Episode 185 – KDP Jumpstart, CreateSpace, and Seven-Figure Deals

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Question of the Week: When are you planning to start using KDP Print? What will you miss the most about CreateSpace when it’s eventually closed?

Is this the beginning of the end for CreateSpace? After thanking their patrons, The Busy Busy Author, The Last Verdict, and Slow Burn: Zero Day, Jim and Bryan took on tips about podcasts, BookBub Ads, and social media anxiety. News stories included how to grow your business, outside-the-box marketing, KDP Jumpstart, the closing of CreateSpace’s e-store, and seven-figure trad pub deals. This week’s Question of the Week: When are you planning to start using KDP Print? What will you miss the most about CreateSpace when it’s eventually closed?
What You’ll Learn:
  • Why indie authors should try to land guest appearances on podcasts
  • Why authors may want to sign up for the BookBub ad waiting list
  • What author introverts can do to improve their social media presence
  • Why one indie entrepreneur refuses to expand his business
  • How authors can build their brand with best practices from a bestseller
  • How first-time authors can learn the basics of self-publishing with KDP
  • What CreateSpace change could increase print on demand costs
  • Why traditional publishers are pulling out the big bucks for new book deals
Links:

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  • Lavie Margolin

    CreateSpace was THE platform that allowed me entry into self-pub. I hadn’t yet known that I was missing the boat with no ebook in 2010 (and getting someone to format it seemed expensive). They were great and awkward at the same time. It was hard to do things that should have been easy being a part of the Amazon umbrella. I had been ready to use KDP Print for my last books but they hadn’t seemed to work out all of the kinks yet. Hopefully, it’ll be smooth when I look to publish next in January.

    • Bryan

      I hope so too!

    • You can still use CS for your current and new books, you just won’t be able to sell directly from the CS store. CS still will stock to Amazon, let you order copies in bulk, etc.

  • Print is dead!

  • I think eventually, KDP Print and CS will be one dashboard. They currently use the same printers and back end for both, so all they really need to do is finish integrating the CS author features (proofs and bulk orders) into the CS dashboard.

    The only time I’ve ever promoted my CS store was to offer readers a coupon for a discounted book, but that really only worked back before Prime shipping was so ubiquitous. Now, they’d rather pay the Amazon price and get free shipping than save a buck or two and have to pay for shipping and enter a credit card JUST for my one book.

    • The only time I’ve ever promoted Smashwords directly was also for the coupon promo.

  • I gave it a test run but bailed due to no proofs or author copies as Roland mentioned. Once that’s done, I’m there. I wish they’d add Audible to the author dashboard as well since so much of the info is similar.

  • double r double f

    For me, as a self-publisher in Japan, KDP Print is a game-changer. Until now, if any readers in Japan wanted one of my print books, it would take two or three weeks to arrive from North Carolina. Now, KDP prints in Japan it’s next day delivery or even same-day delivery in Tokyo. Since I sell a lot of English language textbooks, I’ve been moving my CreateSoace inventory over to KDP. Amazon announced it is also planning to offer discounted copies for authors, so it’s a no-brainer if you value non-US paperback sales. Just my two yen’s worth. Love the show, not so keen on pink grasshoppers.

    • Blaine Moore

      Ahh, have they started printing in Japan now? At least as of this Summer, they were still printing in the US and then warehousing in Japan, to my knowledge at least. I wonder if that is going to lead to cheaper/faster Australia distribution too?

  • Randy Green

    This isn’t about the main question but may I offer a comment about the rationale behind the seven-figure advances recently offered by the traditional publishing industry? What follows is pure speculation but, based upon my experiences, seems likely.

    Okay, let’s start with an understanding that, while there are undoubtedly many fine and talented and honorable people still in the traditional publishing companies today, it is not exactly what you would call a growth industry, likely to attract the best and brightest of new talent to join their management teams. Daily, we hear tales about traditional publishing executives and editors bailing out. So what do you have left to move up the corporate ladder? When you have an industry already spiraling downward, and the aging management (as a group) are still living in the past and thinking happy thoughts, it is easy to see how they would decide that what worked in the time of Hemingway and Fitzgerald would still work today – just add a few more zeros.

  • Heather Senter

    Don’t forget that highbrow traditionally published hardcovers are the staple of the library system, particularly non-fiction. There are almost 120,000 libraries in the US. If the majority of them purchase the book from the publisher at the average price of $10 to $12, then that’s your million dollars covered right there without even factoring in consumer sales. And if it’s a book on the bestsellers list or a book club type book, the library might purchase several copies. Libraries also have to pay ludicrous amounts for the ebook ($50 or $60 according to a Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast guest) and possibly even retire it after a certain number of borrows. So they know how to make the math work in ways that aren’t really open to Indies at the moment. And since that 7 figure advance will be doled out to the author in 3 to 5 payments over perhaps that many years, the publisher isn’t out of pocket that amount immediately.

