Author Topic: Publish Drive charging publishers now?  (Read 324 times)

RPatton

Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« on: October 14, 2021, 08:22:52 AM »
Apparently Publish Drive are charging publishers and authors?

I went to log in and see what was going on and you thought vanity publishers were bad? Granted, you get 100% of your share of royalties, but publishing up to 48 books costs $99 a month. $99 a month! I just haven't seen any benefit of using Publish Drive over D2D and was curious if anyone else was still using PublishDrive and what was going on with them?

Seriously. Inquiring minds want to know. :)
 

j tanner

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2021, 09:55:53 AM »
They're also offering a kingsumo "deal" where you can get a lifetime membership for "only" $69!

Start the countdown until they're back to free with a royalty cut...
 

RPatton

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2021, 10:48:49 AM »
That $69 lifetime deal is bad too. D2D does everything that PublishDrive does and somehow manages to do it a hundred times better and takes a fair cut instead of charging authors to use its service. Seriously, I can't see any advantage to PublishDrive and I must be missing something.
 

Jeff Tanyard

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2021, 12:28:14 PM »
I still have my account there, and I'm grandfathered into the non-subscription service, so I don't pay a monthly fee yet.  I haven't tried publishing a book there since they made their pricing structure change, though, so I don't know what would happen.

If they start charging me, I'm out.
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idontknowyet

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2021, 02:48:57 PM »
I would prefer to pay a one time set fee than royalty split anytime. that lifetime $69 doesnt sound bad if they do the same thing as D2D get your books on dozens of platforms and collect your royalites for you.
 

j tanner

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2021, 03:28:10 PM »
I would prefer to pay a one time set fee than royalty split anytime. that lifetime $69 doesnt sound bad if they do the same thing as D2D get your books on dozens of platforms and collect your royalites for you.

For big selling authors a flat fee works out better than a royalty split. But their lifetime deal caps out the number of books, and there's no clear answer what happens next. Conceivably you could be stuck going to $99 a month to publish your next book. Again, that's still probably a decent deal over 10% royalty, but it sort of flies in the face of the typical one-and-done payment most people would think this is.
 

RPatton

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2021, 07:54:57 AM »
I would prefer to pay a one time set fee than royalty split anytime. that lifetime $69 doesnt sound bad if they do the same thing as D2D get your books on dozens of platforms and collect your royalites for you.

For big selling authors a flat fee works out better than a royalty split. But their lifetime deal caps out the number of books, and there's no clear answer what happens next. Conceivably you could be stuck going to $99 a month to publish your next book. Again, that's still probably a decent deal over 10% royalty, but it sort of flies in the face of the typical one-and-done payment most people would think this is.

The $69 deal limits the number of books and it's based on format. So 24 books means 12 ebooks and 12 paperbacks or 8 ebooks, 8 paperbacks, and 8 audio.

You can go up a tier to 96 individual formats for $139. I'm not really sure who the market is for this, that's what has me confused. Most authors are going to go direct, using distributors for one-off storefronts (or Apple, with authors who don't have a Mac and don't want to mess with Mac in Air). It looks as though you can run ads through AMS on PD, but I'm not sure how that works. As for the other "promotions" they are the same promos you get going direct and as near as I can tell, direct authors seem to be favored (which totally makes sense). It is interesting that they claim no cut, but it looks like they do take a cut when it comes to print books. Also, that $139 lifetime deal for 96 books is actually a good deal considering that they charge $99/month for up to 48 books. Although, it looks as though you can ask for a custom deal if you have more books.

I still have my account there, and I'm grandfathered into the non-subscription service, so I don't pay a monthly fee yet.  I haven't tried publishing a book there since they made their pricing structure change, though, so I don't know what would happen.

If they start charging me, I'm out.

So, I went back into my account, no books (I joined a while back when Pronoun had just dropped its exclusivity clause and trying to find a way onto Google), but I could skip the option to pick a plan. I haven't tried to publish anything through them yet, but I do wonder how that will work if I try to publish something. (Also, PD allows for authors splitting royalties, but it's an extra charge, as near as I can tell, no extra charge for D2D, short of the 10% they take off the top.) I'm not sure how they'll handle authors who are grandfathered in without any books on their dash?

One reason I hesitated with PublishDrive was because they had a minimum payout. So, when I was just going wide, I wasn't sure how my sales would go and hated the idea of them holding on to my money indefinitely. As far as I know, that hasn't changed. So, basically, I could be paying them to hold on to my money indefinitely?
 

