Posts Tagged CreateSpace

Improvements to KDP Paperback Offering

In 2017 Kindle Direct Publishing introduced the facility for authors to self publish in paperback as well as on Kindle. This meant it was no longer necessary to use Createspace to produce paperbacks for sale on Amazon. However, there was a downside to moving away from Createspace towards KDP paperback publishing – unlike Createspace, KDP paperback publishing didn’t allow authors to order proof copies or author copies (i.e. books for the author to sell direct to the public). I blogged about this previously.

However, that has now changed!

It is now possible to order proof and author copies of paperback books via the KDP Author Bookshelf. According to Amazon, authors will pay just the printing costs plus delivery and any taxes. And the really good news? Copies for the UK and Europe will be printed and shipped from within Europe – an improvement on CreateSpace, which ships from America.

Chris McMullen has written a detailed blog post comparing Createspace and KDP paperback publishing, which is well worth a read if you’re wondering which path to take or whether to switch from Createspace to KDP. He concludes that for most authors KDP is now the better option.

On a personal note, I’m now glad I tried KDP paperback publishing for A Coffee Break Story Collection and will consider switching from Createspace when I need more author copies of Bedsit Three.

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Creating an EBook and Paperback Box Set – Part 3

In the first blog post of this mini series I talked about why indie authors should consider creating a box set of their works. In the second post I looked at the points to think about when obtaining a cover for a box set. This time I’m looking at creating the paperback using the new KDP paperback facility.

Differences between Amazon KDP Paperback Publishing and Createspace

• Createspace allows the author to purchase a proof copy of the book before it is published. KDP does not but it is possible to publish at a low price, order a ‘proof’ copy and then increase the price. There is a small chance that someone else will order at the low price and/or receive the book with as yet uncorrected mistakes.
• Createspace allows authors to buy in bulk at a reduced price per copy. This is useful for those who want to hold a stock of books to sell at author events and signings. The cost of doing this plus the cost of shipping from America (where these author copies are produced) has become higher since the UK Brexit vote in 2016. On KDP it is possible for an author to use my ‘proof copy’ price reduction method, mentioned above, to buy books for direct sales.
• A paperback published via Amazon KDP cannot be later re-published via Createspace.
• Publishing a paperback via Amazon KDP allows the author to view all the Amazon sales figures for that book on one dashboard instead of logging into a separate Createspace account.
• Createspace offers ‘expanded distribution’. According to the Createspace website this ‘offers you the opportunity to access a larger audience through more online retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, and distributors within the United States’.

This blog post from the Alliance of Independent Authors offers an overview of the current pros and cons of publishing a paperback through Amazon KDP rather than Createspace .

How to create a KDP paperback

Tips on Using Amazon KDP Paperback Publishing

• Download a KDP template of the correct trim size. I used the template with sample content.
• I copied and pasted my text into the template chapter by chapter, deleting the example text as I went along.
• Think about the font. I stuck with the Garamond of the template but increased it to 12 point – possibly a sign of bad eyesight!
• Headers – A Coffee Break Story Collection is a ‘box set’ of three books and I decided to have the book title at the top of every even numbered page and the individual story title at the top of every odd numbered page. It was necessary to split each story into a separate section within the Word document to do this.
• A Table of Contents is not usually needed for novels. If needed, a Table of Contents can be created using the TOC functionality within Word or it can be done using the Cross Reference facility within Word (detailed instructions for both of these methods in the different versions of Word can be found by searching the internet). I chose this second method because my box set required three separate Tables of Contents – one for each book.
• Check the formatting of the book, using the KDP Previewer, before obtaining a cover, to ensure that the number of pages is correct. In order to do this, it may be necessary to use the KDP cover creator to generate a temporary cover. You will be able to replace this cover with your own prior to publication.
• Product description – this can be copied from the book’s Kindle product description. However, on publication the line breaks may disappear. My description initially appeared as one mass of text. I queried this with Amazon and was advised to manually insert HTML coding to force the line breaks. To do this insert <br> where a line break is required.
• Linking of Kindle and paperback editions on the same product page. This should happen automatically after publication, but may take a few days. If it doesn’t happen, contact Amazon and they will very quickly make the link.

Formatting and publishing a paperback book takes patience and an eye for detail, whether done via Createspace or KDP but it is not rocket science. Good Luck!

A Coffee Break Story Collection contains a bumper 36 stories and is available for Kindle and in paperback via Amazon and also on Kobo.

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Bedsit Three Sells 1000 Copies

Last month total sales of the psychological thriller, Bedsit Three, passed the 1,000 mark.

Bedsit Three by Sally Jenkins

At this point it’s worth reflecting on the breakdown of sales across retailers. It’s not what I was expecting 18 months ago when the novel was first published.

Kobo                                                                                       764
Paperbacks direct from me                                                119
Kindle                                                                                       91
Createspace (i.e. paperbacks from Amazon)                   34
Overdrive (via Smashwords)                                                 2
Apple (via Smashwords)                                                         1

I expected Kindle to generate the largest number of sales because it is still, by far, the largest ebook sales platform. However, Bedsit Three was shortlisted for a competition organised by Kobo and Silverwood Books. On the back of this, I contacted Kobo and was able to get the book included in some promotions, which obviously paid off.

