Draft2Digital takes questions from our authors to shed light on what they can expect from D2D Print.
Join D2D’s usual suspects as we answer any burning questions you may have about D2D Print.
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Tara Robinett, Dan Wood, Kevin Tumlinson
Kevin Tumlinson 00:02
Well, hello. Hello, everybody. I’ll get through that. Hello, everyone. Thank you for tuning in to Self-Publishing Insiders live with Draft2Digital. And we’ve got our A-team here this week, because we’re talking about something really special. We have been talking to you guys about D2D Print for quite some time now. We had the D2D Print beta going strong, fully functional software, everything works great. But now, as of this week, actually, we are now making that available for all authors everywhere. And you can get right in there and start using us for print on demand right away. Now, we’re going to talk about some of what that means and what what’s available to you. But welcome to the show. And welcome to Dan and Tara for popping in with us. So I want to start off, and we always invite you to leave your questions in the comments. Be sure you’re doing that. Because especially for this one, this is an Ask us Anything, but we specifically want to talk about D2D Print. So ask any questions you have. And I’m sure some will come up as we go. But for now, who wants to kind of break down for us what D2D Print is at its heart?
Dan Wood 01:29
You want to take a good stab at it, Tara?
Tara Robinett 01:31
Sure. So as a lot of our authors already know, because they were in our beta, we’ve added the ability to get your books out into print. It is a super streamlined, super simple process. Especially if you already have your books in ebook format through us. It’s a couple of clicks and you’re up and live in print. There’s no contacting cover designers and trying to get covers made and paying expensive prices for that, we can actually take your front ebook cover and pull that into a spine back cover image and create a completely professional, really nice cover image for you. We have different templates that you can use so you can get flourishes and styles and all sorts of just all the bells and whistles but super simple, super easy process. And now it’s open to everyone.
Kevin Tumlinson 02:27
It’s very exciting. Because you know, this is something I remember when we first announced this, we told folks at NINC about this. And we were very gung-ho, we really wanted to see this work. And there were a couple of bumps along the way that I think actually helped us to make it a stronger platform. Dan, do you want to talk about that a little? I mean, are you okay with sharing some of the works?
Dan Wood 02:54
Yeah. Print ends up being much more complicated than we thought. But it’s also been exciting, because as we’ve been watching the industry, print sales remain very high, they do remain like the majority of book sales. And so making sure that you’re offering your book in print is so important. And that’s why we wanted to make sure it was really easy, because we knew just from looking at our catalog, we saw a lot of authors that had not done it yet. Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of different print on demand companies and networks and printers everywhere. So we’ve kind of just been working with them and trying to find the best solution for authors and making sure that we get distribution basically worldwide, trying to be able to work with all the people that we work with and love in say Australia or Europe or the UK. And you know everyone here in the good ol USA.
Kevin Tumlinson 03:58
Yeah, I’m going to tell you, we’re already getting people burning us up with questions. So I’m gonna go ahead and start jumping into some of these. Let’s do it. Alright, so Nicole asks, “Are returns allowed on D2D Print books?”
Dan Wood 04:14
So we are not allowing returns, or the option to turn on returns on our books, because we just think it’s too much risk to the author with little reward. There are some small bookstores that probably will not buy your book if it doesn’t allow returns. Unfortunately, the return system is kind of an all or nothing thing. You can’t say I allow returns up to this amount. So a bookstore could order 100 copies of your book and if they don’t sell any, then you are charged and they just pulp the book, which is kind of a ludicrous system. It’s been the system for a long time. Archaic. Yeah, it really is something that needs to change. That being said, I think if you walk into a small bookstore and say, hey, I’m an indie author, are my books available here? They might say, oh, we don’t buy it without returns. We sell a ton of books to small bookstores. And so if they have customers going in and asking for it, or if the book is just a book that they’re hearing about and selling, they will buy it without the returns being enabled. We’ve just heard too many horror stories, including our own Mark Lefebvre, of having big orders that went nowhere and ultimately losing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars because of it.
Tara Robinett 05:33
Just getting a bill later on for those books that didn’t sell out of the blue is just not financially possible for some authors.
