Episode 132 – KDP Print, Prime Reading, and Submission Fees

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Question of the Week: Will you stick with CreateSpace or test out KDP Print and why? Also, who would you like to be SMBS President?

After sharing the results of the first ever SMBS Presidential Election, Jim and Bryan took on the latest in book marketing news. Tips included solidifying your successful author mindset, the importance of focus during your writing time, and which type of marketing works best. Following their honoring of recent patrons Ethan Jones (and his book The Secret Blush http://bit.ly/secblush ), Chris Syme (and her book SMART Social Media For Authors http://amzn.to/1JLTwYI ), and Geoff North (and his book Thawed: CRYERS http://http://bit.ly/thawcry ), they touched on news stories related to Ellora’s Cave, publishing submission fees, Amazon Prime Reading, KDP page read errors, and KDP Print paperbacks. This week’s Question of the Week is: Will you stick with CreateSpace or test out KDP Print and why? Also, who would you like to be SMBS President?
What You’ll Learn:
  • How writers can achieve a successful author mindset
  • How the power of focus helped one author achieve his goals
  • Why you should remember to consider reader concerns when marketing
  • What Ellora’s Cave wants in exchange for returning authors’ rights
  • What authors think caused last month’s KDP page read errors
  • Why one publishing company is charging submission fees
  • What new free service Amazon Prime members can enjoy
  • How authors can use KDP Print to create paperbacks
Links:
Question of the Week: Will you stick with CreateSpace or test out KDP Print and why? Also, who would you like to be SMBS President?

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  • jeffadamsnyc

    First off, thanks for the shout out to “Big Gay Fiction Podcast.” We had a great time hosting Joanna and getting her insights on author mindset and author entrepreneurs out to the authors in our audience (we were even more honored when she took our interview to rebroadcast on her show this week).

    CreateSpace vs. KDP: I’d stick with CreateSpace because I control how the book looks and I’ve made peace with the time it takes to accomplish that. From what I understand on KDP Print, it’s automatic layout that I’d have little to no control over. Plus it seems like it would be Amazon exclusive and I’d rather have the paperbacks wide. It’s not a lot of sales, but I’d rather have them wide through all the channels possible (including retail). We’ll see how it sorts out in the long run, and if this means CreateSpace ends up inside Amazon (perhaps as a second option to KDP Print) rather than sitting as a separate entity.

    • Bryan

      Sure thing, Jeff!

      Yeah, we need to see if someone can go through the KDP Print process for us and see how it turns out. Good points.

  • L R W Lee

    Great question. As indie authors in today’s publishing industry, no one can afford to stick their head in the sand. I currently use Createspace, but like Jim, I find their formatting process to be a pain in the backside. If the technology proves to auto format an ebook into a paperback with the functionality I have become accustomed to including drop fonts, images with chapter headings and the like, I would embrace it in a heartbeat. I caveat that though as my understanding is that they don’t yet have expanded distribution and several other features Createspace offers. KDP would need to add that before I transitioned.

    • Bryan

      Yeah, they definitely need some more features. Thanks, LRW!

  • I’m shocked they’re only now considering this. So many times, I’ve asked their staff to coordinate only to be told they have no connection. Now, books can be quickly loaded with just a difference in cover and interior files. Common features such as distribution and synopsis can be coordinated. If I were them, I’d offer a discount to buy multiple ISBNs that only work with KDP Print so that authors will come back should competition arise.

    • Bryan

      I wonder why they decided on this now, Darren. I like the multiple ISBNs (or some kind of discount) to get folks on board.

      • 1. Maybe they wanted to make sure this whole self-publishing thing would continue.
        2. They simply had not gotten around to it.
        3. They don’t really want to promote print books that have to be made, stored, and shipped.
        4. Createspace is successful. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

        P.S. As much as we fuss about Amazon, the customer service reps for Createspace are phenomenal.

