Category Archives: Draft2Digital

Would You Say No To 90%+ Royalties? Maybe You Already Are.

Would You Say No To 90%+ Royalties? Maybe You Already Are.

shopify

D2C and 96% Royalties. Get Started Direct2Consumer With Shopify Lite.

Shopify just deposited £9.58 in my bank.

Nothing to get excited about on its own, but when you consider it was for a five-ebook package, each individually selling at £1.99 (GBP) on Amazon, it gets more interesting.

On Amazon those five (children’s) books would have cost the buyer £1.99 x 5 = £9.95. I sell them as a pack of five (not a box set – some people prefer individual titles because they are easier to navigate and to share among the children) for a clean £10.

On Amazon each sale would net me 35% of the £1.99 each, sixty days after the end of the month in which the sale was made. That’s 0.70 a shot x 5 making a total royalty for the five books of £3.50 coming to me. Amazon would have taken £6.50 for brokering the deal.

Instead Shopify landed £9.58 in my UK account just four working days after the transaction. (3 days for US and Australia, 7 days for Canada.) That’s £6.08 *more* than the same sale would have got me on Amazon.

And for those wondering, that’s a 96% royalty rate.

Even for a higher priced item where Amazon paid the 70% royalty (minus the delivery charge) that’s still upwards of 26% less than my direct sale delivered.

Shopify will also let me sell direct on Facebook and Pinterest. Not a promotional link to a retailer but a direct sales button.

And of course I can put sales buttons on my website, blog, etc.

There’s a monthly fee of $9 for Shopify Lite, which lets us do all the above.

The next step up is the Shopify store, which I plan on experimenting with in 2017. The monthly fee is a little higher, but when we’re collecting 95% of list price that’s no problem to cover if we have the traffic.

Where does the traffic come from? Our mailing lists are one good source. Plus of course we can directly promote our Shopify shop or individual sales links.

The downside of course is chart position on the mighty Amazon. Chart position equals visibility equals sales, as we all know.

But… If we are fielding niche-market titles (my bilinguals, for example), or have back-list titles that are not seeing much chart action anyway, D2C is a great way to maximise profits, and of course we have the customer data to up-sell further goods later.

And having a shop of course means we can bundle items as we like, cross-promote items as we like, and make up our own categories, and add links to retailers too. The latter is always good idea for ebooks because some buyers will want the convenience of, say, Amazon’s one-click.

With a shop (Shopify or whatever) we can also offer loyalty incentives. We can offer subscriptions. We can offer free bonus material. We can run promotions and competitions and special offers and etc, etc.

Yes, these are things we can do on our regular websites, but a well-branded “shop” adds appeal and professionalism for the consumer,.

And a shopping cart system where consumers can load up a basket of goods rather than make an individual purchase then go back and do it all over again.

D2C shouldn’t be seen as trying to compete with, or as an alternative to, the big retailers. But to compliment the sales they bring us, and to build our brand and enlarge out reach.

https://www.shopify.com/lite

Shopify (LINK), like Etsy and Ecwid and Selz and etc will let us load digital content and will take care of everything for us once we have the listings live, so before we protest it’s all too much work it’s actually no different in that respect from loading to Amazon or Kobo.

The big difference is that 95% royalty.

What’s your excuse for not going D2C?

This post first appeared in the International Indie Author Facebook Group. (LINK)

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For daily news and discussion about the global indie publishing scene join this lively Facebook Group.

The Thirty Minute Upload Workout – Going Wide Needn’t Be A Chore.

SFK-The-Red-Headed-League-English-German

And no, despite the image, this is not a self-promo Buy My Book post!

 

When it comes to finding the path of least resistance we indies have it down to a fine art.

Even though all logic dictates that, unless we have a sweetheart deal with a retailer, being available as widely as possible is the best long-term career move we can make, it seems many indies will nonetheless convince ourselves it’s all soooo much effort that we’re better off just signing up to Select and crossing our fingers.

NB: This isn’t an anti-Select post. Select is a great tool and used wisely can bring its own rewards, but we should never chose an option simply because it’s quick and easy, or because we see big-name authors doing well in Select but who may well have special deals like White Glove, etc that are why they are doing so well when so many regular indies are not.