Kevin Tumlinson 05:43
Yeah. Nicole added an additional question. It’s kind of kind of tangentially related. But what is the discount to retailers? Can we change that? Or is there a set percentage of 55%?
Dan Wood 05:59
We have it set right now, Tara, do you remember what the percentage is?
Tara Robinett 06:05
It’s the 55% right now. So it’s what bookstores actually expect to receive. It’s in line with industry standard. The more books we sell, the more we can leverage with our print vendors. But it is set up that way right now.
Dan Wood 06:26
We probably in the future will look at giving a little bit more options around that. Right now, we don’t let you choose different percentages. As we just move more volume, we get better discounts and can kind of offer more wiggle room for authors and still make sure the authors are making a good profit off the books.
Kevin Tumlinson 06:48
And we should say that now that we’ve opened this up, the chances of us being able to work out something in future are going up. You know, while it was in beta, there were certain limitations, you know? We can only add so many people at a time, that sort of thing. But now that this has opened up and starting to get a lot more momentum, you can look for some really cool advances coming up. We’re just in early days. So it’s a good time to jump in.
Tara Robinett 07:15
And we’ve been taking feedback during beta this entire time. So we know a lot of the things that our authors are already asking for, like being able to do large print books, additional trim sizes, hardcover, as well as soft cover, these are all on the drawing board, all things we fully intend to develop and add. So keep those comments coming, keep the feedback coming in. If it’s something you need for your particular book, let us know. Our dev team is incredibly, incredibly responsive and capable of building out additional resources. So we’d love to get that type of feedback from you.
Kevin Tumlinson 07:56
Yeah. All right. Another question has come up from Christy on YouTube. “What’s the lead time for print copies?”
Tara Robinett 08:05
It’s actually pretty quick. You know, that goes through a review process. We’re looking at, I want to emphasize this, we’re not proofreading your book. So you want to be working with finished files. But we are checking your book to make sure nothing went wrong during the conversion, the things that you know, it has a copyright page, that’s just required for publishing. If you’ve included any sort of ISBN information, that it’s the correct ISBN information. So we’re just checking those standard things that are required to be a professional print book, but we are not proofreading your book. But that does take time, that does take time to go through a review process. Usually, you can see your book up and live within one to two weeks at most. When you order, if you order a proof copy, it’s shipped expedited. So it’s very quick to receive a proof. But we also offer author copies. So that’s just the cost to print the book and ship it to you, no royalty markup. And those are also quick, you can do expedited shipping with those. It’s not standard, but you can do it. So it’s a pretty quick lead time. One to two weeks max is usually what we’re dealing with.
Dan Wood 09:24
We probably should qualify that on, that’s always changing. Like the answer you’re hearing right now is based on recently. Especially around the holidays, it does tend to slow down and so should you have like an author event or signing between November and January, you want to order as early as you possibly can, because the whole print on demand supply chain slows down around those times. Basically because everyone’s using it, like that’s when print books are selling more than ever. Often some of the bigger consumers of print on demand like Amazon will use that rather than storing a bunch of books in their warehouses, because they can store other stuff in their warehouses. So just something to be aware of. You can always write into our team and they can give you like a current, what we’re seeing right now if you’ve got something that is really time sensitive.
Tara Robinett 10:25
Yeah, through the Black Friday sales, it slowed way down. Just the print facilities were working at their max. So definitely be aware of what’s going on in the industry at the time that you’re placing your orders.
Kevin Tumlinson 10:42
Yeah, yeah. Lots of crazy stuff going on right now. Christy also wanted to add, a huge thank you for having good reporting options. Such an improvement over someone else, we won’t go into who.
Dan Wood 11:00
Reporting is so difficult, just the data from everyone is all different. And so thank you for, we hear complaints all the time about reporting, we also hear praise. It’s a struggle, we’re always lobbying with our partners to get as much information in detail as we can for you. And we’re constantly tweaking our own reports page to try to make it a little bit easier to understand. It’s difficult, like it’s just displaying all these numbers in a way that makes sense to everybody. And with everyone, like the different ebook retailers and the different print retailers, just giving different information, it can be difficult, but we try to make sure to include everything we can, especially in that final report that we get once the sales numbers are pulling in.
