Monday, April 4, 2022

How Writers Can Create a Free Lead Magnet Using Draft2Digital

Edie here, I want to wish Kristen HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Today is her birthday, so join me in helping her celebrate 

by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @KHogrefeParnell

Welcome back to our conversation about creating a lead magnet to offer your readers! Remember, a lead magnet is simply a download or product, available for free when someone subscribes to your newsletter. Today, we’re going to look at the service called Draft2Digital, which many indie writers use to publish and sell their books. This same service allows you to create free downloads without the requirement to sell them, which makes it ideal for formatting your lead magnet. 

Today, I’m going to share my tips for each step of the process, which I recently completed for my new short story. If you’re still working on content for your lead magnet, bookmark this post for future reference. Otherwise, join me in creating a free account. For the record, I’m not getting any kick-back for talking about Draft2Digital (D2D). It’s just the service that met my formatting needs for free and might meet yours too. 

Ready to get started? 

Prepare Content

Before you start your book project, take a few minutes to complete the Contributor Profile under “Account.” Choose “View Profiles” in order to “Add New Profile” for yourself. In this section, you’ll add a name for your profile (internal use only), your bio, headshot, and website link. You will need this section complete to include an About the Author page in your book. We’ll look at that option later.

Once you log in to Draft2Digital, you can’t miss the bold orange button that reads, “Add New Book.” 

Once you select it, the program walks you through several steps.

1. Upload your front cover art: You can choose the option, “I don’t have front cover art” or upload your cover-in-progress since you have the option to replace the art at any time. However, the cover won’t download with your pre-published mobi, epub, or pdf file, so you can skip this step altogether for our purposes. (Remember, we’re not actually publishing with D2D, just using their formatting tools to get our lead magnet’s interior content looking stellar, a service they even advertise on their website.) We’ll talk about the cover for our lead magnet next month, so I hope you’ll come back for that conversation.

2. The other fields are self-explanatory, such as title, publisher (you), and author (you). Also optional are fields for series, volume number, and search terms. If I were actually publishing a book on this platform, I would take the time to complete the search terms, which might help with discoverability. However, this project will simply be a free download, so no one will be searching for it on a platform like Amazon.

3. You are required to choose a category for your book (in the field called Filter BISACS), so I chose Fiction/Short Story. Then, you can choose the next step, “Start Ebook.”

Upload Content

Draft2Digital accepts several formats for your manuscript: Word .doc or .docx, RTF, or formatted epubs. 

A few tips about formatting your document prior to uploading:
  • Work with an editor or beta readers. Make sure to carefully edit and spell check your project so it’s as professional as possible.
  • Remove any front matter you have before uploading the file. D2D provides pre-formatted options with your information.
  • Use Heading 1 for your chapter titles.
  • If you want to use a style where D2D inserts a dinkus (a symbol to indicate a scene break), just add three hard returns between scene breaks. If you use the basic format, you can add your own wingding using “insert symbol” in Word.
  • You can find other formatting tips in their eBook layout pocket guide.
Once you upload the file, you’ll need to supply a short e-book description. It’s a good exercise to do now, so you can use the blurb when promoting your new lead magnet in your newsletter or on your website.

The next step concerning the ISBN is irrelevant for our purposes, since we’re not publishing this project to sell. The simplest choice is to select that D2D will provide you one so that you can move on.

Choose the Layout & Preview Your Project

In this step, you choose your front matter and end matter options. Draft2Digital provides space for you to type your personalized Dedication. D2D also offers a satisfying, simple Title Page and Copyright page based on the information you provided when you set up your account. 

These front matter pages will not appear in the “preview” step, but you can see them when you download your book’s preview. If you want something more intensive for the front matter, you can just upload your own versions and skip these options. 

Remember setting up your Contributor Profile earlier? Now, all you need to do is select the “About the Author” page option, and D2D will pull that content into the end matter of your book.

Lastly, you’ll preview your formatted pages and can choose from different style options. Once you decide on the one you like best, choose “Download Your Book Preview” on the bottom right in whatever formats you want to offer your lead magnet (mobi, epub, and/or pdf). 

Pro tip for Kindle users: Use your immersion reading option to listen to the mobi file on your Kindle. It’s a great way to “hear” any typos you might have missed in the proofreading process. Make any necessary changes, and then upload a revised file (which you can do as many times as needed).

You will see a final step on D2D to save, continue, and publish your project, but you can simply stop at this point to download your lead magnet.

Whew! Great job walking through that information with me. If you have any questions, let me know. Next month, I’ll share my new lead magnet to replace my current free novella, along with a discussion on DIY cover design options. 

For accountability, I’d love to hear from you in the comments: How is your lead magnet progressing?


Kristen Hogrefe Parnell writes suspenseful fiction from a faith perspective for teens and adults. Her own suspense story involved waiting on God into her thirties to meet her husband, and she desires to keep embracing God’s plan for her life when it’s not what she expects. She also teaches English online and is an inspirational speaker for schools, churches, and podcasts. Her young adult dystopian novels, The Revisionary and The Reactionary, both won the Selah for speculative fiction, and her first romantic suspense novel with Mountain Brook Ink releases December 2022. Kristen and her husband live in Florida and enjoy sharing their lake home with family and friends. Connect with her at


  1. Happy birthday, Kristen! And thank you for this great post. I'm going to try this with one of my short stories. I love to have a free digital to give away.

    1. Thank you so much! You're so welcome. I hope this method works great for your short story. Blessings to you!

  2. Thank you, Edie, for the kind birthday wishes!

  3. Kristen, this is fantastic information -- just what I need. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. You're welcome, Karen! I'm so glad this post is timely for you.

  4. Kristen... this is what I know I need to do! What a help. Thank you for all your tips. God blesses...

    1. I'm so glad to hear this post was helpful! Blessings to you, Deb!