Especially when it’s so quick and easy to go from being just in Amazon’s dozen stores to being in 400-500 stores worldwide, and still be in those same dozen Amazon stores as well.

How quick and easy?

Well, overnight the cover came in for my English-German bilingual version of the Red-Headed League, the Conan Doyle classic re-told for children as part of my Classics For Kids global literacy project.

There’s not much point putting a global project in Select, because, despite that long list of countries in the KDP dashboard when you click world rights, Amazon actually blocks downloads to much of the world and imposes surcharges on ebook sales in other countries not in the Kindle Zone (ie outside the dozen or so Kindle store countries).

For example a $2.99 title sold in South Africa will cost the reader $4.99 but the author will see just 35% of the original $2.99 list price.

I picked the bilingual title to illustrate this post because, being bilingual, it has almost double the metadata, with bilingual title, bilingual series title, bilingual blurb, etc.

But it still took me only thirty minutes to put that title into all the distributors needed to reach 400-500 global retail and library outlets.

Okay, here’s how I set about it.

First, I have everything ready and lined up.

  • The epub/mobi file is ready.
  • The cover is ready to go.
  • The finalised Word file is open at the title page.
  • I have the blurb all-typed up and ready to go.
  • I have a list of keywords ready to type in.
  • I have my categories and price decided on.

All of which (epub aside) we need whether we are going as wide as possible or going into Select. If we have the mobi file it’s just a couple of minutes work to run it through Calibre and convert to epub.

Then I simultaneously open browser tabs for Amazon KDP, Kobo KWL, Pronoun, Smashwords, Draft2Digital and PublishDrive (I don’t have direct access to Apple and gave up on NookPress when Nook UK closed, so I use the aggregators to get into B&N).

From there, it’s a breeze.

  • Copy title from Word doc and paste into title bar in KDP, then KWL, then Smashwords, then Pronoun, then StreetLib, then PublishDrive.

If moving from Select to go wide, then do the same and copy the metadata from KDP to the other stores.

  • Repeat for series title. Repeat for blurb.
  • Upload cover to KDP, then move along to KWL, then etc.
  • Upload epub/mobi/Word doc to KDP, then KWL, then etc.

All of which has so far taken maybe ten-fifteen minutes of our valuable time if we’re on a steam-powered laptop and a Third World internet server as I am.

Then we have fifteen-twenty minutes remaining to tackle the more time-consuming tasks of selecting categories, keywords, price and outlets.

But here we simply refer to our categories and keywords list and input the data, one upload option after the other. Category options vary slightly from one upload option to the next, but it’s no big deal.

Prices again need a few minutes of thought to make sure we optimise our list-prices. For example, having chosen our KDP prices we can still play with lower prices for some locations with some outlets. If we have $3.99 AUD set for Australia in KDP (the lowest we can get 70% for) then obviously we need to match that in KWL, D2D, etc for Australia using the territorial pricing tool. But we can still list at 0.99 for example in New Zealand, which isn’t covered by Amazon’s MFN clause because there isn’t a Kindle NZ store.

Our final job is to choose the sales/library outlets for each uploader. Again, done one after the other it’s just a few minutes work to sort them all.

If using KDP then obviously we untick Amazon on StreetLib, Pronoun and PublishDrive (there are good reasons why we might want to upload to Amazon without using KDP, but that’s for another post).

Ditto KWL.

Beyond that we need to choose whether to use Smashwords or StreetLib for OverDrive, and whether to use StreetLib or Pronoun or PublishDrive for Google Play, and D2D or Smashwords or PublishDrive or StreetLib for Tolino, and StreetLib or D2D for 24 Symbols, and etc, etc.

Yeah, decisions, decisions, but if we’re going straight from one to another it’s not rocket-science to keep track and make sure we get all the options available without any overlapping.

Finally, hit publish and, for Smashwords, pop back and check the channels and series managers because for some reason Smashwords make us do that after we publish, not before).

Then make ourselves a cup of coffee. We deserve it.