The lesson going forward? Don’t get obsessed by the benefits of KDP Select (which requires authors to keep their books exclusive to Amazon). Dip your toe in the water and try other ebook retailers as well.

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Ordering CreateSpace Author Copies into the UK – Beware Incorrect VAT

One of the most exciting things about being an author is receiving a box full of brand new, pristine paperbacks. Author copies of Bedsit ThreeThis box of treasure represents the months or years of hard work needed to get from an ethereal idea to actual words down on paper in black and white.

Shortly after publishing the thriller Bedsit Three I ordered fifty author copies direct from CreateSpace in the US. They were delivered by UPS and left at a convenient local pick-up point because I was out at the time of delivery. The parcel arrived much quicker than I expected and I was impressed by the service.

Two months down the line I had sold over 2/3 of that original delivery and, with a book-signing event arranged with a local community group for the end of January, I decided to order more copies. This time things didn’t go so smoothly. Again I was out when UPS called but this time they left a note indicating that when they attempted a future second delivery I would have to pay £36.89 in taxes to the driver. Apparently this was the VAT charged on the parcel by HM Customs & Excise. I wasn’t expecting this and panicked, calculating it would mean increasing my prices by around 75p per book – thus making it harder to sell.

I phoned UPS and they said the charge couldn’t be avoided. I contacted CreateSpace and they said customs charges were up to each individual country.  Then I searched the internet and found this useful and reassuring CreateSpace forum post. It says that import VAT should not be charged on books coming into the UK and advises phoning the UPS Brokerage team on 01332 815514. I did this and was given a reference number to give to the driver when he attempted to deliver the parcel a second time. This reference number tells him not to impose the charge.

If this charge had been imposed on my first consignment I may well have paid it out of ignorance. So beware when ordering/receiving CreateSpace author copies into the UK!

Bedsit Three is “a psychological why dunnit reminiscent of Barbara Vine/ Ruth Rendell” – Amazon reviewer.

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CreateSpace Tips from Anne Harvey

Anne HarveyA couple of weeks ago Hilary Custance Green impressed us with her totally independent self-publishing journey. Today Anne Harvey has kindly agreed to share her CreateSpace experience with us.

Anne is the author of A Suitable Young Man.

It’s a nostalgic tale of friendship, family, love, loyalty and loss, set in a Lancashire mill town in the 1950s. One dark December night, Kathy Armstrong is rescued from two thugs by Nick Roberts, whom she’d known as a schoolgirl. But Nick is a Teddy boy, hell-bent on having a good time in the pubs and dance halls of the era. Shortly after, she meets accountant John Talbot at a party and is captivated by his middle-class charm. To the background of the new rock and roll, a mounting crisis over the Suez Canal, family and personal crises, Kathy struggles with a wayward attraction to Nick and her incubating love for John. But which one is ‘The Suitable Young Man?’

I read A Suitable Young Man during its beta phase and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now, how did Anne get on with CreateSpace?

I published my debut novel ‘A Suitable Young Man’ on Amazon Kindle at the beginning of December but always knew that I wanted to bring it out as a paperback as well. Having only a limited budget, I chose to go with Amazon’s CreateSpace facility.

It looked a pretty scary project to undertake. Then, I learned of a book, ‘Format Your Print Book’ by Tim C Taylor, which promised to guide me through the process. I would recommend purchasing the paperback version for easy referral. The book proved invaluable but even though this was a second edition, certain things had changed which I needed to work my way through.

Although there is a Createspace template available, I didn’t like it because there seemed to be too many spaces between paragraphs which would have amounted to extra pages. Instead, I chose to format the book myself following Tim Taylor’s guidelines. It wasn’t easy but I took it a step at a time. The main thing to remember is to use section breaks instead of page breaks and first line indentation instead of tabs. Fortunately, there is a previewer so that you can check your work at all times. (Tip here: when formatting make use of the ‘print preview’ facility in Windows so that you can see how it’s going to look as a book.) Berni Stevens, who had designed my cover for the ebook, had had experience of formatting a full cover (including spine and back cover) and was a big help, eventually providing me with a print-ready pdf copy to upload.

Once everything is uploaded to your satisfaction, it has to be submitted for review (to ensure that it doesn’t contravene any of their regulations). This usually takes 24 hours after which you are emailed to say you can go ahead and order a proof copy. There’s a drawback here in that the proof copy has to come from the US. While waiting for that, I completed all the pricing and distribution details on my ‘dashboard.’ When working out a sale price, I took into consideration the cost price of author copies plus shipping from the States and added a profit margin onto that. Incidentally, cost of author copies and shipping costs are clearly given and simple to follow.

So, I’ve ordered my proof copy which should be with me some time in January. On receipt of that, I will need to check carefully through, make sure there are no typos or glaring formatting errors. Then, I will be ordering author copies which will take another few weeks to arrive. Because of this, it will be impossible to arrange a book launch in advance, which is a drawback. In the meantime, it will be available as POD for single copies for anyone who wants to purchase it through Amazon UK, no waiting time involved. I hope my experience helps anyone else thinking of trying Createspace.A Suitable Young Man by Anne Harvey

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