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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  1. I think I did it all right, but I'm still sad over the loss of the actual CreateSpace.

  2. I am, too. Part of it is because I knew the Create Space system so well, but it also seems to take longer to get author copies from KDP.

  3. After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article. amazon