Many outlets will have our title live the same day, Others will take a few days or a week or even many weeks, but the thing is, all it’s taken us is half an hour of our lives to set it all in motion.

Maybe a few minutes longer if we are also doing NookPress and Apple direct, or maybe also using Bookbaby or XinXii or Ebook Partnership or…) but by any realistic measure this isn’t going to take us much over thirty minutes.

A half hour now that could be paying back at one level or another for years to come.

There are good reasons to restrict our reach with some titles and focus our energies on one retail outlet.

But saying we haven’t time isn’t one of them.

I’m wide. How about you?

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This post first appeared in the International Indie Author Facebook Group.

 

 

Draft2Digital To Distribute Indie Titles To Playster

Playster

The US-based aggregator Draft2Digital will be getting our titles in to the international all-in-one subscription service Playster in 2016.

Canada-based Playster (LINK), which just launched in the US is already available, in the words of Communications Manager Colin Strachan, “in most of Europe, Australia & NZ, the Americas and Asia.”

Strachan adds, “We’re also getting an increasing number of foreign-language titles.”

Stream Daily are suggesting Playster is now live in 100 countries. (LINK) I’m still trying to get confirmation of that.

But whatever the precise details, the deal with Draft2Digital is a great opportunity for indie authors to get on board.

Over in The International Indie Author Facebook Group D2D’s Dan Wood told us more about the D2D engagement.

“We are beginning our alpha testing right after the holidays with some books from our staff members and hope to open our beta program in mid-January. The beta period differs per retailer depending on what issues we encounter.” (LINK)

And StreetLib’s Anne-Catherine de Fombelle, in the same Group discussion, indicated StreetLib hopes to be on board with Playster in the near future.

That’s great news to wind up 2015 on.

But there’s a ton of other exciting news on the global publishing scene to report for this year, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a round-up of international developments that will have you looking forward to 2016 almost as much as I am.

If the past five years, as the self-publishing revolution got under way, have been amazing, the next five years are going to be simply incredible as the Global New Renaissance gets into second gear.

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Mexico is Publishing’s New El Dorado, Draft2Digital to Distribute to 24Symbols, and other Hot Tips for Internationalist Indie Authors.

There’s so much happening on the global scene right now it’s hard to keep on top of things. And that’s before the Frankfurt Book Fair kicks off.

To keep you up to speed, here’s another batch of short posts on how the global markets are shaping up.

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Regulars will know how excited I am about the Spanish-language prospects right now. With a half billion Spanish speakers around the world this is a huge market to tap into, and because of the concentration of Spanish speakers in Spain and Latin America it’s also a relatively easy market to tap into.

Two Spanish literary agents have just this past week launched a new venture called The Spanish Bookstage. (LINK)

The more observant will have spotted that’s in English, and so is the site – a reminder as ever that we Anglophone authors have a built in advantage in tackling the global markets even when the markets are in another language.

I’m a big fan of Babelcube – it’s a great way to find translator-partners. But… And it’s a big but… By going through Babelcube you hand over the distribution rights for that language to Babelcube and, at this stage in their game, that can be a frustrating experience, as Babelcube’s distribution leaves much to be desired.

Which is why, while I use translator-aggregators like Babelcube and Fiberead, I also seek translator-partnership arrangements independently. Not least for when opportunities like The Spanish Bookstage come along.

“The new platform,” says Publishing Perspectives (LINK) “comes at a time when the Spanish publishing industry (both in Spain and Latin America) is gaining stronger visibility in the global marketplace.”

While this is the first major platform dedicated to Spanish-language titles, there are plenty of similar operators which savvy indies should be keeping a close eye on that cover the global markets generally. I’ll be taking a close look at some of them as we wind up this year.

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Publishing Perspectives is always a good bet for global publishing insights, and especially so this month with the Frankfurt Book Fair almost upon us.

In an article on Publishing Perspectives few days ago Özkan Özdem offered some very useful insights into the exciting Turkish market. (LINK)

Again, regulars will know Turkey is high on my list of priorities, so I found this post very instructive. You may too.

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Moving on to that headline. Mexico is publishing’s new El Dorado?

