Now that Amazon has merged Create Space into Kindle Books (most of the people at Create Space are still doing the pre-press, printing, and shipping of your books, but their sales and customer service center is closed or will be closed soon) you have to do your print books through KDP or Kindle (yes, you can use another service like Lulu or Ingram Spark, but this piece is for Create Space users who have eBooks on Kindle).
I found the process to be far easier than it was with Create Space.
If you have an existing eBook on Kindle but have not made a print book, you simply click on the “Create a paperback” link and you immediately are taken inside to the tabs that begin with the PAPERBACK DETAILS which are copied directly from your eBook. You can change them if you want, but everything EXCEPT THE GENRE links (two maximum) are copied over. You have to manually link to a genre (fiction, science fiction, nonfiction, romance, etc.).
If you don’t have a current eBook for the title, then you have to start fresh using the top menus on your account DASHBOARD.
You select either an EBOOK or a PRINT BOOK.
If you’re new to Kindle, then you have to start an account, giving your real name, address, phone number, tax identification number (from your country, in the US it’s either a Social Security number of a Taxpayer Identification Number, if you are from another country and they don’t have a taxpayer number there is a method you use to set yourself up with Amazon). You also have to select how to get paid, either by check ($100 accumulated is the minimum to issue a check in US dollars) or by direct bank deposit (which requires a routing number and an account number, many foreign countries support this, some countries also have US Banking offices that may be able to help with this account).
The benefit of direct deposit is that you will be paid 60 days after a sale is made with no minimum. They will pay you 9 cents if that’s all you made.
With the check, it sits in your account and accumulates until you get the minimum amount. Do understand that some people only make a few dollars a year off book sales, especially print books which don’t sell nearly as fast as eBooks.
While you can price your ebook in any amount starting at 99 cents US ($0.99) the more expensive you make an eBook the harder it is to sell. I proved this to myself by pricing my first books $2.99 (you get a larger royalty – 70% – between $2.99 and $9.99) and yes, I got a few sales. Then nothing. When I dropped the price to 99 cents, I started getting more sales (and you only get 25% or 35 cents – $0.35 US – at this price bracket) once I dropped the price. So, price point sells, if you want to get your books into the hands of people and make a little money.
There is also the Kindle Unlimited program which requires exclusive rights to your eBooks for 90-day periods. You get paid currently $0.005186 per page read by the user. My 485 Kindle page book (270 print book pages and 180 manuscript pages or approx. 98,000 words) makes me about $2.20 when fully read. My book sales make me 35 cents.
Print book sales will make you from between about a high of $5 to a low of about 35 cents based on the choices you make during your setup (and you can change these at any time).
The $5 high is when a book sells directly through Amazon. The 35 low is when Amazon sells a book to Ingram, who sells a book to a store in Europe who sells the book to a private customer. It changes a lot of hands, there are printing, and profit-making costs involved. We (you and me) the authors are probably getting a little bit of the shaft here, but hey, they did get you a sale to a customer in Europe without you having to do anything or spend any additional money.
And YES, Amazon distributes through Ingram, just like Create Space did. And Ingram is the largest independent distributor worldwide of book, software, music, DVDs and select computer accessories.
Ingram does NOT distribute directly to chain stores (Walmart, Target, Sears, K-Mart), supermarkets or transportation concession stands. Those are handled by other distributors such as Reader Link, Anderson Marketing and Hudson News. Only big publishers and distributors can get you into those markets. Ingram does distribute to Barnes and Noble, as well as every mom and pop bookstore in the world.
So, let’s get back to making your paperback.
If you don’t already have a Kindle eBook you have to fill out all the information about your book, including the “blurb” they will show on the website that needs to be sexy and exciting if you want to sell books (just don’t blatantly lie to the folks at home).
You need to list search keywords.
You need to select two indexing Genres (technically called a BISAC. This is a book classification system devised by the Book Industry Study Group [BISG]. BISAC stands for Book Industry Standards and Communications. They are used by everyone. If you were on Create Space, you saw it under your book listing. The Library of Congress uses this standard. So, basically, does Amazon and Barnes and Noble).
So, once you have all your book information listed, you press SAVE AND CONTINUE and we get to the meat of things and some of this you’ll remember from Create Space, but it’s all in one place here with Kindle Books. What you did with TABS and several pages at Create Space is done on this center space here.