        • Robert Scanlon

          ^^ This is true! They are absolutely amazing. ANY time I’ve had a damaged or missing copy sent directly to a customer, within 24 hours (and usually 12), there is another copy on its way; no questions asked, and they will expedite on my request if the destination is outside the US.

          They are also polite and take time to understand your problem (I’ve had technical issues from time to time with the ordering interface). If only KDP was like CS customer service!

  • Lavie Margolin

    Createspace has always seemed like the unloved step child in the Amazon printing family while keep has been spotlighted. I’d have to read the details but I will likely explore closely…

    • Bryan

      True! It even seems that way at conferences.

  • A D Davies

    I’ll keep an open mind about the print option, but I can’t see how an automated template would sort out the widows and orphans issue that I always struggle with, or assess hyphernation. I can format an ebook for Kindle in an hour, but for createspace it takes all day, sometimes longer. Especially if I need a blank even page for partitioning certain sections. All I can say is I’ll try it out.

    • If it gives me a decent Word file to then customize, then maybe. Your examples are spot on, and even dedicated word processors and design programs don’t always handle those things well. My guess is that these will give you a super basic print book, as if you purchased one of those Word templates and simply pasted your document into it. There’s still work to be done…

      • A D Davies

        Exactly. I remember the same issue when I tried Draft2Digital’s version.

    • Bryan

      Who knows… maybe they’ve solved it. Probably not, but maybe :).

    • Bryan

      Maybe if they develop some kind of solution on their backend that doesn’t even go through Word (which has its own issues).

  • I’ll try KDP Print for my next book. Who knows, it may be a slightly more automated CS or just rebadged. To be honest, it’s the covers that are the worse part. Trying to tell a designer where to lay the spine and bleeds is a challenge sometimes.

    • You can us CS semi-automated, already OR just use them to print, creating everything from scratch yourself. For years KDP has had a button to convert to CS and CS has a button to convert to Kindle. I doubt those are good options.

    • Bryan

      Ugh, that is a pain. Covers for CS are definitely no fun.

  • Perry Constantine

    I think Jim is right that this seems like a transition. CS does more than just books, so they’ll probably stick around for people who put out CDs, DVDs, etc. But for books, that division of CS will be a complete part of KDP.

    But for now, I’ll stick with CS. KDP’s print options don’t yet offer things like proof copies, discounted author copies, or expanded distribution. Once those things are available, then I’ll try out KDP. But right now, just seems like a first phase rollout.

    • Bryan

      I agree, Perry. Let’s wait until KDP Print catches up.

  • Dan Thompson

    I’ll stick with CreateSpace for now. I put a lot of work into making a quality print product in terms of the formatting, and I’ve seen terrible work come from these automatic formatters in the past. Plus, there are subtle differences in how you lay out the front and back matter in print vs. ebook. So, until they can prove their quality — or allow me to upload my own PDF — I’ll be staying with CreateSpace.

    • Bryan

      I feel the same way, Dan. I like the way my paperbacks are laid out. I hope KDP Print offers that same functionality at some point in the future.

  • Spider McGee

    It does seem like CreateSpace is going away in favor of KDP Print, or at least the book publishing end of it is. I’m not sure why they didn’t just change the name, but I’m sure they thought this through. There’s a lot of redundancy and expense in running two separate publishing companies, and I’m sure this is just a temporary period of transition. They’re giving you a choice now to switch over now. In six months they might not.

    • Bryan

      Yeah. Who knows what else will be true in six months…

      • Spider McGee

        It’s just uncertainty over the election that’s freaking everyone out. One thing’s for sure: we’ve got two fantastic Presidential candidates to pick from…and no matter which one wins, it looks like smooth sailing from here out. Party time, am I right?!?

  • I’m the type that needs a solid reason to make the switch. As of now that reason does not exist.

    • Bryan

      I agree, Edwin. But perhaps that reason will come.

      • Bryan

        Hehe, Chris. Every vote counts.

