Using Kindle Create to Publish

Some weeks ago, when I finally caved in and decided to relaunch my writing career, it seemed like a ‘good idea’ to revisit all my old novels, spruce them up with new jackets and give the insides a once over. I was encouraged in this venture by the fact that KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) have recently launched Kindle Create, a program designed to make it much easier to turning your Word manuscript into a Kindle book and then a paperback. Now, I am a writer, not a publisher but the peculiarities of  the times we live in determine that, if you are set upon being an indie, which I am, and you haven’t the funds to pay someone else to do all the hard work for you via vanity publishing, you have to ‘narcissist’ publish and do it all yourself – which is what I do, and loath every moment of it. Even if you have an up to date array of IT skills, which I do, plus a knowledge and aptitude for design, producing an e-book is challenging at best, and a paperback stress-inducingly so. However, I ignored all my past nightmares of experience and believed wholeheartedly that the lovely people at Kindle had created a program that would solve all my woes, thus I launched into revising my four previously published novels…Image result for kdp createspace

Initially, all went well and I was ready to change my religion and bow down to the god that is Amazon as their bit of software did make conversion to Kindle a much, much easier process, and all was right with the world. Now, I had previously dropped my books from paperback because, to be brutally honest, the whole process was a sleepless-night-causing pain in the bum! KDP only used to produce the Kindle version of books, all the paperback production was done via another Amazon venture called Createspace, which is based in the USA. Their software was a straightforward enough piece of kit to use but your cover production and manuscript would always kick up little glitches which would take ages to iron out, page numbers alone can cause days of angst for the uninitiated. All the initial printing was done in the US so ordering proof copies was a slow and expensive process, as it was with author copies. In the end I turned my back on the paperback as far too much trouble for the few we sold – especially as it is impossible to keep the prices down on paperbacks – because of the production cost involved, and the fact that they fairly much dictate your price because of this. After my two year writing break I found things had changed and now I could launch straight into converting my Kindle version into a paperback which would be printed in the UK (or at the very worst, Europe) and would be a quick, completely stress free process…

 

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Some weeks later, and a few sleepless nights, I have to tell you that I still HATE producing paperbacks! I admit that the process was made all the harder because we were working with old manuscripts from Word with styling issues, but the usual glitches still raised their ugly heads and covers are still a huge challenge! Kindle Create is marvelous in its stand alone version for creating e-books, but the Word add-in which is supposed to make creating a paperback easier has a LONG way to go. All it did was muck the whole of Word up for me. In the end I was committed to the process so found myself working 14 hour stretches trying to sort out issue after issue… (don’t anyone mention widows or orphans to me for a very long time) which probably wouldn’t have been so bad if I was only looking to produce one book, but four novels back to back is soul destroying! It became a bit of an obsession and caused me to ignore my other work and fairly much all life around me! And, to Teddy I offer a public apology for the two-headed monster I have been of late, and none of this would have been possible without his tireless love, support and eagle-eyed editing skills…Image result for stress

Anyway, it is virtually done now, my life will be back on track from today, and I have learned a lot! The grueling endurance challenge has been conquered and I have come away with bucketfuls of knowledge which will make me a much better producer of my books in the future, I think. My overall impression of Kindle Create is that it is fantastic for producing a Kindle copy – the paperback production is basically the same model as Createspace but you can get proof copies sent to you within a day and order author copies at a price which makes it far more viable, and there are advantages to the author having all their sales data in one place. I think if you are doing it all yourself, book production is always going to cause you headaches, it is never going to be a one click process – but, if you ensure you have the basics in place from the beginning, then it should be a reasonably straightforward endeavour. Indie produced paperbacks are always going to be costly, because of the inescapable production pricing but that said, commercial paperbacks are expensive anyway, and I think indie productions can be competitive, although this will always mean a loss to the author as you can only keep costs down by lowering your royalty on a book — we were making 28p per book but now aim to make £1, which I think is reasonable for the work that goes into it and keeps prices as reasonable as possible whilst still making a little money. I think the main indie market will always be e-books, as you have far more control on production and price – and it is interesting to note that there is a trend in the traditional publishing world to pump up the price of the e-book over the paperback now, by a large sum – which I think will give indies the edge eventually, if we keep our pricing realistic. Related image

Publishing in the 21st century is always going to be a cutthroat, tough, almost impossible game to be involved in, commercially or independently, which is why I walked away from it a couple of years ago knowing I could never make a living wage from all my efforts. I came to realise that there are far too many books out there for a diminishing market of readers, but what is a girl to do? The stories keep coming in my head, and the small, incredibly loyal fan base I now have were vocally missing my work. I have come back to book production completely devoid of any delusions that it is a career or any way of making a living – because, at my level, it is most certainly not, even for authors who work far, far harder than I do. I return to writing my stories and putting them into a format which can be easily distributed to those who want to read them because it is a way of life, it is a craft, and if it makes just one person happy, or persuades one reader to look at the world differently or inspires, or uplifts… then that is why I now write; that is what makes it all worthwhile.

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All I know is I am glad the current process is virtually over, I am looking forward to writing my new books, and I will be very glad to be getting back into the FABB FADS workshop later today (which is now my way of making a living), as that side of my life has been sorely neglected of late, as has my genealogy work… I have found time to get the Christmas tree up, though.

Have a good Day –

J x 🙂 Image result for christmas tree


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