In light of the truly horrific experience that was trying to get The Gift of Magic published to Nook, and that fact that I’ve already given up on Smashwords as requiring too much time for too little return, I decided to try Another Way.
A kind person on Facebook pointed me to Draft2Digital which will make a mobi file, an epub file, and a pdf file of any doc/x, rtf, Word-readable-file-of-y0ur-choice that you upload to them, and distribute those files to the vendors you choose from their list. The list includes Nook, the iStore, Oyster, Kobo, and I couple of others that I forget at the moment.
D2D also claims that it can publish your book into paper at CreateSpace, but I have not explored that part of its offerings, being interested today in ebooks.
I chose as My Subject Writing Neep, a minor chapbook of collected essays from my blog posts, which I could never convince Smashwords to accept for sale; no matter how much I tried to format it, the Meatgrinder simply did not find the work acceptable.
This made Writing Neep the perfect choice for experimentation, and experiment I did.
Upfront, D2D is much more forgiving than Smashwords. It does have its own crochets, but I managed to finagle and work them through. I uploaded an RTF file of the text, and a jpg of the cover.
D2D really wants to generate a title page, a copyright page, a teaser page, an author bio page — all of it! any of it! for you. This means that, if you want to include your own copyright page, that D2D’s chapter auto-detect will “see” it as a “chapter” and there is not. one. damn. thing. you can do to change its mind — except! Surrender. Move the copyright page to the back of the book, give it a title — Copyright Page! — and let D2D include it in the TOC. Which is what, after much diddling around, I did.
The other problem was the title page. Include a title page, and it will be listed as a “chapter” in the TOC, no way around it that I found. If I allowed D2D to generate the title page, it produced a page that said:
Writing Neep: Short Essays on the Writing Life
July 25, 2015
. . .which might be fine for a new book, but Writing Neep was first published in 2012, and I hadn’t added any new content to my Experimental Subject.
What I finally wound up doing was getting rid of the title page, unchecking the box that directed D2D to generate one, and placing the name of the book and my name above the title of the Author’s Foreword. This made for a rather ungainly four-line title, but told no lies to prospective readers.
D2D offers the option of having a Live Human Being actually go through your uploaded manuscript, if you can’t make things come out right, and sort it by hand. I did send a request for such service, but, to the best of my knowledge, no one ever answered the call — not even a robot ack. So, that was too bad.
For their services D2D takes 10% of what you receive from their vendors, which means that you, the author, will be giving up about 15% of cover in fees and discounts.
D2D does not have its own storefront, like Smashwords does, but!
In a few minutes, I will commence the Second Part of this Experiment, download the epub file generated by D2D, feed it to Smashwords and See What Happens. If the file is accepted, then the book will be on sale at Smashwords, as well as with All the Usual Suspects.
And that’s what I did with my Saturday morning.