Well, so says Diana Hernández Aldana from Turner Libros, a major Spanish-language publisher. (LINK)

Aldana expresses surprise at “the size of the markets in Mexico and Latin America and at their growth.”

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Over at The Digital Reader Nate reports that 3M is out of the library distribution business. (LINK)

From Nate’s post:

3M’s library division has been bought by Bibliotheca, a company that describes itself as “the largest global company dedicated to the development, deployment, and support of self-service library solutions”.

Nate assures us the 3M library distribution will continue without interruption, just under another name. Which hopefully means there will be no interruption to Babelcube’s distribution to what is currently called 3M.

3M supply mainly the US library system, and had ventured into Canada. There was talk of an international network along the lines of OverDrive, but that came to nothing. It remains to be seen what will happen globally.

Meantime be sure to be in OverDrive’s library catalogues. OverDrive have extensive international distribution and with Rakuten now owning them it’s likely they will be expanding further as we hit 2016.

OverDrive library access for your titles can be gained through the pay-as-you-sell aggregators Smashwords or StreetLib . as well as many pay-up-front services.

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Staying with StreetLib, a reminder that StreetLib now gets you into the key Latin American ebook retailer Bajalibros, which has stores across the region, including Brazil.

“In recent years,” opens Publishing Perspectives in a post on opportunities in Brazil (LINK) “while European book markets have remained almost flat or have even declined, the emerging countries are seeing a new chapter of the global business of books emerge in terms of exposure, opportunities and sales.”

Hardly news to regulars here, of course. Brazil has long been on my priority list.

Apparently only 25% of Brazilians have read a book in the past three months.

Plenty of reasons for that. Not least Brazilians being too busy playing on those beautiful beaches, or exploring the Amazon. Or, far more likely, that books have been a) unaffordable and b) unavailable.

But that is changing fast. Very fast.

And anyway, before we dismiss that 25% as too small to bother with, let’s bear in mind that 25% of Brazil’s 200 million population is 50 million.

Liana Suppressa, an Italian rights agent who specializes in children’s and YA titles, says that in Brazil there is a very strong enthusiasm and openness of publishers and of readers towards international authors,” adding, in Brazil “there’s a growing interest for middle grade and YA titles, both fantasy and contemporary realistic stories.”

Savvy internationalist authors will be looking to partner with Brazilian publishers to get a share of some of that growing enthusiasm, and of course making their own luck by going direct with their digital titles. Amazon, Apple, Kobo and Google Play are in Brazil,.

And not forgetting POD.

Babelcube is a great place to find (with some effort sifting through) some very competent Portuguese translators for both Brazil and mainland Portugal.

And longer term there are prospects for Portuguese translations in countries like Mozambique and Angola. As I’ll be exploring in a dedicated post shortly, Africa is an exciting emerging prospect.

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Speaking of Africa…

As I’ve reported many times, one reason I’m so excited by the global opportunities unfolding is because of the way some cyber-companies are investing in global internet reach.

I summarised the wonderful work of Google (Internet Saathi, Loon, etc) and Facebook’s Aquila project over on the Anne R. Allen blog last month (LINK), and also mentioned satellites.

Both Google and Facebook are investing in satellites, and this post over at VentureBeat this week adds further details of what Facebook have planned for us. (LINK)

Facebook have just partnered with Eutelstat Communications to deploy geostationary satellites  that will cover vast expanses of sub-Saharan Africa, starting in 2016.

The five ton Amos-6 satellites, built in Israel, will orbit above Africa (in sync with the Earth’s orbit) and facilitate broadband internet reception across the region, linking to African ISPs and direct to consumers. Crucially working with standard off-the-shelf devices like regular smartphones and tablets. No specialist equipment needed.

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Next, some words from trad-pub industry commentator Mike Shatzkin.

Shatzkin’s posts often get picked up by the indie blogosphere with the intent of ridiculing everything trad pub is doing. Usually with scant regard to the reality that trad pub is doing rather well.

This post from Shatkin covered backlist and export. (LINK)

That’s global sales, to us folk for whom international is a frame of mind, not just an ambition. Of course the indie blogs seized upon Shatkin’s thoughts on backlist and totally ignored his thoughts on export.

