It’s that time of year again… the beginning. A time for renewal, for planning, for preparing to face a year of hope and opportunity ahead. It’s also, traditionally, the time of year when we take a look back. And at Draft2Digital, we had quite a year in 2022.
While most years we start with a list of new features and services we built just for you, this year was a little… different. You may have heard.
We didn’t skimp on the “new,” though. In fact, we added a whole stack of new things for D2D authors to plunge into and to look forward to. But we also added a bunch of new resources for those authors who have always used Smashwords for their publishing journey.
All that new came from one of the biggest announcements in either Draft2Digital’s or Smashwords’ histories—the news of the merger between these two industry-pioneering businesses!
The merger wasn’t the only news of 2022, but it was certainly the biggest. And it set the trim of our sail for the entire year.
Here at D2D we’re already peering into the crystal ball to see what 2023 will bring. But first, let’s take a second, light a fire, pour a beverage, and take a quick look back of what D2D (and Smashwords!) did for you in 2022.
That totally rhymed…
The Merger, of Course
The 1,000-pound gorilla in the room came early in the year!
In February, the announcement was made—Draft2Digital would acquire Smashwords! And though many have long viewed the two companies as rivals, most of us on the inside never thought of it that way. In fact, for many of us here at D2D, we felt we owed Smashwords a debt of thanks. Mark Coker and his team practically invented the landscape of this business, creating a strategy for helping will-be authors to start, build, and grow their publishing careers.
So, joining forces felt like a no-brainer. And, it really comes as no big surprise, the two teams united into one with nary a hiccup. We were all on the same page, philosophically. So merging these teams was easy work!
The merger was completed in March, and that’s when the real work began.
Combining two businesses into one cohesive whole takes a lot of planning, strategy, and effort. While both companies shared a common philosophy, they differed somewhat in their technical approach and methods. So, the task for 2022 quickly became “combine the strengths, eliminate the weaknesses.”
Luckily, there weren’t many weaknesses. And so, most of our work has been fine-tuning and tinkering under the hood to make sure everything about the combined new business fits the highest D2D standards and ßgives our combined house of authors the very best tools, resources, and options possible.
Here’s what combining our might looks like:
- Draft2Digital now serves 264,000+ authors
- We now distribute 930,000+ ebooks
- We are currently distributing 24,000+ print books, and growing
- D2D and Smashwords authors alike will now reach hundreds of retailers and thousands of libraries in hundreds of countries worldwide!
As we continue to work behind the scenes, D2D authors and publishers can expect to gain access to:
- The Smashwords Store (Done! See below!)
- Smashwords Coupons
- Smashwords Presales
- Self-serve merchandising
- Author Interviews
- D2D erotica authors will also gain access to the Smashwords erotica certification system
Smashwords authors and publishers can expect to gain access to:
- Simpler publishing tools; tools for automated end-matter
- Books2Read Universal Book Links (UBLs), Author Pages, Book Tabs, and Reading Lists
- D2D Print for POD paperbacks (Visit https://draft2digital.com/printbeta/ to be included in the beta)
- D2D Payment Splitting for co-authors and collaborations
- New payment options, including direct bank deposits
It will take time to get all of that working for everyone, but we’ve already made huge strides. The year ahead will see authors gaining a whole jam-packed box of tools and resources to make finding and reaching new readers easier!
And, OH YEAH, we turned 10!
In all the merger hubbub and hullaballoo, it almost slipped our minds… but Draft2Digital turned 10 years old! We even had some indie-industry influencers drop in to wish us a happy birthday.
For a company that started as a way to get a single author’s books from Google Docs to all the biggest ebook retailers worldwide, we’ve certainly grown!
It’s been ten years of building and evolving—and ten years of helping hundreds of thousands of authors to make their publishing dreams come true, selling millions of books worldwide.
And now, as Smashwords is drawn into the D2D fold, our history goes even deeper. Combined, we have 22 years of self-publishing experience… and that’s not even counting the prolific and talented authors we actually have on staff.
Turning 10 showed us that not only are we on to something with this whole “indie publishing thing,” we’re pretty good at it too. But we couldn’t have done any of it without you!
So, thank you for being a part of the journey. And here’s to many decades more publishing success!
Getting our Humble Bundled
In August, D2D partnered with Humble Bundle—the leading online platform that sells games, software, and other digital content bundled together for a good cause!
Our first Humble Bundle deal included a combination of internationally bestselling authors alongside some of the most amazing indie authors we know. The Stars of Sci-Fi Summer Book Bundle gave readers a chance to pay as little as $18 for $300 worth of great science fiction!
