Splitting the royalties on your box sets, coauthored books, and collaborative projects just got a lot easier, with D2D Payment Splitting! In this episode of SPI, the D2D team talks about this new and incredible feature, and how you can start using it RIGHT NOW. Go… shoo… what are you waiting for?!?
Learn more about D2D Payment Splitting in a complete walk-thru with our own Mark Leslie Lefebvre! Find it on our blog:
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Kevin Tumlinson 00:02
Well, hello, everybody. According to the little meter here, it says we are at showtime. And we really appreciate you tuning in for another Draft2Digital Ask Us Anything on Self-Publishing Insiders. We have got some really exciting stuff going on today. First of all, we just made a big announcement yesterday. Were you there for that? If you didn’t see that, we’re gonna be talking about D2D payment splitting, which is something that people have been asking about like crazy for years. And we’re very excited to finally have something that we think is going to be one of the best solutions out there for that. And we got some other stuff we’re gonna be covering, including, we got the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US coming up, we’re going to talk a little bit about holiday hours and that sort of thing. But please ask us anything, anytime. And we will get right to your questions. But first, let’s introduce everybody who’s playing today. I’m Kevin Tumlinson, the director of marketing and PR for Draft2Digital. To my right is …
Mark Lefevbre 01:00
I’m Mark Leslie Lefevbre. I’m the Director of Business Development with Draft2Digital. And to my right is …
Dan Wood 01:10
Dan Wood, VP of Operations.
Kevin Tumlinson 01:14
Which we’re still trying to figure out what that means, VP of Operations. He’s got a very steady hand.
Dan Wood 01:22
I hide and let other people work. It’s my M.O.
Kevin Tumlinson 01:27
Oh, we already got a comment that I must put on the screen from Craig Price, who says he has the same shirt. You have good taste.
Mark Lefevbre 01:37
There’s an extra prize for anyone else out there who has the same shirt I have or the same shirt Dan has.
Kevin Tumlinson 01:41
I used to have that shirt. I used to have it.
Mark Lefevbre 01:43
I took it from your luggage when you weren’t looking, the last time we were traveling together.
Kevin Tumlinson 01:47
Exactly. So we, yesterday, about midday, we announced something that has been highly anticipated, which is D2D payment splitting. Everyone I know in this space has been asking about a tool like this. There’s been all kinds of solutions presented, none of which were quite what anybody really wanted. I really feel like what we’ve built is exactly what authors have been asking for. It was quite a challenge to put together. But Dan, what in a nutshell is D2D payment splitting, for the authors watching?
Dan Wood 02:22
Payment splitting takes care of all that hassle you have as an author, like if you try to put together a collaboration, getting all of the different payment information from the people who are participating. Then every month, you get all the different statements from all the different retailers, and figuring out how much you owe each and every person, and then sending them the payment in whatever form they want you to pay it pay them in. Draft2Digital handles all of that for you. So if they want to be paid by PayPal, we handle PayPal. They want it in Payoneer, we handle Payoneer. Direct deposit, international wire transfer, we handle everything. So suddenly, you can focus on writing, instead of having to worry about getting in Excel and being a numbers nerd. That part’s cool, but like the greatest part of it is the tax part. So I don’t know about y’all, but I hate taxes. I hate figuring out the obscure legal system. And that’s just for the US. Now imagine trying to figure that out for not only your country, but if you work with a Canadian, or if you work with someone from Australia, it’s a nightmare, like, just a nightmare. And so Draft2Digital now has seven years of experience handling all the different tax systems throughout the world. Because we work with people just about from everywhere. So putting that to good use with this tool, we handle all that out, we send out all the tax paperwork they might need for their country, make it easy.
Kevin Tumlinson 03:56
Yeah. And I would almost … Go ahead, Mark.
Mark Lefevbre 03:58
Sorry Kevin, I was just gonna say, as the token Canadian in the troop here, the challenge getting money from the US … So Draft2Digital is a US company so you’re getting paid in US dollars, getting that money, and then it gets translated into Canadian, and every time the banks translate currency conversion, they take a little bit, right? So you lose a little bit. Then I get the money, and I would have to look at all my contributors, do all of those calculations, which, the labor and cost involved in that is kind of substantial, at least for creative people who aren’t necessarily data nerds. And then when I go to translate back maybe to pay an American or pay someone in British pounds sterling or whatever, I also lose a little bit of money. So there’s all these little micro things that you lose money on. And now I’ve got multiple collaborations, because I was lucky enough to be in the beta. And I’ve got an anthology with 16 collaborators, and I think most of them are in the US. I do have a fellow Canadian in it. But I don’t need to worry, because D2D takes care of all of that. And all I have to do is—and the other benefit, which is kind of neat, which is kind of rare for me, because I do log in directly to some of the platforms, is I can just push a single button, and that would publish to all the major retailers, all the library systems. And then of course, with our print beta program right now, I am just using that for extended distribution to get the print book onto Amazon and Barnes & Noble and all of the other places that carry print books. So I’m just, I’m ecstatic about this, even for my own personal use. And as a non-US citizen, how I can leverage that with Draft2Digital.
