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.