I told you yesterday about how my husband has spent pretty much all of his free time for months working on Draft2Digital’s website. You might be surprised, then, to find out that until the website went live, I was not very familiar with it. I recognized the logo, of course, and Sean had shown off some of its pretty features to me, but I’m not really a “computer person.” Coding and HTML and all that jazz mean nothing to me. I try to be supportive, but I really have no idea what my husband is talking about most of the time.
But just becuase I wasn’t a part of the coding process doesn’t mean that I can’t use the website. In fact, Draft2Digital is designed exactly for someone like me: someone who wants to get their stories out there without going through traditional publishing but who doesn’t really know anything about how to go about that.
So as soon as the Draft2Digital site went live on Wednesday, I spent the afternoon working through all it features as a user so that I can share with you all of its wonderfulness. Below is my analysis. Enjoy!
How It Works
First off, signing up for an author profile on Draft2Digital is free. The website doesn’t charge for you to upload any of your books or publish them online. They only make money off the books that you sell, so how much they make is based on how much you will make. So if you upload a book and then never sell anything, at least you won’t have lost any money on the endeavor! So why not take the risk and publish your novel/how-to booklet/historical analysis of WWI/Philosophy textbook today?
Okay, so you’ve made yourself a profile, which is as easy as logging in to your amazon account. Then it gives you the option to add a new book. You can upload your .doc or .docx or even .rtf of your manuscript, then add details on the same page such as title, back cover info, who helped write/edit/design the cover, which BISAC categories you will want your book listed under.
Then when you save that and it uploads your manuscript to the website. It’ll find your chapter titles and ask you to confirm them. You’ll also be asked to upload your cover art at this page.
It’ll give you the option to add copyright page, dedication page, title page, about the author page, and more. All of these pages are automatically generated, so you just push a button and presto! it’s added to your book. Set the price you want to sell your book for.
Now when you click save, it’ll convert your .doc into the e-version that it needs to be to show up on all the different e-readers.
Lastly, you have a chance to download a copy of your book to make sure it will look exactly how you want it to.
And then you click publish! And your book is ready to sell on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and all those other great places.
After you’re done marveling over how easy it is to publish, you can check out some other great features of the site, like sales tracking for each book, your author and publisher pages, and your book series pages.
My Favorite Parts
So here’s my opinion on Draft2Digital: overall, it’s too good to be true. A free, five-minute process where you get a free published e-book at the end? Can it really be that simple?
Yes, yes it can.
Here’s the stuff that I especially liked.
- The entire site has a very clean look. It is packed with lots of author-friendly features, but you wouldn’t know it from first glance because it’s so NOT cluttered. Everything is easy to navigate, and the click-through sequences make complete sense.
- When I was an editor at Tate Publishing, one of the things we were required to do was list the BISAC categories for each book that we worked on. I doubt most people really think about BISAC, but it’s like tagging your book for which section of the bookstore you should be shelved under. So they’re kind of important when it comes to browsing readers. D2D easily lists every BISAC category so that you kind find the one (or two or three) that best fit your book. And if you don’t want to scroll through the extensive list, you can just search for what you think you might be under, and it’ll show your BISAC options.
- I mentioned above that once the program uploads your document it will find your chapter headings for you. I’m not technically minded, but I think this is a pretty big deal. I personally was very impressed with it. It uses this recognition technique to specially treat your chapter titles as headers and to automatically create a table of contents for you.
- I loved how simple it was to create the meta data pages like copyright. It’s something we writers often forget about because we’re so busy worrying about how the story itself will look, but D2D takes care of it for us.
- Of course this wouldn’t be an awesome site if it didn’t have this option, but I was impressed when it gave me the option to preview my document for each type of e-reader. And if you didn’t have the right software on your computer to view it, the link was right there on the page.
- Each page gives you the option to save in two locations, either at the bottom or with a smaller button at the top. I love that because on some websites you just want to edit one tiny detail at the top of the page but then have to scroll all the way down to the bottom to hit “save.” Just a convenience issue, but it makes a big difference to me.
- After you’ve uploaded and published one or more books, the site allows you to group your books by series. In an era where series are more prevalant than stand-alone novels, this is a big deal. I only downloaded one book, but I appreciate the opportunity to add to my collection in the future.
- The whole publishing process took me ten minutes, and that was with two kids trying to “help.” The longest thing was probably looking for the BISAC categories on the first page. Or figuring out how to preview the document on my computer, but that was my error, not theirs.
If you’ve made it to the bottom of this post, thanks for hanging in there with me as I sing Draft2Digital’s praises. I hope my experience with the site and software has convinced you that it’s an amazing tool that all self-published authors should be using.
Caveat: Again, as I mentioned yesterday, D2D is still in beta form, meaning there’s going to be some kinks in it. But the more testers (users) they have, the more bugs they’ll be able to fix more quickly, and get you all on the road to publishing your own novels. So try out Draft2Digital today!