#Smashwords and KDP Questions

Question-Mark-Man2

Question for you authors who publish on Smashwords, or on  Smashwords AND KDP, combined. I’m planning to move my first Wake-Robin Ridge novel from KDP Select to “regular” KDP, so I can permanently reduce the price on the book. I want it to be a “funnel” book to the Wake-Robin Ridge series. I realized that taking it out of Select means I can open it up to other “venues.” I’ve heard good things about combining KDP with Smashwords, and thus getting the book wider exposure.

How many of you have tried this, and can you share your experiences with us here on The Write Stuff? Thoughts, anyone?

40 thoughts on “#Smashwords and KDP Questions

  1. My author friends in other groups have grown wary of Smashwords; it seems pirating occusr on the site. Now, most of them are singing the praises of Draft2Digital. I’m sorry that I have no experience with either, Marcia. I just thought I’d pass along the scuttlebutt! 🙂

    Here’s the link, in case you’d like to check it out: https://draft2digital.com/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the warning, Linda. I’ll check the link. I was reading a very informative article about Pronoun, and one paragraph in it was dealing with the using the combination of Smashwords with KDP, which is why I was curious about it. I believe the article does mention draft2digital, too, but there are several places it warns against. I’m going to print it out so I can study it in more detail. If I find out anything else interesting, I’ll pass it along in another post.

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      • Yep, I’ll second Draft2Digital as the better aggregator at the moment. I use them with my permafree.

        That said, if you’re going wide with paid books, I recommend going direct with as many of the big platforms as you can. Obviously, you’ll go direct with Amazon, but you can also go direct with Nook (https://www.nookpress.com/), kobo (https://writinglife.kobobooks.com), apple (only if you have a Mac, which I don’t), and Google (although they’re not open to new authors at the moment).

        I’m just finally going wide this summer, and I basically sell on Amazon, Apple, and Nook. So if you’ve got limited time to hit your head against a wall learning new platforms, those are the ones to focus on.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Aimee. I had a feeling you’d have some experience with this. I’ve heard such horror stories about trying to format for each venue when going “direct.” That isn’t a problem for you? (Apple is out for me, as I don’t have a Mac). I was thinking that going via Smashwords or Draft2Digital was an easier way to go about it, since they do the formatting for the various sellers. No?

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          • I use the lazy way out with formatting. I let D2D format for me (not asking them to put in any extras like teasers for other books), then I download that preview file and use it for other retailers. Easy peasy.

            Just be sure to go back once you get the preview file and let D2D make a new file for themselves that includes links to your other books, new-release alerts, etc. I think those little extras probably help sell books, but they’re retailer specific and you won’t want to upload D2Ds version on other sites. (I hope that made sense….)

            Liked by 1 person

            • Sort of. 🙂 However, I have very specific formatting that I use, with certain dividers, headers, and specific spacing. Would that get lost, if it’s in my Word Doc? Or do you upload an HTML doc to them? Or is this explained in great detail on their site, and I’m asking questions I could easily find the answers for, myself? If so, I apologize. 🙂

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              • I don’t do any fancy formatting. That said, uploading word docs has worked for me. I’m afraid you’ll just have to nose around and try it out yourself, but I will say that D2D is much easier to work with on the formatting front than Smashwords is.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I don’t do anything “fancy,” per se. Just specific. A certain size & font for Chapter #, and a slightly smaller one, in Italics for chapter titles. A space above and below any “full header,” which would be one with date and location. Three tildes in a row between scenes that don’t change place or date, with no spaces above or below. And so forth.

                  It’s not anything fancy or right or wrong. I just want the books to be consistent with it, and I wouldn’t be happy if anything got changed in formatting for D2D or Smashwords. (Leaning toward D2D since reading all of this, btw.) When I’m done, I just save as a Word doc and upload to CreateSpace. So if I can upload to D2D, and we’re good to go, or easily convert to an epub for them, without any changes occuring, I’d be fine.

                  Just like with my covers, I want a consistent look to my books. I’ve finally figured out the way I want the interior files laid out, but it’s style choices, not weird formatting. Wake-Robin Ridge is the only one I have left that I haven’t finished making consistent, yet. But I will have it done soon, and re-uploaded to Amazon, and I’m just hoping that I can achieve the same look if I decide to go with D2D.

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                • Sorry I wandered off and didn’t answer you! As long as those formatting choices are done as styles rather than you simply editing the chapter name each time, you should be fine. (And you might be fine anyway, but I used the Smashwords style guide to learn to format word files to be turned into ebooks, so that’s what I do.)

                  But this is probably old news. You’re likely ready to write a new post on what did and didn’t work for you. 🙂

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  2. I haven’t used Smashwords, though it is on my list to look into, as a means of adding more sale sites.
    I do use a combination of Amazon and D2D – when I first published I uploaded to KDP via D2D as well, particularly because of their great formatting programme which produces all book formats for no effort (or cost!). Then Amazon decided it didn’t like them, and removed all books published from D2D to Amazon 😦
    That was a difficult time, as it meant I had to re-publish Prince’s Man myself to KDP, and it was a battle to get my reviews moved from the D2D published book to my own – but it did happen. The only thing I lost was sales rank, which was a bummer as it meant starting out as if PM was a new book with no history.
    But that’s all in the past. D2D no longer offer publication to Amazon, but they have a variety of other outlets, best of all, B&N, Apple and Kobo, plus Scribd (where I’ve sold a few copies) and some subscription sites. They are adding new ones every so often.
    Probably the best part of it is the ease of uploading to iTunes, which is tricky if you don’t use Apple Mac, and I sell a few copies a month on all the outlets, so I would say go for it. There is no upfront fee, they deduct a small percentage from each sale, but considering the lack of hassle, I’m really happy with that.
    It also makes it easy to change prices across the outlets, as you can do them all on one page.
    And if nothing else, for me that formatter makes it all worth while! Just upload a Word document, press a button and, et voila! Perfect epub, mobi and PDF files I can download and use as I wish – for giveaways etc.
    Smashwords has a small number of additional outlets, and coupons for giveaways, plus their own site which sells directly, but there’s no reason you can’t use all 3 – KDP, D2D and Smash. You just need to click which individual outlets you want and don’t double up!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great info, Debby! Thanks so much! I’m printing out everything I can find. While Harbinger IS live on amazon, I haven’t made any “official” announcements yet, as I’ve been undecided as to how I wanted to proceed. That one, I might leave in Kindle Select long enough to do a sales promo or two. But my first book is coming out of Select, and I figure I may as well check out some of these other options.

