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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Paperback Here I Come! The Tribulations of Going From Kindle to Print

Paperback Here I Come!

The Tribulations of Going From Kindle to Print

I am really excited today because, for the first time I have a novel out in paperback! I have had short stories in other people's paperback, but never one all to myself.

Happy Dance!
Having been publishing in eBook form for several years now I am very used to the rigmarole involved in that, but preparing for print is another step up again. We still need the description and a killer title etc, so I won't go into those here, but these are steps I went through in addition to that.

It is possible to pay for all the formatting and cover work, but of course that incurs significant costs. This blog post is all about DIY and a few of the things that had me scratching my head :).

Where Shall We Publish Our Paperback?

If we are already using KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) to publish our books we really only have two choices:
There are other options out there, but I only looked into these two.

Kindle & Paperback are linked (still waiting for mine to link, they say it takes up to 48hrs)Don't have lower cost proof copiesHigher royalty when bought directly from CreateSpace site.Paperback is displayed on Amazon, but is not linked to the Kindle version if you set up the Kindle version first.
If you are a prime member postage is free.
Don't have member rates for author copies
Offer lower price proof and author copies.
Postage is quite high if you want it before just under 2 months is out.

Lower royalty rate.
Distribute to other vendors.

It worked out cheaper and quicker for me to publish on CreateSpace, wait for it to appear on Amazon.co.uk and order a copy from there because I have Prime than do it direct from CreateSpace.

These are the prices for my book:
Author copy price = $3.63
However, postage was:
Standard Shipping $4.88 Estimated Delivery Date: Mon, Mar 20, 2017
Expedited Shipping $7.99 Estimated Delivery Date: Tue, Feb 14, 2017
Priority Shipping $14.38 Estimated Delivery Date: Mon, Feb 06, 2017

Since this was a proof copy I wanted, I wanted it quickly, so my only option was the maximum and then it still wouldn't arrive before next Monday, total cost £14.42.

As it is, I ordered from Amazon.co.uk for £8.99 and it was here yesterday.

For those living in the US, theses costs may be considerably cheaper, I'm sorry, I have no idea.

However, if I go up to say 10 author copies, for a promotion or something, then it is cheaper to go through CreateSpace, especially since I hope I would be organised enough to order in advance :).

Since I could change my book to be KDP later, I went with CreateSpace to begin with, in case I wanted author copies. Then CreateSpace was having a problem with my TAX number and was telling me it was going to withhold 30%, so I gave up and switch my book to KDP. If I want author copies I'll create a new edition on CreateSpace later with a new ISBN.

KDP documentation also says it doesn't have author copies yet ... so they may add them.

Once a book is transferred to KDP it is no longer available on CreateSpace because of ISBN issues.

Next time I will just go straight through KDP.

Formatting the Book - Not As Easy As Kindle

It might seem a pain sometimes for us to format our books for Kindle, but, trust me, that is plain sailing compared to what needs to be done for a print book. Luckily for you and me, KDP and CreateSpace offer very nice templates to help.

However, before you can download a template, there are some decisions to be made:
  • Print type: Black & White or Colour
  • Paper type: Cream or White
  • Trim Size: They have many, they recommend 6x9 in as the most popular, but you can pick a different one if you would like.
  • Bleed Settings: needed for images and illustrations.
  • Cover Finish: Matte or Glossy
I used the KDP templates because I started setting my book up there first before I realised about CreateSpace. CreateSpace offers you a particular template when you pick the trim size.

The easiest option for us novelists is to pick the formatted template with sample content. We then have to replace the content within the template, but it makes it a lot easier to see what we are doing!

So we have are template, now we have to get our book into it.
  1. Save the novel manuscript as plain text. We do not want any of our current formatting to get into our new template.
  2. Copy each piece of content into the correct place in the template. i.e. front matter to front matter, chapter to chapter, back matter to back matter.
    If there are too many chapters, delete the spare.
    If there are not enough chapters copy one of the template chapters and paste it in until there are enough.
  3. Make sure all the chapters are numbered correctly.
  4. Manually enter the table of contents with page numbers for each chapter. Now many novels do not have tables of contents and the advice I saw and went with is that if our chapter headings are just numbers, a toc is unnecessary, but if our chapters have titles, it is usual to have a toc.
The template deals with margins and opposite page positioning, and chapter title spacing and everything like that, so it makes life much easier for us. We can get a professional looking finish without knowing everything about the setup.

The Cover - Also Not As Easy As Kindle

A normal book has a back and a spine as well as a front, which makes the cover for a paperback trickier than that of a Kindle book.

The really tricky bit is the spine and making sure it is the right size. There are formulae for calculating the size, but luckily for us, KDP have templates again. So, if we are designing our own cover, poping along to the KDP templates page and downloading the correct one is by far the easiest solution.
Tip: The 'Page Count' is the number of document pages in your book, not the number of leaves (physical book pages with a back and a front), even though when KDP tries to explain page count it uses 'page' for both the number of pages and the number of leaves and is utterly confusing.
Then we just use this template to build our cover, taking account of the guide lines.

As is says under their instructions we need to save our covers as print quality PDF. In Photoshop this is easy:
  1. Choose 'Save As'
  2. Pick 'Photoshop PDF' from the Format options.
  3. The 'Save Adobe PDF' option dialog will come up - choose '[Press Quality]' from the Adobe PDF Preset list.
  4. Click 'Save PDF' and it's done.

Proofing the Book

Right, so now we have our cover and our manuscript, so we can upload both into KDP or CreateSpace. We have to have both to convert and then proof the book, even though the downloadable proof doesn't have the cover in it :).