Dan Wood 05:40
Our poor developers. Like, Mark was bugging them literally every day for weeks. He was excited about it.
Kevin Tumlinson 05:47
Yeah, I, you know, I’m really excited about it. I don’t have a lot of collaborative co-authors or anything right now. But I’m involved in some box sets. And suddenly, this is a big game changer for the box set crowd. Because, you know, you can determine individual percentages. So, you know, depending on how you want to organize this box set, let’s say that, you know, one person, the organizer, is going to get—this might be unfair, but maybe they’re getting 50%. And then the rest of that, the second 50% is being split among the contributors. You can set all that up and it’s all automated. Taxes are all taken care of. I think the tax thing alone is probably the best feature of this thing, because I hate dealing with any of that stuff. Um, let’s see. Here, we got a question coming in from YouTube. Golden Angel asks, or says, “I have never wanted to organize an anthology before because of the money stuff. D2D doing this is such a game changer.” So not a question, but some praise, I’m fine with that. We’ll leave that up for a second. This is a game changer. I’ve seen other programs, other people have attempted to do this. And it’s more or less sort of a calculator to help you figure out how you’re going to do the split. I don’t need that, I’ve got an iPhone. So I can figure that out on my own. But having someone else take care of all of the direct deposits, the tax stuff, that truly is a game changer.
Dan Wood 07:24
And from the security angle of it, too, where you no longer have to worry about, like, having people give you their personal information. Or you as an author taking part in a collaboration, you don’t have to give your personal banking, routing information, your personal details to someone that you may never have met in real life before. You can work with a company that has been handling accounts for people for a while.
Kevin Tumlinson 07:51
I’m gonna put this question up here, even though I’m gonna confess I don’t know what these things mean. So maybe you guys know what this means. “Can you explain SUPO versus MUPO, we’ll call it, for B&T or library distribution, and how to price for that versus retail channels?” You guys know what those two terms mean?
Dan Wood 08:12
Yes, that would be … Well, I haven’t seen those terms. But I’m pretty sure that refers to single use versus multi-user. And so, for a very long time, single use was kind of the big payment model. So that would be, generally through Overdrive, because they are the most well-established and the biggest and most used by library systems, they would buy a single use of your ebook. What that means is that it would show up in their library system. But if I checked it out, and Kevin wanted to check it out, you’d have to wait till I was done with it. So they treat it like it was a physical copy.They are going to be checking out as long as it’s in the library’s system. And so you do price higher, like traditional publishers tend to charge anywhere from $60 to $100 for ebooks. So you are charging a little bit higher. We don’t think you should go that high. But you should, you don’t want it to be the same as your retail list price. There are new systems that work more like, say, Spotify. So if you’re familiar with the way streaming audio works, where there’s a couple of library systems … Overdrive has started to accommodate this, but Hoopla is kind of famous for it in the US at least, where you have your book available to Hoopla. If it goes through their curation process, it shows up in every library that has Hoopla. And if someone checks it out, you get a payment every time someone checks it out. If me, Kevin and Mark want to read the book at the same time, if it’s there, we could all read at the same time and you get a payment for all three. In that case, they pay less. Like, instead of paying, like, the library price, they’re paying a fraction of the total of the library price, because it’s available to so many more people. And so the two models are both very good. With Draft2Digital we have different contracts with different vendors, so the payout for multiple use is going to vary, you know. If you’re curious about what that might be, contact our customer support, because that’s gonna be the easiest way. But it’s kind of set off of what library price you gave to us. And so, I personally think the multiple user model is going to be the way of the future, it’s the way we’re used to thinking of other media and having it available. No one really likes to try to check out a digital book online and being told that it’s not available right now. And that they have to wait. And so I think that model will catch on more and more, I would participate in both, because they both have had tremendous growth during the lockdown, you know, around the world.
Mark Lefevbre 11:01
And sometimes libraries will toggle on and off the multiple user system because they set a budget for using it, and then if they run out of budget, then they toggle back to the one copy one user model.
Kevin Tumlinson 11:13
Yeah. We have another question here that is about ISBNs. Says, “I’ve got a question. I’m based in Canada, I got a free ISBN for ebook, what setting do I need it to set to before I put it in to D2D to publish my ebook?” I’m taking that question as, where do we drop in the ISBN?
Mark Lefevbre 11:35
I think he’s talking about the system that this Canadian would be familiar with, but you guys have probably never seen, where we get ISBNs through the government in Canada here as one of our supports. So you guys have the right to bear arms, we have the right to bear ISBNs here in Canada. So if you toggle over to Andy’s part two of that question, this can explain it a little bit. And I’ll go very high level. So this is, the CIS, that’s where you get the ISBN, where you’re getting a free ISBN. And when you are being assigned an ISBN in Canada, and probably similar in other Commonwealth countries, there’s a status that you put. So the question he says is, “Do I put active, cancelled, forthcoming, etc.?” So, Andy, when you’re going in there, I would usually put forthcoming if it’s a pre order, if it’s a forthcoming book. You can always go back and change the status, you can always go back and manage your logbook and edit the book. And so what I usually do for, I do have a few books that are on pre-order right now, including a couple collaborations. I put that in, and I set it with the pub date. And then after the pub date, I switch it over to active. They’re not going to chase you down and come after you. Sometimes it’s taken me months before I’ve gone back and updated the status. So I’m hoping that that’s the challenge. There isn’t going to be any sort of penalization if, you know, Draft2Digital publishes that live and you still have it as forthcoming. That’s just for you to manage manually.
