In this month’s livestream celebrating D2D’s first 200K books, D2D’s Kevin Tumlinson, Dan Wood, and Mark Lefebvre answer author questions about ebook conversion, D2D Print, library distribution, and promotions on platforms such as Apple Books and Kobo.
books, question, print, retailers, authors, Apple, amazon, people, kobo, ebook, link, formatting, pub, add, page, draft, digital, D2D, mark, pre orders
Mark Lefebvre, Dan Wood, Kevin Tumlinson
Kevin Tumlinson 02:05
Well hello everybody and thanks for tuning in to the February 2020 Draf2Digital Ask Us Anything, also known as D2D Live. I’m Kevin Tumlinson, my voice is a little less dulcet than usual, as Mark might say, but I’m here with my good friends and co-workers, Mark Leslie Lefebvre and Dan Wood. Guys go ahead and say hello, introduce yourselves.
Dan Wood 02:33
Go ahead, Mark.
Mark Lefebvre 02:34
All right, I’ll start um, hey guys. How’s that? How’s everyone doing? Doing good? Yeah.
Dan Wood 02:41
I think we’re all hiding a little bit of whatever’s going around hopefully Yeah, a Corona virus but other stuff.
Kevin Tumlinson 02:50
Yeah, I don’t want to make light of the whole Corona virus thing, but it is definitely taken … something has taken me out over the past week since coming back from San Francisco. So if I cough in your ear, I apologize. Oh, man, we are to jump right in. We already got a pile of questions growing in the comments on both Facebook and by the way on YouTube if you’re not, if you haven’t been following us on YouTube, go ahead and pop over there and check us out. We’ve got this live thing going on right now, but you can follow us on YouTube. See, I’m going to go and put that guy up to make sure that you are alerted anytime we do one of these little guys. So go check that out. Um, we want to pop right into questions, then.
Dan Wood 03:40
I think we should take a moment to point out, we did hit 200,000 books. Yes, live. That means like those are books that we’re distributing all over the world to different retailers. So we’re very excited about that. It’s just been a huge year of growth for us. We’ve been adding on average, I think about 80 books a day. So Just really, really cool to hit that benchmark. And we look forward to just continuing to grow and distribute more books and work with more authors. So thanks for working with us.
Kevin Tumlinson 04:11
Yeah, and only about 150,000 of those books were mine. o now that’s fantastic man 200,000 books is that that it’s just, that’s mind boggling in its implications, like, just the sheer volume of it.
Dan Wood 04:27
There really is. I remember, I think we hit 20,000 shortly after I started. And I’m thinking that was just an insane amount of books. And now 10 times is just crazy.
Kevin Tumlinson 04:40
And of course, we’ve read every single one of them, all of them. Mark, you got anything you need to announce, man?
Mark Lefebvre 04:48
The one thing I want to make sure people know is Overdrive recently changed the way that they push the titles from their a catalog into the library systems now. In the early days they actually had divided the catalog into all the big publishers or the Big Five, the big six. And everyone else, they basically had all of the self-published titles, no matter how they got into the system. They were all in sort of a walled off area that the librarians had to login to a separate a separate system. And so we disappeared for a second. Sorry, we’re back. Okay,
Kevin Tumlinson 05:24
That was me, became ghost voices, I was trying to work ahead and ended up blanking us out, sorry, yeah.
Mark Lefebvre 05:30
And actually, that was a good example that Kevin gave a visual example of what was happening. So a librarian would go to search for a title, let’s say you were an indie author, and you let the library know your title was available, they would go into the system, and they may not immediately see it in the main system that they did 90% of their searches. And so they would have to go to a secondary system to do a search. But I heard directly from Overdrive, just about two and a half weeks ago, that they’ve now changed the system, meaning if a librarian goes into the system, they’re only searching one database and that includes all titles, which means your Draft2Digital to published, Overdrive titles are now securely, easily visible to librarians. So we have already seen an uptake or an uptick in the sales to Overdrive for many of our authors already. And if you’re noticing that in your own dashboard, or you may not notice it until you get the monthly report, but if you’re noticing that that’s probably due just to that, unless you’re doing additional marketing, of course.
Kevin Tumlinson 06:27
Excellent. So Mark, does Overdrive do reviews?
Mark Lefebvre 06:33
Does Overdrive do reviews. No, but you have a question about question about reviews.
Kevin Tumlinson 06:38
Let’s pop up this question: Does Apple feature reviews, ratings, and he’s he wants to know a lot because he’s three question marks. Very excited. You guys were talking about this before, that’s sharp looking man. You guys were talking about this before we went on air. So where do we land on that? What did we decide?
Dan Wood 07:02
Yes, Apple lets people leave reviews, you know, the ASCII four star review, but you can also leave comments and those comments you can read through on any Apple device. It’s pretty hard to see things on Apple, if you don’t have an Apple device. They have a place to call out professional reviews. So sometimes Apple books team will do their own review, or they’ll feature like characters or some of the ones that you pay for. So that’s going to be highlighted at the top of a review. But then people can scroll down and read just normal user reviews as well.
Kevin Tumlinson 07:40
Yeah, it’s funny because I know I’ve gotten reviews on Apple, but I don’t know that I’ve ever actually seen them anywhere. And I am an Apple user. So apparently, I’m just not looking in the right place. So I don’t think they’re … I don’t think there is an organic discovery tool on Apple review as Amazon reviews might be.
Dan Wood 07:58
I would agree with that. Like, you just kind of have to be looking. And there’s no way to like, search, I don’t think, I don’t think you can search by number of stars or anything like it’s just you search by title a search to the genre. So
Kevin Tumlinson 08:12
yeah. We got another question this one about print books from Joe. And when will print books be available, Dan?