And some of the proceeds went to First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books and educational resources to programs and schools that serve children in need. First Book is helping to encourage a love of reading in kids living in underserved communities, and Draft2Digital is honored to be a part of that!
D2D Authors Can Now Sell in the Smashwords Store!
Slipping in just under the wire for 2022, our first big project—what we’ve been calling Phase 1—was completed! As of December, D2D authors could opt to sell their titles in the Smashwords store, with a click of a button.
This was amazing news, given that the Smashwords store is really your bookstore!
And while we’ll be making updates and improvements to this feature over 2023, here are some of the perks that come immediately:
The Industry’s Highest Royalties—One advantage in owning our own storefront means that we can offer authors and publishers a much higher royalty than they could earn anywhere else! Royalties in the Smashwords store will be 80-83%, depending on the cart size when readers make their purchases. That means that the more books a reader buys at one time, the more you can earn!
Smashwords Storewide Sales—When we flipped the switch to enable you to add your books to the Smashwords store, we also made it possible to add your books to the Annual Smashwords End of Year Sale. Thousands of you heeded the call and added tens of thousands of your books. With your help, The Smashwords store—YOUR store—completed its 6th consecutive year of sales growth and its biggest December ever! Look for more exciting sales in 2023.
Brand Recognition by the MILLIONS—We’re not starting from scratch! The Smashwords store has been around for a long time, and it already has an existing market of readers. That means that when your books go live, they’ll be available for readers who already trust the Smashwords brand. In some cases, that will mean a whole new market for your books, with millions of readers eagerly looking for their next favorite author.
Data to Bestseller Lists—As the largest seller of indie ebooks on the planet, we have something to say. And we’re saying it to major bestseller lists produced by publications in the US! While we can’t specify every publication our sales data goes to, we do contribute to some of the most well-known publications around. We also contribute indie bestseller lists to industry publications such as Publishers Weekly, InD’Tale Magazine and Locus Magazine. So while we can’t guarantee you’ll have a bestseller, we do make sure someone notices when you do!
Author-Friendly Refund Policy—There are some very specific circumstances under which a reader could or should be allowed to return an ebook they’ve purchased (maybe they bought it by mistake, or maybe the file is corrupt, etc.). The Smashwords store has strict guidelines about returns, to avoid scenarios where readers might purchase the book, read it, and return it—thus cutting the author out of their royalty. We should also mention that we are always actively watching for scammers and protecting authors whenever possible!
No Exclusivity—We wouldn’t be Draft2Digital if we didn’t encourage you to distribute your books to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and all the other retailers we’ve partnered with! Each of our retailers represents a marketplace of readers with unique interests and tastes, and our philosophy has always been that you should have your books available through all of them! Exclusivity hurts authors, and it just isn’t part of our DNA. So, distribute to us (or don’t), and to all of our incredible retail partners! Reach more readers everywhere!
And of course, this is just the beginning. We’re already working on improvements, new features, more options… this really is your store!
The 100th Self Publishing Insiders Episode!
Back in the Summer of 2020, for some reason, all of us ended up with a lot of time on our hands. And at that time, we at D2D decided we should do something to not only keep our authors from going stir-crazy, we should build a resource that furthered our goals of helping authors excel at publishing.
That’s when Self Publishing Insiders was born.
We rarely do anything small at D2D, and so when we started these livestreams they began as a daily show. Every weekday, for more than three months, we brought on an industry-influencing guest, talked about the ins, outs, and all-arounds of indie publishing, and shared our own insights into the business, gained from 10+ years of helping hundreds of thousands of authors publish millions of books.
It was a hit.
After a while we slowed things down a bit and went from a daily show to a more sustainable weekly show. And we’ve been working to improve that as we go, with great success.
In December 2022 we hit a pretty impressive milestone, putting our 100th episode in the books!
The show continues to be a hit, and we’ve watched our YouTube subscriptions steadily grow over the past two years. And we have you to thank for it!
So if you haven’t already—like, share, and subscribe. And tune in every week for more inside wisdom about building and growing your indie author career!
So much more to come—2023 will be the year of YOU
As we wrap up 2022 and give our planning cap a tilt toward 2023, we can’t help but get excited about everything we know is coming. And all of it is aimed at helping you get to a new level of success in this author dream you have.
Thank you for being a part of our incredible growth in 2022. And buckle up… because 2023 is going to be a thrill ride.
The Draft2Digital Team