In both cases we can preview the book proof online, including a 3D rendering of our cover, so we can check how it looks. This is all well and good, but definitely download the PDF proof as well.

In KDP there is a link to download this right in the previewer. There is a PDF icon at the bottom of the screen which when clicked allows us to download the proof.

In CreateSpace, we have to wait until our files are approved and then there is an option to download the proof in the same place as the online launcher.

Now here is the most important thing I learned when proofing my book:

Print out the proof.

Not kidding, you would not believe the number of errors I found because I went through it with a red pen on paper. They were only tiny errors, like one wrong letter on a 'his' or an 's' on something that shouldn't have been a plural, but they were there.
Tip: To make it easy to find the errors again when we are making the corrections, noting down the page number on the front of the proof every time we find one is the way to go.
Some things to look out for that you normally wouldn't in a Kindle doc are:
  • blank pages - the only place we should have blank pages in in our front matter to make sure everything is in the correct place and that our first chapter starts on a page facing us.
  • page numbers in the table of contents - mine were all a page out from about 2/3rds through because I had moved a piece of formatting and forgot to recheck the numbering before uploading the file.
Once we have made all our corrections to our master manuscript and re-uploaded it, we are ready to move on to pricing.

Pricing the Book

There is really only one way to know how to competitively price our book, and that is to check to see what other paperbacks in our genre are being priced at.

Unfortunately for us, print on demand is more expensive than mass market paperback production, so we are never going to be able to be competitive with all those big names who have their paperback at ridiculously low prices when they first comes out. Don't stress over this, there are plenty of other authors, self-pub and tradition pub who also don't have this advantage.

When we have set up our book on KDP or CreateSpace it will have a cost to print per unit. This is how much it costs to produce the book and depends on size, print, paper and number of pages. This cost is taken right off the top when the book is sold.

Then there is the percentage KDP or CreateSpace will take as their cut. I tried to understand how they worked this out, but I have no idea where the number came from, so I just believed them. This is added on to the cost to provide the minimum book price.

If we sell our book at the minimum book price we get no royalties. Possibly useful for having a sale at some point, not much for making a living.

What we need to do is pick a price for our paperback that has how much we would like to earn tacked on the top. Both KDP and CreateSpace helpfully tell us what our royalty will be for any price we pick, so it is easy to see.

I went with $10.99,/£8.99 because it left me some wiggle room if I want to take it down to do a sale etc. later. KDP and CreateSpace will calculate prices for us just based on the dollar amount, but it looks more professional to have the more expected numbers.

Press the Publish Button

All that remains is taking our courage in our hands and clicking that publish button.

On CreateSpace there is the option of ordering a proof copy before publishing, which can be a good idea if the shipping doesn't take forever or cost the earth.

On KDP we can only get a copy after it is published, but never fear, it is going into a huge pool so the sharks shouldn't find it too quickly. Order a copy as soon as it is live and check it as soon as it arrives.

Then market like there is no tomorrow.


Dead Before Dawn: The Vampire Curse

by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Max Statton's life will never be the same again.

While in Moscow for the premier of his new movie a terrifying encounter reveals some nightmares actually exist. Attacked by one of the city's resident vampires, Max is bitten and infected. Only a team of local vampire hunters prevent him being dragged into the violent underworld of the undead.

Fighting for his very existence, Max must resist the vampire curse with the help of Yulia, the hunter's doctor. But with his humanity slipping away, Max only has two choices: ask the hunters to end it, or risk becoming a monster.

When Yulia offers him a final, desperate, kill or cure option, Max must decide if he has the courage to take it. He wants his life back, and the idea of telling his friend and co-star, Gian Bossard, he's sort of in love with him, doesn't seem so frightening after vampires. However, Yulia's solution could just as easily send him to a worse hell than the one he's living.

Paperback: Amazon (smart URL)
eBook: Amazon (smart URL) | Smashwords

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  1. Hi Natasha - congratulations on getting your book into print ... and thank you for all this information - certainly very useful to have for the future ... good luck - cheers Hilary

    1. Thank you :D

      I had a few, WTH moments when trying to sort everything out, so I thought I'd share and, hopefully, save others the same confusion :)

  2. Congratulations on getting it in print! We all share your headaches.

    I'm curious as to why shipping Createspace proof copies takes so long. They obviously have a printer in the UK if they next-day it to you through Amazon. The system seems to be set up to give you shipping estimates based on their American printer. I would either contact Createspace to see if there's a workaround, or just order one to see how long it actually takes.

    Designing the cover is a pain to make sure everything lines up properly - it took me several tries on my first one. The other issue I had was with a small grey-scale image I had on each chapter header page - Createspace's printer just did the weirdest stuff with it. I used to work at a printshop and I knew what was happening, but no matter what I tried it wouldn't look right.

    I eventually found a passable work around but in the future I'm not going to put images in the book if I can help it, it's not worth the headaches.

    1. I'm curious too - if you order through Amazon, the royalties aren't as good for the author, but, of course it's much quicker, hence I assumed that it's just they want to make more money. Not that I'm cynical or anything... ;)

      Sometimes even getting it spot on with the template doesn't help ... it's weird when lining things up, isn't it.

      I shall remember that about images, than you - I have images in the eBook, but not in the print book because I didn't want to take the risk. Seems I made the right choice :).

  3. Well done, Natasha, and thanks for the info.

    1. Thank you, and you're most welcome. I hope it might help at least one person from some of the scratching head moments. :)


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