Jeff Tanyard

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2021, 01:00:37 PM »
Quote
I still have my account there, and I'm grandfathered into the non-subscription service, so I don't pay a monthly fee yet.  I haven't tried publishing a book there since they made their pricing structure change, though, so I don't know what would happen.

If they start charging me, I'm out.

So, I went back into my account, no books (I joined a while back when Pronoun had just dropped its exclusivity clause and trying to find a way onto Google), but I could skip the option to pick a plan. I haven't tried to publish anything through them yet, but I do wonder how that will work if I try to publish something. (Also, PD allows for authors splitting royalties, but it's an extra charge, as near as I can tell, no extra charge for D2D, short of the 10% they take off the top.) I'm not sure how they'll handle authors who are grandfathered in without any books on their dash?


I have no idea.


Quote
One reason I hesitated with PublishDrive was because they had a minimum payout. So, when I was just going wide, I wasn't sure how my sales would go and hated the idea of them holding on to my money indefinitely. As far as I know, that hasn't changed. So, basically, I could be paying them to hold on to my money indefinitely?


It would only be "indefinitely" if you're not making any new sales.  And if you're not making any sales, then paying up front for the service doesn't make sense to begin with.  This is a situation where you have to predict the future as best you can if you want to avoid losing money.   :dizzy

At this point, and in my opinion, PD is really only an option for two kinds of people: those like me who opened accounts when it was free to publish books there, and those who are already high-selling authors and are very confident that their sales via PD will outweigh the up-front costs.  It makes no sense for new authors, and it probably doesn't make sense for many authors who already sell decently.  There's no guarantee that momentum on Amazon will translate to PD's stores.  We've all heard the stories of authors who kill it in KU but flop when they go wide.  At PD, you pay a premium to flop.  At D2D, it's free.  Advantage = D2D.

Again, just my opinion.  I don't make any sales there at all, and I only rarely even log in.  I'm not the expert on PD by any means.
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alhawke

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2021, 04:00:35 AM »
Jeff, if you're so inclined, have you seen much sales with your books from the more niche PD sellers like Dreame, the Chinese retailers or any other? I recall a post a while back with some success with Dreame, but it was very limited. There also seems to be a lot of audible retailers available with PD. I don't have audio books but perhaps other authors on this forum have had success with PD there?

For me, their niche retailers would be the only goodies that would attract me. I already use Smashwords and D2D. To charge for a service, PD would have to make the retailers they use outside of D2D and Smashwords viable. Otherwise, their royalty base is not inviting with the $69 lifetime fee. I'd argue, if you're an established author, it's honestly gonna be hard to make $69 from those extra vendors alone (the other retailers are free with D2D, Smashwords--even Streetlib--otherwise). But does their no-royalty policy make it still worth it ... I don't know.

I used to have the mentality of the more more more sellers the better wide, but then I realized how annoying price changes can be with multiple sellers. Even with me using D2D and Kobo, I often run into price match headaches wide.
 
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RPatton

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2021, 06:38:40 AM »
Jeff, if you're so inclined, have you seen much sales with your books from the more niche PD sellers like Dreame, the Chinese retailers or any other? I recall a post a while back with some success with Dreame, but it was very limited. There also seems to be a lot of audible retailers available with PD. I don't have audio books but perhaps other authors on this forum have had success with PD there?

For me, their niche retailers would be the only goodies that would attract me. I already use Smashwords and D2D. To charge for a service, PD would have to make the retailers they use outside of D2D and Smashwords viable. Otherwise, their royalty base is not inviting with the $69 lifetime fee. I'd argue, if you're an established author, it's honestly gonna be hard to make $69 from those extra vendors alone (the other retailers are free with D2D, Smashwords--even Streetlib--otherwise). But does their no-royalty policy make it still worth it ... I don't know.

I used to have the mentality of the more more more sellers the better wide, but then I realized how annoying price changes can be with multiple sellers. Even with me using D2D and Kobo, I often run into price match headaches wide.

I was about to edit the quote for brevity, but then realized you elucidated everything I was trying to get at.

You pin-pointed the demo - audio books. But wouldn't Findaway be a better option? Yeah, they take a cut, but Findaway carries far more credibility and last time I checked, more favorable to authors in the long run.

You brought up that $69 lifetime deal (actually $139 if you have more than 24 formats). If an author is going after those niche markets, volume is going to make it profitable. Once they reach the cap, that $139 no longer looks as inviting as it does at first glance.

