Tag Archives: CreateSpace

The Two CreateSpaces. CreateSpace Pro for Publishers and CreateSpace Lite for Indies.

amazon-print-on-demand

Amazon Print-On-Demand? Meet CreateSpace Pro. Is POD-Select Exclusivity On the Cards?

During the Amazon-Hachette spat one of Amazon’s tactics was to push for Hachette and other publishers to use Amazon’s POD system, making sure all books were perma-available.

Needless to say Hachette didn’t go down this route, but rest assured trad pub big and small is looking closely at, and investing in, what we loosely call POD, and as the costs come down so more and more print production will shift to this model.

It’s a bizarre irony that the technology supposedly killing print will end up being its saviour. More on that in another post.

Here to take a look at Amazon Print On Demand and how it differs from CreateSpace.

Basically, if you’re an indie author you’re not welcome. Amazon POD is a business venture for publishers, and indie authors trying to get in on the act will be shuffled off to the regular CreateSpace site as per the sidebar. (LINK)

Amazon ram home the point that we are not “publishers”here. (LINK)

From FAQs:

19. I am an author and I want to self-publish, can I take advantage of Print-On-Demand to publish my novel?
The information on this website is intended for publishers, however Amazon does offer Print-On-Demand services for authors who want to self-publish. Please visit (CreateSpace) for more information.

And yes, Amazon does go on to explain the difference. One key difference being Amazon give publishers “exclusive benefits” not available to us small-fry.

Q 20. What is the difference between CreateSpace and Print-On-Demand?

CreateSpace is the platform through which both independent authors and publishers using POD can upload and manage their titles.

“The key difference between the two services is that Print-On-Demand offers benefits that are exclusive to publishers, including managed accounts, flexible uploading options and additional solutions for your titles.”

As ever, it’s Amazon’s business and they set the rules.

CreateSpace still offers indies great way to get our books into print and we’d be crazy not to be using CreateSpace as part of our “going wide” strategy.

But there are plenty of other options, like Ingram, and now StreetLib’s POS print-on-demand service has dropped its upfront fees that could be well worth exploring further.

Bottom line is, print is not going to fade into oblivion any time soon. Just the opposite. Continuing improvements and cost efficiency will make digital printing more and more central to publishers whatever our size.

And with Amazon’s drive to get more publishers using CreateSpace with the professional publisher option, the print arena is about to get a whole lot more competitive.

Many of us are seeing our CreateSpace titles appear in our KDP dashboard, and I would expect that to continue apace until all KDP authors have the KDP-CreateSpace set-up available.

CreateSpace itself will no doubt become a professional-publishers only site.

No idea yet what sort of royalties pro-publishers will get compared to us indies in CreateSpace Lite. Looks like we need to be signed up to get that sort of information.

Meantime don’t be surprised if Amazon starts offering an exclusive POD-Select option, whereby we indies can get some sort of extra benefits by eschewing Ingram, StreetLib POS and all the myriad other POD options competing with CreateSpace, and have our print titles available solely through Amazon.

This post first appeared in the International Indie Author Facebook Group. (LINK)

How many paperbacks and audio-books will you sell this Christmas?

Christmas Quick Tips → Diversity → Promoting Multiple Formats

I’m delighted, but not at all surprised, to hear how many indies are reporting increasing percentages of their revenue is coming from formats other than ebooks.

With the recent slump in ebook sales on Amazon, now pretty much confirmed by the latest Author Earnings Report, many indies are even reporting revenue from “other formats” is exceeding their ebook revenue.

And it begs the question – would that percentage be even higher if we took time out to take format diversity seriously?

Yes, I know, we indies sell more ebooks than any other format, therefore we should focus on ebooks, blah, blah, blah.

But as I’ve said many times, this is an artificial construction. A corner we have painted ourselves into.

