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D2D: Direct2Digital

Crumbly Writer

Just tried out D2D, Direct2Digital, and I must say, I'm impressed.

The setup is simple, it automates nearly everything imaginable for newbies, and for us old-timers, it accepts formatted books with nary a hickup. For someone who's stuggled with lulu, and smashwords for years, wrestling over nick-picky issues which continually crop up, this is wonderfully simple.

As many of you know, I pull out all the bells and whistles in my books, using graphics for chapter titles, chapter headers and section breaks, as well as the occasion Section breaks (distinct groups of chapters, including full-page graphics and epigraphs). Again, it handled all of those without a hiccup.

For those new to publishing, D2D handles all the front and back matter word for you. You simply upload your chapters, and it adds most of the administrative details for you, including notifying readers to new books, preview, Other Books by the author, etc.

Unfortunately, D2D has no direct sales site, and the distribution centers it uses are nearly identical to those used by SW and close to lulu.com's. However, SW, once an independent publisher powerhouse, has drastically fallen off in sales in years, so if this offers the same services without the many headaches the other sites include, I'm in. For the sales side, I can always direct readers to SW site while distributing my books via D2D.

As an added bonus, they also have a very simple link to the FindawayVoices audio book services, for anyone interested in creating audio books. I've been interested in audiobooks.com for years, but they want you to commit to them upfront, with no guestimates about what that might cost. On D2D/Findaway, it's simple and straightforward. True, it'll cost money to create the audio books, and they charge a $45 fee, but at least I know what I'm signing up for before I sign on the dotted line. (I'll let you know later how the audio service turns out.)

Their Books2Read service also links all your different sales sites and affiliate codes in one place, so readers can find all of your stores in one place (they don't support lulu.com at the moment, unfortunately, since lulu has never asked to participate, but they do include both Amazon and smashwords).

If anyone is interested, check out https://www.draft2digital.com/vincentberg. That will take you directly to the site, and also supply me with a small 'referral commission' for the next year (similar to the affiliate service on Amazon, SW and others).

After years of struggling with various sites, it's a relief to encounter one that's a snap to set-up, and which offers the full range of services and formatting the other sites offer with little of the pitfalls that often accompany them.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

No bears for you in the ToS.

I'm interested in knowing how the royalties stack up against the recommended retail price. They say they take 15% of list which is about 10% of rrp - which makes me wonder what the others take.

I do have a concern where they say they no longer provide print version via Createspace - it isn't clear if they only contracted through them or had a closer relationship. I worry they may be linked to Amazon too much, but the ToS is so un-Amazonian.

I'll look into this one further.

typo edit.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I'm interested in knowing how the royalties stack up against the recommended retail price. They say they take 15% of list which is about 10% of rrp - which makes me wonder what the others take.

That's what they claim, but since they have no stand-alone store, that means the distributors take the major share of the profit (30% + 15% - fees - taxes = ???). My latest $4.99 preorder nets me only $2.97 (slightly under 60%, not so bad after all).

I do have a concern where they say they no longer provide print version via Createspace - it isn't clear if they only contracted through them or had a closer relationship. I worry they may be linked to Amazon too much, but the ToS is so un-Amazonian.

Since Amazon took them over, Amazon shut down the Createspace store, so no one else can access it for independent services. :(

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Since Amazon took them over, Amazon shut down the Createspace store, so no one else can access it for independent services.


btw, it's my understanding the KDP POD now has the same capability as CreateSpace for author copies and proofs.

Someone on wattpad said she used to put her paperbacks up on CreateSpace for the cheap proofs and author copies and then transfer the books to KDP so all her sales reporting was in the same place. Recently, she said she no longer goes through the extra step because KDP now offers the same as CreateSpace.

A lot of people on wattpad use D2D and are happy with it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

btw, it's my understanding the KDP POD now has the same capability as CreateSpace for author copies and proofs.