  • Heather Senter

    Oh, and would love to join the meet up in Vegas 🙂 – I’ve sent you an email, Bryan.

  • Patrick O’Donnell

    I will continue to use Createspace until it is gone. They have awesome customer service. You can actually talk to a person!!!!

  • I’ll make the switch when KDP print offers the ability to buy at cost copies like I can through CS or CS is closed down.

  • With Zero Sales In their eStore In the last 4 years, I Am Not Concerned Because Not only is createspace closing their estore but amazon associates is Closing Their eStore too at the End Of The Month. Amazon is trying to push everything through Amazon now.

  • Vania Margene Rheault

    I looked around KDP print, and it looks like submissions will be the same. I downloaded the interior word template, and it’s the same one you download on CS. They want you to submit your cover in PDF form, which is the same as CS. Ordering a proof seems more complicated as they send you an email then you have to order your proof through your Amazon account. I’m happy to see they added that, as the last time I looked into KDP print that option wasn’t available. I will miss having someone live to talk to if I have a question. When I was new to self-publishing, I did end up having to call CS to ask about cover issues. New authors who want to do things on their own and learn as they go will have a harder time of it if KDP print doesn’t add telephone support. If they don’t, this could cause new authors to turn to outsourcing their covers and other things because they can’t get the (free) help they need. I find this unfortunate as I like to do as much as possible on my own. I think it’s smart of them to squish CS and KDP print together. I imagine it will save them money.
    I’ve been debating going over to IngramSpark as the Alliance for Independent Authors recommends: use CS or KDP print for Amazon sales and IngramSpark for everywhere else. I’ve heard IngramSpark is difficult to work with, and more costly, too, so I’ve been avoiding it. But as my back list grows and I want more distribution options, I’m going to have to go that way one day.

  • I already used it. It was very easy and the book looks great. Getting to see all sales in the same dashboard is a plus, too.

    KDP Print has announced proof copies and discounted author copies, also. That’s been a common criticism, and it looks like they’ve taken it seriously and addressed it.

    • Simon Goodson

      Ah great – that’s what’s been holding me back.

  • Simon Goodson

    I’m aiming to do more print books in a couple of months so will look then. Createspace looks like a deadend now, but I’m tempted to look into Ingram Spark more than KDP Print (though I may add KDP Print as well).

    • I’ve had horrible experiences with Ingram Spark. My impression is indie authors are the unwanted stepchildren at their door. I use them to make it possible for bookstores to order my books but I no longer order from them for conventions, etc. I’ve had shipments of 100 books show up with obvious toner smears on every book. Disasterous if you had your books drop shipped to a convention.

      • Simon Goodson

        Urgh. Is that recent? Joanna Penn seems very happy with them but then she’s a very big indie.

  • Simon Goodson

    And Jim, we all listen to you even if no one else does!

  • Simon Goodson

    Just tried to review on iTunes and it seems you have to actually install it to do so. I love you guys, but even then not enough to go Mac! Is there anywhere else I can review it for you?

    Although… I do have a MacInCloud account so I can use Vellum. I imagine that should cope with iTunes too… 🙂

    • Bryan

      Hmm. No idea. Maybe you can through for MacinCloud to review us :). Don’t they have iTunes for Windows? I remember I used to have that back in the day…

    • iTunes is on Windows, too.

      • Simon Goodson

        Not on mine! Apple 🙂

        • Are you using an OS earlier than Windows 7? Anything AFTER 7 should run iTunes without a hitch, Apple have the download on their website.

          • Simon Goodson

            Oh it would run it (Windows 10) there’s just no chance of me putting an apple product on it. 😀

  • They will drag me kicking and screaming out of Createspace as the bulldozer arrives. I am very happy with the ease of use with CS and have never had any issues with them. Shipments are always early and well packed and the books look great. It is my hope that they will just change the sign over the door so I will continue to have the same great service, but I will believe it when I see it.

  • Blaine Moore

    At the moment, I have no plans to use KDP Print. The limited options and lack of certain marketplaces don’t offset the additional marketplaces or ease of reporting book sales in one place. There is currently little downside to continue using CreateSpace, especially if you don’t use the CreateSpace eStore (I don’t), and you can migrate your books to KDP Print at any time. (You can not migrate from KDP Print to CreateSpace, however.) So, once the feature-set of KDP Print is more attractive, or they improve the royalty structure, I expect to stick with CreateSpace until they shut it down and force a move to KDP Print.