Kevin Tumlinson 11:54
D R from YouTube’s asking, what is the minimum page count?
Tara Robinett 11:59
Currently, it set at 64 pages, and max is 740.
Dan Wood 12:07
That’d be a big book. That’s like Brandon Sanderson level stuff.
Kevin Tumlinson 12:12
740, yeah. I’ve read longer books, though.
Dan Wood 12:17
That’s like, Wheel of Time stuff is probably. And the Sanderson books really are probably more than that.
Kevin Tumlinson 12:23
Yeah. See, that’s a good opportunity for you as an author, you should split that out into multiple books and you make even more money. That’s our class. Three 750-page books.
Dan Wood 12:35
I feel like fantasy authors just want to make a book where you can kill somebody with it.
Kevin Tumlinson 12:39
They want me to cry is what they want. Yeah. JennifireHere aks, “Can we order proofs and extra copies for ourselves?”
Tara Robinett 12:53
We sure can. Yep. And the best part is, when you order the author copies for yourselves, it doesn’t have the big proof, or pre-press or any of that nonsense all over the covers. It is completely usable for you, for your family, your friends, book signings, it’s a finished copy of your book. But yes, you absolutely can.
Dan Wood 13:16
On the proof, it is $30 right now. That includes some fees to expedite it, both processing and then to ship it expedited, you really do not have to have a proof. And I want I want to emphasize that. A lot of people get confused. The digital proof is just as good. If you want to just have it in hand as soon as possible before you authorize it to go out and be more widely available. that’s what the proof is there for. But the digital proof will show you all the different formatting considerations. With the extra copies for yourself, those are author copies and you get them at cost. And so it’s much cheaper and great for if you have an author signing or if you just want to give some copies out to friends and family.
Kevin Tumlinson 14:10
And we should throw in that there’s no watermark on the digital proof so you can use that. Like one thing, if you do feel like you need the actual physical proof, you could at least use that to do like maybe a special giveaway to your readers, sign it, you know do something special with it and you can justify that, but it’s completely yours. There’s no one trying to claim it at all. Next question, another from D R. “What is the most popular genre and print sales with D2D sales?”
Dan Wood 14:44
They tend to be nonfiction, which is strange for us, since we’ve really made the majority of our money in ebooks in genre fiction. We’re seeing sales across the board like we are in all different genres, but just way higher concentration of nonfiction than we expected. I would say of fiction, it has trended towards like, clean romance to Christian romance, like stuff in that area. But you can be successful with just about any genre in print. Yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 15:27
Okay, um, we got a lot of great questions, by the way, and I’m just really going through them one by one here. But, Christy asks again, “Do you know if Amazon discourages paperback books that are both on Amazon (not expanded distribution) AND D2D? Different ISBNs so different editions.”
Tara Robinett 15:48
Discourages wouldn’t be the word that I use. There’s no issue with it, as long as it’s not an expanded distribution, you’re not going to encounter an issue. I think Amazon does give preference to direct people who load direct on KDP print. But they don’t, we’ve never had them pull books down, we’ve never received emails, they definitely don’t discourage it, it’s not an issue to do it that way.
Dan Wood 16:19
It’s very different than ebooks. And with eBooks, nearly all the retailers will ask you that you do not have double listings, it was a big problem in the early days of digital distribution. With books, there’s inherently the concept of having multiple editions of a physical book, it can be like older covers, that will still be in stock at some stores. It can be like a second printing where they made revisions from the editors. In Amazon’s case, it can be the use copies. And so they are very fine with having as many listings of the print book on their site as you want, within reason. I mean, I’m sure there might be some limits to what they would want. That being said, like Tara said, they give preference to the version of the book like. And by preference, I mean, the buy box, they were awarded 99% of time to whichever way in which they make the most profit, which is nearly always the direct listing with Kindle Direct Print. And so that will show and get preference most of the time. Sometimes they can have availability problems, like we talked about print on demand chain slowing down, they might show one of the other versions because it’s available, in which case, you’ll make a little bit less than you do with Kindle Direct, just because it pays out the most. But it’s not a problem. And so you can have all those listed there. And in fact, it kind of ensures that a version of your book is available if something is wrong with like Kindle printing, and for whatever reason, they just can’t get it printed out.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:13
Our friend D R has another question. “Can we sell word search books through D2D Print?”
