Recent Changes to CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing Paperbacks

CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing

Recent Updates to Paperback Features

Amazon has recently added new features to KDP’s paperback self-publishing option:

  • You can now order printed proofs from KDP. This is a vital step toward ensuring that your book is ready to publish.
  • You can similarly order author copies from KDP. This makes it viable to stock your book in local stores and libraries, and creates marketing opportunities like advance review copies, paperback preorders (through Amazon Advantage), press release packages, paperback giveaways, and book signings.
  • UK and Europe authors should be particularly excited, as KDP introduced a new feature that you can’t get at CreateSpace: author copies and proofs printed and shipped from Europe.

The first two changes simply bring KDP up to speed to make it a viable alternative to CreateSpace and Ingram Spark.

But the last change offers authors in the United Kingdom and continental Europe something that they can’t get from CreateSpace.

Meanwhile, CreateSpace has also experienced some changes:

  • CreateSpace will be eliminating paid services in a few months. I don’t see this as an issue really, as I’ll explain below.
  • Links to the CreateSpace eStore now redirect traffic to Amazon.com. Most authors are completely unaffected by this, as most authors get almost all of their paperback sales from Amazon.com anyway. The rare author who was capable of not only generating traffic to their eStore but who could also get many of those customers to overcome the CreateSpace shopping hurdles (like having to create a new account and pay for shipping) will need an alternative, such as BookBaby’s BookShop, Lulu’s storefront, or their own website with payment features.
  • Books automatically receive distribution to Amazon.ca (Canada) within 30 days if the Amazon.com sales channel is enabled. This isn’t that new (although it’s not as well-known as it could be), but I mention it because it’s a distinct advantage that CreateSpace currently retains over Kindle Direct Publishing.

Regarding CreateSpace’s paid services, in many ways it was always better to find a third party. Some third parties offer a portable file or a finished product that lets you edit your own file in the future, whereas CreateSpace’s services required paying for corrections in the future. Some third parties are also more flexible, offer economic (or even free) samples of their work, and offer better communication with the actual editor or designer. If you do thorough homework on finding a third party, it may turn out better than what CreateSpace offered. The main advantage CreateSpace had for their paid services (like copyediting or cover design) was the backing of Amazon’s name and their satisfaction guarantee. If you’re looking for paid services from a print-on-demand publisher, one option is BookBaby.

Does this mean that KDP is the better POD option now?

It depends on your needs.

Here are advantages that Kindle Direct Publishing currently has over CreateSpace:

  • Convenience: You can use a single account, you get consolidated reporting for both paperbacks and Kindle eBooks, and the setup of both print and Kindle editions occurs on the same site.
  • UK and Europe: You can order printed proofs and author copies and have them printed and shipped from within Europe. This feature isn’t available at CreateSpace, though hundreds of authors have asked for it.
  • Japan: You gain distribution to Amazon.co.jp (Japan).

Here are advantages that CreateSpace retains over KDP:

  • Distribution to other countries: CreateSpace offers better Expanded Distribution. For one, CreateSpace offers distribution to Canada (and those sales are reported and paid as Amazon.com sales, not at the lower Expanded Distribution royalties, which is a nice bonus) and to Mexico.
  • Distribution to bookstores: CreateSpace offers expanded distribution to bookstores and non-Amazon websites. KDP doesn’t provide this option yet.

So which is better for you?

  • Most self-published authors sell almost all of their paperback copies on Amazon.com. In that case, KDP is now the better option.
  • If you ordinarily get significant sales through the Expanded Distribution channel, I would hold off on migrating your titles to KDP.
  • If you’re new to the self-publishing industry, I now recommend KDP over CreateSpace unless you have solid, thoroughly researched plans to use CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution effectively to get your book stocked in local stores or libraries (though selling author copies rather than using the Expanded Distribution channel is in some cases the better way to achieve this—in that case, KDP works just fine, and gives you an advantage if you reside in the UK or continental Europe).
  • If you reside in the United Kingdom or continental Europe, KDP has the advantage of printing and shipping proofs and author copies from within Europe.

Another consideration is the future:

  • KDP has been adding features to their POD service, while CreateSpace recently removed the eStore option and will soon eliminate paid services.
  • It looks increasingly like KDP will eventually become CreateSpace’s equal sister company. (Perhaps the two companies will be consolidated, or perhaps all CreateSpace titles will migrate to KDP. I’m not worried about that, as I expect KDP to accommodate the transition well. They’ve gotten some experience with authors who have already made the transition.)

