Monthly Archives: May 2015

First Attempt at Upload to KDP

While I wait for the proof copy of the paperback to arrive I’ve started playing around with KDP. I signed on and created a new title.

I was presented with a lot of information about Kindle Select and did I want to enrol the book on it. Cue long deviation while I googled what it was and what people thought of it. In the end I decided to go with it. I think it will open up my book to more people, ie those who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited (who may never actually buy a book) and those who download from the Kindle Owners Lending Library through Amazon Prime (who again may never buy a book). In terms of royalties, if such people downloaded my book I would be eligible for a cut of the Kindle Select Global Fund, probably a negligible amount, but at least it’s better than nothing and it would help get my name out there. They are also allowed to write reviews.

Kindle Select also gives the opportunity to have free promotional days and promotional discounts. Not sure if I’m interested in this just yet.

The downside of it all is that it is a 90-day rolling program so I need to enrol every 90 days, which fortunately is automatic (if I understand it right). The other downside is that I can’t have any other digital versions of the book anywhere, ie it has to be exclusive to Amazon, which means I can’t put excerpts up on my blog while it is registered for Kindle Select. But I can live with that.

Anyway I filled out all the fields on the first tab, title, author etc, uploaded the cover and uploaded the html document I had created from OpenOffice.

I then went into the online previewer which displays what the book will look like on the following devices:

  • Fire HDX
  • Fire HDX 8.9
  • Fire Phone
  • Kindle Voyage
  • Kindle DX
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Android Phone
  • Android Tablet

I think I need to go through each one to make sure they look ok. I was hoping I would be able to download a version to my Kindle Paperwhite and preview it there but I can’t see how that can be done.

My initial playing around with the preview highlighted several areas that need some attention (whether I can do anything about them or not, I don’t know yet).

Paragraph indents. Some devices show the first paragraph of a chapter as having no indent, followed by subsequent paragraphs having an indent. I have no problem with this. It is how I formatted the document. However, some devices have the first paragraph with an indent, and some show an indent twice the size of subsequent paragraphs. It seems inconsistent.

Spacing between paragraphs. I specified none, but some devices show a distinct gap. I have no objection to it as it appears to be on the larger devices anyway, but it’s a bit annoying when it comes to the table of contents which ends up being spread across three screens.

I need to review the location of my table of contents (particularly with regard to the devices that spread it over too many screens).

I might close up some of the gaps on the copyright page to try and make it fit on one screen of all devices (if possible)

I need to convert internet addresses (for my blog and email) to hyperlinks

I seem to have lost the bookmark for the table of contents

Otherwise it doesn’t look too bad. I’m going to research some of the above and decide if there is anything I can do about them, so it might take a while. Also I need to go through each device carefully to see if there’s anything else that needs attention. By the time I’ve done all this, the proof copy will have arrived from CreateSpace and will be sat gathering dust until I’m ready to look at it.

CreateSpace Review Results

I had the review email back from CreateSpace.

The text file for Betrayal was accepted, which is a relief. It’s nice to know I got the formatting right.

They had a couple of ‘non-blocking’ issues regarding the cover. The first was that it was below 200dpi which could mean the picture looks a bit grainy when printed. I think the problem probably arose during the conversion process from OpenOffice odg format to pdf. I read on the internet about people converting documents containing pictures from Word to pdf having a similar problem. Apparently Word converts the pictures to 199dpi. I wonder if something similar has happened here. As the cover design is fairly abstract, I don’t think the resolution will be too much of an issue.

The second issue they raised was that they picked up on the fact I had used transparency in the design. They ‘flatten’ this with a result that there may be a slight colour shift.

On CreateSpace when I click on my project for ‘Betrayal’ it comes up with the status of the process so I can see what I still need to do, and a thumbnail of the cover. It doesn’t look too bad at that size. It may have lost a bit of the darkness it had, running from very dark in the top left to light in the opposite corner. The thumbnail makes it seem more grey.

As neither issue is a real show-stopper I decided to go ahead and order a proof copy. I’ll make a decision regarding the cover when I’m able to hold it in my hands and examine it more closely. If it really is naff then I’ll revisit the design, but I’ll wait and see for now before making that judgement.

Ordering a proof copy means waiting for it to arrive from the US. They have three shipping rates. The standard rate of $4.88 (£3.19) has an estimated delivery date of July 10th. I can’t wait that long. A month and a half? Forget that. My thumbs will be well and truly twiddled by then.

The next rate is Expedited which comes in at $7.99 (£5.22) with an estimated delivery of June 9th. Better. Just under two weeks.

The fastest delivery option is Priority for $14.38 (£9.39). This should arrive by June 1st. This seems a bit steep.

I opted for the Expedited in the hope that the dates were worst case scenarios. It will be interesting to see how it compares. If it does come on June 9th then it will arrive just after I start my stint of Jury Service at the local courts. Hope my mind won’t be elsewhere while I’m there!

In the meantime, while I wait for it to arrive, I’ll complete the set up on CreateSpace and get the Kindle version ready and uploaded to KDP. I found out that if I’d uploaded the file in Word format, CreateSpace would do the conversion for me. I wonder how long it will be before they extend the courtesy to other filetypes.