Tara Robinett 18:17
We’re not currently accepting the low and the no content books. The problem with that is the quantity. Authors can put things together so quickly, you know, word search and puzzle books and sudoku and coloring books. And we were just inundated with so much of that that we had to make a decision. So we’re not currently accepting that. That may change in the future. But as of right now, we aren’t.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:47
What about my collection of short stories that has a sudoku between each chapter?
Tara Robinett 18:51
That would be exciting.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:56
Bill Hines asks, “What about the return policy Ingram was so adamant about? Can we set that, i.e. 55% return/destroy that helps?”
Dan Wood 19:06
We did cover that a little bit earlier. And on our end, we’re not allowing the returns because it’s too much of a danger to authors because it’s essentially an unlimited amount. A bookstore can order 100 copies through a book, not sell it and then you’re responsible and have to pay for those books. Right now we are not allowing the percentage to be set. We probably will offer more options with that in the future. From what we’ve seen, most sales are happening online anyway. That seems to be going with industry trends, and the small bookstores and even midsize bookstores, if they have customers asking for a book, they will go ahead and buy it regardless of those policies. And so we’re selling plenty of these print books to smaller bookstores.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:05
Samantha Robbins asks, “Do you publish children’s books?”
Tara Robinett 20:09
Absolutely we do. Again, the minimum page count is 64 pages. But we have a ton of children’s picture books. We have a ton of juvenile fiction readers. So yes, as long as it meets the minimum page count, we accept it.
Dan Wood 20:28
We’re not doing color yet. Right?
Tara Robinett 20:32
Correct. No. It’s a full color wrap, and black and white interior currently.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:38
Well, black and white, those are colors. All right. ACE says, “Hello, will there be any changes to the Smashwords store?”
Tara Robinett 20:48
I’d have to ask Dan that question.
Dan Wood 20:51
So that is a broad question. In the context of print, we do plan on adding print and eventually audiobooks to the Smashwords store. So you know, those would just be delivered to when people buy the print book, it would just be delivered straight to them, just like you would expect from Amazon. So yeah, that’s something that I’m very, very excited about. As far as overall, just as part of the merger, we will be moving Smashwords authors over to the D2D platform. As far as like managing their books, we’ll be putting a lot of emphasis on Smashwords as a store and really making it one of the best reader experiences out there. We certainly will be looking at the ways in which to make it more effective at helping readers find their next great read.
Kevin Tumlinson 21:51
“Do poetry books sell?” That’s a tough question to answer.
Dan Wood 21:58
Yeah. In ebooks, not so much. I have seen some success stories in print. Poetry by itself is harder, it doesn’t sell a ton. But where we’re seeing people succeed is if they build a social media presence, with like, I’ve heard stories both from Instagram and from Tumblr. And that would be like, you know, sharing, you know, well done pictures that have some of the lines for your poetry that will intrigue people and getting them to follow you. And those do tend to sell in print. For whatever reason. Well, the younger generation prefers print, which was kind of a surprise, a lot of people thought that the younger people would be the first ones to move over to digital. A lot of it has to do with, they just like having something tactile in hand, they like to have something that identifies them with a group, like they are fans of this or that. And it ends up the ebooks are preferred by older people who have moved around a lot and know how much of a pain in the butt it is to move books and/or don’t want to have to get their readers out because they’re embarrassed because their eyesight is not as good as it used to be. Or maybe you read some particularly saucy romance and you don’t necessarily want people on the bus or train judging you.
Kevin Tumlinson 23:29
That’s true. I don’t have that experience. I don’t care if people judge me. I’m gonna say Zelia, “Can you do a breakdown of what the royalty structure is, maybe including an example? Does it matter where the book is sold?”