I held a similar mentality about more and more for wide, but then I realized that D2D got me into more, but it was always a pain in the butt to do any kind of large marketing push. At least with the stores I am direct with, I know I can get those price changes done in a timely manner. Apple Books is still a nail biter sometimes, but D2D is at least responsive with price changes and working with publishers. How is PD? I don't have the experience, so anyone with experience jumping in would be appreciated.

As of right now, I don't think I can in good faith recommend any author not already on PD give it a go.
 
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Jeff Tanyard

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2021, 10:47:55 AM »
Jeff, if you're so inclined, have you seen much sales with your books from the more niche PD sellers like Dreame, the Chinese retailers or any other?


No.  I use Amazon, Kobo, and D2D for the major retailers, so I only use PD for the niche ones that aren't available at D2D.  Some of those niche retailers don't accept English-language books, so I'm obviously not on them.  PD is a Hungarian company, and at least one of the retailers is for Hungarian-language books only.  Some Chinese-language-only stores, too, if I recall correctly.

I had a few page reads--or whatever--from Dreame a while back, but that was just a one-time blip.  The only other money I've made from PD is when I first opened the account and had my books on Google Play.

For the record, I've never reached the payment threshold, so what few bucks I've made are still with PD.  I probably won't see that money until I close the account.

PD just recently partnered with iReader, a mobile reading app, and they sent my books there.  It seems geared for romance readers, though, and it serves Southeast Asia, and my books are written in English, so...  :shrug  Needless to say, my expectations are zero.

One would think that the smaller book selection at the various niche stores would make it easier for the books that are there to make sales, but that hasn't been my experience.  I have no idea what it takes to make sales at those niche stores.


Quote
For me, their niche retailers would be the only goodies that would attract me. I already use Smashwords and D2D. To charge for a service, PD would have to make the retailers they use outside of D2D and Smashwords viable. Otherwise, their royalty base is not inviting with the $69 lifetime fee. I'd argue, if you're an established author, it's honestly gonna be hard to make $69 from those extra vendors alone (the other retailers are free with D2D, Smashwords--even Streetlib--otherwise).


I agree with all of this.  D2D is easy, reliable, free, and has stellar customer service.  They're constantly adding new goodies, too, and they do it without totally revamping the site, something I really appreciate.  For years now I've considered them the gold standard for distributors, and I still think that.


...D2D is at least responsive with price changes and working with publishers. How is PD? I don't have the experience, so anyone with experience jumping in would be appreciated.


When I published my books there, I experienced a glitch on one of the retailer's product pages.  The paragraph breaks I put in my blurbs weren't translating to the product page, so the text was all mashed together.  I contacted PD about it, and they fixed it promptly.

So I'm pleased with their customer service.
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alhawke

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2021, 12:48:02 PM »
No.  I use Amazon, Kobo, and D2D for the major retailers, so I only use PD for the niche ones that aren't available at D2D.  Some of those niche retailers don't accept English-language books, so I'm obviously not on them.  PD is a Hungarian company, and at least one of the retailers is for Hungarian-language books only.  Some Chinese-language-only stores, too, if I recall correctly.
Thanks for all the thorough details! Very helpful.
I think offering GooglePlay through PD is another consideration for some writers. It took me nearly six months to get approved direct through GooglePlay.
 

Jeff Tanyard

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2021, 01:37:47 PM »
I think offering GooglePlay through PD is another consideration for some writers. It took me nearly six months to get approved direct through GooglePlay.


You have to make a GP account either way, so you might as well go direct.  Six months is a long time to wait--appalling, frankly--but you get the full royalty without PD taking an extra slice, so that makes it worth the wait, in my opinion.

By the way, here's the list of which stores I'm at via PD and which I'm not.  You can easily guess about some of the disabled stores; I'm on them elsewhere, so using PD would be a duplication.  Also, the language/nationality thing.


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RPatton

Re: Publish Drive charging publishers now?
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2021, 02:54:14 PM »
Thanks for adding this information.

There are a few outlets I'm not in, so I'd need to do a little research to see if it was worth it or not. Just looking at that list, I'm note sure it would be worth doing the time to upload, unless some of those markets are secret gold mines. I'm already direct through Ingram, not sure I have much marketability in Hungary or Spain. So that leaves Bookmate, Dreame, E-Sentral, Ciandro, iReader, and Storytel.

And just as an afterthought, I am genuinely not brushing away, PD. I am actually trying to find a reason to publish through them. I'm looking for that person to say, "Hey, PD is worth it and here's why."