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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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But that’s HARD!

I recently got an email from a young writer (young in her writing, I have no idea her actual age) and she described her writing to me in the same way I would describe mine. I write until I come to a hard part, jot down a little note, then skip to the next easy part to write. Anyone who is just trying to get their words down for the day has probably done this, or skipped that spot of dialog that didn’t quite work, or put down “battle scene with hero as the winner” or some such. I do this a lot for battle scenes because it takes me a while to puzzle through the moves to make it right.

The problem becomes, and this is me talking more about myself than anyone else because this is where I am in my writing… eventually you have to finish something or you have to admit this is just a project novel. Like that project car your dad had in the garage when you grew up. He kept it to tinker on, and play with, but never really got around to finishing it.

So here I am, 40, with hundreds, if not thousands of ideas in my idea journal, half written novels and partially written short stories, and only a small fraction of them finished. I keep putting aside the hard parts because… it’s HARD!

And damn right it’s hard. It’s hard because you’re writing something that is actually worth reading. Something with detail, and heart, meant to move people and get them to read. If it was easy then everyone would do it. If it was easy then there would be no value in it, but a book on a shelf has a value. People buy it and read it, then take their time to review it. If you expect people to spend time and money on your words then it should be good.

But there is good, and there is perfectionist. Finding that balancing point where you can actually finish stories, and get them out there in good order vrs tinkering on the story for years…that’s the edge that you walk.

Sometimes I do have to walk away from a story. Maybe it doesn’t work, or something isn’t quite fitting together right, so I put the story away and I work on something else. I’ve been working like this for years, and I have over a million words banked in my folders, waiting to be finished. (Here’s a picture, but this is not ALL of the stories I have started. The blue are published short stories and novels. Pink are finished, but not published. The rest plots, or started stories, but never finished.)

I have a whole shelf filled with tinker stories. I add a few words here and there, I might even binge through a few chapters on a novel, but finishing one isn’t easy. There’s always that point where it’s just hard, and I skip it.

I need to stop skipping it. I need to write down why it’s so hard and get my head back into the game. Last year was my worst word count in almost five years. That’s not acceptable, and neither is never finishing another novel.

So here’s to the hard parts! *Cheers!*

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2018 in On Writing

 

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What’s that?

The last couple of days I have been busy working away on a few things. Today has been the most important. I got the edits back for Dragon’s Flame, put up the pre-order, and started working on the revisions. It is up for pre-order for 99 cents right now, and will be released on the 29th.

The edits are going well, and there are only some minor reworking to do, but over all I’m pretty happy about this novel. Then back to working on Dragon’s Blood.

I’ve also been finishing Costume Shop, my first children’s story. It will be a chapter book, with an R.L. Stine feel to it. And it will be out in time for Halloween.

I’ve also been updating a lot of my covers. A few months ago I did a complete over-hall of my Illicit Gains series, I thought it was about time to redo the text on my Small Bites short stories series. The text just looked so boring next to all the other ones. With the new text I think I’m happier with the covers.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2017 in Updates

 

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5min- Publishing

It’s been a wild ride this year. I’m getting ready to publish my fourth real book. When I say “real” I just mean that it has more than 50k words in it and qualifies as a full novel. Most of the books I have up are short stories and novellas with the three main books that are full novels.

But I looked today and I have actually published 40 short stories. Not all separately, some are in anthologies. But, dang, that’s a lot of short stories.

Trying to figure out what I should be doing with those short stories. They don’t sell a lot of copies, but I give them away a lot. I get some reviews, and a lot of comments from people that read them. I am considering giving them away as a Patreon reward, or a reward for subscribers to my newsletters. Or both, maybe?

It’s the little things, though. Setting up the publishing details. Starting to do the print book set up. Considering where/how I might advertise it when I finally get it done. But! it’s at the editors now and I’m all set to go from here.

Of all 46 stories I’ve written over the years, and publishing so many books, I am so happy that I’ve continued on this journey. It isn’t always easy, it’s a lot of time, energy, and sometimes tears getting out all of those words. But the stories are worth it. Having the books on my shelf, or having something to show to others, or even the audio books, are all worth the trouble it took to get here.

And that’s my five.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in On Writing

 

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5min – Editing

Today has been pretty busy, so far. We went out to a birthday lunch with friends, went shopping to get supplies for Gregg’s armor that he’s making, and I cleaned up the house a bit.

Then I came home and I spent a few hours playing a game. This was a much needed mental health moment because I know I’m going back to work tomorrow, and I needed some time to just have a little fun, and veg out. Most people watch TV for that, I play video games.