Tara Robinett 23:50
I would want to direct her to our pod calculator page, it actually breaks it down step by step. So there’s basically unit costs involved, just the cost to actually use the paper and the ink and the print facility. And then after that, it breaks it down line by line. You have it in black and white in writing, right there on our on our web page. So maybe one of our commenters can link to that and help her see what it is that we’re describing. But overall, the easy math is, you make 45% of your list price after costs for print books.
Dan Wood 24:33
But yeah, with the matter of where it is sold, it very much does. The rates are different in the US versus Australia versus Europe. So it is quite different and they change, like sometimes the rates will go up in one place if there are supply shortages, and they won’t go up in other places. And so just something to be aware of. The final reporting we send you includes all of that information, as far as what was actually the cost of the book, what was charged to the reader, etc.
Tara Robinett 25:07
And the nation it was sold in, correct.
Kevin Tumlinson 25:13
Debbie on YouTube is asking regarding hardcover, which we said earlier is on the way, someday down the road. “Regarding hardcover, how would that differ from Amazon?”
Dan Wood 25:29
Really we don’t know exactly, since we haven’t gone down that road, exactly what form it will take. However, the main difference would just be that it would be reaching the wide market. So anywhere that the Ingram distribution network sells books, it would show up there. And with Amazon, unless you’re in expanded distribution, you’re only going to be available on the Amazon stores. If you are in expanded distribution, you’re just gonna make a lot less because of the fees tacked on to that.
Kevin Tumlinson 26:03
Epic lifestyle inspiration, love that that name, asks, “Hello, how long will it take to get paid for D2D Print sales?”
Tara Robinett 26:10
It takes approximately about 90 days after the book is sold before we actually send payment. We’re sending almost as quickly as we get it. So that’s just how long it takes to collect those national sales from all the various vendors who’s selling these products for you. But you can expect about 90 days after the month is closed out to receive that payment.
Kevin Tumlinson 26:33
And we should add that that’s basically coming from the retailer where it’s sold, like we’re not tacking on any time whatsoever to that. As soon as we’ve got funds that are earmarked for you, they go to you on the 15th of the very next pay period, as soon as we can get it to you. Christy asks, “How can we advertise to the venues you distribute through?” And that’s a general marketing question. I’m happy to chat about that a little. So I mean, this is the same as it as promoting anything really, and particularly ebooks, if you’re used to promoting ebooks, you would just do targeted ads on the various platforms like Facebook. You can do BookBub ads and that sort of thing. And you can target those readers who have specified that they read on those platforms, you know, it’s as simple as that, and there’s no real silver bullet to it. It’s another one of those where you’re gonna want to experiment, test some things, target the right authors and the right subject keywords and that sort of thing. And go back and forth until you’ve found the right formula. I wish I had an easier answer for you. But it’s the same with print as it is with ebooks, is basically where that comes from. Anybody want to track anything on to that?
Dan Wood 27:55
Internally, on our end, we are looking at what we can do to help promote these books in the way that we’ve done with eBooks. We have full time staff members that are working with our digital retailers on promotions and trying to get those and letting people know if they got books eligible for them. We’re hoping to recreate that. In print, i’s a little bit different, it’s much more of a kind of you have to be at certain conferences. But that’s something we’re putting a big focus on, getting to know the library market better and how to advertise them better, as you know from our business side, because the way our business model works, we only make money when you make money. So it’s in our best interest to help you sell as many books as possible. You know, there’s parts of the book market and the print book market that are just kind of still … off limits might be the right word for it. Like it’s nearly impossible to get a book into Target or Walmart if you’re not one of the traditional publishers with very big contracts and taking a lot of risk, like you’re assuming a lot of the burden if the books don’t sell. But we’re really hoping to convince the small indie bookshops that we’re like them, and we’re fighting the idea of there just being like one or two big retailers of books. And the indie authors will work with them and try to help them sell as many books at their store as possible.
