2019: The Year of Libraries & Author Education

Posted by: Kevin Tumlinson 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Usually, when a company does one of these “End of Year Reviews,” you get a list of some of the flashiest, shiniest new toys and features produced throughout the year. We have a list like that, too. But some of the biggest advances and benefits we’ve built for authors, over 2019, weren’t all that flashy. We’ve put in a lot of work behind the scenes and under the hood—the sort of work you may not even have noticed, but it was just as important as shiny new features.

These updates have helped us to make your author experience even better and have allowed us to continue helping thousands of authors build and grow their author careers. We’re proud of all of it, and of our role in supporting the self-publishing community!

Let’s take a look at everything Draft2Digital has done to make self-publishing easier in 2019.

Check Out Our Library Strategy

Out of all the behind-the-scenes tweaks, new markets, and feature improvements we’ve done over the course of 2019, our focus on increasing library reach for self-published authors may be our favorite thing. We’ve added new library distribution partners and extended your reach to thousands of libraries worldwide—in every country on the planet! We’ve also helped to pioneer a whole new way of getting paid for library distribution: The Cost Per Checkout (CPC) model.

This new royalty structure lets libraries check out books to as many library patrons at one time as demand requires, without having to purchase copies up front. Patrons get to read the books they want, libraries get a lower-overhead deal, and you get paid more in aggregate! It’s a win-win-win for everyone.

Author Education Without the Tuition

We also spent the year experimenting and building an author education platform, which has evolved in to D2D Live—a series of live webinars and free author consultations that have brought the author conference world right to your screens. Since June we’ve produced monthly webinars on topics ranging from marketing to audiobooks to (of course) library distribution.

In addition to the webinars, we’ve also conducted hundreds of hours of free, one-on-one author consultations, giving you a chance to chat with one of our resident experts and get advice and strategies to help boost your author career!

We’re continuing our author education program into the new year, with more video content, webinars, podcasts, consultations, blog posts, and potentially a kitchen sink or two. Stay tuned!

D2D’s 2019 Highlight Reel

Flashy or not, we’re really proud of everything we accomplished over 2019, including the addition of some new markets, and a lot of new, behind-the-scenes features and improvements. Here’s a run-down of D2D 2019:

 

JANUARY – SCHEDULE PRICE CHANGES AND PROMOS

By far, one of our most requested features has been the ability to pre-schedule price changes, to help with upcoming promotions. And in January 2019 we were thrilled to announce Promo Pricing!

When you log into your Draft2Digital account and click My Books, you can click over to the Promotion tab (represented by a little chain-link icon in the column to the right of your book’s title). From there you can create and schedule a promotion and price change using our easy scheduling tool.

JANUARY – ADD A FACEBOOK PIXEL TO YOUR UNIVERSAL BOOK LINKS

A Facebook Pixel is a small snippet of code that you can place on your website to help you track how your Facebook ads are doing. Using Facebook’s ad management system, you can track how effective your ads are, so you can optimize and improve on them, or better target ads you use in the future. When you add your Facebook Pixel to your Books2Read account, it will be inserted into all of your UBLs, Book Tabs, and Author Pages, giving you a finer level of detail and insight into how well your ads and boosted posts are performing. More insight means more decision-making power!

For more on how to use the Facebook Pixel, you can visit Facebook’s Advertiser Help page.

 

APRIL – INTRODUCING BOOKS2READ READING LISTS

B2R Reading Lists are customizable carousels of books that draw from your Universal Book Links, allowing you to showcase a collection of books grouped by any theme you want. Here are just a few ways to put them to work:

