Whether you’re a D2D veteran or a fresh-from-the-book newbie, there are a few sneaky tricks and hacks that you may not have heard of, and that might just make your author life a little easier. Take a look at our 10 sneaky author hacks below.
1. Secure Off-site Backup for your Novel
You may not know this, but if you upload your manuscript to Draft2Digital, it gets stored on a highly secure, off-site server, hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). This is one of the most secure file-storage services in the world, trusted by some of the world’s biggest companies. And your book gets the same treatment as their data.
Another fact: You don’t actually publish through Draft2Digital until after you’ve already uploaded your manuscript, and publishing via D2D is optional right up to the very end of the process.
This means that uploading your manuscript to D2D allows you to store a backup of it safely off-site, away from your own computer or network, and always available for your to download if you need it. If you drop your laptop into a vat of boiling acid (which, we hear, happens from time to time), your manuscript can be recovered with no trouble. And nothing short of a extinction level meteor strike is likely to wipe your book from existence!*
*We are not responsible for loss of data due to global destruction from meteor impact.
2. Affiliate Money from UBLs
Universal Book Links have been a popular tool since their release in August 2016. With one link, you can send your readers to everywhere your book is sold online, making it much simpler (and cleaner) to include links to your book in an email, forum, social media post, website, or even print materials. Plus, the link never goes stale—you can refresh it with the latest new storefronts any time, and you won’t have to go hunting and replacing your old links elsewhere.
But there’s another perk to UBLs that you may not have heard about much: Affiliate links.
If you’re a registered user, with either a Draft2Digital or a Books2Read account, you can use the dashboard at books2read.com to add affiliate accounts for various sellers online. This means that you can make money from every sale, even if it’s not your book!
Right now, Draft2Digital supports affiliate codes from Amazon, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, and even Smashwords.
Yeah … we know, right?
You don’t have to be a D2D author to use Universal Book Links. In fact, these things are great for bloggers, book reviewers, podcasters, and more. Use UBLs whenever you write or talk about books from any author (including yourself), and make sure you include your affiliate links so you can profit from sales.
3. Free eBook Conversion
This one may be a gimme, but it’s worth pointing out: You can use Draft2Digital to convert your Word document into an eBook format—including ePub, MOBI, and PDF—and it won’t cost you a dime. You don’t even have to distribute your books through D2D (though we’d love it if you did!).
Many of popular writing suites take a stab at converting your final manuscript to eBook format, but the files are usually a little bulky and difficult to manage. Sometimes the conversions take forever to complete, and the result often has issues, such as layout problems when viewed on certain devices.
D2D’s eBook conversion tool is flat-out the easiest and cleanest you’ll find anywhere. It makes your eBook into a lean, mean, ready-to-be-read machine, in part by taking out all the ‘junk code’ that gets inserted by most commercial writing software. What you get is a very clean file, in a format that D2D has tested on all of the distributor and devices we reach.
All that is automated and free for you, and it only takes a few seconds to do the conversion, making D2D the secret weapon you’ve been looking for to convert your manuscript, hassle free!
4. Automated End-matter
While you’re converting your manuscript, you may want to include front and end-matter—the materials at the beginning and end of your book that can often point readers to the rest of your work, or tell them more about you as an author.
At D2D, we refer to this content as simply ‘end-matter,’ and we can automatically add it to your manuscript during the conversion process, if you choose.
Draft2Digital’s end-matter includes:
- Title Page: This page gives your reader the title of your book (including subtitles), the author’s name as well as the name of any other contributors, the publishing date, and information about the publisher.
- Copyright Page: Use the copyright page to make sure you’ve included all the legal notices about copyright, publication information, edition number, and cataloging information (such as ISBN).
- Also by Page: This is a powerful marketing tool for authors. If a reader enjoys reading your work, they can see other books you’ve published, If you use Draft2Digital to distribute your work, this page can be generated automatically, and you can choose to include it at the front or back of your book, or both. Whenever you release a new book, you can automatically update the Also By page with the click of a button!
- New Release Signups: Letting your engaged readers know when you have a new release is another primary marketing strategy for authors and publishers. By checking this box, you’ll include a page with a link where readers can sign up to receive email notifications when you publish a new book. The only thing as important as capturing a reader’s attention the first time is keeping that attention, and new release notifications will assist greatly in that.
- Teaser: This is one of the coolest features that D2D can add to your book, on your behalf. With the click of a checkbox, you can include a teaser about any other book in your catalog. This includes a thumbnail of the cover, the book’s description, and a preview sample of the book. The whole thing wraps up with a call-to-action to buy that book with a click!