Dan Wood 12:59
They don’t have ISBN Mounties up there?
Mark Lefevbre 13:03
Uh, well, the secret Mounties, Secret Service Mounties [inaudible].
Dan Wood 13:08
The ISBN Mounties will hunt you down if you don’t update.
Kevin Tumlinson 13:11
ISBN … M. So yes, okay, well, that’s good. That’s why we keep a Canadian on staff, so that we know the answer to things like that. One of our team was answering Jennifer, and this might help you guys a little. This link is, I can’t grab it for some reason, so I can’t share it on the Facebook side. But we actually have some FAQ about this very topic. And we refer to that, this is why, I thought this is what it was, about the “one copy, one user” idea. Just so everyone knows what language we speak. So here’s a question from Lyn on Facebook, “Will we be able to put our collaborative projects in the D2D promotions like we can with our single author titles?” That’s a good question.
Mark Lefevbre 13:57
Why wouldn’t you? If you’re the publisher …
Kevin Tumlinson 13:59
You know what? We make the rules. Yes.
Mark Lefevbre 14:04
Basically, you’re the publisher of the title, and you have collaborators, so you’re the one who’s pushing it out, and you’re sharing with the other authors. Now, if you’re going to want to do a discount, and a 99 cent discount or whatever, it probably makes sense if you’ve got a relationship with the collaborators to say, “Hey, the book’s regularly X, and regularly, your percent would be roughly this every time we sell through regular retail channels. But we’re going to make it 99 cents for this, I don’t know, Black Friday promo coming up for Thanksgiving. And that means, you know, for a limited time period, our royalties are obviously going to be smaller.” But yeah, you could submit to any of those promos, because it’s just it’s a regular title. The only difference is at the end of the day, instead of that money going to you, the money is going to you as well as your collaborators.
Kevin Tumlinson 14:51
Right. Right. Yeah …
Dan Wood 14:53
Some of the retailers are a little bit picky about it, like not, I wouldn’t say all of them will accept the multi-author box sets. If you recall, like a couple years ago, people were doing hundreds of multi-author box us to try to hit the USA Today bestseller list. And so that kind of put a bad taste in the mouth of a few of the retailers. But I would say, for the majority of our promotional opportunities, these would be just as eligible.
Kevin Tumlinson 15:24
Yeah. And we’re working on a few things that that are going to be a little bit retailer-independent, so that would be a perfect time to showcase that kind of stuff. Our good friend Marie Long asks, “How exactly does the tax thing work for payment splitting? Does it take out taxes from royalties? Or does it tell each user, ‘Hello, Person A, you earned $500 in royalties, and it is X dollars in taxes’?”
Dan Wood 15:51
So, it’s gonna vary by each person, it varies by what country they’re in. Like, some countries have a tax treaty with the US. Very different requirements for each person. So yeah, in the reports, just like your normal reports, we tell you what we withheld for taxes, if anything. You know, in general … taxes are hard to talk about. We’re required for certain countries to go ahead and withhold the taxes up front and then send it on to them. In general, I think for US stuff, we just send it to you, and you handle your own tax situation. So it’s a situation we’ve had to account for before, very much going to depend on what country you’re in, how we have to handle the taxes.
Mark Lefevbre 16:38
It’s actually not, it’s not all that different with the way the books work now, because that’s what happens, the money comes in, the taxes are all handled the way they’re handled, it’s not going to change. And at the end of the year, you get your, we call them T-4s here in Canada, whatever you call them in the US, but I get a special T-5 kind of statement or whatever from the US, from US companies, that kind of show, here were your earnings in 2020 or 2019, this is what you were, you know. So then it’s between me and the taxman to claim that as income.
Kevin Tumlinson 17:09
Yes, [inaudible] taxes. That’s all I’m gonna say on taxes. All right. So Jennifer asks, “So then how would you list the prices differently when uploading your ebook for distribution to Draft2Digital for Overdrive versus retail?” And the good news on that is, we make that really easy. We actually have two different sections where you can set both the retail price and the library price. And on the retail side, you can actually set prices for individual territories as well. So you can have your prices set specifically to a specific number for, say, India, UK, that sort of thing, versus the US. So if you want to adjust prices in individual regions, you can. Once you set the library price, we have at least one retailer or one vendor that once the price is set, it’s permanently set. So you may want to do a little research and see what you think the best library price would be, at least for that vendor. But otherwise, you can change that price if you need to with the others. So, I think that answered the question. You guys want to throw anything else in before I scroll on to the next?