Tara Robinett 29:42
And we have so much just quality, awesome content to give. I think as we continue these conversations with the libraries and the bookstores and the merchandising teams, I think they’re going to be very impressed with what our authors put out there. Just so much content that that needs to be out there, needs to be on the market and available.
Kevin Tumlinson 30:10
Sorry, I had myself muted there. Sorry about that. So ACE asks, “Does D2D Print do print to expanded distribution?” We’ve talked a little bit about this.
Dan Wood 30:22
But by default, we are expanded distribution. It’s different. Basically, it is the alternative to using Amazon expanded distribution, which is also charging quite a bit more, like the margins they’re taking for expanded distribution are quite a bit. So you’ll make more money using our service to reach the wide retailers but you can still have your print book up with Kindle Direct Print for selling at Amazon. There are still some libraries and small bookstores that will not buy if they see Amazon associated with a book, just off principle. And so that’s another advantage to using some of the other wide networks like us.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:20
Maria asks the question, and we’re not currently offering anything beyond paperback right now. But I think this can be a, “Will there be options for multiple print versions, paperback, hardback, large print?”
Tara Robinett 31:32
Go ahead, Dan.
Dan Wood 31:36
Those are future plans. Like the biggest ones, we want to add a few more sizes, probably just in general for paperback. But hardback is one, and definitely let us know in the comments or emailing our team if hardback or large print is more important to you. We think there’s a market for both. And so we’ll be making it, so essentially, we’ve done all the heavy lifting, so adding all these different sizes and formats will be pretty easy in the coming year, or maybe more than that. It depends. We’ve got a lot of stuff going on, the merger has certainly been a lot. But yes, we’re adding all those things.
Kevin Tumlinson 32:21
Okay. Coach Tanisha asks, “Do we get a link to send people to order or do we send our own links?”
Tara Robinett 32:33
We aren’t creating … Over on the ebooks side, we have been creating the Universal Book Link with all of your links attached to it. So we’re actually doing the crawling on the different websites and finding your book for sale. We can’t do the same thing with print, just because you can have more than one version in print. So we don’t know which version you want us to link to. But you can do that. You can add your print link to your Universal Book Link on Books2Read. And then you would supply that UBL to anyone that you want to share your book news with. And they would be able to have access to ebook, print book, we even add audio links in there. So we’re not doing it automatically. But we make it possible for you to add.
Dan Wood 33:20
And typically, we don’t get like a complete list of the links from the distribution network. While we’ve got a fairly decent list of where all the books go to, there’s not like an automated getting a link back. On the ebook side, like Tara mentioned, we built out stuff to go and find that. It’s just extraordinarily hard to do that for both print and for audio, but more so for print because of multiple versions and then use versions.
Tara Robinett 33:55
Well and your book may be available to a particular vendor, but not displayed by that vendor. There’s all sorts of have systems in place where they select particular content. You know, I had a gentleman from New Zealand who was writing books about golf courses in New Zealand. They apparently have some world-famous golf courses, beautiful golf courses. And he was playing these golf courses and writing up tips and tricks on each of the different holes of these golf courses. And he wanted to see his book live through a particular New Zealand vendor. Well, when we contacted that vendor, they you know, his thinking was, I’m local, it’s about stuff in this area. Of course they’re gonna want it. When I contacted them, they were going, that’s all we get is golf course books in New Zealand. We would like something else for once. So it’s up to the vendor to decide what they’re going to actually reflect on their site. Just because you published into print doesn’t mean your book is listed and available on every single site out there, but that site has access to it. And if anyone came in and asked, can I get this book? They could get that book, they could display it, and they could sell it for you.
Kevin Tumlinson 35:12
I’d encourage you to get a little creative with something like that too, because in New Zealand, that’s what they get is a bunch of golf course books. But how popular could that book be elsewhere for people who are maybe looking for travel destinations? So do a little research, you might be able to actually get a much bigger market elsewhere.
Tara Robinett 35:31
And he did, that was the whole conversation is, we were seeing this book everywhere else, just not in this one small New Zealand bookstore. And his thinking was, but it’s local. And their thinking was, I’ve got 100,000 of these on my shelf right now, you know?