Shatzkin reports on an Ingram-hosted conference recently where one US publisher, Diversion Books, had launched its own ebook store app for its romance titles.

Shatzkin reports that Diversion are now seeing almost half – 49% – of English-language sales coming from outside the US, and perhaps most significantly of, 43% of sales coming from outside the US, UK and Canada.

A safe bet that 43% is not all from Australia and New Zealand, and very likely India is playing a significant role. But even so, a substantial portion of those “export” sales will be coming from other markets around the world.

Why?

Because they are being made available and buyable.

As I’ve said so many times here, trad pub (big and small) is raking in the cash from the global New Renaissance while most indies are still partying like its 2009, fighting each other for a share of the ever more competitive US market.

Indies can already get very profitable global reach from the mainstream retailers, but there are still vast tracts of the world off-limits by going this route.

Diversion’s ebook store app is one way in which small publishers – and indies –can reach a far bigger audience. And earn more from each transaction. And have access to the customer data.

Direct to consumer sales are something all indies with a decent-sized portfolio need to be looking at as we enter the second half of this decade.

I’ll be exploring this more as we head into 2016.

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Finally, let’s end with the second half of that headline somewhere above.

Yes, Draft2Digital is about to announce a distribution deal with the Spanish subscription service 24Symbols.

24Symbols is a subscription service in Europe that has been happily managing to survive with the subscription model since 2011.

Draft2Digital currently supplies the US subscription services Scribd and Oyster (Oyster will be closing early next year), tas well as the European ebook operator Tolino, the global Page Foundry (Inktera and Versent ebook stores) and the usual suspects Apple, Kobo and Nook.

As best I can see, the new addition will make D2D the only English-language aggregator getting indie titles into 24Symbols (if anyone knows another, do let me know). UPDATE, With great embarrassment I have to admit I somehow missed the fact that StreetLib already supplies 24Symbols. Sorry guys! So Draft2Digital will not be the first or the only.  🙂

And with Smashwords having recently dumped Flipkart, the addition of 24Symbols will make D2D a first-option for ever more indies frustrated by Smashwords’ antiquated system.

I’ll be running a comparison of the main pay-as-you-sell English-language aggregators shortly, looking at the pros and cons of each.

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We have unprecedented opportunities before us as the second half of the second decade of the twenty-first century unfolds.

Don’t let them pass you by.

Think about the next five years, not the next five weeks.

For daily news and discussion about the global indie publishing scene join this lively Facebook Group.

The International Indie Author Facebook Group

Getting In To Google Play (It’s Still Possible!)

Gunjur-Coastline-Gambia

The View From The Beach:

Mark Williams At Large

With the Google Play self-pub portal still down (LINK) I’ve been getting tons of queries about whether this is a block on indies, or a genuine issue with the portal.

Safe to say it seems a genuine issue with the portal. Why Google seem in no hurry to fix it is another question, but I can confirm indies can still get titles live on Google Play today.

The big US aggregators Smashwords and Draft2Digital do not have deals with Google Play, and it looks like they never will (payment model incompatibilities) but there are alternatives.

The British aggregator Ebook Partnership will get you into Google Play, but theirs is pay-up-front service, and while there are sound reasons for going this route, it’s not the best option if you expect low sales levels or are just wanting access to a handful of stores.

Bookrix will get you in to, but they appear to have an all or nothing retail outlet option and an unimpressive list of outlets anyway.

But there are two very nice pay-as-you-sell aggregators in Europe – Xin-Xii and Narcissus, that will also get you into Google Play.

Yesterday I used the Narcissus portal StreetLib to upload a title to Google Play specifically to see if indie titles were still being allowed in through the aggregators while the direct portal is down.

And I’m delighted to be able to report they are! My title sailed through in less than 24 hours. So clearly the self-pub portal being down is not some ploy to block indies from listing in the store. Another great conspiracy theory bites the dust.

I’ll be doing a full report on StreetLib (Narcissus) for the EBUK blog soon, as part of a series on the aggregator options available, but meanwhile you can find it here. (LINK)

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