Dan Wood 18:22
Think you got it.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:26
All right. So Andy asks, “Another question. I’ve got access to beta print program!” Thank you, Andy. We love having you. “The paperback is on KDP using Amazon’s free ISBN. What do I need to do (1) to get my own free Canada ISBN and (2) remove expanded distribution from KDP?” I’m guessing the first one at least starts with: “be a Canadian citizen.” But Mark, you can tell him.
Mark Lefevbre 18:56
Yeah, with that account, I can probably drop the link in the comments. I’ll reply to this on YouTube for you Andy, so I’m sure you already have an account, because it sounded like you knew what it looked like. You just pick paperback, trade paperback, as the option. Number two, who would like to explain how you can or cannot remove expanded distribution? Oh, from KDP Do you mean in KDP?
Dan Wood 19:20
It sounds to me like the book is up on KDP. I will put in, like an important thing to know is that right now, our system, you wouldn’t want to list with our beta print program if you’re already up in KDP. They are supposed to overlap, and right now we send things to Amazon and to Ingram. We are hoping to break that out where you can choose “or,” but right now, you wouldn’t want to overlap them, you would want to take it off of KDP entirely if you wanted to use our beta program.
Kevin Tumlinson 19:51
Right. At least not with the same ISBN. You can technically have multiple versions of a print book up, they just can’t have the same ISBN. That would cause all kinds of chaos and anger. So yeah.
Mark Lefevbre 20:07
I have one title that was already up on KDP. And when I pushed it through with a different ISBN through Draft2Digital, because I couldn’t opt out, I think what Amazon did is they just found it and hid it. And they’re like, yeah, yeah, we don’t care about you. Because, you know, nepotism. We care about the one that came from KDP, and who cares about anyone else? So they, I think they consciously scrub some of those duplicates out so that they get more margin.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:34
Right. Yeah. Yeah, you should know that they’re going to sell, they’re going to promote the copy that makes them the biggest margin. So that may not always work favorably for you, depending on what terms you have. So okay, so we have a question from Lyn. “Can we distribute our collaborative projects to all the usual retailers? Are there any exclusions?”
Dan Wood 20:54
You can go out to all of the usual retailers, yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 21:00
And that includes Amazon. We got a lot of questions online about whether or not this included Amazon, and payment splitting with Amazon. It does. The only caveat is, you have to be distributing to Amazon through us. So if you have your collaborative project on Amazon direct, and then use us for others, we can’t split that Amazon payment for you. That’s the only real caveat there. So the only way to do that is to distribute to all those channels through us. That’s where the magic happens. But we don’t require any exclusivity, so if you want to go ahead, and, you know, maybe you’re gonna manually handle splitting through Amazon or Kobo or something like that, that’s up to you, you can totally do that. Just like with your own single-author books. So it all works exactly the same. WFJohnson asks, “Are you ready to do paperbacks? How do we buy author copies?” Paperbacks.
Dan Wood 21:58
We’re still in beta with it. You can still join the beta signup list, which if someone will link that in the chat, that would be great. We are making our way through, we don’t have a lot of people left in the beta. The pandemic has caused the whole print supply chain to be weird. And so we’ve kept it, and we’ll probably keep it, in beta much longer than we normally would like to, just cuz everything’s chaotic right now. But um, things are working pretty well. There’s a website that we direct you to, to buy author copies. It just makes it really simple, where we help you generate the cover. If you have a digital cover, you can just give that to us, not to go to your cover designer and get a cover that’s got the wraparound and all the specific dimensions for your book. So yeah, it’s out there, the print beta, I think it’s just draft2digital.com/printbeta.
Kevin Tumlinson 22:59
We even generate a nifty little 3D icon of your book, your paperback with a stack of paperbacks behind it. You can context click on that and save it to your ads and stuff if you want, so, bonus. Let’s see. We’ve got another question about D2D Print. “Is there a playlist to check out for the D2D beta print paperback program? Keen to get on this.” So yeah, Andy, I shared that … Let’s see, let me go back and pop that up. Draft2digital.com/printbeta will get you to the website where you can sign up to be on the beta. I think one of our staff … yes. So some of our folks have dropped that into the comments. Make it a lot easier for you to click on. But that’s where you start …
Mark Lefevbre 23:51
Was he talking about the walkthrough videos, Kevin, that you’ve produced on our YouTube channel?
Kevin Tumlinson 23:54
Right, I was just about to say if you go on over to youtube.com/draft2digital … I don’t have a nifty link for that one. But if you pop over to youtube.com/draft2digital, we have an entire playlist about D2D Print, and it will walk you through the particulars. How to get started, what to expect, that sort of thing. And it’s got a lovely narration. So, don’t fall into like a narcissist thing. Just fall into it and absorb it.
Dan Wood 24:28
When I read the question, I was thinking like a music playlist.
Kevin Tumlinson 24:31
I think [inaudible].
Mark Lefevbre 24:34
[inaudible]’s gotta be on that playlist, right?
