Tag Archive: #KDP

My Thoughts on Draft2Digital…

Recently I’ve been struggling to try and get Helen’s short story collection up onto Smashwords, with less than sterling results. Now, in case anyone out there isn’t familiar with Smashwords, they use an entirely different format style than say Amazon’s KDP. By the same token, they also have a wide distribution that includes Barnes and Noble Nook, Kobo, Scribd, and a host of other sites which includes distributors for public libraries.

Now after successfully getting our first book up on Smashwords, I created a template to make things easier for future submissions. And until recently, this template worked every time. I would simply change a few details like title, year of publishing, etc. then I would simply copy and paste the new manuscript into that template. 

However, this time something went horribly wrong. We kept getting messages that there were problems with the formatting of the document and at one point, I even uploaded the corrected manuscript onto Smashwords under an existing title of a completely different book, which of course led to more messages about the formatting being incorrect. Well, in this particular case, I still had the original formatted file that had been accepted by Smashwords a few years ago, and resubmitted it to the correct title. Unfortunately, I got a message back saying that file was now incorrect as well. Long story short, I discovered that MS Word has some new autocorrect features and changes that were altering the old template I’d created that made in incompatible with Smashwords requirements. And try as I might, even using the Nuclear Option on the original document, issues kept cropping up with ever submission to Smashwords.

At this point, we were considering dropping Smashwords and losing their numerous distributors and going exclusively with KDP. Then I read about a e-book publishing option for indie authors called Draft2Digital. I had only vaguely heard of them in passing so I didn’t know much about them. Still, I checked out their distributors and lo and behold, they had just about all the same ones as Smashwords, including some I’d never heard of before. But that wasn’t all! I also discovered that they and Smashwords (since they had so much in common) were in the process of merging into one company.

So, I decided to check them out even further. Long story short, I signed up with Draft2Digital and have taken 2 books down from Smashwords “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” 

and “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”. 

*FYI, “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At” was the book where I screwed up the interior with the wrong file.

I was also able to get Helen’s book “W. I. T. C. H. Hunters Forever” uploaded onto Draf2Digital as well. 

Now you might be asking, “Was it worth the effort?” To which I reply, “Absolutely YES!” 

You see, Draf2Digital (D2D) is much easier to work with than Smashwords and even KDP in many respects. Their system does all the formatting for you. And I do mean all! You can take an unformatted manuscript and upload it to D2D, and it will create a working table of contents for you as well as offer some pretty nifty options to make your book’s interior even more intriguing to the reader. There are little themed designs that can be applied to the beginning of every chapter, as well as within the chapter itself if you have a change of viewpoint/scenery taking place.

They will also supply you with an option to have a pre-submitted author bio that you can plug in with every new book, with an option to update that bio whenever you wish.  Plus, a lot more. You still have room for a dedication page, introduction, acknowledgements, etc. as well. 

Also, you they give you the opportunity to have a ‘Teaser’ section for one of your other books, as well as an “Also by This Author” section. It’s very easy and upload a book and get it up and running with them. 

Now I will admit, I had a learning curve of how to use all the options and make changes to the manuscript at first (but I couldn’t help but play around and experiment). But once you’ve learned them, you can literally be ready to go within minutes. 

Where I recently struggled with Smashwords for over a week, I got books up and running on D2D within less than a day.

As far as percentages go, you will get 60% on every sale (30% goes to the distributor and 10% goes to D2D), the same as on Smashwords. But for the simplicity of use and the extra options, I really think going with D2d was a no-brainer.

What about any of you? Have you had experience with D2D and what were your feelings about it? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below so we can all learn from each other.

Until next time, stay safe and keep writing my friends.

Our first novel in the Para-Earth Series, is going to get a complete rewrite! 

Yes, you are reading that correctly. You’re eyes are not playing tricks on you. I know earlier this year I said I was going to try and clean up “The Bridge”, but the further I got into reading it, the more I saw just how messed up it had gotten.
But before I go further, a little history lesson.