- About the Author: Readers love to identify with their favorite authors, so Draft2Digital can include a bio of you at the end of your book. You write this bio as part of your account, and include an author photo. The bio tells readers where to find you across social media, as well. And you can choose to include or exclude it at will.
- About the Publisher: Like the author bio, About the Publisher is a bio of your publishing imprint, or of the small press or publisher of your work. Readers will sometimes seek work from the same publisher, so this is a convenient way to put them on the right track!
These bits and pieces are optional, and can be selected or deselected with the click of a check box. In fact, you can add or remove them any time by revisiting the Layout tab in your books setup.
5. Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)
Thanks to Draft2Digital’s free and automated eBook conversion, you have your book in the top eBook formats—ePub, Mobi, and PDF. Those files can be used to upload your book directly to any distributor (if you choose), but you can also use them to give copies of your book away for free, to readers who can read and leave reviews of your work.
These are generally called ‘Advanced Reader Copies,’ or ARCs. Many others will give away copies to a group of beta readers and book reviewers to build up a number of book reviews, and start the marketing wheels turning.
You can also use these free files as a “top of funnel” offer to people who subscribe to your email newsletter, either from your website or through paid services such as Bookfunnel or Instafreebie.
6. Free Layout for Print
If you’ve gotten through the eBook layout and distribution process, you may have glossed over a final option: Print.
While Draft2Digital doesn’t distribute for print directly (at the moment), we can still automatically convert your manuscript into a print-ready PDF, suitable for uploading to any publishing on demand (POD) service. That means you can upload one manuscript to Draft2Digital, convert it to an eBook, and then have it made ready for print, all for free.
Layout costs can be pretty pricey, so for new authors this is a great alternative!
7. Public Sales Page
Draft2Digital makes things so easy that sometimes authors never get around to checking out the ‘Advanced User Options’ tab on the My Account page. If that includes you, it’s worth taking a look.
Under advanced options, you’ll find the option to add a sales page that includes the book’s cover and description, as well as a link that sends readers to everywhere that book is sold online. These make a great product page for your book, which you can easily link to from your website or social media posts! And they’re retailer agnostic—meaning they’ll work regardless of where your readers prefer to buy their books.
8. Submission to Goodreads & Other Catalog Sites
UPDATE: Draft2Digital has discontinued submitting to catalog sites. We apologize for any inconvenience!
A lot of readers check Goodreads and other catalog sites to see how a book does with other readers, and to add the book to their reading lists. Adding your book to these catalog sites manually can be a pain. That’s why D2D does it for you, if you like!
Under the Advanced User Options on the My Account page, you just select “Submit Books to Catalog Sites,” and relax. Every book you distribute through Draft2Digital will automatically be submitted to Goodreads and other catalogs.
9. New Release Notifications
We hit on this a bit in the end-matter section. New Release Notifications are an opt-in service your readers can use, so that they get a notification every time you release a new book. That can be a great way to keep readers up to date with new releases.
You can add a New Release signup at the end of your book, but you can also send readers to a signup page directly, using a unique URL.
10. Become a Publisher
Feeling a bit enterprising? Maybe you’re looking to help authors reach an audience, so you’re thinking about starting a publishing imprint or small press. Or maybe you are a business or company that wants to use eBooks as part of your marketing strategy. Either way, D2D can empower you by letting you create an Account Publisher under any name you choose.
From the My Account page, click ‘Publishers,’ and you’ll be taken directly to the Account Publishers page. From here, you can create a new publishing identity.
Once you have that identity, you can use it as the publisher of record for any books you distribute through D2D. You can even see a list of all books published under that name, any time.
This is handy way for you to publish work from other authors (with their permission, of course!) without muddying the waters for your own work. You can see sales by publisher name as well as by your own author name, making it easy to generate separate reports.
BONUS AUTHOR HACK: Writer Under a Pseudonym
At D2D, a ‘Publisher’ is more than just a company masthead, it’s also the individual behind bringing a book to light. From the same Account Publishers page above, you can create a pen name (also known as a pseudonym or a nom de plume, if you’re feeling particularly fancy).
Pen names are completely private—Draft2Digital never releases any information that could be used to link a pen name back to you. In that regard, they’re a handy way to publish work that might not be in line with other aspects of your life—such as publishing content that might be frowned upon by your current employer.
D2D empowers you to write under as many handles as you like. So you may have one pen name for your thrillers, another for your romance and erotica, and another for your high fantasy books. Track sales for each pen name separately, and never worry about unwanted crossovers!
Got some author hacks of your own? Share it! We may include it in a future blog post!