Dan Wood 24:37
Like, music to listen to while you’re setting up your print.
Kevin Tumlinson 24:40
Yes. Okay, so we got several nice comments. Let’s see, I’ll scroll back through. I see some familiar names in here.What happened was, as soon as I clicked over to do the comment, it bounced me out of the question. So here we go. “Does the ISBN show up only when you publish through the D2D service versus stopping short of publishing and downloading the ebook files?”
Mark Lefevbre 25:09
Dan Wood 25:10
Yeah, we don’t we don’t do anything with the ISBN until we send it on. [inaudible] to distribute. Yeah. Yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 25:21
Yeah. And you know, [inaudible] we’ll give you a free ISBN on both print and ebook, but it doesn’t necessarily exist until you actually publish. So you don’t have to worry about it in advance.
Mark Lefevbre 25:36
I think Tory’s probably talking about maybe putting the ISBN on the copyright page or something like that, and wanting to have that before it gets published. I’m guessing that’s what he’s looking at. But it’s not assigned until it’s published.
Kevin Tumlinson 25:49
Margaret Daly asked, “If I have a free first in series published through D2D with Apple iBooks, how do I go about getting my book listed in the free first in series tab on Apple Books?”
Mark Lefevbre 26:01
I got the answer for that. So, yes. Well, you had the links last time for where people could go to, there was that a handy place where there was the different forms. So if you have a permafree, you can let us know. If not, email support at draft2digital.com. Ask for the link for the form. Fill out the form, and what happens is, Kara is going through the form pulling these details, promotions, free books. And we’re nominating these titles on a monthly basis when we talk to Apple, when we talk to Kobo, when we talk to some of the other retailers that we’re trying to get promos for. And we will recommend that they include it. Now, it’s always up to their merchandisers whether they pick it. But so Margaret, if we’re not able to drop the link here in the comments, please email support at draft2digital.com, and they can email you the link to the form, or you can let us know about your permafree titles. And please do that, you Margaret or anyone else who has permafrees, because I know Kara is working really hard on some really sexy promotions. And we’re constantly like sales reps. We’re naggy sales reps, we’re really trying to get as many spaces as we can for our authors, as well as some other really exciting features that we’re working on for the future.
Dan Wood 27:13
I will say just real quick on that question. Free first in series, they 99% won’t take it unless you have about three books or more. So like, if you just have a first book in the series, but you haven’t finished the second book, you should wait. If you don’t have three books, then they’re not likely to pick it. They are particular about the spiciness of the cover. And so just so you know, if you’ve got a whole lot of man chest going on on the cover, if you have a lot of gore, like if it’s a horror title, they are particular about that at Apple. But other than that, they feature probably more indie titles than any other retailer I know. Apple has been so indie friendly for people.
Kevin Tumlinson 28:04
Yeah, yeah. They’ve been very good about promoting, especially the first in series, they really like that, they’ve had a lot of success with that. The clamping down on man chest is a little odd. You know, I get rejected for my author photo all the time. I did drop into the comments, a list of links to go sign up for the various forms. And there is a description of specifically what that form is for. So don’t go and try and add things that don’t fit that form. So if you’ve got a first free in series, it goes on that form, and there’s a whole list of them there. So grab those from the comments, bookmark those. We are happy to have you go check those out. We got another question from Golden Angel asking, “Will we be able to do free box sets, or do they have to be a paid set? Obviously, the dollars wouldn’t be a problem for the free one, but so that the box set could be connected to each collaborator’s name.” I believe we can do that for everyone but Amazon.
Mark Lefevbre 29:04
Yeah, yeah, because Amazon won’t accept zero. And of course, you’ll get, you can put in whatever percentage you want. You can give one of the authors like 99% or 100%. And 100% of zero is still … I can’t do the math, guys.
Dan Wood 29:20
Yeah. And, like Mark said, just to be specific about it, Amazon doesn’t allow people to send free as an option, but they frequently will go ahead and price match if it’s free everywhere else. We can’t guarantee that they’re going to price match the free, but good odds they will if you have it free everywhere else.
Mark Lefevbre 29:44
At least they’ll price match in the UK and the US. They rarely price match in Canada because they don’t really care about this small market here.
Kevin Tumlinson 29:52
Yeah, yeah. Just be very polite when you reach out to them, because they will be the first, and they are the first ones to tell you that they’re not obligated to do a price match. So don’t get irate. You know, I’ve had a great deal of success with just emailing them and saying, “Hey, I would really love it, if you could help me out with this.” They come back saying we don’t guarantee this, so don’t count on it, but we went ahead and did it. So just be very nice.
Dan Wood 30:19
The other caveat is the library systems, they don’t have a way to do free. And so library systems, it would have a price of whatever the lowest value we can send that retailer, or that library retailer, which is generally I think, 99 cents.
