Sometimes, just when I think I have it all figured out… I learn something that rocks how I view things.
I sell a 99cent ebook on Nook (direct upload to Nook Press) – royalty $0.40
I sell a 99cent ebook on Nook (distributed by Draft 2 Digital) – royalty $0.59
Now, I actually knew this fact already, way back in the distant, hazy days of 2011 when I first started self-publishing. Smashwords has a similar high-royalty for low-priced works, but Smash was unreliable. (Note: Apple direct uploads pay 60% on 99cent works. It’s only Nook Press, Kobo, and Amazon which have that 99cent ghetto.)
I started writing serials with 99cent episodes. And short fiction with 99cent price tags. And then Draft 2 Digital came along and presented a more reliable distributor system.
I Finally Put 2 and 2 Together
Using a distributor didn’t make sense to me, with the exception of getting a free book onto Nook (the sole advantage that I could see, and worth tolerating the unreliable nature of Smash). I certainly couldn’t imagine using a distributor for my fast-paced output of serial episodes. I knew D2D was more reliable, but I hadn’t bothered to experiment with them. When I finally did, I re-discovered this royalty issue! And more – D2D allows vendor links, whereas Smash forbids it (see how to manage your backmatter). Smashwords has more vendor agreements, but I’ve found these to be largely useless – and problematic if you have a title whose price you ever plan to change. (Example: I pulled Mind Games off Smashwords in 2012. In 2014, I sold a copy through Diesel, a small vendor that Smashwords had distributed to… two years prior!)
Ways D2D and Smash Are The Same
*can upload your pre-formatted EPUB
*can distribute free books to all their vendors
*will do pre-orders on Nook
Advantages of D2D Over Smashwords
*allows vendor-specific links in your backmatter
*checks your EPUB as you upload, to let you know if there is an issue with it, rather than waiting for it to pass an EPUB check some indeterminate time later… or worse, letting it through then getting it held up at the vendor
*gives you a vendor specific link to the book you just distributed so you can instantly check to see if it’s live yet
*paid monthly, not quarterly
Advantage of D2D Over Direct Upload to Nook Press
*higher royalty on 99cent titles (60% vs. 40%)
The Main Disadvantage of All Distributors
*inflexibility and speed – if you want to change your price, they are not responsive enough to get that price updated in a timely way. In fact, they are slow all around, taking up to a week (or sometimes much, much longer) to upload books and update information. D2D is better than Smashwords, however. I recently uploaded a book to all three (Nook Press, D2D, and Smash) as a test – Nook went live in about 2 days, D2D within a week, and Smash still hasn’t distributed it (2 weeks later).
The Lightbulb for Me
I will be using D2D to distribute my 99cent serial episodes and shorts to Nook, as well as for pre-orders and free books on Nook. I don’t sell as much on Nook as I do on Amazon, but that’s all the more reason to go for the higher royalty on those lower priced titles. For titles $2.99 and above, I’ll be going direct to Nook Press for ease-of-use and timeliness.