Conversations in the Abyss is a follow up novel to The Cult of Me by Michael Brookes. I’ve not actually read the first book, and I don’t really think it matters all that much if you haven’t as this works pretty well as a standalone story. There are a couple of different styles of writing in here, and switching from first person narrative to third person works well for the most part of the story. Personally, I preferred the third person view of the Friar over the more metaphysical prose from inside the head of The Deathless Man. It’s an interesting take on the struggle between Good and Evil and demons and angels. I expect there will be a third part along in due course, making this a trilogy, so some of you will want to start with The Cult of Me. Overall, though this isn’t my usual sort of read, I found it engaging and well-written. If you love stories about angels and God and demons and exorcising monks, do give this a try.
There has been a fair bit of discussion about D2D recently (a lot from me, it has to be said) and I said I would report back on my experience with them. So here it is…
Firstly, whilst there are many comparisons to Smashwords, and from what I have learned over the last few months, D2D is better in a lot of ways. I have no experience of Smashwords, so I don’t want to start tearing both sites apart stating what I think is better when compared to the other. This is a report on my findings of D2D only.
Please note that D2D is still currently operating in open beta mode. This means that they haven’t officially launched yet and registering with them requires a beta access code. Don’t fret, because these codes are, at the moment, given out instantly once you register with them. This may change. There is no announced date for the official launch.
Currently, D2D allows you to publish your eBooks to the following sites:
Nook (Barnes & Noble)
Further outlets are being pursued including Google and Sony.
Upload times vary for each site. I am only using Nook, Kobo and iBooks, so I can only report on their upload times, which are as follows (these may vary).
Nook: Approximately 12 hours
Kobo: Approximately 3 days
iBooks: Approximately 12 days
These times are out of D2D’s control. They do send you an email each time a site goes live with a title, and a link is included in the email for you to check out your eBook on that site.
D2D allows you to upload an MS Word .doc (or .docx) file for conversion, or you can upload your own ePub file if you prefer.
If you use a .doc file, you can allow D2D to automatically add the front and back matter to your file and will create a working TOC. When uploading your file, you will be presented with some tick-box options allowing you to select what you would like to include, for example, a title page, an about the author page, copyright, etc.
I highly recommend using their conversion process. Simply upload a file containing just the chapters and let D2D do the rest. It’s simple and the output file is great. On top of this, you are able to take the file they generate and use it wherever else you want with no restrictions. You will be given the option to download copies in .mobi, ePub and pdf formats.
Once logged into your account, you are presented with your list of published books. Clicking on each one individually, you are shown a graph of your sales covering the last 2 weeks. Click on the “My Sales” page and you can get further details of your sales history with more graphs and configurable variables. Do you want to see how many sales you had between 1st and 15th February only? No problem.
Sales figure are updated in real time (with an approximate one hour delay) on all sites except for iBooks who update once every 24 hours.
Pricing, Royalties and Payment
Currently, only iBooks and Kobo allow you to set the price of an eBook to free. For Nook and Amazon, there is a minimum of .99 cents. At the moment, the only option is to set 1 price (in US Dollars) for each title, for all sites. If you want to set it as free for Kobo and iBooks, enter $0.00 and D2D will automatically set the price to 99 cents for the others. I have been informed that they are working on including an option to set prices in other currencies such as Sterling. Remember, D2D is still in beta, so new features are being designed and added quite regularly. For the time being, the dollar price will be converted into the equivalents on each site. For $2.99, I get £2.21 with Kobo, £1.90 with Nook and £1.99 with iBooks (Apple will round up or down to the nearest x.99 price).
Rather than me list all the pricing, here is their pricing chart which details what you get with which site. Note that the $9.99 price is an example, and they don’t mean that this is the minimum you need to receive the higher royalties for each site…
Payment works much the same way as Amazon. You get paid monthly assuming you reach a certain amount ($10). Just this week they have added the option for international EFT payments direct into your bank account.
D2D are required to withhold 30% of your payment for the IRS until you send them a W8-BEN form. The good news is you can email or fax them the completed form, so there are no worries about it getting lost in the post.
They are also working on a coupon system similar to the one offered by Smashwords. There are no details on this at the moment as I believe it is still in the planning stage.
D2D run to weekday office hours (CST) so bear that in mind if you need to contact them. I needed to email them about something over the weekend and I had a reply (with a fix) late Monday afternoon UK time. Cannot fault their customer service at all.
Honestly, I cannot fault them. It is so easy to use. If you can manage Amazon’s KDP then you will have no problems here. In fact, it’s easier in some ways. The flexibility of the sales reports is excellent and the site interface is a doddle to navigate. If you are considering spreading your wings outside of Amazon, then, as a UK author looking for international options without the headache, I recommend you try D2D.