Dan Wood 08:21
Mark Lefebvre 08:24
Dan Wood 08:26
We redid some of the user interface. And we’re just about to release that. And so we had a lot of people who were using it who just wanted to use us for print, because they might be exclusive with Amazon right now. Right? The workflow we had didn’t make it very easy to do that. And so we had to kind of split out the print from the E book workflow. So that is just about done. We will open up a new round of our print beta. And so if the people already in the print beta will get to see the new user interface. Then we’ll invite some more new people to it. We’re still looking for better coverage for author of copies in foreign countries. So we’re still gonna stay in beta for a little bit. But we should make some add a lot more people to our print program and just a week or two. I guess it’s more like three weeks, somewhere like Middlemarch,
Kevin Tumlinson 09:25
This has really been challenging and we know a lot of people have been desperately waiting for this beta to, you know, wrap up I guess and go live. And we are going to be adding new people to the beta after we do the sort of relaunch of the site the new tools and everything but that is a big bonus that’s come out of this is that we are doing something completely new with the site itself. So it may seem a little strange at first when people first log in, but it’s going to be to your benefit. It’s gonna work great. Can’t wait till that’s that goes live too and
Mark Lefebvre 09:59
I’d like to do a show To the beta users who’ve given us some amazing feedback, because if it wasn’t for that feedback that we had from the users that helped us understand that we needed to do that additional work yeah, took extra months for us to go back and, and re redesign that, but that’s something that’s really, really been valuable. Should we follow up with further print questions? I mean, I saw one about ISP ends. It stands for printed in a book. Is it worth, man? Oh, you already had things easier just to go.
Dan Wood 10:29
All right. Analysts. It’s kind of hard to follow the
Kevin Tumlinson 10:34
Okay. In fact, just looking ahead to see if I could find one made me lose this next question. But here’s our next question is from Regina. What’s the ghastly formatting of the epub on … What would the ghastly formatting of epub on Kobo?
Dan Wood 10:48
You can blame Mark Lefebvre for that. I do blame Mark for that all his fault from his years ago.
Mark Lefebvre 10:54
I can actually explain what that is. That is something we had drafted digital are very aware of and even when I worked at Kobo I was very aware of that. It is the way that the web team has is interpreting the pub for their preview only. It is not the actual e pop on Kobo, the E. I still read on Kobo and I buy a lot of books that have been formatted through D2D. Heck, I’ve been using D2D for my formatting even when I worked at Kobo, because it was the best free conversion tool on the market. And I say that having been paying for the Kobo writing life conversion tool. But it’s actually the way the book is previewed that is interpreted incorrectly that has been reported multiple times to the couple of teams. So we’ve done everything we can just know that your hub is beautifully formatted the way you see it previewed. Sent to Apple center Kobo center knocks into Amazon center any of the places that you picked downstream, so it’s really just their preview online that’s kind of caca.
Dan Wood 11:51
Just like other than Apple and Amazon, everyone else uses the same software in the background. We have multiple devices from Each of the vendors so we have notes, we have Kobo devices. So we check and make sure everything looks fine on the actual delivered file. It’s there’s not an easy way for the retailers like Mark said to preview on their website in the proper format.
Kevin Tumlinson 12:19
Yeah. Okay, so I was going to include a little bit of slight modification of a comment from our boy Austin behind the scenes here, just to say that we’ve told them about this and we’re it now we’re just kind of waiting for cover themselves to to to initiate some sort of fix for it. So there everyone is aware of that problem. Oh, yeah, it’s some folks here from Northern Ireland. Hi, birdie be. That’s cool. Okay, so we got a question from the YouTube Live Stream right now, how many times Wait, wait for it. How many times do I have to put a keyword in the description to make that the most effective I Okay, well keywords you would only use once in your, in your description really, you can use them as many times as you want in the description. You want to make sense organically to the description, where it’s more important is in the little keyword list in the metadata for the book. But there is some some value to making sure that some keywords appear in the description itself. I’m just finding lately that a lot of the retailers aren’t actually necessarily using that to drive any of their search results like Amazon, for example, doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Whether you’ve got a keyboard in the description itself or not, it used to matter, but seems likely that that’s not that’s no longer the case. It may change though. So it’s not all it’s not really a bad idea to go ahead and include a keyword in there but I would make it organic don’t make it sound like you’re stuffing because people do not like that and some of the retailers will come down on you for They think your keyword stuffing. So
Mark Lefebvre 14:02
the one the one thing, just to make sure that the the most important ones you put first right? And the not Yeah, yes.
Kevin Tumlinson 14:10
Word field words first in the keyword field. If you’re going through us that there we have that field that you can use to in her think it’s up to seven keywords I can’t recall.
Mark Lefebvre 14:23
Yeah, I think you can enter more. I think Amazon only takes seven For example, some retailers only take two or three. So always put your most prominent ones first, before you dig down into the the lesser keywords.
Dan Wood 14:37
It varies by retailer. I think with Amazon, it’s most important just because those keywords can affect what categories you end up in. Yeah. They have some lists on their website of like, you know, use these keywords end up in this category. Yeah, other than that, the other retailers down so I use it that way.
Kevin Tumlinson 14:56
So Amazon’s KDP, they took down all the nifty tools for figuring out what categories you can get in with certain keywords. If there’s only like one or two still floating around out there. I don’t know why they do that. But if you look around online people have replicated those. So if if anyone in our audience has a list of keywords in certain categories, this would be the time to share it. Okay, our next question is from Lucy Joannie, a question, do we need a PC IP block on my copyright page? I don’t know what that means.
Dan Wood 15:36
So I do not either.
Mark Lefebvre 15:38
Mark. Are you familiar with that hides? It’s probably a publishing term related to some sort of library system. I’m not sure PCIP Hmm. That’s a good question. I have no idea what PCIP is, maybe I don’t even have the Google open so I can go check it out.
Kevin Tumlinson 15:55
I’m going to ask our good friend, Austin if he will Google that and drop the results. into slack so that we can come back to this question. So first stumping us joini, you get the coveted DDD, no prize, will do absolutely nothing in no time whatsoever. But thank you for the question if we could come up with an answer either either here or here in the community in on the comment sections, if anybody wants to pop in with a comment about that, feel free. So an auto has another question How How did Apple algorithms work? What books are showed more than others?