That was their compromise. The bigger issue, though is that they aren't offering the same commission that CS did. As for the wattpad authors, I'm guessing they weren't U.S. residents and had to pay the out-of-country rates on most of their sales, so they probably aren't losing much financially in the transition.

Ernest Bywater

CW,

Now we shall see what we shall see. I used your link to open a D2D account, let me know if they don't tell you, because I had a hell of a time getting it to work through my security set up. They have more third party links than most mashup sites. In the end I had to disable most of the security to work the site - and I don't like that. So I don't know if they recognised the referral or not.

I've put The Contagion on the site and set for sale by all but Amazon, already selling it by them via Lulu.

Ernest Bywater

I don't know if it's due to a change by the US IRS in the last few years or not, but the completion of the IRS W8-BEN form was a loot easier on D2D, because I could do it electronically, last time I had to complete it, print it , and post it in. But I did note the form had a last amendment date of this year. So it could be an IRS change. But the way D2D had it set up it was dead easy.

richardshagrin
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


a change by the US IRS


I am only a US "citizen" and don't know that much about the IRS, but my observations confirm yours. The IRS wants all filings to be done "on line" electronically. It is easier and cheaper for them to do it by computer than to process paper. And faster to handle for them and for us mere citizens. And if you owe money they want to get your checking account numbers and bank ID on line so they can take it out of your checking account without processing a paper check. From their point of view, would you want to get a couple of hand-written forms and paper supporting data to read and "process" them probably by keyboarding the relevant data, or get it all on line already, check it on screen and hit a few keys. They are all understaffed, as I understand the situation, and definitely under-loved by the people they tax, which is one reason congress under-funds the whole organization. If they had more people to do more audits, the tax rates could be lower and bring as much money. Or bring in more money with the rates we have. I guess the people who contribute to Congress are happy to have fewer auditors to review the complicated tax forms they prepare. Not that I pay taxes with a smile. The IRS requires money.

The IRS stands for Infernal Revenue Service. Not sure why its called a Service. Maybe because they service the public the way bulls service cows?

Replies:   Ross at Play  REP
Ross at Play
Updated:

@richardshagrin

The IRS wants all filings to be done "on line" electronically.

Wow! They are either very slow on the uptake or remarkably underfunded.

I stopped working at the Australian Taxation Office just over 20 years ago. Even before I left, taxpayers, or the agents doing their filings, had the option of filing most forms electronically. And yes, the total expenditure by the office on processing forms was substantially lower after those developments were completed.

which is one reason congress under-funds the whole organization.

Wow! Have I got any more feet I can shoot?

There was a "ballpark figure" used when I worked there for the ratio of how much extra revenue an extra employee working on audit-related activities would bring in. It was 10:1. About half of the one was direct salary and the rest was other costs associated with employing someone. Our governments, from both parties, did not cut the office's budget by the amount saved from lowering processing costs: they were happy for it to divert the staff that freed up over to audit-related activities.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@richardshagrin

And if you owe money they want to get your checking account numbers and bank ID on line so they can take it out of your checking account without processing a paper check.


You will also note that if they owe you a refund, it is always sent to you as a check. It takes longer to process a check than an electronic refund, so they get to earn interest on your refund for a couple of extra days.

Switch Blayde

@REP

You will also note that if they owe you a refund, it is always sent to you as a check.


Nope. If you file electronically, the refund is deposited directly into your checking account.

AmigaClone

@REP


You will also note that if they owe you a refund, it is always sent to you as a check


That has not been my experience - I have gotten direct deposits for many years when I had refunds.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I've put The Contagion on the site and set for sale by all but Amazon, already selling it by them via Lulu.

I'm not sure it's beneficial to post the same book to the same distributors. Instead, this seems like a less painful way of posting to those distributors, though your need to stick to lulu so your readers can order your books directly.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Wow! They are either very slow on the uptake or remarkably underfunded.

The issue is that the Republicans have been continually starving the IRS of funds, despite the fact that hiring more auditors translates into more tax collections (money owed but not paid).