We spend all our time and energy writing and promoting our ebooks, and on those occasions when we do manage to put together a print version or an audio book we mention it once on FB or twitter with an embarrassed smile and the go right back to focussing on our ebooks.

Of course we sell far more ebooks than any other format.

But what if we were to divide our attention more equally across all our formats? What if we tried cross-pollinating our different formats?

For example, how many of us even mention, in our ebook back-matter, that our titles – including, and perhaps especially, the one the reader has open on their device – are also available in print and audio-book versions?

Cross-pollination is essential to our organic growth. Not just of ebooks but of all formats.

Here’s the thing.

When a reader on Amazon loves our ebook they can tweet, FB, email, or otherwise tell all their friends about this great book. Personal recommendation is – or should be – our biggest driver of sales. Word of mouth matters.

But when our Amazon reader tells their friend who uses Kobo or Nook or Apple or Google Play or OverDrive or Scribd or whatever, and that friend rushes to their preferred retailer or digital library or subscription service to get this highly recommended book and finds it’s not available because we’re in Select, or we couldn’t be bothered to get in it digital libraries, or decided subscription services were a waste of time, then we’ve just lost not only that one sale but also the future sales from all the other titles that reader might have bought afterwards.

It works both ways. Our excited Google Play or Apple or OverDrive reader tells their friend using Amazon, Kobo and Nook and they rush off to download our book.

Just to repeat part of that. Our excited Google Play or Apple or OverDrive reader tells their friend using Amazon…

In other words, going wide doesn’t just bring us more sales from other outlets, It also brings us more sales on the Big Gorilla itself.

It’s cross pollination.

Now lets extrapolate this to formats.,

Our ebook reader on Amazon or Kobo or Google Play or wherever loves our book and raves about it to their friends.

But what if that book is only available as an ebook, not in print or audio? Those friends who want to read it in print or listen to it having heard about it on social media are going to be disappointed. We’ve just lost not only the one print or audio-book sale but all the other print and audio sales we might have picked up for our other titles.

But perhaps our excited reader isn’t a social media person but still likes to personally recommend titles to friends and family.

If we have a note in our back-matter saying this books (and others) are available in format X, Y or Z then that reader can make a judgment about who to recommend or indeed buy that other format for.

“I so loved this book and I’m sure Mum would, but she doesn’t read on a screen. It’s Grandpa’s birthday next week and he would love an audio-book. What a shame this book isn’t in audio format. And dear Aunt Nelly is really struggling to find books she’d like that are in large print,but there are so few to choose from…”

Lost sales, folks.

This is particularly important with Christmas approaching.

Yes we can, with some effort, on some retailers, gift ebooks. But seriously, what kind of gift is a digital download? Try wrapping that up with a pretty ribbon and a “love You” tag and popping it under the Xmas tree.

But supposing we have, in our ebooks, a little message at the back saying something like,

“If you enjoyed this book, why not share the pleasure and give the print or audio version as gift to a loved one? Also available in large print.”

For those of us with email lists now is the ideal time to be putting together that email promo reminding our followers that not only our all our titles available in ebook format, but also in print, large print and audio versions that they can give to their friends and family.

But don’t – please, please don’t – just say “It’s available on Amazon” it it’s in fact wide, because you’ll be sending out a clear message to everyone that doesn’t shop at Amazon that the book is not available anywhere else.

List the ISBN (print and audio) and tell folks they can simply Google the ISBN and up will come everywhere the audio or print version is available.

In the USA some 70% of all book sales are in print. And before we roll out the “Life’s so unfair – we indies can’t get into bookstores” excuse again do bear in mind that a) that’s not true, and b) half of all print sales happen online anyway.

Print isn’t dying. Audio-book sales are soaring. Large print is easy to add to our portfolio,and shouldn’t be seen as just for those books that will appeal to mature readers. Lots of younger readers also have challenged vision. (Lots more on large-print opportunities in a future post.).

Amazon’s CreateSpace and ACX aren’t the only options, but they do offer a quick and easy foot in the door for indies wanting to take those first steps into multiple formats.