Dan Wood 16:36
Generally, most of the retailers will don’t explain their algorithms very well because they don’t want people to try to manipulate them. With Apple. What I’ve noticed anecdotally is a lot of it has to do with how recently the book was published. They favor books that are more recent. So kind of like with Amazon where there’s the 90 day fall off. Is that right guys? Yeah,
Kevin Tumlinson 17:05
it’s a 90-day Cliff right now.
Dan Wood 17:08
They have a certain amount of time where they’re featuring newer titles. And so especially if you’re writing within a series, a good way to continue to get your books in front of people is just to keep releasing a new book in the series, making sure you have your metadata, right so that the series is linked up. They bought some software called book lamp years ago, to help with discovery and they’ve been making slight changes to our search engine over time and it’s getting better and better. But it’s still a little bit hard to find books generally. They’re generally featuring the books that are selling the most and are the most recent. So I know Kobo has something similar to that where they’re tracking just the heat over the last week like how much people are searching for it or buying it and then it also figures Then some stuff historically over time.
Kevin Tumlinson 18:06
Okay, so I got another question here. Let’s see this was another this another print question. This is an interesting one. Why can’t we upload books with less than 64 pages for print and easy fix, especially for those who have shorter books. Although I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book with less than 64 pages in it unless it was like a coloring book or something. What is the deal with our print book, page limitation?
Mark Lefebvre 18:33
It’s just a limitation based on the partner that we have for print books. We’re doing those through IPG and eventually through to Ingram for distribution and their limit and it’s just and this is the reality of the situation. And I think there was another question I saw come up in the feeds in case we don’t get to it is, you know, why should I use you instead of Ingram spark? Well, I think of D2D print as Ingram spark ultra-light, so you know, with our partner The way that we are going to have D2D Print Setup, it’s it, you’re not gonna have as many choices and options. Basically, you’re going to have maybe a choice of about eight to 12 trim sizes, whereas with Ingram Spark, you can choose hardcover, you can choose a plethora of trim sizes. One of the main differences, of course, is that yes, there’s a limit. So if you’re going to directly through Ingram Spark, and I believe KDP print allows you to go shorter than that, but with us 64 pages, but the other thing you get with our print platform, is you get an automatic cover wrap. If you have not had a full cover design done for your book, you can just upload high resolution print, front cover, and we’ll create an automatic wrap for you and so there’s a benefit there for maybe even some of those shorter books, obviously shorter but not shorter than 64 pages. And you get a free high speed through D2D. So free ISBN for ebook if you need one for ISBN for your print book, Paul, something that has happened to me because I’ve done some short story called that ran under 10,000 words. And what I did is I just went in and added a little bit of extra content to make it, you know, hit the 64-page mark. So I added an additional chapter that looked into the theme offered some notes for the stories. And then that also makes it, it gives it a nicer spine as well makes it a slightly thicker product, and it still keeps it to a low cost. So you can still, you know, set a retail price for $5 or something like that and make it reasonable. So it’s just, it’s just a current limitation we have with our partners, so
Kevin Tumlinson 20:33
just set your font to 100 points. And you’ll, you’ll get past the page limitation. So Robin asks, Does Apple have special promotions that D2D authors can take advantage of and how
Dan Wood 20:51
they run special promotions, across different genres fairly often. We right now the way we communicate with each other Authors as we emailed them about promotions that they might, if they have books that would be eligible for it. I said the majority of permissions to run right now or romance Would you agree with that, Mark?
Mark Lefebvre 21:12
Yeah, romance and thriller are probably the top two ones. I know, I think there was a nonfiction one coming up, if I’m not mistaken, as well. And so those are the ones they come, they’re actually coming more regularly now. And right now, it is very manual. But that is something we intend on building into our promotions tab as the year progresses, and we get things like print and other development priorities out of the way.
Dan Wood 21:38
Yeah, you want to make sure just to check the email that you have associated with drafted digital, you know, on a regular basis, make sure that our emails aren’t going into your spam folder. Because that’s generally how we communicate about the different promotions. And then we just have to let people sign up and on a form. Apple lets us know which ones they accept. We also talked to the Apple team just about every three weeks and show them a list of our pre orders. They use pre order numbers for a lot of their choices and merchandising. And so anything you can do to increase the number of pre orders you have, so you know making sure your readers know that your book is available for pre order. Letting your pre order be up for longer, you know, like having it up for three months instead of like three weeks. Pre orders just help drive merchandising at Apple and some eccentric echo as well.
Kevin Tumlinson 22:37
All right, we have a question from David about photos, photos in my download to your online service team to change the formatting. How can I see the formatting prior to downloading my book with pictures? Does our format and does our preview for our preview let you see, even with the photos right?
Dan Wood 22:56
It does. It’s right Hardware ebooks to just using photos in them is very difficult yet, it’s going to be better to pay a professional format or if you’ve got a lot of pictures in an E book, because you’re going to want to look at using a fixed format ebook as opposed to what our converter is where it’s reflowable. With reflowable, it just means that you don’t know exactly what device your readers going to be reading on. And so you make it to where it works on iPad, you make it work on a small smartphone, you make it work on a big smartphone. The other problem you have with pictures and ebooks is it adds to the size of the book. And Amazon charges you for delivery size, so you can end up making any book that’s big enough that you actually have to pay Amazon to distribute it
Kevin Tumlinson 23:50
are our behind the scenes guru often says that it depends on how you have them set up within your manuscript, making sure they’re not anchored and not too big. Exactly. cetera, et cetera, not etc. Like I just said. All right, we have another question. Sorry, I have a cough drop in my mouth now. So I’m gonna try not to make a bunch of noise with that. Victoria as well. You ever offered the option of large print with your print program? Yes, we get asked this question a lot.
Dan Wood 24:19
Yeah. Our CEO is, it’s one of the big things he wants to add to it. We’re just trying to finish up wrapping up the, the main part of the service and then we’ll be adding a couple of things where we make it easy for having a large print version. And hopefully, we’ll be able to add some other options beyond. You know, right now we have the most common size print books, but we’ll be adding other sizes as well.