Kevin Tumlinson 30:36
I recommend against setting a free library price anyway. It’s not going to help you out any. It doesn’t make the book more attractive, necessarily, to librarians. In fact, it may be seen as a sort of red flag. You know, sort of like almost a way to quickly quality check. So setting a decent, you know, the standard library price is a good policy. Golden Angel had a follow up: “Will D2D send the, quote, ‘new release’ announcement to all the collaborators’ followers for boxsets, or just the organizer?” It’s a very good question.
Dan Wood 31:13
I think we’re gonna have to follow up on that one, because I’m not positive that we … I feel like it would send it to everyone, but I’m not positive about that.
Mark Lefevbre 31:25
Yeah, I want to look into that. So, when I set up Obsessions and I had 16 contributors, would it have sent notifications for any of those authors who had followers? That’s a great question, we should definitely get the answer.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:37
I would say that it should, but I don’t know the answer. So, to our D2D folks listening, if anybody can go and ask the people who would know, and pop in and let us know, we would appreciate it. So, yes, let’s see. Okay, a lot of these are follow up comments. Here’s another one from Golden Angel: “Is it or will it be possible to do a boxset through D2D to Amazon and have it on Kindle Unlimited?” And I can tell you right away, the answer to that that is no. You can put your boxset on Kindle Unlimited, but the very nature of KU is exclusivity. So once you put it on Kindle Unlimited directly via Amazon, you won’t be able to distribute that book elsewhere for 90 days. So that’s not going to be an option unless Amazon just radically changes the way they do things. And we know how quick they are to do that. I think we’re kind of poppin, getting down to the last of our current questions. That one disappeared on me. Here’s one from Charles Harvey, “Hello, I tuned in late. Has B&N caught up with their payments, and also are there issues with submitting books to them?”
Dan Wood 32:51
So, they haven’t been behind on payments. Payments have been functioning on time. The sales reporting, though … So sales are happening, they’re just way behind on reporting them. You know, we have, for all the major retailers, we get daily estimates. Like, they let us know, here’s how your book did. They are estimates because they don’t include, like if someone returns later. Every once in a while, they’ll just have a bug in their system. So like, the final numbers that we get from the retailers are the ones that are like the real, specific numbers. So it’s just the estimates that are affected right now, by the problem they’re having. We’re still behind on those, I think, maybe a week and a half behind, maybe two weeks behind on the estimates from them. But they are getting like the actual accounting numbers because they have to have those. There was a period in October after they were hacked, there was about a four or five day period where there were no sales, because their system was literally offline and they weren’t able to sell anything on the Nook website. And so, payment-wise, you don’t have to worry about not getting the payment, it’s just that we don’t have the sales estimates right now. It should be very close. And then as soon as they give us the numbers, we will backfill in all the numbers. Every once in a while, like, they might not be specifically too tied to a day. So I can’t say that they’re going to tell you exactly how many sold last Tuesday. They give us like a lump sum. But it’ll be like the number that was sold during a period. On submitting books, nearly everything is working correctly. We’re still having to go back in and resubmit some stuff and work with them on a few issues. Descriptions are taking a long time. And so your book might show up as live on their website, but not show the description yet. Or if you are trying to make a change to your description that might still be delayed. They use a manual process for vetting descriptions to make sure you didn’t put anything crazy in there. And so, because it wasn’t working at all for a couple of weeks, they’re way backed up.
Mark Lefevbre 35:01
The other thing you should, if you’re worried about it being several weeks for not seeing your Barnes & Noble sales, just think how much better you still have it over traditionally published authors, who maybe get a royalty statement once a year. I’m an optimist, I look at the glass as half full of Canadian beer.
Kevin Tumlinson 35:20
Maybe once a year, with an emphasis on maybe.
Dan Wood 35:25
We definitely fight for those estimates and try to get, like even for the retailers right now that aren’t giving us daily estimates, we’re always asking. Because it makes it so much easier to do your marketing, like, if you can see, I did this ad yesterday, and my income went up, you know, double, then you’re going to put more money into that ad. And likewise, if you did an ad, and it did nothing, then you’re going to be like, nope, done with that one. So this is something that’s very important to us. At the same time, like there’s nothing we can do to get Barnes & Noble to get this done faster. Like, they are going over everything with a fine tooth comb, because they don’t ever want to have a security issue like this again, so. We applaud the effort in what they’re doing to ensure the future security, but it is frustrating right now, tough to wait.
Kevin Tumlinson 36:15
Yeah. But for having come through such a rough year. I think that Barnes & Noble is doing a pretty admirable job of patching things, fixing things and making sure that, you know, mistakes and things that happened don’t happen again. So that’s pretty encouraging. So, we got a question from Tory. Okay. I have a question from Tory, but it won’t pop up. So, I guess I lost that one.
Mark Lefevbre 36:42
Tory’s question looks just like Charles’s question, too.
Kevin Tumlinson 36:45
I know, it’s got the same look and everything. Well, I’ll just ask the question. It says, “When adding an author to the file, I noticed that with two authors, the About the Author page is singular. Can you make an option for About the Author, plural?” And I’ll work on getting this thing back online.