“The Bridge” was the first book I ever released, so naturally there were a lot of rookie mistakes made in it, which were pointed out to me early on in the reviews (even though those same reviews gave it 4 and 5 stars). But I couldn’t ignore the fact that there were problems with my baby. I call it that, because I did all the writing and did not credit my wife for all the help she gave me in developing the story. So I tried going back and fixing the errors only to wind up with mixed results.

A third attempt was made, which still seemed plagued with problems. Finally, a few years ago, my editor and I went back to the beginning together and went cover to cover fixing everything wrong we could find. At that point, I also added Helen’s name onto the cover to give her the proper credit she deserved because she too had a hand in the revision. With this new ‘clean’ copy I submitted the new file to Createspace and all was well in the land… NOT!

At about this same time was when Createspace was absorbed by Amazon and the files of all books put out by Createspace were moved to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Now keep in mind Createspace had 2-3 different files already for “The Bridge” and unfortunately, not only did the most recent ‘clean’ file not be the one that was moved over to KDP, the formatting went (as the late great Terry Pratchett would say) Wahooney-shaped. 

Alas I only found out about this problem late last year when I decided it was time to start putting all of our Para-Earth Books onto Audible. Naturally, I chose the first book in the series to narrate and begin this process. I barely got through the Prologue before I realized what had happened and proceeded to beat a rhythm of despair using my head and my desk.

Naturally, I had backed up the last ‘clean’ copy of the book, and went in search of it, so I could upload that version onto KDP. Alas, when my last desktop began to breath its last, my efforts to transfer files that had been in MS Word 97 did not convert into the latest version cleanly and were totally unusable. Even my trusty trick of using memory sticks failed me, as the stick in question somehow managed to latch onto a stray magnet (the retracted metal end of the stick was the part that found the magnet) and everything on it was totally lost.

I quickly pulled down “The Bridge” from every outlet starting with KDP and it has remained missing in action ever since. Since then I finally got around to trying to re-edit the book only to find the deeper I went the more screwed up things had become. So yesterday after spending two hours trying to mark errors in the latest printed version, I came to realize that my writing style had changed drastically as well and I was finding it harder and harder to read the story. Finally, I set the book aside and thought about rewriting the entire book from the beginning. But I spoke with Helen about it last night before I did anything. Her thoughts mirrored my own. 

Now before I go further, let me point out that Helen is a much more experienced writer than I am. She was writing short stories years before I tried my hand, and she got damn close several times to being published. In each case, the editors where like “We love your style… but this story isn’t quite us. Please send us more…”  Which was quite encouraging. But this was around the same time that Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers were taking the world by storm and many of the magazines that wanted to see more from her wound up folding and being lost to history.

But it was her writing experience and expertise, as well as sharp ideas that helped me to develop and shape “The Bridge” in the first place. At the time she hadn’t wanted her name on the book, but after work began on “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” I finally convinced her to help write parts of it that her name finally appeared on one of the books. After that she and I began talking about how much she had truly contributed to both “The Bridge” and “The Ship”, and she felt some credit was due her on those as well. So I happily added her name to the covers of both. 

Now with the decision made to rewrite “The Bridge” she suggested that she have more of a hand in the rewriting process and I readily agreed. Since we are aiming to release it next year, which will be the 10th anniversary of the book’s original release, we may be adding a few scenes and dialogue in some sections. The book itself will resemble the original in almost all respects, while being a more “clean and polished” version, with a few additions which will make this 10th Anniversary Edition something special. 

I also want to point out that anyone who already had a copy of “The Bridge” in your Kindle will have the 10th Anniversary Edition replacing it without any cost to you. If you don’t get it, let us know and we will make sure you get the new version absolutely free! This isn’t money-grab situation, this is correcting mistakes that I’ve tried repeatedly to fix.  

And as I’ve mentioned before, there will be an audio version of the 10th Anniversary Edition being released and made available on Audible, Amazon, Itunes (which includes Apple).

So there’s much work to do, but I’ll try to keep posting as regularly as possible. Until then, take care everyone and keep writing.

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