Mark Lefebvre 24:45
I think what we want to do is make sure we launch it first before we then added additional bells and whistles. So again, launch it with a minimal, get it working and then we work with our partner to get those other things added
Kevin Tumlinson 25:00
Okay, now that I’m done choking, half choking to death on this cough drop. Michael, as asked if we would please summarize any new development in transmission?
That’s an easy question. open ended. I’m
gonna start on that one Mark.
Mark Lefebvre 25:18
Well, I mean, obviously we’re, we’re gearing towards getting print up and running, we have a couple of partners in the queue for other distribution opportunities, retail and library channels. So we’re pretty excited about those. Those will be announcements you’ll see in the next month or two. And and one of the key things that I’m really excited about is leveraging our existing beta release of D2D universes, which is kind of a replacement for kindle worlds and Kindle worlds but not exclusive to one retailer everywhere. We’ve had several authors who are using DDD universes very successfully to collaborate and to do payments splitting and so leveraging that same technology that we’ve already built For DDD universes, so that we can do more advanced and sophisticated payments. Flooding, we think is a great opportunity for writers. And I use that as an example of myself as a Canadian, I don’t want to have to get paid from Draft2Digital, and then have to figure out paying somebody in another country and the conversion from us to Canadian then back to us. I rather just have drafted digital, handle all of that. And so we’re working behind the scenes with some beta users who are already in the in the program to determine exactly what would make it easier for authors to collaborate together without one person having to manage it, manage it all and manage all of the payments. So that’s one I’m particularly excited about for this year.
Dan Wood 26:47
Kind of behind the scenes, we’ve worked a little bit on stuff, like the boring stuff of our infrastructure, just making our website work better. We kind of had to upgrade from one version of a software platform to another and so that all makes for a better experience. But it’s not one of those exciting things. He talked to users about much, but also makes it more secure. We worked a lot on security lately, because we’ve been seeing all of the different exploited sites, just, you know, a lot of sites have been hacked recently. So we’ve been focusing a lot on making our site incredibly secure. So that’s kind of exciting on the backend, and I come from an IT background. Is that exciting to authors? Maybe not. But,
Kevin Tumlinson 27:29
yeah, we tend to have a whole lot of things that happen behind the scenes that wouldn’t be exciting to the authors in any way except that overall, it’s protecting them and maybe even helping them to make more sales and that sort of thing. So it’s not usually big announcement stuff, though.
Mark Lefebvre 27:48
You don’t want to see how the draft to sausages are made.
Dan Wood 27:51
Yeah, go back to some of the stuff the Mark said. We are looking at new retailers all the time. We’re excited, right? A couple of more library partners. And so last year was a big push towards libraries. We think now is an excellent time for Indies, really to to focus on libraries and libraries are becoming much more willing to carry in the books. And then we’ve got one retailer coming up that will help with if you’ve got French language content or if you are translating into French. It just should help your reach with getting to the French market make it so much easier.
Kevin Tumlinson 28:31
Okay, we’ve got another question. This one starts off by kind of somewhat congratulating us on our 200,000 books. But do you guys have the numbers by genre?
Dan Wood 28:43
specific percentage, however, I get you like our catalog is always been fairly heavy with romance. Very early on, we got you know, we started working with a lot of authors in the romance community. They were Very, it’s a very tight knit group. And so they told their friends. And so, you know, I would say probably 60% of our content is romance. After that mysteries and thrillers are probably the second science fiction of fantasy third. You know, surprisingly No, it’s like nonfiction and why a are probably our smallest categories. Just because with ya, there’s not as many readers reading ebooks as there are with some of the other genres.
Kevin Tumlinson 29:32
Brian as asked, How often are presale numbers updated mind date back to the third and the eighth? It’s fairly manual process, right. And so we’re still kind of updating that by going out and scraping that that content I think
Dan Wood 29:46
so some of the retailers like Apple give it to us in a way where we can just pull a report every day. other retailers like Kobo and Barnes and Noble, someone from their team mainly emails us we uploaded Those when, like as soon as we get them in, so Apple, it’s like we’re we’re hearing back the next day with Barnes and Noble and Kobo. We’re generally hearing once a week. The last number it reports you on your webpage is the last time the partner told us you had a cell. So the third would have been the last time you had a cell. And then we might have heard about from the retailer since then, but you just you didn’t sell anything that day. And so it’s I would say about half the retailers to support pre orders are giving it to us the next day, and then about half of them are next week.
Kevin Tumlinson 30:38
Mark Lefebvre 30:39
libraries are the earliest would be weekly at the very earliest, right, if not,
Dan Wood 30:50
I want to say libraries are monthly that we would hear about pre orders. Yeah,
Mark Lefebvre 30:54
yeah, cuz I know they’re typically their systems are a little bit more archaic than the retailer systems. So tend to be slower in general.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:03
Our cakes if I’m worried, Leonardo says what is the single best way to sell more books on Apple the single way guys, shrink away.
Mark Lefebvre 31:14
Lucifer be inclusive. Make sure you include links to Apple. That’s number one, right? Yeah, you can sell there if you’re not including
Dan Wood 31:22
anything better than a BookBub ad for getting your books moving wide. So the BookBub feature to add sells a ton of books at all the retailers. Yeah. feature deal, right. Yeah, the feature deal.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:36
Yeah, you can do BookBub ads, which would, could help boost your numbers on all platforms really. But you can do a specific to a platform as well. So if you’re really keen on getting some seeing some traction on numbers, specifically on Apple, you might try a platform like that book funnel and I’m sorry, BookBub, Facebook ads, anything that You can use to target specifically the Apple ebook readers. That would help a great deal. But as Mark pointed out using, making sure that you’re including Apple links when you promote the book, a lot of people forget to do that. They focus on one retailer, usually Amazon, but you can use our universal book links to help with that will include links to everywhere that book is sold online, in your universal book link, which you would get at books to read calm. And then from there you can, whatever ad campaigns you run or whatever people can find the book wherever they most want to read it.
