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Create Space vs KDP Print

Yesterday I did something I’ve only dreamed of. I put up a print version of a book, hit publish, and ordered copies to be delivered to my door two days later. Two days from pressing publish to getting a book in my hand. That’s amazing….if it works.

I’ve been using CreateSpace for putting out print books for a while now. I’ve gotten to the point that I can format and compile a print book in a day or two. Once the actual print files (a pdf for the inside, and a wrap around cover for the outside) are created it takes a little tweeking, rearranging, and setting up to get them all compiled into a print file on CreateSpace. If you have a little practice this might take a few hours. For me, getting the cover exactly right was always the hardest part. Stretching it here, adjusting it there, and heaven forbid if I had to add a few pages in after hitting compile.

But it worked. CreateSpace also did something I loved. It let me order a proof for my boyfriend to put on his shelf. And it let me order printed books at cost so that I could give them away, resell them, or take them to signings.

When KDP print came out I decided to try it. The first thing on the front page when starting a print book was “you can not get printed proofs or at cost copies if you continue,” so I stopped and did the book in CreateSpace.

A few weeks ago I tried again because I had gotten an email from KDP saying proof copies and wholesale priced books were now available. I took the opportunity to create my first KDP print book.

The process was simple. All of the information from my KDP kindle edition was already linked to the book so I just had to choose a size, upload the file, and add a cover. The cover creator was the second change. It did not have all of the choices of the original CreateSpace, but it did have a very simple wrap style that allowed me to add an image to the front, and the back, and leave the spine a solid color. I chose to put an image on the front, and leave the spine and back black for this first edition. It will be easy enough to update that later on if I decide to.

KDP print has the same on screen proofing process as CreateSpace. If you know what you’re looking for you probably won’t even need a physical proof to fix things. I found a few errors and was able to fix them and reupload the inside file quickly. I did not have to change the inside drastically to update it, but it was a quick process of uploading the new file and just a minute before I could review it again. Once reviewed you can choose to order a print proof, or publish.

I did both. First, I wanted to experience the print proof process because this was a new thing. I also wanted to see the quality of the proofs. And I love supporting my boyfriend and his weird desire to have a proof of all my books (though it’s kind of cool to see old designs verses new designs of books, and my improvement.) I ordered a proof, then went back in and approved the book for publishing.

This is where the waiting happens. Generally with CreateSpace you push through the book then it tells you that it will be approved within a couple of days. Usually it takes a two to three days for CreateSpace to get back to me. Occasionally it has been 24 hours later. With KDP print it was just a few hours before they approved it. I assume this is because it’s still newer, and not as many people are publishing through there, but it was absolutely amazing to be able to publish a print book and order that same book before I went to bed!

The ordering process for KDP is where the biggest change is. With CreateSpace all you do is place an order, and it puts any orders into a shopping basket right inside CreateSpace. With KDP print orders you are taken back to the Amazon ordering site, and you order books directly from Amazon at the print only fee. You also can’t use your Amazon prime for these orders, which is expected. You’re getting your books at cost, so Amazon would be paying you to get books from them if they didn’t charge you shipping.

I did order a proof for my boyfriends shelf, and I ordered a stack of print copies for the table I will have at RadCon. I’m a bit nervous about ordering so many books sight unseen, but I am pretty confident it will arrive intact.

I’m very curious to see the books in person. I expect it will be the same quality of book since I’m ordering it from the same company, jut a different branch of it. Still, I’m surprised to see just how well I know the specifications of a print book, and what it should look like.

Anyway, this was not a five minute writing session, this was a lot longer than five minutes. If you have any questions please let me know, I am sure I didn’t answer everything here.

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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in On Writing

 

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Formatting Matters

I have been doing a lot of reformatting lately. Adding in better back matter, adding in a little notice about the news letter and a offer of a free book. Little things here and there that take forever, but they go a long way to making a book look professional.

It’s amazing how much my ideas of a “finished” book have changed over the last two years. Even my covers have improved dramatically. But none so much as my print books.

IMAG1817When I first printed the original print editions of my various books I did okay, got the right page size and put the beginning chapter on the right side of the book. I even added a page of reviews so anyone picking it up might see that I had at least some accreditation. They looked good.

When I got to “Witch’s Sacrifice” I did everything the same way, or so I thought, and ordered the proof. The text was itty bitty and could barely be read. I adjusted, sent a new one and found that I forgot to add the front matter. Tried again, upped the font size and added the front matter. Adjusted the table of contents since that always changes when you adjust the font. This version was readable, but I still wasn’t quite happy with it.

It turns out I was using the wrong sized pages when creating the print files for “Witch’s Sacrifice.” That meant when it was shrunk down by Create Space the font shrank with it. When it printed the text ended up being off in every way, as did the page numbers, maps, and everything else.