If we indies aren’t getting a decent share of the print and audio action like trad pub is then, sorry folks, but we have only ourselves to blame.

And sometimes the fixes can be as simple as letting our ebook readers know other formats are available.

As I post this it’s 27th October. Christmas is literally less than eight weeks away. Just enough time to nip in, update our ebook back-matter, update our websites, and send out our newsletters to tell the world we’re not embarrassed to be multi-format and yes, we have regular and large print paperbacks and audio-books available! (And maybe hardbacks and special editions too).

How many print and audio-books will you sell this Christmas?

♦ ♦ ♦

This post first appeared in the International Indie Author Facebook Group.

 

THE INTERNATIONAL INDIE AUTHOR
LOOKING AT THE BIGGER PICTURE.

Great News From Smashwords!

Go Global In 2014 It seems Smashwords have now dropped the incredibly annoying requirement that you had to put “Published by Smashwords” or some similar text on the title page of your ebook when submitting for Premium distribution.

Why such good news? After all, it’s just a line of text, right?

First, many of us don’t use the Meatgrinder. It’s good (better finish than D2D) but it’s not excellent, it’s bloody cumbersome, and it’s very limited. Professional indies usually have professionally-made epub files that we load direct to retailers, including Smashwords. 

But because of this ridiculous requirement we had to have two versions, one with the extra words in to keep Mark Coker happy, and another for other outlets. 

Second, professional indies do NOT want Smashwords listed as publisher on our title page when Smashwords is not our publisher. It’s called self-publishing for a reason. 

Aside from which many authors go to considerable expense and effort to have their own ISBNs and their own publishing imprint. They pay so that that ISBN is assigned to their imprint and they are the publisher of record. A waste of money when Smashwords is insisting we stated they were the publisher instead.

That said, many indies assert ISBNs are a waste of money. Period. We’ll be taking a closer look soon at ISBNs and why we feel they do have something to offer.

Third, having Smashwords printed there, just like having CreateSpace on the title page of a POD, screams out that the book is self-published.

To some readers, and to some retailers and other interested third parties, that matters. Like it or not, being self-published still carries a lot of stigma and closes doors in our faces.

Those in the know understand indie imprints are still self-published, but they also understand, and respect, that those authors have made the effort to distance themselves from the NaNoWriMo first drafts that give self-publishing a bad name.

We only have to look at the Smashwords-OverDrive fiasco to see that. Smashwords titles are hidden away in a self-published ghetto while indies who used a different aggregator such as Ebook Partnership have their titles proudly displayed in OverDrive libraries and retail outlets.

Fourth, it’s disingenuous of Mark Coker, since the site clearly states Smashwords is not our publisher, but he insisted on adding wording in every ebook that said it was.

Five, we accept that Smashwords has a handful of outlets we cannot get into otherwise, so we play the game and have another epub made with the required wording.

No big deal if you make your own or are competent with the Meatgrinder. Not everyone is. Many an indie author has ended up atop the Brooklyn Bridge, ready to end it all, after yet another merry-go-round with the Meatgrinder’s utterly meaningless auto-vetter rejections.

So most professional indies have their epub files made for them, in the same way most of us farm out our cover designs or our editing or proofing.

And that becomes a very big deal if you are paying the crazy prices some ebook formatters charge.

So either you had “Published by Smashwords” in your epub even if you were going direct to Nook, or to Google Play, or whatever. Or you had to have two epub versions, one with the wording and one without. Which could get seriously expensive for those paying for the work..

But now we can load the same epub to all retailers – and of course that includes Amazon. One of the many upsides to Amazon is that you can upload a quality epub file to KDP and they will convert it to a mobi file. No-one should be paying extra for a mobi file for Amazon when your epub will load in KDP just fine, and now you don’t need a separate epub file for Smashwords.