Mark Lefebvre 32:39
And I would want to call out as well, our good friend David Gaughrin’s book on BookBub ads. Fantastic. If you’re looking at leveraging and optimizing your BookBub ads, that is a really worthwhile investment. I’ve read the book, also listen to him to do live talks about it and I was in the back of the room well, representative from BookBub was watching him on stage. And I saw her nodding vigorously as he was talking. So that’s always a good sign that he’s right. Yeah.
Dan Wood 33:07
And just to reiterate from earlier, we mentioned that pre orders are huge for Apple merchandising. Anything you can do like if you’re not using pre orders right now, the Apple, it’s probably the most important Apple. Anything that happens with Apple is that you can rank as a pre order. So like if your book is selling really well, it can show up in the bestseller list as a pre order. But then on the day of release, it also gets all the ranking juice from the sales right then, and so it can give you just a lot more visibility on their platform.
Kevin Tumlinson 33:40
This next question is one I kind of I kind of like does DDD does D2D give its authors two eyes in numbers, if they intend to do both e versions and print versions of their books. So they get and the answer is yes. You get really thought one of you would leap in there with the answer. But yes, you get a separate ISBN for each version of your book and we will give you a free one for each so instead it doesn’t automatically come it’s only if you do use the the print side like you don’t get one you can just take somewhere else, for example. But yeah, as soon as you agree to it, you can bring in your own ISP in as well. I don’t want anybody listening to think that they have to use one of our Why did I ISBN, but if you have an ISBN needs to be specific to that version of the book. In other words, if you got one for a print book, you can’t use it for your ebook, and vice versa. But yes, we will give you free ispf for every every fall, I say every year for the one of the two versions of the book that goes out from us.
Mark Lefebvre 34:48
You see, Kevin, I was going to joke and say that to get a print print is banned. It would cost you twice as much as it costs to get nice p inferi. Book. Yes, you had two times zero. Let’s not confuse Yeah, I know that’s why. Now I’ve just confused everything. Yeah. But it is free for a print ISBN or an E book I SPN. Right?
Kevin Tumlinson 35:10
Yes, yet another perk, those are free. That is a perk. And then both of those are, are optional. Until you go live with the book once you once you go live with the book, whatever is be associated with it is it’s ISBN. But yeah, you can bring your own Yeah. Let’s see. We do have a here’s another question about print. My book is ready to publish. And I’m trying to say between you and the other guy. Here’s the determining factor. How soon will print books be available? I don’t know who the other guy is. But there’s no one else in our space that’s doing print. So there but
Mark Lefebvre 35:48
no other no other distributor right?
Kevin Tumlinson 35:51
distributor? Yeah, no, none of the none of the E book distributors in our space are doing print. But we did address this. The actual question is earlier, we are currently doing some retraining, revamping retooling on the website to accommodate people who only want to do print. And so that’s been part of the adjustment as we go forward. So soon, it will be soon. We can’t give you an exact date yet, because we’re still kind of figuring a few things out and making some adjustments and dealing with a few other things behind the scenes. But it we’re hoping to, we’re hoping that’s going to be very soon. So did you guys want to add anything to that? I have to scroll back and find the question pop right out of the
Mark Lefebvre 36:36
as we mentioned before, that is something that we’re probably in the revision of the of the way it’s been designed thanks to our beta readers. It’s probably a few weeks away before we bring that into our beta environment and then and then roll that out to other users. We’re pretty excited about how that’s going to look and how that’s going to streamline things and save people time.
Kevin Tumlinson 36:59
Yeah. Okay, um, I’m new to DDD, what are the recommended tutorials for me to learn and make full use of the features? Well, you are in the right place, actually, because you’re on YouTube. If you pop over to our YouTube channel, we do have some videos in place to kind of walk you through, you know, the onboarding, and all that sort of thing. We’re going to be re vamping all that soon. Because as we make changes to the site that it’s going to necessitate making some changes to the video. But for the most part, that’s going to be a great guide right up until we get the new stuff. So there is that and you might want to pop over to Draft2Digital comm slash blog, where you can find a whole bunch of blog posts about everything that we do all the ways in which our site functions, tools and resources, tips on marketing, all kinds of stuff that you might find useful. So go check that out at Draft2Digital comm slash blog. But do be sure No matter where you’re watching this right now, be sure that you go and subscribe to us on YouTube because we were going to be doing quite a few updates soon.
Mark Lefebvre 38:08
So well, Kevin’s looking for the next question I’ll just add to that. Something you may want to double check and look at is how to use books to read how to leverage it, how to add your affiliate codes from Amazon, Apple and other websites into books to read. And then also how to leverage reading lists so that you can create merchandising pages of books and not just have to wait for a retailer to have to do it for you.
Kevin Tumlinson 38:31
Yeah, it doesn’t even have to be exclusively your books. It could you can make
Kevin Tumlinson 38:35
or Yeah, any other authors in the that’s in the indie space or even traditionally published authors, you can create whatever you like. Okay, we got a question from Michael, can we upload our own EPUB files or is word the only file type that can be used for manuscripts. You can absolutely upload your own EPUB files, formatted however you like. I think Maybe formatting restrictions actually. But you the when you upload your ebook file, you do lose the ability to do some of the automated stuff that we have going on our side. Primarily like us updating your metadata with your also IP, actually, they can add it also by page and a couple of other pages, but we can’t go in and edit and modify the pub file.
Dan Wood 39:25
And you can’t preview it, right. Because if you’ve already got any pub, can’t preview it. If it’s a pub, sorry, there’s some restrictions, but you have to we can make some changes still. Yeah,
Kevin Tumlinson 39:36
yeah. So yeah, so if you already have any pub file, no problem. Go ahead and pop it up there. I tend to do that because I use vellum for my formatting. And that may be your case as well, Michael, but then you don’t really lose anything necessarily. By going with your own pub fall. It’s just that some of the automated stuff and the coolest little cool little extra features that we have built in, become unavailable, like the formatting, ebook formatting that we tool that we have, which has a bunch of templates that you can use for free. It’s very vellum, like, in the way it handles ebook layout and that that layout can also translate over to print when when print goes live, so you kind of lose that. But if you’ve got a handle on your formatting, you’re probably good. Uh, Eric asks, When you offer print, will this replace Ingram spark? I’m going to just say yes, through Ingram spark is a completely different company. But you know, if you can you can use us in place of Ingram Spark, yes, it’s going to be essentially the same service.