Kindle Direct Publishing is now one of the three major print-on-demand services, two of which are Amazon companies:

Ingram Spark is the main alternative to using an Amazon company. CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing provide the natural feed to Amazon.com, and most indie authors sell their paperbacks primarily on Amazon.com. For the rare author who has thoroughly researched effective ways to take advantage of bookstore and library distribution possibilities, Ingram Spark may offer better worldwide distribution, and for the author who has a significant following outside of the United States, Ingram Spark may have an advantage. CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing offer a more natural feed to Amazon.com, and they also make self-publishing more affordable (Ingram Spark has higher setup fees).

Two alternatives to the Big Three include BookBaby and Lulu. If you’re looking for paid services or if you’re one of the rare authors who could make effective use of an eStore, these options may be worth considering. For example, check out BookBaby’s editing options and BookBaby’s BookShop.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2018

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

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Sorting out your Amazon 1099-MISC forms from KDP and CreateSpace (Tax Year 2015)

Taxes

AMAZON KDP & CREATESPACE 1099-MISC TAX FORMS (YEAR 2015)

I received 12 different 1099-MISC forms for tax year 2015 from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and 3 more 1099-MISC forms from CreateSpace. I obtained my KDP tax forms online, but received my CreateSpace forms in the mail (on February 5).

Check yours against my list below to see if you’ve received them all.

Also, my list below will help you check which international marketplace each form corresponds to.

Verify that the amounts are correct. Occasionally, a mistake is made. (One year, they issued replacements a few weeks after mailing the originals.)

Note that, contrary to rumor, there is NO limit of $600 for book royalties. For book royalties, the limit is $10, meaning that if you earned at least $10 in royalties, you should account for this in your tax return. Amazon will have sent the information to the IRS. Most authors can use Schedule C-EZ, but if you earned too much, you need Schedule C instead, and also if you earn enough, you need to file SE (in addition to Schedule C) for self-employment tax (but if you file SE, there is another place to deduct a little on the 1040). You can subtract reasonable business expenses. (If you feel that writing is a hobby, don’t go by your feeling: There is a chart on the IRS website that can help you determine whether or not the IRS will agree with you about this.) Note that I’m NOT an accountant or tax attorney, so I’m not qualified to advise you on your taxes. You should consult a qualified tax professional for help. I’m just trying to help you find all of your forms and get you pointed in the right direction, and if you do hire a tax professional, you should try to follow along to ensure that they aren’t making any mistakes.

Here are the 12 different 1099’s that I received from KDP:

  1. Amazon Digital Services (United States)
  2. AMEU – UK Digital Services (United Kingdom)
  3. Amazon Digital Services CA (Canada)
  4. Amazon Australia Svcs (Australia)
  5. Amazon Mexico Svcs (Mexcio)
  6. Amazon Media EU SARL (NL) (Netherlands)
  7. Amazon Media EU SARL (IT) (Italy)
  8. Amazon Media EU SARL (ES) (Spain)
  9. Amazon Europe Holding Tech (France and Germany)
  10. Amazon Servicos de Varejo (Brazil)
  11. Amazon Digital South Asia (India)
  12. Amazon Svcs International (Japan)

Here are the 3 different 1099’s that I received from CreateSpace:

  1. On-Demand Publishing (United States)
  2. AMEU – UK Digital Services (United Kingdom). It’s for print sales even though it says Digital, provided that you see CRTSPACE in the bottom left box.
  3. Amazon Europe Holding Tech (continental Europe)

You may have yet another 1099 if you use Amazon Associates, for example. This 1099 is designated ASSOC in the bottom left box.

How do I know which marketplace corresponds to which 1099? I visited KDP and CreateSpace and totaled up all the payments I received in USD from each marketplace in tax year 2015, and checked these numbers against my 1099’s. You should do the same, just to make sure there were no mistakes.

When you log into KDP, click Reports, then click Payments. Next, choose the appropriate marketplace from the dropdown menu. Be sure to look at the Date column, not the Sales Period, and look for 2015.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

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Self-Publishing Expenses Gone Wild!