All that said, if you use a Smashwords-allocated “free” ISBN then Smashwords will still be your publisher of record and it will still say “Publisher: Smashwords” in the metadata on the product page.

The only way to avoid that is to buy your own ISBNs. Again, more on this thorny subject soon.

 Ebook Bargains UK

 Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

 Far more than just the UK.

Print Is Dead! Long Live Print!

GoGlobalIn2014_500

You’ve all heard of The Book Depository. No, they haven’t started to sell ebooks at last. Given they are an Amazon company it’s unlikely they ever will. The Kindle store is the only ebook shop Amazon needs.

But we end this month with a couple of interesting – and for many, quite unexpected – developments in the publishing world.

Reports from the Christmas / Holidays season suggest many indie book stores not only did well, but literally broke records for print sales as 2013 ended. Then earlier this month B&N’s annual report revealed print sales yet again delivered a not unsubstantial profit. In fact were it not for the Nook store draining its resources B&N would be looking pretty buoyant.

We’ll come back to Nook another time, as we remain optimistic about Nook’s long-term prospects. The doom and gloom merchants revelling in Nook’s misery right now (why is that so many indie blogs supposedly supporting indie authors and reader choice will go out of their way to kick a man while he’s down?) may yet have their hopes dashed by a change of fortune when Nook is sold on to an operator with the muscle to make it work.

B&N’s management themselves are very optimistic about the future of the Barnes & Noble stores, and see the sale of the Nook operation as their only hurdle to survival. Print, in their view, still has plenty of life left in it.

~

What’s this go to do with The Book Depository? Well, as we said above, it’s owned by Amazon, so whoever is in charge of it ought to know which way the wind is blowing for print, right?

Kieron Smith was The Book Depository’s Managing Director for five years. He left as recently as last November. Safe to presume he has a very good idea about the future of print. needless to say there was speculation when he left that he was deserting a sinking ship. That Amazon’s focus was now on ebooks and print would fade into oblivion.

Smith clearly thinks otherwise. This spring he launches a new, global online store called bestlittlebookshop.com. It kicks off simultaneously in four different languages – English, German, French and Arabic, and we expect more will follow.

No, there will be no ebooks in the new store. Smith is betting on print not just surviving globally, but thriving, alongside the continuing growth of ebooks, much as we’ve predicted will happen.

It’s not clear yet whether Smith’s store will stock indie PODs in the way The Book Depository does. Our guess is no, but hopefully we’ll be proven wrong on that.

Meanwhile a reminder to all indies that POD distribution made enormous leaps in 2013 and bizarrely your POD titles may now be available globally in even more stores than your ebooks are!

We say may, because if you are with CreateSpace you need to physically tick the Extended Distribution box to get your POD titles out into the wider world. No charge. Extended Distribution is now free from CreatreSpace, and far wider-reaching than when it was charged for.

Those using Ingram, Lulu, Bookbaby, Feed-A-Read or some other POD facilitator may need to check the websites to make sure they are getting into all the new channels. These are now standard, and free, but may need to be opted-in.

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Imagine. Your print books available to readers across the world. As we kicked off 2013 it looked like POD would forever be nothing more than a means to get a “real” book in the hands of your great aunt Dorothy to prove you really have written one and it’s not just a picture on a screen. Now POD can be a firm part of your Go Global In 2014 strategy.

Yes, these PODs still have to be ordered and delivered, and that can take several weeks to some destinations as printing and shipping is still done from the USA or a couple of key European destinations (expect that to change soon) but the simple fact that your print titles are available in countries as improbable as Brazil, India, Pakistan or Paraguay dramatically increases your chances of being discovered.

If someone spots your POD title but doesn’t want to pay the price and delivery charge, or is just too impatient, there’s a good chance they might buy your ebook instead.

Of course, if you’re ebooks aren’t available…

Being there is half the battle.

Ebook Bargains UK

Far more than just an ebook promo newsletter.

Far more than just the UK.