Mark Lefebvre 40:44
Yeah, it goes to the same downstream retailers. The only difference i think is Ingram sparks going to give you you know, 50 choices and we’re going to give you a reduced version, think of it as like the Cliff’s notes or the Coles notes or the Reader’s Digest version of the tool. We want to keep it simple. We want to keep it streamlined and make it as easy as possible for more people to get print without having to go through bells and whistles. So differences Ingram spark costs money, D2D print free Ingram spark lots of choices and options, D2D print minimized options to keep it simple. So it’ll replace it if that’s important to
Dan Wood 41:20
you. Yeah, if you already have your books up in Ingram Spark, you know, other than saving on the costs that they charge, you probably just want to leave your book Ingram Spark. We’re really aiming we know a lot of our authors just don’t have print because it’s difficult right now. And so that’s really what the print product is aimed at is making it easy to have a print book available and out there for people to buy off of any of the websites that sell print on demand books.
Kevin Tumlinson 41:50
Alright CFS, any idea what is the wait time, any idea what the wait time is before your audio book is released on either a cx or find a way voices I don’t know the wait time actually wants to know we’re talking about once it’s completed, I’m assuming
Dan Wood 42:07
you probably want to reach out to find a way about that right now. I know it’s varied in the past, sometimes it’s quick. And sometimes, like around the holidays, everyone in the industry gets backed up because everyone’s submitting new books. I think it varies. So we don’t directly distribute audio books. And so we don’t have any experience on our end directly with that time period. So just usually, as an
Mark Lefebvre 42:33
author, usually give it about two weeks is probably a safe bet. Sex is only going to Apple and audible. Find a way voices is going to 43 different places. So you’re going to get a variety, right. Some of the retailers like I know, Apple is relatively quick and Google’s relatively quick. They’re going to be online really quickly. Places like Overdrive and library systems only process once a week. So that’s probably going to take a little bit longer just from my own experience doing that.
Kevin Tumlinson 43:02
Alright, the next couple of questions were both about the print beta. I’m gonna, I’m gonna pop this one up. What is the email to request joining the next round of final beta? And actually, I think we have a URL correct?
Dan Wood 43:18
Yes. Draft digital comm slash print beta.
Mark Lefebvre 43:22
Okay. Why did we make it so complicated? I know,
Dan Wood 43:25
it’s gonna, we’ll probably add the next round of people. Towards the end of March is like right now, the last meetings I was saying about it. It looks like that’s when we’re going to be ready and have some of the tutorials in place. Because we are changing a little bit of the way the workflow of going adding a book to our website is
Kevin Tumlinson 43:47
I’m going to real quick pop that up on screen, join the beta. Hopefully I can retrace my steps and find where I was. left off. Okay, um so go ahead and jot that down what you’ve got chance. Uh, okay, here’s a question from Phoenix elven actually, do you have best practices for using Ubl? links? I know I can customize links. Is there an advantage to drive customers to buy pages versus description pages? Yes. So go,
Mark Lefebvre 44:26
okay. Well, here’s the thing we had early on when we first launched the books to read links. We did some testing to see the additional click when you’re on the detail page. We’re all there’s all the information about the book. That’s two extra clicks to get to the retailer. And we found better success in click the Buy ratios when they only had to click the icon that they wanted. So for example, Amazon or Kobo or Apple or whatever. And so what we did is by default, we use the, you know, there’s no details, there’s just the book cover and here’s the link to the retailer. You know, Phoenix, probably any customer who’s already set their own preferred store, they don’t even go there, it takes them directly to their geo targeted retailer page. So for example, if it’s an Amazon link in there in the UK, it’s going to take them to the UK, or Canada or the US, depending on where they are in the world. And so myself, personally, I kind of like the detail page with all the details of information, but then you have to click the Get it now and then it takes you to the page. And so by default, we tend to use that least least clicks page, because we’ve seen in the past that it it results in better conversion. I hope that I hope that helps Phoenix it maybe it doesn’t help, but at least maybe helps explain why we use that as the default page.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:45
Helps me all right. Kayla has an important question. Are you the only three employees at drafted digital? No, actually, we only have one employee. I’m the only employee these two are just really pretty. Ai knockoffs actually have about 20 people, I think
Dan Wood 46:06
19 right now and your wife is joining us in April. So we’ll be at 20 in April. So yeah,
Kevin Tumlinson 46:12
yeah, she’s excited. She’s going to be helping out with some various tasks behind scenes. Don’t go bug and there are
Mark Lefebvre 46:21
a lot of people doing some amazing work behind the scenes that D2D we’re just privileged with the fact is we’re not shy, and we’re willing to get out in front and answer questions. So we’re the least introverted and just what everyone else hates being on camera.
Dan Wood 46:35
You will like there’s a couple of our assets anything where our Director of Operations Tara has joined us. We’ve been trying to talk a couple other people into joining us for one of these so hopefully, you’ll see some more people and some more faces people around beards every once in a while.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:51
Yeah, perfect. Tara refuses to grow a beard though.
Dan Wood 46:55
Kevin Tumlinson 46:57
Craig gas. Craig, who by the way is from Ontario, Canada I believe
I hey, represent Ontario.
Kevin Tumlinson 47:04
Yeah, many promos for children’s books.
Dan Wood 47:10
Very rare. Um, for the most part, children’s books haven’t moved over to digital in the same way that other genres have. And so it seems like kids prefer to read physical books. It’s hard to say I mean, part of that’s probably because their parents are buying it for them as gifts and it’s not as exciting to buy an E book. But most of our retailers don’t run very many children oriented.
Mark Lefebvre 47:40
promotions. Yes, I mean, some young readers, some young adult, but once you get into pictures, books, picture books, that’s still primarily a print game and we don’t have any promos for those through our retail partners.