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I'm not sure it's beneficial to post the same book to the same distributors. Instead, this seems like a less painful way of posting to those distributors, though your need to stick to lulu so your readers can order your books directly.


I've got three groups of books out there:

1. Fun reading fiction, which is most of my writing.

2. Help aids for other - the Fiction Writing and & Style Guide is one of these.

3. Fiction story with something important to say - Same Sex marriage Debacle is one of these.

Group 1 is stories I charge for, groups 2 and 3 are free, so I don't care if there is a multiple listing as long as they get out to the people.

The Contagion is more group 3 than group 1, and it has a minimal charge to provide it with more encouragement at distribution with the Lulu Marketing Partners. I may even reduce it to $0 in the future. So I'm not worried about multiple listing confusion.

Anyway, Amazon has some books of mine I listed that I didn't give them permission to list, and there doesn't seem to be any confusion caused by that.

edit to add; I now have all my group 2 and 3 books listed on D2D as well as a couple of Group 1 books.

sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

I don't know if it's due to a change by the US IRS in the last few years or not, but the completion of the IRS W8-BEN form was a loot easier on D2D, because I could do it electronically, last time I had to complete it, print it , and post it in.

I have some American income. I can't remember which form it is but I have been sending in the equivalent electronically for I think four years. Far more convenient (and more understandable) than the old paper form.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Now we shall see what we shall see. I used your link to open a D2D account, let me know if they don't tell you, because I had a hell of a time getting it to work through my security set up.

Forgot to mention previously: since it's an 'affiliate' program, I get a commission on your total sales which aren't taken from your total sales—which is why they're limited to a one-year period—since they're coming out of D2D's pocket, rather than their members' pockets like most affiliate programs.

On Smashwords, each time someone follows my links and purchases a book, I take a small cut of that specific sale, which the author wouldn't likely have gotten without my directing them to the story. Amazon has a similar program, but I can't remember offhand where they take the money from.

It sometimes augments authors' limited incomes to list 'other books read by the same purchasers' with your books (as in "This book is similar to:") so that their readers can find other books they'd like but may not have found on their own.

In either case, I'll let you know if I make any money off of your sales once you make some. But those sales aren't made via D2d, which has no retail outlet, but by Book2Read, which links all your sales channels.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Forgot to mention previously: since it's an 'affiliate' program, I get a commission on your total sales which aren't taken from your total sales—which is why they're limited to a one-year period—since they're coming out of D2D's pocket, rather than their members' pockets like most affiliate programs.


I saw that from their FAQ, and it worries me about as much as I worry about Joseph Stalin coming for a visit.

On a related issue, three of the linked sites have blocked Same Sex Marriage Debacle due to sexual content. I suspect their auto software kicks at the word sex, since there are no sex scenes in the no sex story on politics and religion.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I suspect their auto software kicks at the word sex, since there are no sex scenes in the no sex story on politics and religion.

That's an easy fix. Just remove the "there is no sex in this story" from the story description. 'D But that's strange, seeing as how I noted they specifically ask about sexual content. I guess they search for the word "sex" in any non-adult books, so ensure no 17-year-old ever encounters such a horrendous word!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Crumbly Writer

I mentioned earlier that I was investigating D2D's audio book link. Well, I heard back from them. They're asking me to choose a voice narrator.

The prices range from $90 to $365 per hours. Needless to say, that's a shitload of cash to pay for an 87,000 word book. First, they'll need to read the entire book through, so they'll know what happens before they read it. Then they'll read a chapter at a time (I assume). Since a single days work will be in excess of $1,000 bucks, I could easily be looking at over $10,000 to produce an audio book.

Meanwhile, the $90 and $125 per hour voices are more 'character voices' (low and gravelly, or sweet and sugary, which don't match most books). The more professional sounding, the voices who can best convey a variety of characters are all well over $300 per hour.