The first nifty thing is they have the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) located BEFORE you upload your text and cover, so you can copy it down and added it to your manuscript. For books, this is the equivalent of the UPC code you see on grocery and electronics. This can be scanned at the register to sell and price a book. It is used by the bookstore to order a book. It is required if you want distribution and bookstore sales. The Kindle ISBN scans as “independently published.”
In Canada and at least one Middle Eastern country ISBN s are available FREE to citizens at an address in that country.
In most other countries you have to pay for them. In the US RR Bowker is the official source and they charge $150 for one or $250 for 10 (price subject to change without notice). When they sell these to you it will list your name or your company name. They may also list you in their publisher’s book, that comes out yearly. If they do list you it will contain your name, address, and phone number. As you use a number it goes into the international database, so libraries, stores, and distributors get the title of your book and know where to find the publisher or distributor.
An ISBN is required for EACH unique edition of a book. If you have a Kindle book, Nook/Kobo/Apple book, Trade Paperback, Mass Market Paperback, Hard Cover Edition and Audio Book you will need SIX separate ISBNs to cover all of those.
Most of us only need TWO. One for the Paperback and one for the Nook book. (Amazon issues their own AISN for ebooks, but you can provide your own ISBN if you so desire.) If you chose not to make a Nook book you only need one. If you choose not to make a Paperback, you can just live with Amazon's AISN number otherwise you need one if you want to have your ISBN listed.
Kindle, like Create Space or Lulu, will give you a free ISBN that says INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED. Create Space used to say Create Space Independent Publishing Platform.
This does not mean a given print on demand service OWNS your book. It simply means that if someone searches for your book that search leads to AMAZON, in this case, or the Ingram when they set you up for distribution (which is in the final tab of the new Kindle Print Book system).
If you DON'T have your own PERSONAL ISBN (it cannot be one issued by Lulu or another self-publisher) you press one button if you want a free “Independently Published” ISBN from Kindle you select the other button and it will give it to you on the spot. Which is great. You can copy that and enter it on your COPYRIGHT PAGE which is where it should go, along with the country of manufacture, which is based on which KINDLE you go through, as I’m sure the UK and Australia have one similar to the US one.
For those in the US, it is Made in the U.S.A.
Country of origin is important because under the copyright laws the laws, rights, and regulations of the country of origin apply. In the US we have some liberal laws, including mandatory minimums for pirates (provided you can prove they knew it was copyright materials they copied).
You also have to send at least ONE FREE copy to the Library of Congress for their archives. There was some buzz about a small family publishing company being fined an incredible amount by the U.S. Government because they failed to send copies. The fine, by the way, is $250 initially and it goes out to $2,500 if you don’t respond within a moderate period of time PLUS the cost of them having to buy the book, plus tax and shipping. (The same rules apply to Canada for their national archive, but I don’t know if they do fines or not.)
In the United States to get the ability to sue in Federal Court for Copyright violations and to get statutory damages (most lawyers will tell you HAHA to that, but who knows you might get damage money!) you MUST register your published books within 90 days of publication and send them a PDF file of your eBook or TWO free hard copies of your print book, one of which goes to the Library of Congress Archive.
Do they really archive it? Yes, an independent record album I produced in 1986 is in the racks at the Library of Congress and you can look it up. It may, however, take a dozen or more years for your book to be given space in one of their many buildings. You may not make it into the main stack, in which case you go to the Librarian, give them the Call Number and they’ll send a Federal worker to go fetch it.
So, next after our ISBN, we come to PUBLICATION DATE which will be set automatically when you tell Kindle to start offering the book for sale. You can also list another date, like your eBook date or if this is a new edition (which may require a new ISBN) the original publishing date.
New editions with substantial editorial changes, revisions or additions required a new ISBN and a new Copyright application that ONLY covers the new material. All the old stuff expires at the end of the term.
Term is a strange thing in the U.S. Sonny Bono (yes, that man who sang “I Got You Babe”) passed a law protecting things made after 1923 and up to 1977 that had valid copyrights (and some movies got grandfathered in like “It’s a Wonderful Life”) and renewals get an extra 95 years in the United States (only). So new Chaplin, Disney, Broadway songs expire between this year (2018 for anything copyrighted in 1923 and renewed in the second term) and going to 2072. Unpublished works from 1898 are covered for 120 years, expiring starting in 2018 and I’m unclear if someone can now PUBLISH such a work and get full coverage!
Works created and published from 1978 onward only get LIFETIME of the author plus 70 years or if a corporation a flat 95 years.