Kevin Tumlinson 47:53
So Glenda asked, If I were to buy a pub software, what would you suggest I bought some from wondershare and it didn’t work. on your site properly Well first you There’s no need to buy any software if you use our free e pub conversion tool on our site, so you can upload a Word document or a RTF file, and we will automatically convert that to E pub mobi and even a print ready PDF for you absolutely free with some cool formatting tools to make it look amazing, so that’s free. On the paid side, we you know, will often recommend vellum but vellum is a first of all only available on Mac at the moment and is kind of costly. A couple hundred bucks for the software overall. I say costly, but you know I can came from the era where layout software would cost you like 1200 dollars, so two to 200 to 250 bucks for vellum is a pretty good deal. They’re friends of ours. We have some some light integration with velum as well. But there are a ton of other pieces of software out there. It’s now I’m going to say this and I don’t know. Everyone corrects me, no matter which way I say it. There is a free app called Colibri. Or caliber. I don’t know who is right, but it’s caliber
Mark Lefebvre 49:20
Dan Wood 49:21
Yeah. It makes bad epubs. Yeah, really, I would use our free software. rebellion is the only thing I see. Yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 49:28
Dan Wood 49:30
I work with us.
Kevin Tumlinson 49:32
Yeah. Okay. And another program that you could use and I don’t know if we like this one or not either. But you can use Scrivener to create your E pubs. Scrivener is a challenging piece of software when you’re trying to do that sort of thing. But there are tons of tutorials out there and tons of communities on Facebook, etc. You’re on YouTube right now. Glinda you can you can YouTube using Scrivener. Correct III pubs, and you probably get a pretty good tutorial. So I think that one tends to work okay for us do we had any issues with that?
Dan Wood 50:09
And I just said it’s hard. But Scrivener does have offer other things to help you with the writing process. And so I do know people that use that. But by and large for the actual formatting, it’s vellum or us.
Kevin Tumlinson 50:24
Okay. Here’s a good one. Donna says, Give us a sales pitch. What are what are three reasons we should use you instead of Amazon. And we don’t they usually use us instead of anybody. You can use us to get to Amazon or you can go to Amazon directly and use us to get everywhere else. So unless you’re talking about going exclusive into Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, which has a 90 day exclusivity there’s no reason to use one over the other will, will happily work with you.
Mark Lefebvre 50:55
It’s all your choice but in terms of sales pitch would be the one reason why you may want to use an aggregator, like the wonderful drafted digital is if you don’t want to manage multiple accounts. The other thing done and if you have a virtual assistant, and you want to get them to do things, you have to give them access to your Amazon account, which means they have access to your banking information and everything with Draft2Digital, we do have the opportunity for you to assign people access to just be able to update your books for you, and not have access to sales data and have access to your banking information, which is a security reason. So that may be one reason why you may want to use Draft2Digital, even though you know using an aggregator means you’re usually you’re making 10% last because that’s how we make money. We only make money when you sell books and we basically keep 10% of that. So instead of 70% you’re only making 60 but potentially you have peace of mind, and you don’t have to manage 16 different accounts.
Kevin Tumlinson 51:54
Okay, we’ve got lots of nice comments. I want to thank everybody for being kind to us. See, here’s a comment from Regina. Just because it mentions My name it gets to go up and it covers Dan Alexis me Kevin self promotion guide after added most of my books, including a series to D2D and be to read. But being New York system, how do I steer people to non Amazon links? on my email list? Almost everyone goes to Amazon even overseas even with getting the Ubl. So I’ve been on books to read three weeks and no sales yet. How do you all your sales promote non Amazon sites? If you do? I’m going to go ahead and hide this this question so that Dan can be back I’ll just click
Mark Lefebvre 52:44
Can I can I can I ask a question about that question. The beauty of books to read links is you allow the reader to go to the retailer of their choice. And so I wouldn’t want to exclude Amazon if that’s where someone wants to buy my books. I want to allow my my readers to My books aren’t any platform that they want to any library system that they want to get access to it. So I understand there may be political reasons why you don’t want to feed the monopoly of the Amazon but if people are buying your books on Amazon, why wouldn’t you want to be inclusive? Right? Not not to be confrontational because I’m Canadian and we apologize for that. But you know, be inclusive rather than exclusive. I think you’re about to break open a coronavirus bottle and hold.
Dan Wood 53:32
And some of those a distinct time just building up your reader list at the other retailers takes time. Amazon is extraordinarily good at selling ebooks. The other retailers are beginning to catch up. But as you are available to readers, more and more readers will find your books. The great thing is you’re available at libraries are available in other countries to Amazon doesn’t even touch. So just keep kind of plugging away at it. And those readers will come
Kevin Tumlinson 54:02
plug at it, it will come. So Steve asks, Can you clearly describe what a chat book is also as publishing a poetry book with pictures as simple as putting it all on word and submitting it to you for formatting graphics, every other page, put graphics and and pictures in ebooks, it’s always going to be challenging. Because we don’t we tend to not we tend to try to avoid fixed formats. things need to be able to reflect pretty easily because the readers themselves want to be able to change things like the font size, and maybe even the font style. They have control over that. So it’s hard to predict where something’s going to fall. That said, we do work with people for helping them you know, figure this out and get their get their pictures aligned in the right places, etc. Poetry I mean, we can we can still do Poetry but don’t we have to do some special formatting on our side? Dan?
Dan Wood 55:04
There’s a template that just tells it to disregard some of the normal formatting things we do. Yeah.
Kevin Tumlinson 55:09
So they would just need to reach out to us.
Mark Lefebvre 55:11
Okay, and Steve, the question about chapbook. To write I think he may be referring to print because chapbooks usually not used for digital, unless it’s a digital version of a chapbook. But that’s just an old term that was used for people who would be selling books on the street, usually staple bound little leaflets of often poetry. That’s where the term originates back in history of publishing. I usually think of a chat book is anything that’s really really short, small, under under 100 pages.
Kevin Tumlinson 55:39
Every time you say, selling books on the street. I picture some guy with like a trench coat six, Nelson, hey, water,
Mark Lefebvre 55:46
one of my one of my addictions.