I didn’t bother changing it after the last time. The text wasn’t too small, so it didn’t look horrible, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted either, but I knew that I’d have to get to it eventually along with all the other little things. Last week I finally took a few days to start reformatting.

IMAG1820It is amazing how big a difference it is just to have everything the correct size. It’s about a one hundred page difference. After adjusting the size of the page and putting in the correct size text made the book feel more substantial, like a real novel.

I got the new and improved version of “Witch’s Sacrifice” today, and it’s beautiful. It’s everything I wanted it to be, and now I know how to format the other two.

BTW!

“Witch’s Stand”, the final book in the series, will be going to the editor next week! I will also be getting the cover done at the end of the month. That means I will finally have a finished trilogy! SQWEEEEEEE!

There is one more story in the Witch’s Trilogy, and that’s a short story about Salvia, the little mother, and how she learns that she is a witch. I haven’t decided if I will be giving this away for perma-free, or just sharing this with my newsletter (though my newsletter will get it long before anyone else does.) However, once that is done I will be putting out a combo pack that has all four stories in it. I will hopefully have the other print books out as well, and might also get a print book of all four together depending on how long it ends up being.

But right now we’re getting ready for RadCon. If you’re there let me know, I’d love to meet you.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Why not both?

book vs kindleWe see it a lot these days, “Ebooks are killing print books!”

They pull up stats, and show us how ebooks are starting to outsell physical books. Physical book readers fight back and say how awful ebooks are. Then we get more stats from publishers saying print books are outsold ebooks. Back and forth like an endless yo-yo.

Why can’t we have both?

Ebooks are convenient. I love the fact that I can take my kindle filled with a thousand books anywhere I go. I can read on the bus, at the park, poolside, or just during my lunch at work. The text and e-ink are easier on my eyes then the computer screen or smart phone, and I have a paperwhite so I can read in bed with a low level of light if I really want to. If text is too small I can adjust that. If text is too big I can adjust that too.

But I have to admit that my digital collection of books isn’t as awe inspiring as my physical one. I don’t rush to see my own book on kindle, I want the paperback in my hands so I can show it off. I like the smell of old books, and the look of their covers on my shelf. I love having a non-fiction paper book that I can write notes in the margins, highlight, and fold pages. Bookmarks in kindle aren’t quite the same.

The music industry is a fantastic counter example of where the publishing industry is going. They had iTunes, then other music shops open to regulate prices. We had Amazon. They had access to iTunes, soundcloud, and other services where indies could go straight to the public, we had Amazon, then Smashwords, and others. They struggle with the same “go free or don’t go free” quandary that faces writers.

Just as writers can see a correlation with their indie writers, readers can see a correlation to their music lovers. CD’s, and even LP’s, have not faded away to obscurity because of MP3’s. On the contrary, they have become collectible, sometimes specialized to give them greater value to the listeners. While lovers of great music continually search out the new, and fill their technology with MP3’s they are also sharing, buying, and trading CD’s and LP’s.

Why wouldn’t books do the same? Print books aren’t going to disappear into the ether. There will always be those who shun technology, who can’t afford it, or simply enjoy the feel of a good book.But like music book publishers are going to have to be a little more creative in how they market, or stick to the big boys who sell the most books. As print on demand becomes easier, and even more cost effective, fewer bulk books will be available.

One of the biggest markets hit by the change in the music industry may have been music stores. Many of them failed while others changed their model, becoming more specialized and catering to specific crowds. Book stores are doing the same thing. While Boarders disappeared Barns and Nobel adjusted their business model and is surviving.

It’s nice that music lovers no longer care if it’s digital or physical. They’ve gotten past the logistic of how their music gets in the hands of the fans and just gone on to make great music. Hopefully that will soon be the case for authors and readers as well. Then we can get back to the business of writing good books, and getting them in the hands of those who love to read.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Commentary

 

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Venturing out of the Hobbit Hole

2015-01-27 00.23.12The books are here! And so are my tickets. I’m going to RadCon!

Oh God! I’m going to RadCon!

Okay Crissy, breathe, it’s okay. We can do this thing!

In all seriousness, I am excited and worried, and nervous all at the same time. I keep telling myself that this nervousness I am feeling isn’t anxiety over crowds of people I don’t know, no it’s EXCITEMENT. Because excitement is just as gut twisting and hard to deal with, but not as scary.

So, I’ve got the books, and maybe I should pack an overnight bag.

Also, writing is going swimmingly. I am back to my 1000 words a day, and feeling great about finishing a few more chapters. I have added another 8,000 words to Mermaid’s Curse since the beta reader made some suggestions. Wow, that’s a lot more then I thought, and I still have another 5-10k to go. The final scene I’m writing is, of course, a big battle scene that I’m leaving to the end because I dread writing battle scenes.

So… If you are at RadCon tweet me. Come say HI!. I’d love to meet you.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Updates

 

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