I'm still interested in seeing what's involved in the process, but there's no way I'll ever sell enough audio books to justify those prices, especially since a quick price comparison shows that audio books are typically priced cheaper than the ebook versions of most books (typically $6.99 for the audiobook while the ebook sells for $9.99 and the print book for $19.99).

Oh well, the N.C. Library for the Blind has a program where they have their speakers transcribe audio books for local N.C. authors, but that's only available for the blind, which is pretty limiting.

John Demille
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


The prices range from $90 to $365 per hours.


If you have a Mac, you can have the Mac read the text file and pipe it into an audio file with the voice of your choice.

Of course, it's a computer generated audio, so quality is an issue, but it's free.

richardshagrin

@John Demille

quality is an issue, but it's free.

Costs you nothing and its worth the price.

Crumbly Writer

@John Demille

If you have a Mac, you can have the Mac read the text file and pipe it into an audio file with the voice of your choice.

Of course, it's a computer generated audio, so quality is an issue, but it's free.

TO give you an idea of the value of that, my close blind friends, who listen to computer speech all day long as they work on the computer, have NEVER listened to one of my books, yet keep asking me "When are you going to record a book"?

The automated script is only for a page or two of information, but for an entire novel, it's just too much to process. :(

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Oh well, the N.C. Library for the Blind has a program where they have their speakers transcribe audio books for local N.C. authors, but that's only available for the blind, which is pretty limiting.


However, it does create the file and does make your works available to a few more people. I'd suggest asking them. heck, if they'd accept them I'd let them have my stories to create files for their members - even if no on else gets to use them.

Ernest Bywater

Update of use of D2D.

One of the services they work with is Scribd - there are issues in that Scribd do not have a publicly available policy document on what is and isn't acceptable to them, but they have been known to reject erotic material without saying why beyond they refuse to allow it. They're also very slow it processing books for publication within their system.

D2D prefer you to use Payoneer for payments, however there are issues with Payoneer. Their site says you can have either a Mastecard Debit card issued to you or you can link to your bank account. Linking to the bank account requires a special code from a third party site. When I tried to do that they did not have my bank and branch in their system, and thus I couldn't finish the process. The bank was listed with several branches, just not my branch - this shows the system isn't complete. When I tried to back out to go the Mastercard route the system wouldn't let me switch over. Because I had tried the bank account route, that was ll it would allow me to use now. I've exchanged numerous emails with the Payoneer support people and I keep getting what look like computer generated keyword responses which basically say - see your local bank for the information, and the local bank haven't heard of the code system Payoneer want - it seems a BSB & a/c number aren't enough for them. So I'm staying with PayPal for payments.

iBooks had an issue with an anthology I listed at $19.95 they wouldn't accept anything that costly.

The LIbrary service link at the bottom of the page has a minimum sell value as well, so you have to watch out for that.

I also had issues with the BISAC listings, but have learned to keep that minimal or the system bounces it.

Otherwise D2D seems to be OK, but I'll wait to see how the sales go now.

In summary D2D looks like a an OK people to use, but avoid the Payoneer payment system. Be wary of Scribd, and watch for odd behaviour from iBooks.

richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

Update of use of D2D.

Do you mean Star Wars R2D2? Or are those not the robots you are looking for?

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Do you mean Star Wars R2D2? Or are those not the robots you are looking for?


No, Draft 2 Digital are not the droids we're looking for. (wave of hand enforces the statement).

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Do you mean Star Wars R2D2? Or are those not the robots you are looking for?

As Ernest said:

"No, Draft 2 Digital are not the independent ebook publishing droids you are looking for! If my crude magic gesture confuses you, say 'Okay, you're free to go'."

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Otherwise D2D seems to be OK, but I'll wait to see how the sales go now.

In summary D2D looks like a an OK people to use, but avoid the Payoneer payment system. Be wary of Scribd, and watch for odd behaviour from iBooks.

iBooks, once a power player in the ebook field, has decidedly fallen off the last few years. I used to publish directly to iBooks, but haven't for years.

