Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

This post is the forty-ninth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Last week, I discussed publishing your e-book on Amazon, which makes sense since it is the largest e-book retailer out there. But it also makes sense to have your book available at as many e-book retailers as possible. You could go through the process of submitting your book at each of these retailers – all who have different requirements, or you can use an e-book distribution platform like Smashwords or Draft2Digital.

Both e-book distribution platforms are very similar. You upload your e-book to them, and they distribute it to other e-book retailers such as iTunes, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo Store and more. There are no upfront costs to use this service. Yes, it is free to upload your e-book to these sites. The way they get paid is to take a percentage (typically 10 or 15 percent) of your royalties from those e-book retailers. But this is a small price to pay for the service they provide, which allows you to spend your time focusing on something else.

Now let’s talk about some differences between the two programs.


With Smashwords, you follow their step-by-step style guide to format your book before you upload it. They then run your book through what they call their “meat-grinder” which formats it correctly for each e-book retailer. The complaint some authors have is that the step-by-step guide is long and can be complicated if you aren’t tech-savvy.

Smashwords has more e-book retailers than Draft2Digital, and they also sell your book on their own website, which allows readers to download e-books in ten different formats. You have the ability to create coupons to offer discounts for your books on their site.

Smashwords takes a 10% royalty on sells from other book retailer sites and 15% from their own site.


Now, with Draft2Digital, the biggest plus for many authors is that you do NOT have to format your book. Draft2Digital does it for you. You don’t even have to have your front or back matter done. They do it all. And one cool feature is that you can update the back (end) matter for all your books at one time.

Another great feature on this site is they will set up universal book links. This allows you to offer each customer a link to their preferred book retailer.

Draft2Digital takes 15% commission on every e-book sold.


Both e-book distributors will help you reach a bigger market. For no matter how large Amazon is, it only reaches 14 countries. iBooks is in 51 while Kobo reaches 160, and the Smashword store reaches almost 200 countries.

Which company you use is totally up to you. I have not tried Draft2Digital as they were not available when I first started self-publishing. I have always used Smashwords and have had no issues with them. But there are some features from Draft2Digital that I will say intrigue me and have me considering using them on my next book.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

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