I don’t know how many authors read my blog posts, but a discussion came up yesterday in a writing group where the question was posed, “Which is the best place to publish paperbacks?” Hands down, I’d say Draft2Digital (D2D). The process is easy, the author copies are reasonably priced, the dashboard is nicely set up, and the paperbacks are good quality.
I started out publishing paperbacks before I got into ebooks. This was back in 2008 when CreateSpace was around in the US. Back then, CreateSpace was what D2D is now. Sadly, Amazon decided to drop CreateSpace, and now authors have to use the KDP dashboard in order to make paperbacks. I know they recently added a hardback option, but they can’t even get a paperback cover right, so what makes me believe they’ll make the hardback look good?
In the comments of the writing group I mentioned above, an author friend, who is more marketing savvy than I am, made a comment that convinced me it was time to get serious about moving my paperbacks from KDP to D2D. In a nutshell, she said she lost money in paperbacks using KDP’s Expanded Distribution option. I had noticed that since Amazon switched from CreateSpace to KDP that my paperback income plummeted. I was getting about $100/mo in CreateSpace, but once KDP got put into place, I’ve been lucky to make $20/mo. Considering I have more books out, that’s not good. I knew KDP had done something to put the nail in the coffin on my paperback sales, but I didn’t know what that nail was. Could KDP’s Expanded Distribution be the nail? I don’t have any proof to say it is, but considering how smart my author friend is, I have to consider it a real possibility.
All I know is that I am not happy with the quality of the paperbacks, and I am definitely not happy with the way Amazon bullies authors around. I understand there is no perfect retailer, but I’d rather put my time and attention into places that don’t jump on authors for the littlest thing. (If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know I’ve been hassled by Amazon quite a bit to prove my copyright after I’ve done minor things like making a price change on my book.)
I like D2D a lot. The people running it are nice to authors. So I’m taking all of my paperbacks off of KDP and moving them to D2D. I did have an author ask me yesterday about making more money per sale on Amazon if the files were in KDP. Yes, it’s like anywhere else you choose not to go direct. If you use a distributor for your books, that distributor will take a percentage. That’s how the distributor makes money. Every retailer you upload directly to will take a percentage of the sale, too. I understand when you use a distributor, that distributor AND the retailer takes a cut from the sale. But sometimes it’s worth using the distributor to eliminate the hassle of being direct everywhere AND to have a good quality product. To me, the crappy quality of the paperbacks KDP produces just isn’t worth it. KDP is like a flip of the coin. Sometimes their printer does a good job, and sometimes it doesn’t. You don’t know what you’re going to get until the book is at your door. With D2D, I’ve never had a bad experience. With KDP, about 70% of the books were “off” in some way. If a reader buys one paperback that is poor in quality, chances are, they’ll decide not to buy any more paperbacks from the same author. They’ll assume all of the author’s books will look terrible. Considering how expensive paperbacks are, who can blame them for not wanting any more paperbacks?
Anyway, this morning I went into my KDP dashboard and unpublished over half of my paperbacks. (I plan to get to the others later.) It took a surprising amount of time to create my list, so I don’t forget which books to work on. I am going to start uploading files to D2D soon. This is going to take me a while to do. I have a few paperbacks already on D2D. But I have over 100 books out in all (when you count my Ruth books and my Barbara books). I believe I have about 80ish books to upload to D2D. I’m just going to take my time. When this project gets done, it gets done.
In the meantime, I’m still working through my catalogue to put my AI audiobooks up on Kobo, and I’m still writing the Marriage by Obligation Series. The writing is the priority, so my word count goals for the day gets done before anything else does. On some days, I’m unable to get around to anything but the writing.