Likewise, D2D WON'T sell any more books, as they don't offer their own sales site, they simply promote your books to the SAME existing sites that lulu and sw do, but it easy to submit to than those other sites. Thus I'd use D2d for those secondary sites, while continuing to use the main lulu & sw sites because they offer their own sales sites (meaning extra direct sales).

As for your payoneer issues, your best bet is to close and DELETE your account, and then create an all new account (even using a new pseudonym and email if necessary), which will allow you to specify a different pay system. It isn't really an unusual problem, and few publishing sites ever revisit their payments systems after their initial public offering.

Ernest Bywater

CW,

A couple of points:

Payoneer - the issue there is I can't even open and account to begin with.

What you say about who D2D promote to is true. However, they have extra sites than Lulu has, and the amount I expect to get for the sales through the sites is a bit more than I would expect to get through the Lulu partner sites for the e-book sales. I still sell everything through Lulu, but I also have them as e-book through D2D as well now. I'm giving serious consideration to cease loading print book versions on Lulu due to the lack of such sales beyond what I buy. But I'll decide that later.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

A couple of points:

Payoneer - the issue there is I can't even open and account to begin with.

What you say about who D2D promote to is true. However, they have extra sites than Lulu has, and the amount I expect to get for the sales through the sites is a bit more than I would expect to get through the Lulu partner sites for the e-book sales. I still sell everything through Lulu, but I also have them as e-book through D2D as well now. I'm giving serious consideration to cease loading print book versions on Lulu due to the lack of such sales beyond what I buy. But I'll decide that later.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. By "Payoneer", I meant removing it as your pay link entirely by deleting your D2D account and then recreating it, thus erasing the erroneous "pay to" field.

As for your intent to use D2D, you'll effectively be posting to the same outlets twice (i.e. you're unlikely to increase sales and annoy the sale outlets and possibly readers). My intent, was to replace SW as a supplier to my secondary outlets (I'd removed lulu a long time ago) since D2D is so much easier to process. I stick with SW and lulu because both are secondary sources of income.

I also gave up on lulu print books a long time ago. Their quality is excellent, but I never considered it sufficient to justify their higher prices. Creatspace is still my preferred source, mainly because of price since I essentially ONLY sell ebooks for myself, though I'll probably price one just for comparison's sake. If you go first, let me know how they relate, quality wise. Still, since I now do wrap-around covers, switching printers is a bit trickier.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Sorry, I wasn't clear. By "Payoneer", I meant removing it as your pay link entirely by deleting your D2D account and then recreating it, thus erasing the erroneous "pay to" field.


CW,

You have to have the Payoneer a/c before you an link the D2D to it, so D2D is, and always has been, linked to Paypal. I was looking at changing it. Making the D2D changes is very easier, all the problems are with the Payoneer site.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer


As for your intent to use D2D, you'll effectively be posting to the same outlets twice (i.e. you're unlikely to increase sales and annoy the sale outlets and possibly readers).


That may be an issue for you, but not for me. Due to the poor cash returns for the little sales via the Lulu marketing the only things I allowed to be placed outside of Lulu were The Contagion and the $0.00 e-pubs, so everything else is now going to new markets for me. I find it interesting I can get more for an iBook sale from D2D than I can from the Lulu Market Partnership agreement.

I still get a few print book sales, and my brother likes to have print book copies he loans out, so I still do it, may may retire the projects and open them only when people want a print copy.

Oddly enough the first first sale of the story Zombie was a print book copy sold the the Australian National Library soon after I first released the story.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Creatspace is still my preferred source,


I never had the opportunity to deal with Createspace due to their restrictive operational rules required me to outlay hundreds of dollars I didn't have because when I started with Lulu I looked at Createspace and they insisted on MS Word files from a version of MS Word I would have had to purchase to provide the file. At that time they refused to accept anything else.

typo edit

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I never had the opportunity to deal with Createspace due to their restrictive operational rules required me to outlay hundreds of dollars I didn't have because when I started with Lulu I look at Createspace and they insisted on MS Word files from a version of MS Word I would have had to purchase to provide the file. At that time they refused to accept anything else.

