We’re starting out with the first, basic baby-steps to independent authoring.
- Well, no. The actual first step is to finish a book. Truly finish not just hit 60K, write “the end”, and shove that sucker out of the nest all bare-assed without even pinfeathers. Your book must hatch: cheep loudly demanding brainworms until you think you may well lose your mind: require hand-fed edits and critiques to grow: regurgitate some re-writes: and get a few more edits just to be absolutely sure it’s a nestling now. Only then is your book chick ready to be shoved out of the nest to screech all the way down.
Assuming all the previous precautions have been taken, especially the brainworms, we are Flight Ready. As previously mentioned my indie author life will begin with Draft2Digital and I promised to be transparent about it. Therefore here we are, ready to stare at some badly taken photos! I have to say the D2D process was incredibly easy, user-friendly, and I would recommend it. Thus far.
Step One: set up a new user account on Draft2Digital. I didn’t take a photo of this because it’s incredibly similar to every other user account setup out there. Just remember to write down your login information somewhere handy if you’re like me and only really remember the passwords you use daily. This account will use your author pen name, by the way. Your daily legal name will be part of things later (when you want to be paid).
Step Two: You now have an account. On your main dashboard there will be a menu option labeled My Books. Clicking on that will take you to a new page with a super obvious orange button to Add New Book. Click on it.
Step Three: Draft2Digital will prompt you through several steps, all clearly outlined and easy to follow. There are little orange question marks you can click on for clarifications at each step (I used them several times).
You’ll add your book title and cover art (if you have it) and lots of other background information like if it’s part of a series, what series, and search terms users can find your story with. These are a lot like keywords on Amazon and, to be honest, I copied and pasted exactly what I was already going to use for Amazon for this part. *Shrugs*
Step Four: Now you start adding your actual EBook content. This is where needing a finished manuscript comes into the picture because you will be uploading the entire word document in one go.
[I don’t know what happens if you have another file type, you Scrivener snob you, since I use .doc only. But Draft2Digital says it does work with other formats.]
You’ll also need a release date to target. You can change this later, don’t worry.
Step Five: Draft2Digital will give you a free ISBN number, or you can use one you’ve previously purchased. The ‘what-where-why’ details about ISBNs can be found here and here. I went ahead and accepted Draft2Digital’s free ISBN number. This may come back to bite me later, or it may not. I’ll let you know.
Step Six: After your document file uploads (this took less than five minutes for my book) you will have even more options. Options everywhere! Do you want copyright information included? How about a dedication page? Links to your other books or an email sign-up drive page? Draft2Digital has all of that and more ready to go.
This is the one spot where I hit snags and started to approach the edge of a headache. Luckily it was easy to resolve, but I had to do some clicking around. I wanted to edit the copyright page to my own personal word choices and couldn’t figure out how. I wasn’t sure how the ‘about author’ section got filled in, would that be through my basic user account information? Does D2D start a library on me? (Turns out no, you fill out your author information right here when you’ve chosen that option.) These were all user error kind of things, but I did eventually get it figured out.
Step Seven: preview your finished ebook. Draft2Digital includes several different styles of formatting (by genre even! so fancy). Here is my first page in two different styles so you can see what they look like: D2D Simple, and a SciFi option named Hardline.
In this step you can download your Ebook preview in different formats (Mobi, Epub, and PDF) to click through each and see what there is to find. I downloaded one of each and spent a lot of time re-reading my own book. By Jane Austen’s Quill it was an awesome feeling to see my words looking like an actual book. I can’t even explain how good it was. Unfortunately if you catch any typos, like I did, you have to go all the way back to step one and re-upload the changed manuscript. Ahhh, author life. The other information you already filled out stays filled, at least.
Step Eight: Release the hounds! DIE JAGDHUNDE FREILASSEN! No . . . wait, no, sorry. That’s only what it feels like.
Draft2Digital will have you check a box which states that you’ve reviewed this manuscript and approved it for release for distribution to any sales channels you selected. Then you click save and continue in a very anticlimactic way.
Step Nine: You’ll be prompted to select the channels you want to sell through, and pick a book price. After some research, I settled on 3.99$ USD and adjusted my price by region (I lowered it to 2.99$ in Canada, yeah, what, I like Canada, don’t @ me). This part is EXTREMELY customizable. So very customizable. There are a bewildering array of options, as well. May the odds be ever in your favor is all I’m saying.
Step Ten: Congratulations, it’s a book! The different distributors you selected will take differing amounts of time to approve and list your book. Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Bibliotheca had my book listed within a few hours. Scribd and Tolino took a day or two.
I’m still waiting for Amazon to approve the book (this even took an extra step where I had to email Draft2Digital’s service center with a stock email about how I own the rights to the book and have never tried to publish it on KDU before). Amazon is definitely the brat out of this group. Be prepared for this and don’t try to upload your book the night before you want to release it.