    I haven’t checked back since around July, but at least at that point the differences between the two:
    – One login for KDPP, requires separate login for CS
    – CS allows for eStore (though that’s shutting down), Amazon, and allows extended distribution. KDPP only allows for Amazon sales, no expanded distribution.
    – Country specific stores: Japan is only available to KDPP, but Canada & Mexico are only available to CS. (My understanding is that there is warehousing in Japan but no actual printing, so everything is still printed and shipped from US anyway.)
    – Same royalty formula for both options, and same book printing costs EXCEPT for books printed in Europe where shorter books are a little cheaper from CS than from KDPP.
    – CS pays out every 30 days for sales made more than 30 days ago. KDPP pays out every 30 days for sales made more than 60 days ago.
    – KDPP combines reporting. CS requires a separate report.
    – CS allows for wholesale author and physical proof copies. KDPP does not (yet.)
    – KDPP will leave your book up for sale when waiting for a new uploaded version to be approved. CS will mark your book as unavailable (unless copies are in stock and already printed) until new versions are approved, which can hurt sales momentum.
    – CS offers additional publishing services, KDPP does not.

    • Blaine Moore

      Reading some of the other comments left, I see that @Dr_Tom:disqus says that proof and wholesale author copies are now available in KDPP, I hadn’t seen that yet. So that’s one of the biggest turn-offs removed from my point of view for KDPP, and was only a matter of time until that changed. Good to hear!

      • There’s a KDP blog about it. I’m mobile atm, so I don’t have it handy, but basic Google-fu should find it pretty easily.

  • Laura Martone

    At the moment, Daniel and I only have one print book listed through CreateSpace, so it won’t take much to move over to KDP Print… which we might do for our next book, simply to test it out. I’ll follow the hubby’s lead on this one! P.S. Hoping to buy Bryan as many pink grasshoppers as he can stomach in Vegas, I decided to look them up – and, lo and behold, discovered that, while the insect definitely exists, it’s anybody’s guess as to what’s in the actual cocktail. Unless Jim knows something I don’t…

  • Scott Fishman-Author

    Having published my first book just over a year ago, I came in just as KDP paperback did, so it seemed a given to just roll with them right from my dashboard.

    Having never used CreateSpace, I won’t “miss” anything, but I do wish KDP would allow for proof copies as CS apparently does.

    There certainly were growing pains with formatting and such, but they quickly resolved themselves.

    I would think that as more new authors come aboard, KDP will just be the obvious path of least resistance.

  • If Amazon shut down Createspace then I’m assuming they will have a means by which books published through Createspace are automatically transferred to KDP Print. That’s the point at which I’ll start using KDP Print. I’m perfectly happy with Createspace as it is, but having the reporting under one roof would be a benefit.

  • Gwyn GB

    Another great show, thanks guys. Bryan any chance of you coming over for the London 20booksto50k event? I’d love to buy you a pink grasshopper! Re: your show question, the one advantage of going with KDP print is that at least all your book data is in one place.

  • I probably will use CreateSpace until it’s gone or KDP Print offers something that is a true improvement (how opportunistic). Honestly, I can see the changes happening and I’m relaxed about it. It’s hard to tell what I’d miss from CreateSpace as I haven’t used KDP print yet, however key items of CreateSpace to me include author copies at discounted price (i.E without distribution ad-on from Amazon) and a high-end testing app (good for print).

  • Sacha black

    Am I missing something strategic here? Is there an assumption that KDP print the only answer? I’m already in the process of moving my books across to Ingram, partly because I had a feeling CS would go and partly for a superficial reason – I really like their matte cover feel. The extended distribution is a bonus IMO. I know most people don’t sell many paperbacks but for my non-fiction paperback is a reasonable percentage, so I weighed up KDP/Ingram and the ability to buy copies via Ingram, the look and feel and few other bits made me swing to Ingram…. Just saying I don’t think KDP print is the only answer.

  • Thanks so much for the Happy Book Review! Very excited to get to use that. 🙂

    QOTW: I think after this episode, I might just go with KDP Print. My first book doesn’t come out until December, so I figure I might as well start there, then I won’t know what I’m missing with CreateSpace. I plan on going with Ingram Sparks for wider distribution anyway, so KDP Prints limited options don’t bother me too much, and now it has the option for proof copies, it’s got a lot more going for it. I see some bad reviews regarding Ingram Sparks in the comments, but will give ’em a shot and see how I go. At least they recognise Saipan as a place they can ship to, CreateSpace doesn’t…