Editing Cloud

SELF-PUBLISHING EXPENSES

One of the major benefits of self-publishing is that you can do it (virtually) for FREE.

And, if you set a reasonable list price, the royalty rates are very high.

So with high royalties and minimal costs, if you can stimulate any sales at all, you should easily make something.

There is very little risk.

However, the number of authors who are investing big $$$ in self-publishing and who are losing big $$$ because their self-publishing expenses greatly outweigh their profits is staggering.

HOW MUCH DOES SELF-PUBLISHING COST?

It can cost next to nothing:

  • Zero set-up fees at print-on-demand indie publishing companies like CreateSpace.
  • Zero set-up fees at most major e-book publishing services like Kindle Direct Publishing, Nook, and Kobo.
  • Minimal cost to order one or more printed proofs for paperback books.

If it costs you next to nothing, you don’t have to sell many books to start making a profit.

But many authors aren’t spending next to nothing. Many are actually spending big money self-publishing their books.

  • Some are spending hundreds, like $200 to $500. This isn’t too bad, but it will take hundreds of sales just to break even. It’s a risk.
  • I’m amazed by how many spend $1000 to $5000. If they don’t sell thousands of books, it will be a bad investment. If they never sell 100 books, it will be a great loss. It’s a huge risk.
  • Can you believe that some indie authors spend more than $5000, sometimes over $10,000, publishing a single book? That boggles my mind.

INDIE PUBLISHING COSTS

One problem is that there are so many ways to invest money on self-published books.

Many authors are acquiring major expenses:

  • Cover design can cost $100 to $1000 (or more) for a custom cover. You can get one for $50 or less that’s pre-made. Or you can pay $5 and up for images and make your own cover. Or you can find free images that allow commercial use (but if you do, you really want 300 DPI, especially for a print book).
  • Professional illustrations inside the book cost additional money on top of the cover (though sometimes you can negotiate interior illustrations at a discount when purchased with the cover).
  • Editing can cost anywhere from $100 to $2000 (or more), depending on (A) the qualifications and experience of the editor, and (B) the type of editing services that you need. Simple proofreading is the least expensive option. You can even hire this from CreateSpace. If you need help with storyline suggestions, the writing itself, or formatting on top of editing, costs can grow significantly.
  • Book formatting is another major expense that one can invest in. It can be expensive. But you can also do it for free. Especially, if you plan to publish several books, you can save big $$$ by taking the time to learn and do this yourself.
  • Authors also invest in e-book conversion services. Learning to format your own books can save you money twice: once with the print edition, and again with the e-book.
  • You can also publish an audio book with the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX). If you write in a genre that appeals to truck drivers, for example, this can be a compelling option.
  • If you would like to have your book translated to Spanish, French, or Chinese, for example, you can pay good $$$ for translation services. Make sure the language is supported at Amazon before you spend the money! Definitely, do not rely on Google Translate to do this for you (it will be far from satisfactory to translate a book this way).
  • A variety of fees can come with designing a website (though you can get a free website at WordPress and design it yourself). You can register a domain name, pay money to avoid advertisements, upgrade for custom features, pay for web hosting, hire a web designer, or pay for a host of enticing services that many website builders offer.
  • Although much of the most effective marketing can be done by the author for free, there are many marketing expenses that one can acquire: advertising fees, press release distribution, video trailer design, bookmarks, promotional items, contest expenses, bookstore signing fees, etc. If you want to really spend big $$$ on marketing, hire a famous publicist.
  • If you publish with an imprint of your own choosing that isn’t simply your last name, you may need to register a DBA (doing business as) or starting an LLC. You can spend big money if you wish to trademark the name. (Legal Zoom can help with many legal issues, such as filing DBA’s or trademark applications.)
  • Authors can really break the bank publishing with vanity presses. You can publish for free with many self-publishing services, like CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing, Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life, and Smashwords. Traditional publishers, if they accept your proposal, won’t charge you any fees (though maybe it would be worthwhile for you to hire a contract attorney once you receive a legitimate offer). Vanity presses, on the other hand, involve hefty start-up fees.

