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.
#45 – Pricing your e-book