Kevin Tumlinson 55:50
Okay, so Glinda asks, I do children’s books, picture chapter etc, that have lots of pictures inside. Why do you change the CMK to black and white I was told it was because it costs too much for printing.
Dan Wood 56:04
With our current partners, yes, we’re just focused on black and white. Eventually, we might look for other partners that can handle color. But right now that’s not covered.
Kevin Tumlinson 56:20
Right? We have a question about audio books here. So Donna Poole asks, Do you plan to add audio books? And we aren’t. We aren’t distributing audio books directly ourselves. But we do have a partner in find a way voices. And you can actually get to them through us, you can actually with a click basically, if you distribute your books through us, you can push them over to find way to start the whole production process with them. And there is
Dan Wood 56:52
just distribution like if you’ve already got the audio book,
Kevin Tumlinson 56:55
that’s true. If they if you already have an audio book produced, they’ll they’ll distribute it and they’ll do it. For no charge, really, they work kind of like us, they’ll take a percentage of sale through whatever platform you distribute to through them. If you go to them through us, you save the $50 fee that they charge used to be called a setup fee or something like that. Now, it’s like a casting fee. They’ll waive that 4999 or whatever is casting fee. If you go in through us if in fact, I should, should create a banner here while I type it is find a way voices slack D2D. So, so sorry about that.
Mark Lefebvre 57:43
There’s no reason for us to distribute audio book when we have a partner that has almost the very same DNA is drafted digital, very author centric, very author focused and, and they’re one of the best partners we could have because they, they basically do things very similar to the way we Do. And so when when they innovate, we benefit from that by, by helping authors get their metadata into finding by quickly. So there’s no point in US spending development time on something like that when we have a partner that does it really well, and then we can work on other things.
Dan Wood 58:16
Right. We’ve got about five minutes left, Kevin. So we probably want to do like one or two more questions.
Kevin Tumlinson 58:20
Yeah, let’s, let’s pop ahead here. I feel like I’m not getting enough love to these folks. Brian, yes. I’ve heard sorry, Dan. I’ve heard it’s a good idea to have a printer link in the back matter of your ebook to do this. It seems like seems you’ll have to know the title page count another eyes been required info first, which means the next book needs to already be written or close to it. Is this the case? Yeah, if you if you’re going to include a pre order link, that’s true. You’ll need to know at least the title and you
Dan Wood 58:56
can change the title if you wanted to. Yeah. You You can submit pre orders without any assets. Most retailers do prefer that you have the cover at least. But you can change the cover, you can change the title, you probably don’t want to do anything really wacky with the title like if you try to get as close to what you think the actual title will be as possible because some of the retailers will build the URL link based on the title of the book. But you don’t have to have any information to set up a pre order and then you can get that link back and people can start buying that right away.
Mark Lefebvre 59:32
What I might advise is if you don’t have the pre order yet, but you know you’re going to be releasing another book, please have an author newsletter, make sure that you have a link to your author newsletter, so then you can send them a link to the pre order once it’s live. And then that’s one way around it if if you’re, you know your pre orders like that far in the future that it’s not ready and obviously there’s no link anywhere for
Kevin Tumlinson 59:53
you. Okay, I mean we have other questions, but some some are getting a little Deep and elaborate so I think if you are if you feel like you need some straight answers here, we’ve got some good news for you we are going to be offering again our free author consultations. And we are offering basically a free 30 minute offer consultation with with well with one of the two of them right now. So unfortunately I won’t be available for the march ones but if you are looking for some a little bit of help a little bit of one on one, this is your chance to talk with us for a few minutes and just kind of outline what your plans are and we’ll see if we can help answer some of those questions for you. So feel go to the link is on your screen now but it is bit dot Lee slash DDD console. I will my voice is going yeah, and I will also drop this right now into the comments section so that you can just click that link that’s going to be available for I’m going to say the next 24 hours. This time tomorrow, that link disappears. So if you’re watching this later, sorry, you missed it.
Dan Wood 61:10
Unfortunately, because of travel, both me and Mark are going to be heading to self publishing show live and London Book Fair. Next week, we don’t have as many slots open this time. So the slots will probably fill up pretty quickly. So we just want to let you know ahead of time, but we’ll get to as many of those as we can.
Mark Lefebvre 61:29
Yeah. And just take advantage of it if you can, especially for those of you who have never gone to a writers conference, I did see a comment float past that said, I’m just here to hang out with other writers. And I had a wonderful chat with somebody who didn’t have any specific questions. They just wanted to talk writing for half an hour. Happy to do that, too. Because that’s the kind of stuff that we do when we’re at conferences and and that’s what we want to be able to offer you guys no matter where you are.
Kevin Tumlinson 61:53
Yeah. So and we apologize in advance if you’re not able to find a slot that works for you. They run out quickly that that does to nap and it’s just the nature of time. And we have no actual control over physics, despite how awesome we are at everything else. So that’s gonna wrap us up you guys want to add anything else before we roll on out of here?
Dan Wood 62:18
Um, what else are we going to be a you’re going to be in San Antonio right Kevin.
Kevin Tumlinson 62:23
I’ll be in San Antonio in March sometime at our wha the rW a meetup in San Antonio.
Mark Lefebvre 62:29
And then in May both Mark and I again will be at the career author summit. So for any of you that are tuning in that come by and say hi, yeah, and and again, I think Austin said if if your question was not answered, please send it to support at draft digital com. We have an amazing customer care team that will will address your questions. So don’t think you have to wait till next month to ask the question live. You can ask it 24 seven.
Kevin Tumlinson 62:56
I don’t know Hold on.
Mark Lefebvre 62:58
Hold on to it. Don’t Don’t Don’t ask your
Kevin Tumlinson 63:02
Alright guys, well thank you so much for being a part of this month’s D2D live. We always love doing this stuff and we hope you get something useful out of it. Make sure that you pop over to D2D live com to follow and see you can catch up with past webinars there. And you can also see what’s coming up. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to us on YouTube and on Facebook. And make sure you check out Draft2Digital comm where you can you know, start and grow and accelerate your author career with our cool free tools that Thanks, everybody.