      I appreciate your taking the time to give me all this good info. You are always so supportive, and it means a great deal! What a wonderful group we have here!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I remember that nightmare you went through Deb. Now, I’m wondering what’s the review system like at D2D? I noticed a serious lack of book reviews on Smashwords. 🙂

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      • D2D only acts as a distributor, they don’t publish the books on their own site like Smashwords, so reviews happen as normal on the sites they’ve uploaded to, like B&N and iTunes. I have a few on each but about in proportion to sales, so as ever the largest number by far are on Amazon, as that’s where I sell most books.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I love Draft2Digital. You upload your epub version there and they put it out on all the different outlets (except Amazon). Easy peasy. The site is a lot more user-friendly than Smashwords (I used to be on SW). And I heard the same thing about piracy being particularly bad on SW.

    I now sell almost as much on Apple as I do on Amazon, and I get some decent sales on Kobo most months. The other outlets on there are more sporadic.

    One main difference is that SW allows you to do coupon codes for discounted or free books for specific people, or for sales. D2D doesn’t have that feature, and D2D doesn’t sell directly like SW does, but then that direct sales website is probably why they have the piracy problem.

    And D2D, like SW, will let you price a book as free. Then Amazon will usually price-match it. My first Kate Huntington book is permafree, and it sells the rest of the series!

    I’m not as enthralled with D2D’s formatting program. It can be glitchy (but it’s still better than SW’s one, which will make you pull your hair out). I use it to format my ARCs to send out to early readers, and then when the final version is all proofread and spiffy, I get it formatted. (But that formatting is free for me because one of our misterio press authors does it. She does a great job!) If you decide to use D2D’s formatting, let me know and I’ll give you some pointers on how to make it behave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kass! I appreciate your input, here, and will definitely be looking into Draft2Digital more closely. So much to learn! And of course, that’s time NOT spent writing. I swear, I need a digital assistant. I should be spending ALL my time writing! But the downside to self-publishing (the ONLY one I’ve seen, so far!) is self-marketing, and that is becoming a reality for traditionally published writers, too. I’ve got to figure out a way to do it better.

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      • You’re welcome! You can upload to Apple through D2D. That’s how I do it. No Mac required that way. It’s one of the main reasons I use them. And yes, their formatting program would probably make a mess of special formatting goodies. That’s why I just use it for ARCs.

        If you upload an epub file, already formatted, it should be fine. My Marcia Banks and Buddy book has graphics and even those turned out fine from the epub file. How do you format now?

        Oh, and I know a good virtual assistant, and she’s very reasonable. She will do a monthly rate or an hourly rate. And I believe she does formatting. She helps me a lot with promotions, although there are certain things one has to do themselves. Email me if you want her contact deets.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have never used an epub file before, so I’ll have to look up how to do it. Can you convert a Word doc to that? I currently use a formatted template in Word that I can upload straight to CreateSpace, OR convert to a filtered HTML file for Kindle, just by saving it as such. (That’s all Kindle accepts, as far as I can tell.) I’ll be emailing you shortly about the VA. THANKS!

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          • Epub is what everybody else uses except Amazon (they use a mobi or prc file). If you’re not using a separate formatting program, then try your luck with the D2D formatter. I can send you some tips when you’re ready to do that. It does have some glitches but there are work-arounds for them. And yes you can upload a Word doc to D2D. That’s what I usually do for the ARCs.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I guess amazon converts the HTML to mobi or prc, then, because an HTML file is all I’ve ever been able to upload to them. Which is fine.

              I don’t use any formatting program. I format my Word document using a template from CreateSpace, and then it’s ready for them immediately. And then I save a copy of that same document as an HTML file, and upload that to Kindle. Voila.

              On my last two books, I really hit the look I wanted for chapter headings, titles, and headers with scene changes, and I’m now working on making my earlier books consistent with that. I don’t want to lose any of that in reformatting elsewhere, so that would be a consideration for me.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I have had no problems at all with the D2D formatting programme, but there are a few things you need to have in place in your Word document before you upload it, like how you set indents and page spacing. Once you know those, I find it produces a perfect conversion every time, even when I included some little do-dads as chapter headings and spacers.
                Go for it!

                Liked by 1 person

                • Just saw this, Deb. Sounds good. I use the CreateSpace template for the size book I want, and it has indents, margins, etc, formatted, plus you add a Section Break at the end of every chapter, or when you need to skip a page, to start the chapter on the next page. It might be fairly standard, and be okay with the D2D template/format. I don’t have to make a decision on this right away, thankfully, so I’ll have time to figure it all out. Sure appreciate the input. ❤

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                • That sounds like it should work fine. I just use an ordinary Word document but I always format page breaks, indents etc. before I get started (well, not the page breaks obviously!), so I never just use buttons to achieve those things, then it all works fine.
                  Glad to be of assistance 😀

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #Smashwords and KDP Questions — The Write Stuff | Kentucky Mountain Girl News

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