Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Charlie Waterman Trilogy now in Paperback #WriterlyWednesdays

Charlie Waterman Trilogy now in Paperback

Hello and welcome to my blog in what I hope will be a wonderful new year. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. I am starting the year off as I hope to go on with a book announcement. The Chronicles of Charlie Waterman are now available in paperback - finally! And since I've had to read them all so many times lately, I even have the beginnings of an idea for number 4!

Come on, most of us bibliophiles can agree, there's nothing like holding a real book in our hands, even if we love eBooks for their ease of access and speed of delivery. Of course with KDP paperbacks on Amazon Prime these days, we don't have to wait too long for them either! I may have gotten a little over excited when my copies arrived ... okay, so I've been showing them to everyone who doesn't run away fast enough ... but we're authors, we're allowed to be enthusiastic about books ;).

Are now all available to buy from Amazon as 6x9 paperbacks. All the links above are smart-links so they will take you to your local Amazon.

The reason it took me so long to get these to paperbacks is because I took a long hard look at Cat's Call and decided I really needed to rewrite at least the first third of the book. I still loved the story, but it was one of my first books, and, when I was completely honest with myself, the writing at the beginning was simply clunky.

I didn't even attempt to edit it, I just took each scene and rewrote it. Hence Cat's Call is now a second edition. If you already have it in eBook format, I deliberately didn't release it as a a new book, so you should all be able to download the new version.

If you don't have a copy yet, it's all shiny and new in paperback and eBook :)

A quick aside: Can anyone tell me why the 6x9 format seems to be the in thing these days? I was always used to books coming out as hardback, then 6x9 then (what I used to mentally refer to as) normal size, but we ordered some paperbacks for Rob's nephew before Christmas and they were all 6x9. They were not new titles, but books that have been out for years.

Amazon Kindle Create

Kindle now have something called Kindle Create, which is a really useful standalone tool for creating eBooks for Kindle. Unfortunately it doesn't do paperbacks, so it's still a matter of using one of Amazon's helpful templates and filling them in. These templates work really well, however, so I'm not complaining :).

I used the Word templates for doing the paperback and Kindle Create for the new versions of the eBooks (I took the opportunity to re-edit Cat's Creation and Cat's Confidence as well and to change the back-matter, but they only had a few minor changes, so no 2nd edition label for them :)).

There is also a Kindle Create add-in for MS Word, but only 2010 edition and above, so I have to upgrade before I can use it, so I don't know how well it works. However, because it's is a plugin for Word and not a standalone, it does give access to all the style options Kindle Create provides while we can still use one of the paperback templates.

Other Print on Demand Options

The really big drawback of Amazon KDP for paperbacks is that they don't offer proof or author copies - if you want your paperback you have to pay full price. The only option they offer is to tell you to put it down to the min price, buy it and then put the price back up again. The risk with this is other people will see it going cheap and buy it immediately and then the authors gets no royalties at all. Given that they say it can take 72 hours to make a change (it usually doesn't, but that's the longest it can be) - this could be a really big risk.

It's a really bad system and they have been promising author copies since the beginning of last year. Apparently some people have the option, but it's only in beta, so they haven't rolled it out to everyone. It is most frustrating!

Because of this I have been looking into using other sites to get volume numbers of copies to use at home for promotions etc.


CreateSpace was the precursor to KDP paperback, but it is a problem for 2 reasons:

  • once a book is on KDP the same book with the same ISBN can't be on CreateSpace - if you are using Amazon or CS free ISBNs this is not an issue, but just make sure you check.
  • because they only print in the US, the postage to the rest of the world is expensive if you want anything but 31 days.
However, if you are in the US, their author copy prices are definitely worth the effort.

I'm still looking at them because their author copy prices are so good that the postage might be worth it. I'm running the numbers.


I've added one book into Blurb so far and I love their BookWright software - once I read the tutorials, rather than just jumping in and trying to figure it out myself.

When we first hit create on Blurb it offers us BookWright or PDF - the problem is, once we download BookWright it doesn't immediately point us to the right place to get started. At least I didn't find it obvious.  It also has a few quirks, but once I got the hang of it, it was awesome. Not as intuitive as Kindle Create, but easier than just using a .doc template.

It took forever to upload, however, and it didn't tell me what was going to happen next while it was uploading. Once again I had to go and look at the online help files to know what would occur next, so I could find out if I could leave it to it. FYI - once it has finished uploading it opens the Blurb site for us so we can do the next bit, so going to bed (like I did) is fine!

The base price of the book for author copies is not as good as CreateSpace - at least from what I could tell when using the Member Order Calculator on CS and the postage is still high.


I have only just started playing with Lulu. The templates are definitely less well defined than Amazon's and it has no fancy software like Blurb. From what I can tell at the moment, their base price is also not as good as CreateSpace.


It's all so very complicated when it comes to paperbacks and it's even more so if we want wide distribution to more than Amazon and ourselves.

Has anyone already been through the pain and would like to offer their advice?


  1. Just ordered all three! Looking forward to reading them. xx

  2. I used Createspace when I re-released my first novel last summer and as I'm now in the US, got a proof copy at reduced price. I also get copies to sell or giveaway at reduced price - but then forego royalties on them. I re-released the Ebook through Kindle. Fortunately, I avoided the 'pain' by paying a friend to do two separate formatted versions.

    1. It's frustrating that all the big PoD people seem to ship from the US for author copies - it makes shipping pricey and takes forever to get here. I really hope Kindle get their act together soon, because they print and ship from the UK, so it would be much quicker.


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