Next on the agenda is the thorny issue of pricing. Where do I pitch the price? As I’m a newbie I doubt I can command the same prices as well-established authors. If I set it too high would I drive potential readers away? But I don’t want to set it too low. I would like to see a bit of a return on the investment of my time. Although I enjoy the creative aspect of writing, as I said in my ‘About Me’ page, hopefully writing will one day help to supplement my pension when I’m older. At least I’m making a start in that direction. We’ll have to wait and see where things go in the future.

So now I need to do some research on Amazon to get some idea what a reasonable amount to charge would be. That’ll keep me busy for a while!

Betrayal uploaded to CreateSpace

I’ve uploaded the text and the cover for my first novel into CreateSpace (Amazon’s Print on Demand service). It’s currently under review and I hope all will be well tomorrow when I get the response from them.

I wrote the novel using OpenOffice, so I when I had finished I exported the final version as a PDF file ready to upload.

Signing onto CreateSpace to submit my work was an exciting moment. Filling in the fields identifying the book really gave me the impression that the 18 months spent writing it were actually coming to fruition. The book title is Betrayal and it is the first volume (of three) in a series called The Supremacy.

I followed the CreateSpace ‘guided setup’ which I thought a prudent choice for my first attempt at uploading.

I allowed CreateSpace to assign me an ISBN (I could have supplied one – if I was prepared to pay for one, and if I knew how!). It feels like I’m getting close to publishing now!

I went back to the novel and included the ISBN on the copyright page and exported the file to PDF again.

During the interior setup, I selected the smallest size available (5x8inches). This is bigger than what I considered as a standard paperback size when I was growing up. I measured one of the books on the shelf above my desk – about 4 and 5 sixteenths x 7 inches. CreateSpace actually recommend 6×9 inches. Isn’t that getting a bit big to read in bed?

I’ve chosen to go with cream paper. I’m not sure if this will be a mistake yet or not. Is white more suitable for science fiction/space opera? I don’t know. It did occur to me that it might be a more valid choice for something like an historical novel. I’ll have to wait and see the proof copy to make up my mind. If I decide to change it, I’ll have to amend the cover because the spine won’t be quite as thick with white paper.

Then the moment I had been waiting for. I uploaded the file. It went through their automated print check routine ok. I started the interior reviewer and quickly spotted a problem with the paragraph formatting at the start of chapter 5 so it was back to the editing. I also spotted a problem with the page numbering. Really weird. When the new chapter started on a right-hand page it retained the same page number as the previous page. The next page and subsequent pages were correct. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on. Anyway I resolved it and re-uploaded the file.

I created my cover in the OpenOffice Draw program. Because it included transparency I wasn’t able to export to PDF (think I need to upgrade). I used a web based conversion tool. zamzar.com converted the finished image from odg format to pdf. If I sell enough copies I might revisit the cover and pay for a professional design.

I uploaded the cover pdf and submitted the uploaded files for review. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll hear if they are ok, or not.

Not long now!

Setting up for Kindle Publishing

With the CreateSpace document almost ready to go I’ve started the process of getting a Kindle version ready as well.

I set up an account with Amazon Kindle Direct (I was able to sign on with my normal Amazon sign-on) and updated the information they require, like bank details etc. It was very similar to the process for CreateSpace and included the ‘Tax Interview’.

At least this time I had an idea of how to respond to the questions, so I sailed through it and produced the form W-8BEN-E for Tax withholding, to ensure I don’t pay taxes both sides of the Atlantic. As a recap for anyone new following, I live in the UK and to take advantage of the tax treaty between the US and the UK whereby I can pay tax over here instead, I need to complete form W-8BEN-E for the IRS. Luckily Amazon take care of its production through the ‘Tax Interview’ process. As I already have an EIN and I used it for the CreateSpace registration, I used it here as well (although it’s now possible to use a UK NI number instead). I just had to remember to declare myself as an organization to be able to input the EIN. Their system doesn’t have a category for self-employed sole-trader. Although technically I’m not that yet as when I phoned HMRC they said to register as such after I had put something up to Amazon. So that’s something not to forget.

I downloaded a document from the KDP site called ‘Building Your Book for Kindle’. Its Word specific but it’s useful anyway. I use OpenOffice, but I suspect I’ll have to convert the final document to Word when I’m done because that’s what KDP prefer. So, using the downloaded document I’ve made a start on formatting a Kindle version of my novel.

Soon going to publish

Well I have just finished converting my first novel, Betrayal, into the format required by CreateSpace. It has taken some time. I initially started with one of the templates they provide. These are for Word. I use OpenOffice but they work ok. I found the whole process a bit cumbersome so I created my own page and paragraph styles and set about applying them to the document. It was an interesting experience determining how a published paperback is formatted. I had a stack of novels next to me to use for reference as I went through the process, picking and choosing which elements seemed ‘right’. I’ll consolidate the styles into a template for future use (if it works ok).

Having completed the process I am now left with formulating the text for the copyright page and completing the last couple of pages detailing the follow-up book and my contact details. So I need my thinking cap on to come up with a title for the second book which is currently at around 50,000 words. I also need to sort out a Facebook page (and start using it). I’m not very familiar with social media so I guess I’m going to have to learn quite quick. My wife is the expert in our house (despite me having worked in the computer industry for all of my working life! I guess I was never interested in the social side of it before.)

Some months ago I started designing a cover. It’s probably not the best but I can’t afford to pay anyone to do it at the moment. I’m working on completing it at the moment. I might revisit this at a later date once I’m more familiar with the setup.

So I’m almost there. I’ll be starting the publishing process soon. I’ll describe the experience soon.