  • Showcase your own books—Create a list that has multiple, customizable carousels, and showcase your books by series, preferred reading order, or even by themes. Maybe one carousel features “books about sea voyages” while another features “books with red covers.” It’s up to you!
  • Showcase other authors—Got a reading list you want to share with clients or maybe people who read your blog or listen to your podcast? Reading Lists let you build using any Universal Book Links you’ve created, including those leading to the books of other authors! Give your audience a list of self-help books you recommend, or your preferred reading order for Jack Reacher novels, or maybe a list of books grouped by holiday. Spooky stories for Halloween? Heartwarming romances for Valentine’s Day!
  • Make it private or public—Maybe you just want to keep an ongoing list of the books you’ve read, broken down by year. No need to share, you can keep that totally private! Or you can build a Reading List of self-published favorites and share it far and wide, direct to Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you like!
  • Make it your own–Reading Lists are customizable! Choose from our gallery of header images or upload an image of your own. Put up an image that ties in with your theme or brand your page for a business or serve. Build a banner that features a scene from your books or include a photo of your favorite vista. You can make your Reading List look and feel the way you want! Plus, every carousel allows you to add a bit of text to tell readers a little more about that group of books. Type up a description of your series or tell readers why they should read this particular collection. You can use standard formatting (bold, italics, underline) and even include hyperlinks within the text!
  • Feature a hero—A brand new feature for Reading Lists is the single-book carousel! If you have only one book in a carousel, it will appear bigger and more prominent. And you can include text to give a synopsis or let readers know how this book made you feel (or anything else you care to say!).
  • Make a little extra cash—Since Reading Lists are built on our Universal Book Link technology, you can include your affiliate links for every book you feature! Just add your affiliate codes after you log in to Books2Read.com, and click on My Account. From there, every UBL you create will have your affiliate codes built in! And that means that every book in your custom Reading Lists will also include those affiliate codes—earning you money every time someone purchases a book through one of your lists!

 

MAY – WEBSITE UPDATES (STATUS, MY BOOKS, METADATA)

Some of the most important tools baked into Draft2Digital are tucked away, not quite as visible but just as powerful as anything else we do. Sort of the “unsung heroes” of our system, and a vital part of what we do for indie authors.

Along with new features, we’ve been making some changes to some existing features on the site. One of those changes included an update to the My Books page.

Now, when you log in and click on My Books, you’ll be able to see the status of your books at a glance!

See instantly which books are published or publishing, which are on pre-order, which have an active promotion, and which may need a review. Each state is labeled and color-coded to make it quick and easy to know the status of your book, so you can make decisions and take actions as they're needed.

At-a-glance status—just one more way that D2D is working to make author lives easier!

And speaking of preorders, we’re improving your experience and giving you more insight with a brand-new Preorder Report on the View Books page!

You’ll be able to see estimated totals of preorders for each storefront, when that information is available. No more emails and manual tracking!

But that’s not all…

Eagle-eyed D2D users may have noticed that we quietly rolled out yet another handy feature, tucked away like a little bonus Easter Egg accessible from Ebook Details page for your book —the Book Metadata page

When you’re on your book’s Ebook Detail page, just click on the cover thumbnail. You’ll be taken right to the Book Metadata page, where you’ll be able to quickly reference and snag copies of everything from your search terms to your book description to your BISAC categories, plus the rest of your book’s metadata, all in one convenient place!

 

JUNE – THE LAUNCH OF D2D LIVE

Helping authors start, build, and grow their author careers is a core part of our mission. And author education is a key component of that aim. That’s why we’re constantly creating blog content, doing podcasts, and speaking and presenting at conferences worldwide.

Not everyone can make it to author conferences, however. So we decided to bring the conference to you!

D2D Live is our ongoing series of live, free-to-attend webinars, occurring once per month. In these “ask us anything” sessions, we open the mic for anyone to pop in and, well, ask us anything. Our resident experts answer those questions and give insight in everything from marketing to audiobooks to library distribution and beyond.

And it doesn’t end there! Each webinar is recorded and posted online so that you can watch it or rewatch it any time you want, complete with a transcript so you can read along. Plus, many webinars include a chance to register for a free, 30-minute one-on-one consultation with one of our team members—a chance to ask more pointed questions and get some direct guidance on the things that may be confusing you!

You can RSVP for the next D2D Live webinar when you visit https://draft2digital.com/live

 

AUGUST — D2D PRINT BETA UPDATES

When we first announced the D2D Print Beta, we had no idea of the level of buzz and excitement it would generate. The tools we've included in the beta—automatic conversion of your ebook to a print-ready file, beautiful layout templates, the ebook cover converter—have amped up the anticipation all around. And as we continue to build and improve the service, that anticipation continues to grow.