Mark Lefevbre 37:05
Here’s, right now that’s not built in functionality, because it’s based on the existing code. You know, Tory, just to let you know, one of the ways that I’ve compensated for that is I’ve exported the epub that D2D creates, and does all that really handy, awesome stuff at the back end. And what I’ve done is, I’ve used sigil, S I G I L. Maybe I’m not pronouncing that properly. But you can Google that. I use that to then edit the epub file. And I’ve added in my other contributors. I know it’s a manual step, but I already do that anyways for all my books, because I take that really awesome “other books by,” and I use a similar page where I add all of my traditionally published books that aren’t going to be added by Draft2Digital. So for me, it’s not that big a deal, because I’m already manually doing that step. But right now, that’s a way you can work around it, if you’re looking for a workaround. And I’m sure we can take that back to Design and Dev and see, how would this function? How would the author request it? And that, obviously, is a whole bunch of work. So thanks for asking that question. Because that’s how we continue to build and grow.
Kevin Tumlinson 38:13
Yeah. Sean Young asked, “Sorry if this has been covered, but will projects in payment split show in My Books area?” So on the My Books page on the Draft2Digital author dashboard.
Mark Lefevbre 38:25
Actually, Sean, you and I are collaborating on a book. You’re one of my collaborators. I recognize you. Do you see the anthology that you’re in on your dashboard? I see it on my dashboard as the publisher, but I think once it’s live, and it’s not going live until the 24th of November, the sales will definitely show up in your reporting. But do they … Elyssa is saying that they do show up in your My Books dashboard, but it’s like, so Sean, tell me. Do you see that anthology showing up in your dashboard? I haven’t had a collaboration where someone else set it up. And Kevin, do you see our collaboration in your dashboard?
Kevin Tumlinson 39:10
I have to confess, I haven’t checked. So I’ll have to look. Why didn’t I ever check on that?
Mark Lefevbre 39:17
Yeah, I know. We looked at all kinds of things. But I’ve never, I mean, I only set things up, I never received. So, great question.
Kevin Tumlinson 39:26
I’m not seeing it on my dashboard. So I’ll have to check with support as well. So, we didn’t say there was never going to be an issue, okay, guys? So every now and then we got to fix a bug here and there. And that may not be, I don’t know. So Tom Ray asked, “Will there be another Atlanta stories promotion the next six months? I’m rolling out two books by February and need all the collaboration and promotion I can get as I’ve switched genres.” I mean, we have promotions, we’re constantly kind of filtering through some promotions with the retailers. So there’s every possibility there might be an opportunity for you to get into one of those. If you scroll back through the comments, I dropped in a whole bunch of links for clicking through and getting your book set up in case there is a promotion. So go back and take a look at those and use the one that’s appropriate for that. And you’ll get an email eventually, if something comes up. So, you know, we can’t ever guarantee that every single person who signs up gets a promotion. Some of these are limited in number. You know, Apple may come along and say, we need three authors for this, or 10 authors for that, so, but we do try to cycle through those and get as many promotions for our authors as we can get, so.
Dan Wood 40:46
And reach out to not get that specific. Like, it generally wouldn’t be like Atlanta stories being a promotion. They tend to be, like, seasonal, like summer reads, holiday reads, fantasy or romance or historical. Like, they would be specific but not necessarily have a theme to them. I did get Apple to run a zombie promotion once, so I was pretty proud of that. But those are pretty rare. But like Kevin mentioned, we got links to get into all the general promotions, and they’re great to get into.
Mark Lefevbre 41:30
Can I just, I saw Sean commented that the titles do not show up on your dashboard. And I think Elyssa made that comment as well. They only show up on the publisher, but they will show up in your sales. And I’ve made a note to explore how collaborative titles that you’re not publishing should show up because there’s obviously going to be a little bit different, you can’t edit them, etc. So that’s a whole design thing. Elyssa, I’ll be chatting with you about how we’re going to figure that one out.
Kevin Tumlinson 41:55
I believe they show up in the reports.
Mark Lefevbre 41:58
Oh, in the reports for sure.
Kevin Tumlinson 42:00
But beyond that, I don’t know. So we will have to look deeper into that. So, Margaret Daly asks, “I’ve been wanting to promote with Kobo, but I’ve been told I would have to publish direct instead of through D2D. Any plans to connect with Kobo for promotions?”
Mark Lefevbre 42:15
They like to promote only their own authors that publish direct through Kobo Writing Life. They have a promotions tab built right into that platform. But we do actually have Kobo promos. We’ve actually run about six Kobo promos in the last six months. Not as many as they offer to their direct authors. But I know right now, I believe Kara is working on, and there will be a link, Margaret. So in that URL that Kevin shared with the links to different promotional opportunities, probably within the next four or five days, there will be another link to another Kobo promo. If you have some titles with D2D, you can use that for those. If you have others publish directly to Kobo through Kobo Writing Life, then you’d go directly to them for those, if that helps. We try to get as many we can to help the authors but you know. We try to collaborate and play and help.