Kevin Tumlinson 35:50
Work on selling enough books that you can just go buy that bookstore. So Zelia Parks asks, “Do you have to have a ‘publishing house’ (create an LLC) to publish with D2D Print?”
Tara Robinett 36:05
No, you do not. You do not have to do that. Most authors publish under their own names. Or if they’re using a pen name, they put the pen name in the publisher field. You do not have to establish an LLC or anything like that.
Dan Wood 36:21
You should talk to like a local lawyer or like small business stuff, there are advantages to having an LLC. But yeah, you don’t have to have the, I guess in the US it would be like, the DBA effectively?
Kevin Tumlinson 36:38
It depends on what you’re going for in terms of like, taxes and that sort of thing. But yeah, you don’t even really need a DBA to have a publishing imprint, you can just create that. You know, there are certain advantages. I mean, as long as you’re the one getting paid, and you’ve got your name down there, you can put anything you want as the publisher name. But yeah, there’s lots of ways to do that. A DBA is sometimes very handy if you want [inaudible].
Dan Wood 37:06
Anything that’s not already taken.
Kevin Tumlinson 37:11
Yeah. Memories asks, “Can we print comics?”
Tara Robinett 37:15
We do have some comics printed. The only concern we’ve encountered with comics is, for one, it’s not in color. This is black and white printing, and most comics are color images. So just keep that in mind. But the bleed through. So if you’ve got really, really ink heavy images, it can bleed through and make the flip side difficult to read. So just keep that in mind. There’s some comics out there that worked great. Absolutely fantastic. But there’s some that are just so much solid black, that as you flip the pages, it can be very difficult to read the next text.
Kevin Tumlinson 37:56
Yeah, the paper that they use in like graphic novels and comic books, it’s designed to take that ink and not have bleed. The paper that’s used in these Print On Demand Books and most paperback books and hardcover books is not designed for that. And it’s very easy to bleed through. So something to keep in mind. S.D. asks, “Can we do pre orders on the print books?”
Tara Robinett 38:25
You absolutely can. You just want to make sure you are uploading full finished files, because what we’re sending to our printer is what will be printed. So no placeholder files, no unedited versions. These you have to plan ahead and have full finished files. And then you absolutely can get pre orders out there ahead of time.
Dan Wood 38:48
Yeah and unlike digital, when you change the asset, it takes a while for it to propagate across the network. It’s not you know, if I find a typo in my book today and I fix it, it’s probably going to go live at Apple, like the fix will be live at Apple within a few hours. With print it’s not that way, you’re talking weeks of the old version. That can be cover assets, that can be the interior asset. It just takes a while. It’s an older supply chain that was not built for people making rapid changes. It was made for traditional publishers that basically put something up once and forget it.
Kevin Tumlinson 39:33
Yeah. Jennifer asks, “Is this compatible with formatting programs like Atticus or is it better to use your formatting?”
Tara Robinett 39:46
It absolutely is. We have Atticus files, Vellum files, books that have been typeset through Reedsy. They all look fantastic. So yes. However, I just want to say for anyone who hasn’t tried it yet, give our system a try. You don’t have to pay for a professional formatting software or a professional formatter, just because ours does a really good job getting you a professional looking book. But if you have one of those files, absolutely it works. No problem at all.
Kevin Tumlinson 40:21
We have a little shout here from our friend Dale Roberts, who says, “Hey, what’s up gang?” This seems like a good time to tell you that you should actually be subscribing to his channel as well as our channel on YouTube. If you go to youtube.com/@selfpubwithdale, you can actually subscribe to his channel and make sure you subscribe to us while you’re there. We appreciate it. But hello, Dale, thanks for popping in. Leona asks, “Can I sell to Amazon via D2D? Does Amazon Kindle approve of that?”
Dan Wood 40:56
Yes, we distribute to Amazon for ebooks and these books go to Amazon. We do have, a good chunk of our authors will go direct at Amazon for ebooks and frequently for print books. We all support that with the Draft2Digital system, everything is opt-in on the ebook side. With print it gets into the distribution network and goes everywhere. But as we covered a little bit earlier, that’s normal, and the different retailers will pick out the version that’s most likely to sell there.