Even the little expenses can add up. The lower the cost, the easier it is spend the money, but after you pay for several of these, it can get expensive:

  • Paying for printed proofs plus shipping/handling. One proof can cost as little as about $7 if it’s short, black and white, and shipped in the United States. If it’s in color or several pages, the cost goes up, and for international authors, shipping can be quite expensive (Ingram Spark may be an attractive alternative for UK authors).
  • Some publishing services, like Ingram Spark or Lightning Source, charge setup fees.
  • Sometimes setup fees grow if you opt for additional features, like enabling additional sales channels (CreateSpace, though, now offers free Expanded Distribution).
  • It costs $35 (in the US) to register for a copyright. It’s not necessary: Your copyright starts as soon as your work exists in print, whether or not you register. But copyright registration entices many authors, as it’s one extra step toward protecting your rights, and it makes it easier to convince Amazon, for example, that you are indeed the copyright holder, should the question arise.
  • You can spend $9.99 to $575 buying ISBN‘s from Bowker (in the US), for example. (You can also get a free ISBN from CreateSpace, or a free ISBN for your e-book at Smashwords. Don’t use your CreateSpace ISBN for your e-book, and you shouldn’t use your Smashwords ISBN for Kindle, for example. You don’t need an ISBN for Kindle, though, as you’ll receive a free ASIN.) Some of these options are tempting. $9.99 at CreateSpace lets you use your own imprint. Buying in bulk with Bowker lowers your cost if you prefer the benefits of buying your own ISBN directly (or if you’re not publishing at CreateSpace). It can get really expensive if you publish several books, since each edition of your book needs a different ISBN. Then if you make major changes, you’re supposed to create a new edition with a new ISBN (perhaps not necessary with the free CreateSpace ISBN or free Kindle ASIN).
  • How about a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)? You can get one from CreateSpace for $25 (but be sure to do this before your proof is approved), for example. Of course, it’s hard for self-published authors to get into libraries…
  • Stocking up for a reading or signing, or to sell in person, requires purchasing several author copies in advance.

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU INVEST?

If you invest in absolutely everything that you can invest in when self-publishing a book, you could easily spend tens of thousands of dollars. Very few books of any kind will recover such deep expenses.

Is this an expense that really makes sense? That’s a question you should ask yourself every step of the way.

You should try to lay off most of the expenses that I listed above, if at all possible.

Treat it like shopping at the grocery store on a limited budget:

  • Figure your total expense before spending any money.
  • Cross non-essential items off your list.
  • Find cheaper alternatives. (With grocery shopping, you might go with a non-branded alternative. Do the same with your publishing expenses.)
  • Set a reasonable budget. Stay within your budget no matter what.
  • Calculate how many books you must sell just to break even. If there aren’t reasonable prospects for this (do your research!), cross things off your shopping list.
  • If it’s not on your list, don’t buy it.
  • See the money-saving tips that follow. (It’s like shopping for groceries with coupons.)

Here are some money-saving tips:

  • Do all the formatting yourself. There is an abundance of free material (even on my blog) to help with this. When you need help, visit the CreateSpace or KDP community forum and politely ask a specific question. It’s amazing how often a formatting expert replies with a helpful response. Anything that you can do for free, and do reasonably well, will save you big money. Formatting will save you two ways with print and e-book editions. Extra effort spent on your first book will save you much more money in the long run when you publish several more books.
  • Do you really need a LCCN? Indie books are highly unlikely to wind up on library shelves unless you actively market for this channel and have great ideas for how to do this effectively. Throwing money out there and hoping is not a marketing strategy.
  • Market your books yourself for free. Throwing money at advertising isn’t a band-aid for marketing ignorance. The truth is, when it comes to book marketing (which doesn’t work the same as commercial advertising of brands seen on t.v., although branding is important), free and very low cost marketing done by the author tends to be far more effective than paid marketing services.
  • Many people and businesses are eager to accept your money. They definitely profit when you pay them. The more money you invest to self-publish your book, the more likely you’ll wind up in a deficit. They know your hopes and dreams (big sales, good reviews), and they know your fears (no sales, bad reviews, newbie mistakes), and they will use this effectively to sell you things that you don’t really need. Be wary.
  • Keep your expenses to a bare minimum until you have several books out. Don’t break the bank on your first book. (Yes, you want to make a great impression, but settle for making the best impression you can on a low budget. Yes, you can do this.) The more similar books you have out, the more effective marketing tends to be. Plus, if your first few books are getting some steady sales, this will boost your confidence that you can sell books (and it will give you a realistic guide for how much of your expense you can recover).
  • Most expenses can wait until you start making a profit (but not editing, as that will get you some bad reviews). Don’t bother with an audio book or translation, for example, until you’ve earned enough royalties to pay for these services without taking a net loss.
  • Start out with a free WordPress website. Don’t upgrade or pay for any fees until you’re making a profit from your book royalties, though you can grab your domain name in the initial stages, if it’s available.
  • Keep your business expenses to a minimum. In the beginning, you have no idea how many sales you will have. You can register for a DBA if you plan to publish many books, but LLC, trademark , or other expenses can wait until you see how sales are going (though if you want legal advice, you should consult with an attorney).
  • If you know people with great language skills, you may be able to recruit them to help with proofreading (perhaps for a reasonable fee). Especially, if they enjoy your writing, it can be a win-win situation. But don’t be a lazy writer (worrying about mistakes later: the fewer mistakes there are, the easier it will be to eliminate all but a few) and don’t rely on others to catch your mistakes (they are your responsibility). Use text-to-speech to listen to your book: It will help you catch mistakes that you don’t “see.”