Dan Wood 43:14
They have a few promotional pages that Kobo Writing Life just controls. And so that’s where they have those to offer.With our books that get promoted, you’re alongside traditional publishers, and so possibly more visibility with those types of promotions, because they are aimed at the general reading market and not specific to people that are looking for indie titles.Unfortunately, there’s just not as many offered through them. We keep bringing that up with them, because it doesn’t really make sense for us to be competing in that way. Like, it doesn’t make sense to favor authors who are direct to them. Like, it just doesn’t make any sense. And they don’t treat any other publisher like that. And so, yeah, we let them know that we want to give our authors as many opportunities as everyone else.
Kevin Tumlinson 44:02
Yeah. Um, we’re kind of getting close to the end, so we may only have time for one or two more questions. Pardon me, Craig asks, “Any chance you’ll ever integrate specific platform ads in your promotions, like Amazon ads, the way I have heard Publishdrive does?”
Dan Wood 44:19
So Amazon’s really the only retailer that has specific platform ads that I know of. I think Barnes & Noble had something, but nearly no one found it usable or profitable. Apple does not offer paid ads for, like, anywhere in their platform for books and so. It’s not that we would never do it, like I would love to do Amazon. With Amazon, they restrict it currently to, Amazon ads can only be run if you’re going direct. I can’t speak to what Publishdrive is doing, like it doesn’t really make sense, the way the wording I’ve read on the page. But it just, all of the functionality for Amazon ads is built into individual accounts that are listing the product. And so I can’t imagine without Amazon changing their mind—we hope they do—that we’d be able to add them.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:22
You can run BookBub ads to these things, though. So you’ve got pretty good control over that and where that lands. We’ve had some authors actually run ads directly to our D2D book tabs, which are the sort of product page for the books. So if you had a collaboration or box set, and you wanted to advertise it that way, you could. Facebook ads can be targeted to that. We actually let you embed your Facebook pixel. So you can actually use that for tracking purposes on Facebook. So outside of Amazon, there are quite a few ways for you to go ahead and advertise and promote those books. So, um, we are a little past time, and there’s still some questions in the comments. I’m sorry, we couldn’t get to quite everything. But we’re gonna go ahead and have to wrap up. We’ll try to pop in there and answer some things directly, too. I think Elyssa has been doing a pretty good job of monitoring and answering some of that, so thank you, Elyssa. She makes us look good. But I think that’s gonna wrap us up. We did mention that we were going to talk about holiday hours. So we do have the US Thanksgiving holidays coming up next week. Is it still Thursday? I never know anymore how things work. How does our Thanksgiving work, Dan?
Dan Wood 46:43
So Thursday and Friday, our offices will be closed. So like if you’re used to being able to call us on a Thursday or Friday, you’re not going to get through. We do have some people that are going to be checking and trying to keep things running as much as possible. So, you know, modifications like price changes, that should all work. But it’s just, it’s much better to try to get it in before the holiday. Because while we might get the work done on our end, the retailers also take off. And so if there is a problem outside of like the normal automations, we literally cannot get anything done for you until the following Monday. And so, try to get anything you need in as early as possible. Wednesday of next week at the latest. Anything else might be delayed until that following week. But yeah, you probably won’t hear from us if you email us with a question Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday of next week. You know, we’re letting our people stay home and hopefully enjoy what holiday they can, even though we can’t all travel this time around, so.
Kevin Tumlinson 47:51
Yeah. But we will all be back in our respective offices, physical, virtual or otherwise, on the 30th. Monday, the 30th. Soif you do have questions, if you can hold off til then, that would be best. So otherwise …
Dan Wood 48:06
I guess we could send everyone to Mark since he’s Canadian and he doesn’t have anything to be thankful for.
Mark Lefevbre 48:10
Yeah, I’ll be working that day, those two days anyway. I just don’t know all the answers that the awesome customer service team does, so I’ll probably go, “I’ll have to check with a smarter person who’s back on Monday.”
Kevin Tumlinson 48:21
The answer is always, email support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alright, guys. So it’s been a really good chat with everybody. Lots of questions, lots of viewers. So thank you so much for tuning in to Self-Publishing Insiders with Draft2Digital. We’re thrilled to have you here. And of course, if you would like to see more of this kind of stuff, you might want to go over and bookmark d2dlive.com. That’s where you’ll see a countdown for the very next episode, whenever we interview someone. We’re probably going to be a little light on interviews and things through the holiday season just because it’s, you know, we want to respect everybody’s time with their family and that sort of thing. But feel free to go over and bookmark that page. You can also follow us on youtube.com/draft2digital and facebook.com/draft2digital, where whenever we post on these things, you’ll usually get some kind of alert. If you’re on YouTube, make sure you hit subscribe and the little bell icon so that you can be alerted every time we have one of these things. And then pop in and ask all the questions you want for free. So, alright guys, thank you for joining me and the crowd here. Thank you everyone else for being a part of this Ask Us Anything. We hope you have a very safe, if you’re in the US, a very safe Thanksgiving holiday. And if you’re outside of the US, a very safe day next week, so. Take care of yourselves.