  • Chris Syme

    Finally…a presidential election I can actually vote in. I’ll have to study the issues and get back to ya!

    • Bryan

      Hehe, Chris. Every vote counts!

  • I wonder if the reason KDP didn’t just absorb Createspace into itself by “creating a tab” has to do with Createspace’s contractual obligations to third party support vendors. Maybe Amazon is running two companies simultaneously because Createspace is locked into contracts with printers and/or shippers KDP doesn’t want to honor long term? If they were able to negotiate better deals, and they were planning to merge the companies anyway, this move to slowly move companies from the old to the new might make business sense. If that’s the case, we might see Createspace lose features and KDP start to gain them to pull authors over to the new stuff. Just a thought.

    Loved the show this week. Thanks!

    • Bryan

      That makes a lot of sense, Jeff. I wouldn’t be surprised if those contracts sent Amazon packing. Glad you enjoyed the episode!

  • I’m not going to jump over now. I don’t have time to futz with it when Createspace is working just fine. But when I produce my next book I’m sure I’ll make the switch. I’m in KDP Select (for now) so it will be nice to see all my sales on one dashboard. It seems to make sense from a reporting and business management side.

    That said, I do plan to go wide eventually, and when that happens I very well may take my print books elsewhere, too. We’ll have to wait and see.

    • Bryan

      That makes a lot of sense, Jeff. I wouldn’t be surprised if those contracts sent Amazon packing. Glad you enjoyed the episode!

    • Bryan

      I feel the same way, Megan. Who’s got time to learn a weird new site? 🙂

  • Meh. I don’t care who prints my books as long as the quality is good and the cost is low.

    • Bryan

      Good point, M.

  • Robert Scanlon

    This change could have a major impact on our business model! If Createspace eventually winds down and we cannot “dropship” in KDP Print (create an order which dispatches directly to a customer) then it will force us to rethink the direct-sales model we currently use.

    Also we make some good sales via the extended distribution, but I imagine that will come in time.

    I like Createspace and have no use for the “convenience in one dashboard”, but can see that for almost every fiction author, it’s a boon (and I would use it for my own fiction!). A whole lot more of us would naturally look more “pro” by having the paperback option on our product pages (which I’ve always done in any case, but this will make that part easier).

    So at the moment, it’s “watch and wait” for me and my wife …

    • You could use KDP print on demand JUST for Amazon sales and have Ingram/LS do all the rest. I think they are cost and time competitive with CS for the non-Amazon stuff.

      • Robert Scanlon

        Thanks, Roland. That’s definitely my fallback, and LS do have some other advantages to counter their somewhat obtuse systems. Have you used them to direct drop-ship before?

        • I haven’t. All my books are in CS, but I’ve heard good things if you want the features that LS has. I think they might drop ship in Europe, too. CS sends it all from here, I’m told.

          • Robert Scanlon

            Tnx. I might test. CS do drop ship into Europe from Europe as far as I can tell (I’m not sure out of where, but we do it every week more or less and the shipping is very good; delivery times excellent). I wonder if they can match the amazing customer service that CS has!

    • Bryan

      Interesting, Robert. Didn’t know that’s how you did the direct orders. Fingers crossed for ya!

  • Anmarie

    Off topic, just wanted to say, Jim, that the review grabber tool is pretty cool!

    • Thanks!

    • Bryan

      I agree, Anmarie! Have used that tool bunches myself :).

  • Laura Martone

    Wait a second… I feel a little deja vu coming on. Didn’t I already answer the question of SMBS President? Well, in case my vote was invalidated due to a hanging chad or something equally inexplicable, here it is again: Bryan for Prez! Bryan for Prez! But, Jim, I think you’d make an excellent VP!

    • Bryan

      Jim’s dragging this thing out in the courts :). Thanks for your vote!

  • ilisa

    I am just catching up with Sell more Book podcasts. Createspace, although hard to use at first, is really easy once you get used to it.

    • Bryan

      I completely agree about CreateSpace. Thanks!