Using Draft2Digital, My Experience

By Kathrese McKee | New Author

Last week was the soft launch of my prequel novelette, Pirate's Wager, and it was my first experience using Draft2Digital's free e-book formatting tool. As with any new tool, I went down a few dead ends, but in the end, I received a beautiful e-book  from Draft2Digital (D2D) that looks appropriate for my genre—fantasy for young adults.

Then I uploaded my e-book files (EPUB and MOBI) to Book Funnel as an easy way give them to my ARC readers. That's a discussion for another day, but my experience with Book Funnel has been great so far.

Using Draft2Digital

This isn't intended to be a guidebook for D2D. It's more about my experience. Hopefully, it will help newbies have a smoother experience. Not to say that D2D was difficult to use; it is relatively painless. But there were a few things I wish I had known before I dived in.

Organizing your raw materials

The first thing I should have guessed was that I needed a book cover. It seems obvious, now, but I just wanted to check out the automatic formatting I had heard so much about. D2D seemed to think I was serious about publishing an e-book. Go figure.

So I backed up a step and threw together a temporary book cover image. Also, I scrounged around and found my Mardan's Mark map because that was missing from my manuscript too. Since I planned to assign an ISBN to my e-book, I detoured over to Bowker (use to assign one of my codes to the e-book. I purchased a set of ten a few years ago, and I'm slowly putting them to use.

Naturally, I had compiled my manuscript from Scrivener into a Microsoft Word document. I'm not a fan of trying to compile an e-book-ready file straight out of Scrivener, but some people swear by it. I had my Description (back cover copy) ready to go, and I knew what Search Terms I wanted to use.

If you want to include sample chapters from another book, make sure to add them to the end of your Word document. D2D doesn't concatenate files, so you have to include everything you want the reader to get, including your map, in one master file.

Before you begin, you will need your:

  • manuscript and extras (like maps and samples) in a Microsoft Word document,
  • book cover,
  • ISBN (optional),
  • author head shot (optional),
  • author bio, and
  • search terms.

Signing up for Draft2Digital

If you do not have a D2D account yet, then you should go ahead and set it up.  You can have multiple author profiles if you write in more than one genre. To add and edit these, go to the menu item labeled “My Account” and click the “Contributor Profiles” option.

Then add your head shot and bio. Add more profiles if you would like. When you add your next draft, you can choose which profile(s) to use. It is FREE to sign up for D2D, and they encourage you to download your e-book files to use any way you want. For free!

Of course, D2D is in business to make money, and they do, if you choose to distribute your book(s) through them.

Starting a new book on Draft2Digital

Now that you have signed up, you are ready to get started.

Edit Book Page

The Edit Book page appears:

  1. Upload your book file.
  2. Enter your Title.
  3. Choose the Language.
  4. Choose (or add) the Series name.
  5. Enter a Release Date.
  6. Enter a Volume Number, if applicable.
  7. Choose Contributors (this comes from the author profile you entered when you signed up).
  8. Copy/paste your back cover copy into the Description field.
  9. Enter your Search Terms.
  10. Choose your Publisher.
  11. Enter your ISBN (optional). Make SURE it is correct.
  12. Choose the appropriate BISAC Subjects from the list.
  13. If you choose any juvenile categories, select the Age Range from the list.
  14. Click the “Save & Continue” button.


Edit Book Layout Page

The Edit Book Layout page displays:

  1. Upload the Cover image.
  2. Check the Title Page box if you want D2D to create one for you (recommended).
  3. Check the Copyright Page box if you want D2D to create one for your (recommended).*
  4. Check the Dedication box if you want a one.
  5. If you checked the Dedication box, then enter your dedication text. This will be centered on the page.
  6. Check your Chapter Layout for accuracy and completeness.
  7. Check the Also By box if you have other books on D2D. A new box will pop up, labeled “Also By Location,” from which you can choose: Beginning of Book, End of Book, or Both.
  8. Check the New Release Email Notifications Signup box.  You want to do this!
  9. Check the Teaser box if you have other books on D2D. A selection box will pop up, labeled “Teaser Book,” from which you can make a selection. Or you can do it like I did and append sample chapters at the end of your manuscript.
  10. Check the About the Author box to include your author bio and head shot. Make sure you mention your website in your bio that you enter when you sign up for an account.
  11. Check the About the Publisher box to include publisher information (optional).
  12. Notice in the photo below that Mardan's Mark shows as a chapter. Beneath that, its chapter titles appear.
  13. If you do not see what you expect in the Chapter Layout window, click the button labeled “Help! These Aren't My Chapters!”
  14. When you want to go ahead and see the results, click the “Save & Continue” button.


At this point, nothing is final. A little action icon will appear, and then the Preview page will display.



Preview Page

There are so many photos of the preview page and tips for how to format your Word document, that I created a slide deck to save time and space.

View Video.

Click here to view video.

After you like the look of your book in D2D, download your e-book files. Preview the EPUB file in Adobe Digital Editions, and preview the MOBI file in the Kindle Previewer.

Finally, when you have it exactly the way you want it, click the box labeled: “I have reviewed this manuscript and approve it for release to the sales channels I'll select on the following page.”


Tips for formatting your Word document

Garbage in, garbage out, as we say in data processing. It is your best interests to have a “clean” document without stray spaces, tabs, or paragraph marks. Please see the video for more information. Click here to view video.


Choosing distribution options

This is the last step of the Draft2Digital process. Since I have not completed this step, I don't feel qualified to write much about this step. However, it may be to your advantage to upload directly to Kindle Direct Publishing and to Kobo so that you don't give up any of your royalty to Draft2Digital. But as long as you are going “wide,” you may as well use D2D to reach all the other platforms, including:

  • OverDrive,
  • iBooks,
  • Barnes & Noble,
  • Inktera,
  • Playster,
  • Scribd,
  • Tolino, and
  • 24Symbols.

If you go directly to Kobo instead of permitting D2D to do it for you, then hold off on using D2D to distribute your work to OverDrive. Racuten owns both Kobo and OverDrive, and yu can distribute your e-book from your Kobo Writing Life (KWL) dashboard and receive the best royalty rate. See “Distribute to OverDrive via KWL—Hassle-Free Library Distribution, 50% Royalties.”

I hope this information is helpful to you. Send me your questions by using the Contact form. Tell me how you have used Draft2Digital in the comments below.


About the Author

Award-winning author, Kathrese McKee, writes Young Adult Fantasy and helps others bring their fiction to life through editing and mentoring.