WHAT SERVICES DO YOU NEED?

There are only two big expenses that I would recommend considering when you’re just starting out. Most other expenses can wait until you see how things are going.

Don’t dig yourself into a hole. Wait until you’re making a profit, then consider investing some of your profits. This way, you won’t suffer a loss.

These two services can make a huge difference in some cases, and therefore they are well worth considering:

  1. Cover design. It’s critical for marketing to have a cover that (A) appeals to your readers and (B) clearly signifies the precise genre or subject. If you can achieve these two goals yourself, that’s great. If you’re a nonfiction author, making the title clear (and relevant) in the thumbnail is more important than the picture, and thus it’s easier for nonfiction authors to design fairly effective covers by themselves. Most fiction authors who don’t have graphic design skills really need to spend $100 to $300 on a highly effective cover. But if the book is lousy, a great cover won’t sell it. If you have a great novel and don’t excel at graphic arts, then I do recommend finding an artist who can deliver a fantastic cover at a reasonable price.
  2. Editing. Most authors need to pay $50 to $200 for basic proofreading (and they need to do the research to find a proofreader who can do this job quite well). Those mistakes can deter your sales. The last thing you want is a review to complain about mistakes and to have a Look Inside that confirms what the review says. There are writers with excellent language skills, but even they often miss mistakes in their own writing because they read what they intended instead of what’s actually there. Text-to-speech can help to some degree. Use Word’s spellcheck to catch obvious mistakes, but don’t rely on it (there are many mistakes that it will miss). You definitely need additional pairs of eyes that can reliably help you out. Editors might convince you that it’s worth spending $500 to $2000, especially if you need storyline help, better character development, or serious writing help. But it’s a tough call. That’s a huge investment, and many books won’t make that $500 back. When you’re starting out, you really need to save where you can and invest wisely.

WISE INVESTMENTS

You may have heard that it takes money to make money, but what you might not have heard is that many authors are spending more money than they will ever earn from their royalties. By the way, this includes traditional authors, too.

Be smart with your money. Any investment is a risk. Wait until you’re making a profit, then investing some of the profits allows you to experiment with services without suffering a loss.

Be patient. Think long-term. Wait until you have several books out and history of sales to judge by before investing good money to self-publish a new book.

Do your research before investing money on a service. Check out the designer’s portfolio. Contact authors who’ve used their services and discuss their experience. Ask for a free sample (e.g. edit one chapter of your book), and consult help judging the quality. Do a cover reveal at various stages of the design. Seek brutal feedback on your writing and cover in the early stages. Ask questions before purchasing the service. Study your contract.

Remember that throwing money out there and hoping is not a marketing strategy.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

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Get the Most out of Kindle MatchBook

Matchbook 2

Cover design by Melissa Stevens at http://www.theillustratedauthor.net.

Is Kindle MatchBook Working for You?

If you have a print edition (e.g. through CreateSpace) and Kindle edition for the same book, you may be eligible to participate in the Kindle MatchBook program. (Scroll down to learn more about what MatchBook is and how to participate.)

Authors who are eligible almost always check the box to enroll in the MatchBook program. Why not? Nothing really to lose, but you might generate a few extra sales.

But many authors aren’t getting as much out of this valuable marketing tool as they could be.

