It’s all so complicated!
The news that Amazon’s CreateSpace is being swallowed up by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing spurred me into action yesterday, a little.
The first thing I did was contact KDP with a few questions. While I awaited their reply, I set about researching an alternative.
CreateSpace was always the paperback arm of Amazon’s self-publishing platform. KDP was what morphed out of their Kindle-publishing platform. Some time in the past year or so, CreateSpace offered the ability to also publish on Kindle while KDP offered the ability to also publish in paperback.
(However, my ebook text files clearly have “Kindle” or “ebook” on the copyright page, and all text files for the physical versions of my books also have the ISBNs on the copyright page. So the text files are not (currently) interchangeable.)
Now KDP will be doing both – but I removed my own ebook publishing from Kindle to Draft2Digital already with Diary of a Scaredy Cat, with a view to the others following just as soon as I find the time to manage it all.
As far as I can see, there is no other platform like CreateSpace that will publish paperbacks for you. Barnes & Noble have their own self-publishing outlet, which is free to use but, of course, limited to just Barnes & Noble and Nook. And there are others, such as BookBaby and IngramSparks, who seem to charge for providing the service, which, in my opinion, is the same as vanity publishing of old.
Then there are a couple of others that have very complicated interfaces – one of them (mybestseller) charges for one ISBN at a time, the other (Blurb) offers a free ISBN.
Or, of course, I could always go back to Lulu. But my biggest issue with Lulu is the fact that they force you to order a physical proof copy before allowing you an extended distribution. Their cover creator isn’t as sophisticated as the CreateSpace one either.
So, while I learn how to use one of these seemingly complicated platforms (Blurb), I’m going to let my titles automatically move from CreateSpace to KDP. I’m also going to try and complete the books already started on CreateSpace before the transfer, so I can use their very user-friendly cover creator. This way, the new books will move across too.
My first concern with KDP is that their cover creator is complicated. My second concern is that they also don’t do extended distribution. My third concern is that they too seem to force you to buy a physical copy of the book for proofreading. My final concern is that they belong to Amazon.
Yes, I know that CreateSpace is Amazon too, but I didn’t want Amazon publishing my ebooks and my paperbacks, and I’d already started to move my ebook production to Draft2Digital. I didn’t want all of my eggs in one basket.
KDP did come back to me yesterday. They said that I wouldn’t have to buy a physical copy of the book to proofread. I also discovered that they do have extended distribution if you opt in to it.
But they said that they were aware of the differences between their cover creator and the CreateSpace cover creator and were working on bringing the KDP cover creator more in line with others.
And, of course, there’s nothing they can do about being part of Amazon, so that is still quite a biggie for me.
So, what to do?
Well, first of all, I’m finishing the books already started on CreateSpace. Then, I’m going to create the e-versions on Draft2Digital. Draft2Digital will convert the text file to a pdf for paperback publishing too. Therefore, I’m going to make the text files of the new books more generic, so that I have a pdf of the inside of the book to take across to the paperback publishing platform, be that Lulu, Blurb or someone else. Eventually I’ll do the same for all of my books.
I’ll probably try and create a new set of covers, and I might do this in Canva. I don’t remember if Draft2Digital have a cover creator, but they did let me upload my previously created cover for Diary of a Scaredy Cat.
I might also have a go at creating a cover in KDP, if they make it as user-friendly as the one from CreateSpace. Alternatively, I do know how to use the cover creator at Lulu and I may, by then, have learnt how to create nice covers in Blurb.
This is all very technical. What about the creative side of things?
The anthology 52 Books in 52 Weeks is almost complete, so I’m hoping I can squeeze that one in on CreateSpace too before the formal merger. Diary of a Pussycat is already complete. This is the one I’ve been working on today, although I cut more than 14,000 words from the final version.
As I was working on Diary of a Pussycat, I started to transfer the cut material into a new book that didn’t have a title yet … and then I found the otherwise forgotten Diary of a Cool Cat in my books folder on the computer and I added the cut material to that one. Then I went in to check if I had any other material for this book, and the answer is yes! And Diary of a Cool Cat is now also ready to be edited and formatted, which will be book 3 in this series.
There’s another file in the folder called The Business of Writing, but that one has nuts and bolts things in, such as some of the resources I use or have trialled. I don’t like the title, though, and I’m toying with transferring this project over to one called Diary of a Tiger, or something similar …
I don’t know.
I’m pretty certain I now have enough material to complete Twee Tales Twee, and I certainly still have loads of stuff that needs collating from Tales from Baggins Bottom for the Baggins Bottom Best Bits books that still need producing – preferably before I lose the facility to create covers along the same lines as the existing ones.
And I also have one paperback book still to be converted to ebook.
Some of the creative stuff is ready to go or ready to be edited and formatted. Some of it still needs work and, possibly, more material. Either way, I have a LOT of content.
And I have a LOT to think about still.
Does Book Locker do international work? They have a pretty decent reputation here. Angela Hoy, who runs Writer’s Weekly is involved with them.https://writersweekly.com
BookBaby, on the other hand, has a lot of complaints here.
I admit I scrolled on by Booklocker. It seems so … dated. I’ll have a look, though. You never know …
IngramSpark is trying to get a corner of the market. Since Ingram is one of the big distributors here, it might be worth looking at. I’ve heard mixed things. I don’t know if they’re available in the UK.
I don’t know anyone over here who use them. They have an upfront fee, I think, which I’m trying to avoid paying at the moment, if I can.
Thanks for the useful suggestions. I need to have a dummy project ready to try them all out as they all seem to have “start here” buttons. Most are based in the US too.
Totally different subject – Alphabet Adventures site looks great! What template are you using? (Sorry to post that here).
Thank you! I think it has a nice look. It’s a free theme: Affinity.
It may be the exact thing I need on a site I’m building for a new project. Thanks!
Sounds intriguing. Let me know when it’s done, so I can have a nose.
An enlightening and interesting post, Diane. Thank you for the work you’ve done to bring the information about the changes to us. Mmmm… Not sure which is best to do, but the conversation that’s going on is very helpful. Thanks everyone.
Plenty of people are quite happy to have KDP produce all of their paperbacks and ebooks, but I’m not happy with the tales I’ve heard about Amazon closing down user accounts and deleting their entire back catalogue. I also dislike Amazon removing bona fide book reviews at will. So I, personally, want to move away from Amazon. But a lot of people are happy to stay, so that’s up to them.
Lovely to see you here, by the way. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂
Yup. At this point, I need Amazon as a distribution channel, but I want other options.
It’s looking like the distribution thing may be the only positive. For me, at any rate. Some people have lots of reviews that they want to preserve too, but I don’t have that many that it’s a problem if they disappear, to be frank.