There are strange exceptions for TV shows, especially Star Trek who didn’t post notice the first year. It was ruled that it was syndication, so the official date of copyright starts when Paramount started selling VHS Tapes and DVDs. Around 1979 even though the show was created in 1965.
CONTINUING WITH OUR KINDLE BOOKMAKING
Print options. Black and white on WHITE paper. Black and white on CREAM paper. Or COLOR INKS and full-color pictures on WHITE paper. This last option is, of course, the most expensive to print and will price your book through the roof. It is, however, good for travel books, cooking books, children's books, and coffee table books.
The most common is white paper.
Trim Size. The most common is “trade paperback” or 6×9 inches. Legal how-to books with forms should be 8 1/2 x 11 inches. There is also near mass market size, which is 5 x 7 or 5 x 8.
Trade paperback the 6 x 9 book is the most common.
Gloss cover is the most common. Gloss uses a paper that’s been treated with a UV coating.
Matte cover has basically a frosted sheet laminated over it or some type of matte spray coating the paper.
Gloss is the most common.
BLEED is used when you have pictures and stuff that go right to the edge of the paper. Understand they can end up cutting into this a little. You’ll need to make proof copies of this for sure and make adjustments.
Bleed may cost additional for printing.
Most people DO NOT SELECT BLEED.
But do understand your cover needs 1/4” of extra printed material around all sides. Also, your text must have proper margins.
I didn’t find any MARGIN settings. So, I used ones from my previous book and had no problems.
You can make adjustments to this based on the size of your book. This book was 100,000 words and spanned 270 pages with 11-point type.
You’ll find 11-point Times New Roman font works nicely for trade publications. An exception would be for Novellas and novels less than 70,000 words. Then going to 12-point type will add more pages, bulk and give you a wider spine.
The spine is important and that is what people look at when they search for a book in the library or on a bookshelf.
This particular book had less than 1” of spine and only 1/2” usable size for the text.
I had great difficulties with my 55,000-word book, even with 12-point type! It still only had 3/4” spine and that meant 1/3” or so for the text. I had to make corrections several times to pass Create Space’s criteria and I hear Kindle is worse!
You also have to the set the PAGE LAYOUT for MIRRORED. This staggers the pages, so the proper margins always face either inward or outward.
I like using the FOOTER for my page numbers. And I CENTER THEM and make them the same font size as the text.
The HEIGHT is the size of the little lines (the FOOTER) where the number is kept. SPACING distances the bottom of your text from the page number in the FOOTER.
Remember, you can generally add your own spacing. If it goes from 36 to 38 you can generally put your cursor in there and manually type 37 to get just a hair larger or smaller distance for your spacing and margins.
REMEMBER to SIZE your page of the manuscript to the SIZE of the book. 6” wide by 9” tall for Trade Paperback.
REMEMBER to make the layout MIRRORED.
REMEMBER TO SET THE MARGINS to at least my minimum recommendation.
REMEMBER to put a page number in the footer or header. You’re on your own for adjusting it side to side (that’s why I center) and for not starting on the first few pages (there is a way, I have yet to learn it – if you learn it, put up a free website and teach all of us!).
Once you have done that, you can UPLOAD your manuscript and then the COVER.
This process is a lot like what you did at Create Space and for your Kindle eBook.
For the COVER you can use their COVER CREATOR which is minimalistic. Or you can DOWNLOAD the TEMPLATE based on the size of the book and how many total pages you have.
You then use that template just like we did for Create Space (there is a separate free download page for that information) or give that template to your cover designer, so they know how big to make the cover and where to place the spine.
I’ll give you some tips. I started with a page 14 wide by 10 high (for a 6 x 9 cover with room to trim) and I put the PNG template they proved over that page (with ZERO margins) and then I started changing the size of the page until the WHITE vanished behind the template.
Once you do that you have the right size. Oh, you may need to make .01” changes if Kindle complains, but I had no problems.
Then I took my eBook cover, sized it top to bottom and set it all the way to the right. The left is where the back cover goes, and you have to create that. Put a blurb on it. Put your picture on it and brag about yourself. Put a pretty public domain picture on it.
Leave room for the spine. I do mine in Paint. I rotate it 90 degrees and use the TEXT tool to write the name of my book and the author's name in no larger than 1/2” unless I have a really big spine.
Then I turn it over.