Kevin Tumlinson 41:42
Good. We have so many questions, you have no idea. I’m working double time here. “I’ve got three books on Draft2Digital but they’re all ebooks. How do I get more sales as I’ve sent them to people when the sale was on, not sure if I have any sales?” I don’t think there’s a directly a print question. But if we want to field that, anybody have any quick tips for anybody looking to up their sales?
Dan Wood 42:13
The number one things we saw are, make sure that your cover image is in line with best sellers in your genre. If you’ve made a cover, 99 times out of 100, I’d say, when we’ve done some consultations, the cover has been an issue. It shouldn’t be something that looks like a scene in your book, it shouldn’t be something that you want it to really stick out, it should look like everything in your genre with just a little bit of sticking out. Beyond that, frequently when people ask us this question, they’re not sharing people the links to the other retailers. That’s why we built Books2Read, to make it really easy to find the links to your books on other retailers and to share them on social media in a way that readers can find them. Most of the time it’s just people sharing Amazon links and moving on. The other things that I recommend are, if you get an email from us about any promotion that retailers are doing, take part in it. Like, they are not charging you. That’s something that’s free to you, and can help you find your reader base at that retailer. And if your book is doing reasonably decently and you have reviews, and it can just be that one retailer, like let’s say you’ve been with Amazon for a long time, you got a lot of reviews there, but you’re trying to make it work on the other retailers now. Apply for BookBub, their featured deals, as often as you are eligible to do so. The BookBub featured deals are a great way to really get things rolling at the other retailers and help you find your readers there.
Kevin Tumlinson 44:01
Quizmaster China asks, “Could you at least make a checklist of typical issues which cause a print edition to fail to pass the checks?”
Tara Robinett 44:11
That’s a great idea. And that’s something that actually I was talking to some of our marketing team, things that we specifically look for and have to flag. So I think that’s a great idea. I think we will work to get some sort of blog post or something like that out. That way authors can just run through the list and just check, check, check. I’ve got everything in line, all good to go.
Dan Wood 44:34
I’ll tell you, one of the biggest hangups we see, and just to mention, since we haven’t mentioned yet, is there’s a concept of vendor of record for print books. And so if you’ve used an ISBN before at another place, and like you’re coming to us, then we have to get permission from you to ask that other place to release that ISBN to us. And that process can go back and forth for a while depending on who it is, especially like, if you use an ISBN at Amazon and you’re trying to use it elsewhere, they take forever to respond to those requests. And so it typically is better to go with a new ISBN. We offer our free ISBNs. But just something to be aware of that can kind of cause some delays, significant delays.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:26
Well, we’re at time. And we’re gonna have to wrap this up. But I’m really glad everyone tuned in. There were quite a few of you. Welcome. If you haven’t tuned in before, I hope you enjoyed this experience. We do one of these, we do a live stream at least every Thursday at noon central. So make sure you’re tuning in for that. And you can ask pretty much any question you want. Usually, if we have a guest, we prefer you to ask questions of the guests. But if you ever do have questions for us, go and visit draft2digital.com so that you can reach out to us on our contact form or email support@ draft2digital.com. Make sure you’re bookmarking D2DLive.com because you’ll get a countdown for each of these programs each week. Plus a little insight and links to existing shows. If you subscribe to us on YouTube, you’re going to be able to see all these as they hit and go live. So make sure that you like, share, comment and subscribe. So if we did not get to your questions, I know there were quite a few that we didn’t get to, and our team has been actively answering those in the comments and they’ll probably, some of them will probably stick around to continue to answer. But if we didn’t get to a question, you can always leave it as a comment in the YouTube video or on the Facebook post. Or email us at least at email@example.com. So that’s gonna wrap us up. Thank you all for tuning in. Thank you Dan and Tara for being here and being your wise selves. And everyone else, we’ll see you all next time.
Tara Robinett 47:01
Dan Wood 47:02