Sunday, September 23, 2018

Transitioning to Amazon KDP Paperback Publishing

Change in technology is hard, especially when you work alone and don't have office colleagues with whom to share practices. Amazon's new process to create paperbacks through KDP (rather than through the now-shuttered Create Space) is a lot to learn. It can be learned.

I've now done two books using the process. Here are a couple of observations.
  •  The transition process has been relatively smooth. I opted to let Amazon do it. All of my paperbacks now appear on my KDP bookshelf. You can indicate whether there is a Kindle book to which the paperback should be linked. This worked for all of my books except most of the large print versions. I'm not worried about this yet. I assume they will eventually link automatically, and if they don't, I can send a query that I know Amazon will handle.
  • Using the new process, when I accidentally loaded a six-by-nine inch version instead of the new five-by-eight version, the system noted this. Then KDP asked if I wanted them to try to auto-fit the old version into the new size. It worked perfectly! As I issue the new size for all my books, this means I can use the old size with just a few modifications (new ISBN and Library of Congress number, for example). Big time saver.
  • The Cover Creator process requires fewer steps and makes it easier to use the ebook version of your cover on your paperback. Initially I could not figure out how to change the font size for the back cover, sent a note to Amazon, and received a reply that font size could not be changed. After suggesting to the person who emailed me that larger font size is crucial for large print books, the next note said she would forward it up the line. I actually received a phone call within two days, saying font size can be changed and telling me how. Pretty impressive.
  • The first Amazon staffer sent me detailed instructions to design and upload my own cover. I could figure this out, but I prefer Cover Creator, and am now assured it will work for my large-print covers. 
  • Final note about covers. Cover Creator in CS and KDP are not compatible. If you used it in CS and want to revise, you have to do a new cover in KDP. The one you had on CS will continue to work, you just can't go in to make even a simple change.
  • The interior review process is now similar to the Kindle Preview process. Faster and easier to read.
  • While there is no stated staff review process and it appears you can order a print proof immediately, that's not quite how it works. You place a printed proof order, and it appears in your checkout cart. However, the order cannot be processed until you get an email from Amazon and you then have to order within 24 hours. If you don't, you have to start the proof order process over. I assume this is essentially a quality check, and that's fine. However, the 24-hour process can be tough if you don't have access to email while traveling (or have a life and don't check it a lot).
Technology changes, and while the switch to KDP Paperbacks has caused me consternation, it is simply another change to get used to. I'm going to adjust just fine.

I will add more observations, and will do another article on the steps involved in the process.

Happy writing.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Always Remember

I'm sure tens of thousands of notes, blog posts, and tweets begin with "always remember" on September 11th. I do one tweet that day, in memory of those who died. This year I put yellow roses with the words. Nothing can ever be adequate.

Two days after 9/11, I drove to a spot near the Pentagon (outside Arlington National Cemetery). I didn't go the day after, because we had a meeting of the Social Equity Panel at the National Academy of Public Administration. The late Phil Rutledge and I decided that if we canceled, we would be letting the terrorists win.

A small hillside in Arlington, Virginia had bouquets and messages to and from many, including this sign on the cemetery fence. I look at this photo every year.

The world came together to help the United States grieve. I will always remember that, too.
Elaine L. Orr

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Rereading Books

With all of the books in the world, it makes no sense to read some more than once -- but I do. Generally, they're books I like, such as Pompeii (Robert Harris), the Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling), and nonfiction, such as In the Garden of the Beast (Erik Larsen).

Much of my reading is via audiobooks, since I'm in the car a lot. Several times in the last few years I've taken out a library CD a second time, because I didn't recognize the story (having read it years ago). I generally return it without rereading, but if I'm down to my last audio book, I'll listen again.

As I enjoy it a second time, I hear things I missed the first time  through. Sometimes I spot foreshadowing I didn't recognize, other times I'll realize the antagonist dropped hints I didn't pick up on. Louise Penny's and Daniel Silva's books are so rich I miss subtext sometimes. I recently bought Moscow Rules (Silva) at a library sale. I loved the book and plan to listen again on my next 1,000 mile drive.

So, apologies to the many authors whose books I've not read the first time. May some of your books become favorites when I do get to them.

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