Well, that was quick! It seems like it’s only been a couple weeks since we posted the “2022 Year in Review.” At the end of that post, we suggested that you buckle up, because 2023 was going to be a thrill ride. And it was. Collectively, we’re still trying to catch our breath.
Here at D2D, it’s our mission to help you become more successful by providing the industry’s best publishing tools backed by the industry’s best customer service team. As you read through our list of 2023 accomplishments, we hope you’ll notice that everything we did was with the best interests of YOU in mind. Let’s get on with it.
W I D E R Distribution
In 2023 we welcomed the addition of not one, but two new distribution agreements—one on the library side and one on the retail side. Wider distribution expands your reach into more libraries, more stores, and more geographic regions. Of course, this means more exposure to more readers. Here are the partnerships we added in 2023:
- Palace Marketplace – Founded by the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), and serving public libraries in the US only, Palace Marketplace is the only not-for-profit library ebook marketplace. Palace Marketplace’s mission is to make it easier for libraries to quickly build their collections of high-quality indie ebooks. Over 400 libraries are working with Palace Marketplace, which means more readers for you! You’ll also earn 60% of your ebook’s list price—that’s a significant increase over other library checkout systems.
- Gardners – The UK’s leading wholesaler of books, Gardners has been around for more than 30 years, and they’ve been a partner of Smashwords since 2015. Gardners serves some of the most notable retailers in the UK, including Waterstones—the UK-based retailer operating over 300 stores in the UK and nearby countries—and Hive.co.uk, an online community-facing website that is home to a network of hundreds of independent brick-and-mortar bookstores across the UK.
More Promotional Opportunities
When you make publishing and distribution super easy, a pesky side effect is that A LOT of books get published and distributed. So, the obvious next question we get from authors is how to increase their books’ visibility at online bookstores and libraries. Fortunately, we have some great answers to that question:
- D2D Promotions Team – Did you know D2D has a dedicated promo team? They work with our retail and library partners to identify opportunities to promote YOUR books. When you fill out the D2D Promotions Form, you can opt in to be notified of upcoming promotions that pertain to your genre. You can also proactively tell us if YOU have any upcoming promotions, like a BookBub, that you believe would be of interest to our retail and library partners.
- Promotional Campaigns – Speaking of our promo team, in 2023 they sent more than 148,000 emails to D2D authors inviting them to participate in promotional campaigns. Over 26,000 books were submitted to our retail and library partners for consideration, and of those, 18,082 books were accepted.
- Smashwords Store Growth – Your bookstore—you read that right—your bookstore, the Smashwords store, just completed its 7th consecutive year of sales growth. Helping to fuel that growth is the buzz and excitement that surrounds annual Smashwords storewide sales, including March’s Read-an-Ebook-Week-Sale, the month-long July Summer/Winter Sale, and the just-concluded Smashwords End of Year Sale. We think there’s enough room in the year to include more sales, so in 2024 be on the lookout for at least one more genre-based sale, most likely starting with erotica.
- Smashwords Bestseller Lists on the D2D Blog – In recent years, indie authors lost access to esteemed bestseller lists such as the New York Times ebooks bestseller list, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. So, we took it upon ourselves to create our own, indie-friendly bestseller list. In March 2023, we posted the first Smashwords Bestseller List on the D2D blog. Every Tuesday, we share the Top 25 fiction and nonfiction bestsellers.
- Smashwords store reports to the new USA Today bestseller list – It was a bummer to indie authors when USA Today announced they were putting their bestseller list on hiatus in December, 2022. Many indie authors counted on it to increase their visibility and planned book launches with the list in mind. Happily, the USA Today Bestseller list is back and is receiving book sales data from the Smashwords store. If you didn’t know, the Smashwords store also reports sales data to the New York Times. So, if you aspire to hit those lists, know that your book sales at the Smashwords store are being counted. We also send bestseller lists to Publishers Weekly, Locus Magazine, Fresh Fiction, and Romance Daily News.
- Smashwords Coupons – One of the most exciting things to come from the D2D/Smashwords merger was the option for D2D authors to have their books distributed into the Smashwords store, which began in December 2022. Then in April 2023, D2D authors gained access to the Smashwords Coupons tool. The Smashwords Coupon tool lets you create coupons for your own, unique promotions at the Smashwords store any time you like. You can control everything from setting the expiration date, to the discount, to the number of redemptions, to whether you want your coupon to be private or public. And if you do set your coupon to public, you increase your book’s chances of being featured in the Smashwords “Special Deals” section on the homepage for added visibility. We like to call it self-serve promotions!
- D2D Print is open to all – D2D doesn’t shy away from doing hard things. So, when we embarked on our vision to reimagine what a Draft2Digital print-on-demand offering could be, we knew it wouldn’t be easy. When D2D Print came out of beta in April 2023, we believe we hit our goal of making beautiful, professional-quality print books more accessible for more authors. Now, more than 50,000 print books later, we’ll continue to enhance D2D Print to make it even better.
An Acquisition, a Milestone, and a Smashwords Merger Update
- D2D Acquires SelfPubBookCovers.com – In July 2023, D2D announced the acquisition of SelfPubBookCovers.com, which for the last decade pioneered an online marketplace for premade book covers. Now you and your fellow authors have access to thousands of original, one-of-a-kind cover designs from thousands of professional cover designers. Not only is SPBC a marketplace for authors, it’s also a marketplace for professional cover designers. In conjunction with the acquisition of SelfPubBookCovers.com, D2D also announced the formation of a new division called Author Success, whose sole ambition is to help alleviate the cost and complexity of essential publishing tools.
- 1 Million Books! – In November we announced a major milestone in the life of Draft2Digital: The release of our 1 millionth title! As we stated in that announcement, this achievement would not be possible without the tenacity and passion from the world’s greatest community of indie authors. We did this together!
- Draft2Digital / Smashwords Merger Progress – When we announced the acquisition of Smashwords, we cautioned that the integration of the two companies would be a long, careful process. Our goal has always been to make the transition for our authors, publishers, libraries and sales partners as automated and pain-free as possible. Our teams have been working tirelessly to get it right, and we’re delighted to report that the first Smashwords to Draft2Digital migrations have occurred. In fact, in December we sent hundreds of migration invitations to Smashwords authors. We’re starting with a trickle of authors to ensure a smooth flow, and once that’s confirmed, we’ll open the spigot wide.
If we ended “Draft2Digital’s 2022 Year in Review” by suggesting that you “buckle up” for 2023’s thrill ride, then an appropriate two-word adage for 2024 would be this: Don’t blink!
There’s a ton of cool stuff coming up and we don’t want you to miss any of it. In fact, to get a jump on the key trends and issues that are bound to play out in 2024, we invite you to watch D2D’s live Self Publishing Insiders show January 11th at Noon Central (1pm Eastern/10am Pacific). We’ll be joined by industry luminaries Mark Coker, Jane Friedman, Joanna Penn, Dale Roberts and Orna Ross. You can watch live via YouTube or Facebook. All Self Publishing Insiders shows are recorded, so don’t worry if you can’t catch it live.
The following week, January 18th, at the same time, Self Publishing Insiders will host Erik Bursch, Sr. VP, Consumer Product & Engineering at Gannett/USA Today. If you’re curious about how the revamped USA Today bestseller list works, this is your chance to get your questions answered live by joining us on YouTube or Facebook.
As we reflect on 2023, we’re so grateful to have you with us on this journey. May your 2024 be filled with all the excitement, joy and success you truly deserve!
The Draft2Digital Team