I save this. I call up the PNG of my template. I make a BIG white Paint canvas that will hold TWO of my templates stacked, but I only put one on the bottom. I save this. Then I call back my cover image, copy the whole image, save it and call back the BIG white image with the template. I copy my cover above the template and I size my cover and adjust it, so the spine is right where the template says it should be. You rotate and adjust as needed, Cutting and pasting until you have it right!
Now you save this. You copy your sized cover. You make a NEW Paint canvas, you paste your cover to that and CROP it so NO white shows. You save that as a JPG image called MY COVER. Then you go to your word processor, get that page you sized to the template, INSERT image and bring your picture in. Size you picture until NO WHITE shows. Now save that as YOUR COVER TEMPLATE. Next turn that into a PDF file using the PDF option found on most word processors.
That now gets uploaded and you are ready to generate a PREVIEW FILE.
This is where you start making corrections. Corrections to margins. Corrections to footers and headers. Corrections to your layout. Corrections to your cover.
You may have to cut a 2 x 2 space in your back cover for the BARCODE.
Take a screenshot of the one they provide. If required used that to make a square, if required, in your back cover.
Not sure if you need to do this yet on Amazon. I had to do that for Create Space.
YOU Cannot SAVE and CONTINUE until you APPROVE your PDF Proof.
It will also give you a nice PDF file you can save on your computer.
The proofer on Kindle is easier, faster and nicer than it was on Create Space.
The online proofer lets you see the book cover with the spine and then you can page through the book checking it for consistency and problems.
You can also download a PDF file of the book and it reads a lot like the Kindle Reader software you can download. So, it’s very user-friendly.
If you are happy with how things look you press the APPROVE button and that takes you to the WORLD RIGHTS and PRICING menu.
Pricing is a lot like it was on Create Space. You have two choices: Amazon only which covers the US, Canada, Australia, France, Denmark, Italy, and Japan. This lets you price the book lower as you’ll only be going through the AMAZON supply chain.
The second option is a checkbox called EXPANDED DISTRIBUTION and this, basically, puts you into the Ingram and other databases. When you check this box the list price of your book jumps and you see a very low royalty (often under $1) which is your expanded distribution.
Expanded distribution should put you into Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, iBooks, possibly Baker and Taylor. They don’t really say who they are affiliated with like Create Space did, but it is possible they can still use the CS distribution circle.
I’ve definitely seen Kindle print books listed at Barnes and Noble. And that’s what EXPANDED DISTRIBUTION looks like.
If you don’t check that box you don’t get outside of the Amazon supply chain. You don’t get in the Ingram supply chain and they supply every mom and pop books store in the world, plus Barnes and Noble for fill-ins.
You will now learn what your printing costs are, what your retail prices (and you can control those, raising and lowering your royalties accordingly) are for each Amazon market.
A lot of people will wonder why the expanded distribution royalty is so much lower, it’s because the Bookstore who orders the book has to make $$$, Ingram who distributes the book has to make $$$, Amazon who prints the book has to cover printing costs and shipping costs to Ingram (Ingram ships to their contract stores free of charge or the cost is spread among a store order, as stores often order many books from Ingram at a time).
You can increase this royalty by increasing the Amazon American Retail List price, but remember that can hurt sales. Walmart sells books for between $10 and $12. They sell mass market books for less than $5. They sell hardcover books for under $20. That’s your competition.
Since you are the publisher you can decide how much to sell it for. Your royalty is based on that. It’s that simple.
You can also order up a printed proof your printer costs, plus sales tax and shipping. A 100,000 word, 6×9 240 page book cost $3.79 to ship and $3.79 to buy. With tax, I paid about $8. This is about the same as what Create Space used to charge me.
Amazon should have your name and address on file, so you simply press the button. It orders a book. They will contact you in a few days to have to finalize the shipment. Then your credit card is charged for the books.
UNLIKE Create Space AMAZON brands the cover of the book PROOF and there is no ISBN barcode on the proof copy. They do this, so you can’t sell it, I guess.
You can’t use your Amazon Prime free ship option on this type of sale. Amazon doesn’t want to finance your personal book sales store at home.
It’s unclear what books you buy are like. I’ll let you know that at a later date.
You can still go back and submit a new cover PDF or a new interior manuscript file.
Unlike Create Space they don’t lock you out from doing edits and changes until you approve the hard copy proof, they are sending you. I always found that annoying.
Once you have approved your print copy and formally “publish” the book it takes about two days for it to appear on the Amazon site. Probably longer for it to make it into the Ingram Data Base, who then puts it in all the bookstore databases.
You should still be able to change cover images and interior manuscripts if you find problems.