but there’s no avoiding 4/c with my topic.
    I feel that although I’m a first time book author, there are no books written about my topic, thus I’m going to ass-u-me that it may get some traction on its own. Fingers crossed!
    Thanks again for sharing!

  • Avatar for David Hughes
    May 3, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Derek. I have self-published through Ingram – 3 books – and get distributed to ‘Amazon.com’. ‘Amazon.ca’, Barnes & Noble, ‘Indigo.ca’. But Draft2Digital sounds very good and I’d consider switching, but does it provide the same basic service as Ingram (someone told me Ingram distributes for everyone?). How do you compare them to Ingram?

    Many thanks for all the information – excellent!


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