Both OO and LO convert their documents INTO WORD format for you (I'm pretty sure). If they don't, you can send them to me and I'll convert them for you and send them back. Easy Peizi!

M$ has never (as far as I know) gone after anyone from publishing with a converted text file, they only go after authors who use their FONTs without having a valid license. But I wouldn't WRITE the novel in WORD, because then you WOULD be liable.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Both OO and LO convert their documents INTO WORD format for you (I'm pretty sure).


I know they do, but at that time Createspace did not say which of the several versions of the MS Word .doc formatting they wanted the story in. I did try a couple and none of them came out of their system looking anything like what I submitted, so I gave up on them as being too hard to play with. I don't know if Createspace have changed, but at that time they also refused to allow me to submit a completed print ready PDF file. So I simply ignored them from then on.

I can submit finished files as PDF for print book or e-pub for e-book via Lulu, so that does what I want. I've now expanded what i can sell as e-pubs to other outlets via D2D so I see no need to try other sources than Lulu and D2D.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I know they do, but at that time Createspace did not say which of the several versions of the MS Word .doc formatting they wanted the story in. I did try a couple and none of them came out of their system looking anything like what I submitted, so I gave up on them as being too hard to play with. I don't know if Createspace have changed, but at that time they also refused to allow me to submit a completed print ready PDF file. So I simply ignored them from then on.

I'm not sure what your issue is, so send me your latest print book file and I'll see if I can 'clean it up' for you, if nothing else at least upgrading it to the almost universally accepted MS WORD 2003/2010 version.

I've also worked with CS long enough, I know how to milk their system to get more words on a page to also help reduce your printing costs, which helps a lot keeping your prices low and your profits up, however many sales you make (even if only to yourself).

By the way, while D2D doesn't produce print books directly, they WILL format your ebook into a publication reader pdf that IS suitable for submission to any OTHER service. So that's another option. Once you submit your book to them, you simply opt to 'download a pdf', select a ISBN to assign to it (I believe you can even leave it blank, assuming you want to send it without one), and they send you the file to send to whoever you want to print your books.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I'm not sure what your issue is, so send me your latest print book file and I'll see if I can 'clean it up' for you,


Nothing to clean up, CW, I have a perfect print ready PDF and perfect e-pub file I can use right now. Unless they've changed and accept PDFs and e-pubs to use exactly as they are I see no value in using them. However, If you want to see what their system does I can send you a file to put through their system so we can compare it with what I already have and want as an output.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Nothing to clean up, CW, I have a perfect print ready PDF and perfect e-pub file I can use right now. Unless they've changed and accept PDFs and e-pubs to use exactly as they are I see no value in using them. However, If you want to see what their system does I can send you a file to put through their system so we can compare it with what I already have and want as an output.

You said that CS won't accept your print-ready pdf. I've NEVER had them reject a pdf directly, so clearly, your pdf is ONLY FINE for lulu. If you don't care, then I'll drop it. But as I said, if you're mainly printing the books for yourself—even if to sell directly to people—then the price difference between CS and lulu can be substantial.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

so clearly, your pdf is ONLY FINE for lulu.


My pdf files were all checked and cleared by pdf validators so the files were good for anyone to use. However, when I tried CS they insisted they only accepted MS Word files and nothing else at all, and the file had to go through their converter.

It's possible CS have changed their software or rules since I tried them those many years ago, which is over a decade ago.

I've got your email, so I'll send you a short file for you to try with CS and see what they produce.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I've got your email, so I'll send you a short file for you to try with CS and see what they produce.

Just heard back from CS. Your book HAS been accepted, though as I noted, I changed several details about your book I suspected might be causing issues (though I don't know which didn't work before).

I'm not sure which issue caused your previous problem, but my new version succeeded.

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