But now it’s time to get back to work, so here I am writing my morning pages in the evening. It’s 9, and I usually go to bed at 3am or so, so there is plenty of time.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been stuck between editing and writing. There is a huge difference in mind sent with both of these. If I’m writing I just put the words on paper, and let them flow. Easy. I sometimes get a thousand words in less than an hour. It feels productive, and if I actually did it for more than an hour a day I would probably be able to keep up with everyone else. With the writing at least.

But once that first draft is out I need to do the revise. Read through, clean up spelling, grammar, rewrite a few sentences. Add in bits that were missing, or sometimes add in whole chapters. This part takes me forever. I need to figure out a better way of doing it. It doesn’t matter how good or clean the first draft is, there are those little bits of filler that I need to put in so that the 50k words make one sensible story line instead of just scenes strung out on a page.

I don’t know why, but reading back over my words is really tough to do sometimes. I get so easily distracted, or just space. Probably because I know what’s going to happen, and I just can’t stand to read it again so soon after writing. Maybe if I put it in a draw for a while it would be easier, but I’m going to have to write a LOT to be able to do that.

And there’s my five.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Fire and Ice

I’ve been working on the new cover for the first book in “The Half Blood Sorceress” series. Book one, Dragon’s Flame, is finished. Well, the first draft is. I have a few things to clean up before sending it off to the editor, but I am hoping to have it out soon (in relitive terms).

The back of the book:

A tragedy. A secret. A journey to find the truth.

Sybel watched as her mother burned on a funeral pyre, but she never expected her father to push her into the flames. When Sybel survives the pyre without a single burn she’s banished from the village for reasons she doesn’t understand.
With more questions than answers, Sybil’s only hope is to make a treacherous journey to find the wise mages of Kemoor. As she ventures out beyond the edges of her village she finds a world filled with dangers; massive creatures, vindictive humans, and an ice cold wind blowing from the north. A wind that is far more sinister than anyone suspects.
Now the girl who would not burn must trust in unlikely allies to save her life, and discover the truth…

And the best part is I’ve already written most of book two. I’m hoping to have books one and two out this year, with the third one next year some time. I have at least a five book arc for this series.

The Half Blood Sorceress is not part of the same world as my Witch’s Trilogy. In the Witch’s Trilogy there are many sentient creatures created by the elements. In The Half Blood Sorceress series there are three races; humans, dragons, and ifrits. The world building of these two series was so completely different. Peyllen (the world of Witch’s Trilogy) took years to flesh out. But because of all that world building the mythos of Peyllen is an entire series of it’s own that I’m still writing.

The Half Blood Sorceress is different in a lot of ways, and so is the experience of creating the world, and writing the stories. I honestly can’t wait to get it out and hear what others have to say about it.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Stories

 

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How do some novelists write book after book after book?

I recently started answering some questions over on Quora. I thought I’d share them here now. This particular question is a good one, one that is asked a lot…

*************** Answer *************

Lots of people will be telling you “they write crap.” They aren’t completely wrong. There are some authors who do churn out “crap”, but what you call crap and what the readers like might be the same thing.

Take James Patterson for example. He writes a lot of books, and he sells A LOT of books. He sells them because people love them. Even Chuck Tingle, who clearly writes toward the ridiculous, can churn out a book a week, and sells enough books to never work again.

Then there’s Stephen King who wrote so many books a year that he kept manuscripts in his drawer because the editors refused to publish more than one a year. He eventually publishd under a pseudonym just so that he could do something with the work he had done. And he has contributed a huge amount of work to the horror genre, and inspired many people to build upon his foundations.

List of prolific writers – Wikipedia who have more than 150 books to their name, some with more than 1000. Nora Roberts, RL Stine, Issac Asimov, and more.

Are they geniuses? You might consider some of them to be. But really, if you pay attention to what these authors have to say you realize that it isn’t genius that drives them. They simply want to create a story, and they write it. They don’t agonize over every word, or rewrite 50 times like their counterparts who write less than a book a year. They just write. In Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury and On Writing Stephen King both authors insist that anyone can write. Bradbury even suggests writing a short story a week every week for a year (because no one can write 52 bad short stories.)

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, by Rachel Aaron and 5, 000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox offer some fantastic tips and tricks to help you write more consistently, and steadily increase your word count per day. Because really that’s what it comes down to. The more you write the more words you have down on a page, and the faster you get to the end of a novel. The more you practice writing the better your writing becomes. The more finished novels, short stories and novels you have the more practice you have at completing work.

Writing, noveling, is a job. A plummer can’t take a day off because he just doesn’t feel like it. An neither can an author. Call it crap if you want (and clearly a lot of people do) but that doesn’t mean you can’t write a good novel quickly if you just take the time to do so.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in On Writing

 

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