Behind the scenes, we are diligently improving on D2D Print, working out any rough edges, adding new features, and generally making it the high-quality service you'd expect from Draft2Digital. We are continuing the beta program as we do this, and we'll be onboarding new beta testers as we go. Every day brings us closer to launch!

You can learn more about D2D Print here: https://draft2digital.com/blog/d2d-print-now-in-beta-heres-what-you-need-to-know/

And you can join the waiting list to be a part of the D2D Print Beta by visiting https://draft2digital.com/printbeta

 

SEPTEMBER – HOOPLA LIBRARY DISTRBUTION

We think library distribution is pretty important. Most of us first learn to love reading because of libraries—and now, as authors, libraries are an amazing way to boost discoverability and help new readers find your books. And nearly everyone here at Draft2Digital clings to their library card like it might be yanked away any second—it’s kind of an obsession.

That’s why Draft2Digital was thrilled to announce adding Hoopla as a new library distribution channel!

Hoopla joins the ranks of Overdrive, bibliotheca, and Baker & Taylor in our ever-growing expansion into libraries worldwide, giving authors even more ways to get their books in front of new readers.

More About Hoopla

Hoopla is the digital service division of Midwest Tape—a leading provider of entertainment media products and services, with 25 years in the industry. Hoopla's mission is to partner with libraries in delivering the best content to patrons in the most streamlined manner possible. And now, that includes books by you!

Hoopla Uses the Cost Per Checkout (CPC) Model

We love CPC because it means greater discoverability, and a greater potential for earning royalties.

Authors benefit from the CPC model because their book can be read by more readers at once—no one has to wait weeks or months to check out your book, simply because the library could only purchase one or two copies.

So instead of a patron checking your book out for two weeks while other eager readers move on to something else, all those readers can check your book out at once. The library pays a reduced royalty for your book, making it affordable for them. And you make more in aggregate, because more people can check out your book at a time!

To learn more about how CPC works for library royalties, click here.

 A NOTE ON PRICE CHANGES

Hoopla’s model does not currently allow for price changes—something to consider when adding Hoopla as part of your library distribution strategy. You will be able to change prices on all other platforms, but the price you set for Hoopla will remain at the amount you set when opting in. This should not impact any promotions you may run, and there will be no price-matching on services such as Amazon.

Due to the price-change limitation, we launched Hoopla as a beta. Despite this, however, you have full reach to every library system where Hoopla distributes.

 

OCTOBER – AUDIOBOOK UBLS

Our Universal Book Links (UBLs) have always been a favorite feature. UBLs give you the ability to create and customize a single link that points readers to everywhere your book is sold online!

Well … almost everywhere. Audiobooks were not included in UBLs.

Until now!

You can tell we’re excited, because we used both bold and italics!

As of October, you can now add links to audiobook versions of your books right from the UBL management page!

Here’s how …

  1. Copy the URL of your audiobook from any audiobook retailer product page
  2. Log in to Books2Read.com and select UBL Dashboard from the Link Tools menu
  3. Select the UBL for your book from the dashboard and paste your audiobook’s URL into the “Add a Store Link” field on the right-hand side of the screen

Done!

 

NOTE: NO AUTOMATIC SCRAPING (FOR NOW)

For the moment the UBL will not automatically scan and scrape your audiobook from every store online, so you’ll need to add all audiobook links manually.

 

Now your readers and listeners can both find what they’re looking for on your UBL’s landing page. Just one more way that Draft2Digital is making the author life easier!

 

NOVEMBER & DECEMBER – SO MUCH BEHIND-THE-SCENES

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that there are some things happening behind the D2D curtain that we just can’t share publicly. At least… not yet.

New features. New stores. New partnerships. New updates to how things work, and ways to help you produce and sell more books. It’s all in here.

We’re more than an idea machine, here at Draft2Digital. We’re dedicated to making ideas into useful, helpful, career-enhancing and life-changing tools for authors. For every feature we announce, you can bet there are hundreds more in development!

As 2019 comes to its close, we’re looking forward to seeing what 2020 brings. You might even say we have a 2020 vision.

We couldn’t resist.

To all our authors, we want to thank you for the incredible year we just had, and we want to wish you the very best for the year ahead! We’re here for you, in 2020 and beyond.

Happy publishing, from the Draft2Digital team!

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