If the only thing you do with MatchBook is check that box to participate and select a MatchBook price, you probably won’t get much out of the program.

Why not? Because most people aren’t going to see the offer, and many who do won’t fully realize how beneficial it can be.

  • You can’t see the offer from the Kindle e-book’s product page (unless you’ve already bought the paperback edition). So if the customer was shopping for the Kindle edition, the customer will just buy the Kindle edition without even realizing that MatchBook was a possibility.
  • It’s not very visible on the paperback product page. There’s a little note about it on the right-hand side a ways down, overlooked by most customers.
  • You can only see the MatchBook offer on Kindle e-book’s product page in the following circumstances: (1) the book is participating in the MatchBook program (2) the customer has already bought the print edition from Amazon (3) the customer is presently logged in, using the same account used to purchase the print edition (4) the MatchBook offer is the lowest available price to the customer (e.g. if your book happens to be free or on sale for a price lower than the MatchBook price, then the MatchBook offer won’t be shown).

Among those few customers who do see the MatchBook offer, many won’t realize on their own how they could really benefit from it.

This doesn’t mean that Kindle MatchBook is of little importance and can only add on rare sales.

Rather, it means, just like almost everything else about selling books, you have to learn and apply effective marketing strategies to get the most out of the tool. (The same is true, by the way, regarding freebies and Countdown Deals: Effective promotional strategies help to get the most out of these tools; simply running the promotion might turn out to be a dud, but effective marketing can yield significant results.)

Let me first back up and give an overview of what the Kindle MatchBook program is, then I’ll provide some concrete suggestions for how to take advantage of this promotional opportunity.

What Is Kindle MatchBook?

Kindle MatchBook is a promotional tool available to authors who have both print and Kindle editions of the same book.

The author or publisher can then choose to enroll the Kindle edition in the MatchBook program. A promotional price is set for the MatchBook offer.

When a customer buys the print edition of the book from Amazon, that customer becomes eligible for the MatchBook offer. The customer can then buy the Kindle edition at a special price.

Essentially, the MatchBook program provides an incentive to customers to buy both print and Kindle editions of the same book: Buy both editions and save.

If you would like to learn more about Kindle MatchBook, follow this link to the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) help page for MatchBook:

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=AVJCUBZXDNUM4

How to Get the Most out of Kindle MatchBook

One way to inspire more MatchBook sales is to learn some effective techniques to sell more paperback books. The more paperback books you well, the greater the chances of customers discovering and taking advantage of the MatchBook offer. I sell 8 to 15 times as many paperback books as e-books, and every month some of my Kindle purchases are through MatchBook.

Obviously, some types of books tend to sell better in paperback than others. Many kinds of nonfiction books, for example, tend to sell better in print; many fictional works sell much better as e-books.

But even with books that tend to sell better as e-books, there are still many customers who prefer printed books to e-books. There is a market for print books. You just need to find ways to tap into this market.

Here are some ideas to help you think of ways to market your paperback books:

  • When you include a link to your book, do you only link to the Kindle edition? Well, try including two links, one marked ‘Kindle’ and the other marked ‘paperback.’
  • Or include just the link to the paperback. Yeah, it’s the higher price. Think about it. The customer is considering buying a $13.25 paperback. Then they see there is a Kindle edition for $3.99. Having just seen and considered a $13.25 paperback, your $3.99 e-book looks like great savings.
  • Do a book signing. Gee, customers will need to buy some print editions in order to get their autographs. You make a higher royalty when you sell author copies. Customers who buy author copies aren’t eligible for MatchBook, but these paperback sales may help inspire more sales (see my point about how print sales help with marketing below).
  • Get local bookstores to stock your book. Get the local library to keep a copy of your book. Again, these won’t be eligible for MatchBook, but can help inspire more paperback sales (even on Amazon, through the marketing effect of having more paperback books out there).
  • Perhaps you can find a local or online book club that uses print books to use your book. There are many ways to use your creativity to help market your books; what you really need to do is get your brain churning and focus on where to find your target audience.
  • Use MatchBook to help inspire more paperback sales. It’s an incentive to buy both editions. Buy the paperback and get a discount on the Kindle edition. You just need to let people know about it. (See below for ideas.)

You might be wondering whether or not you want to sell more paperbacks. Suppose you’re making a $4 royalty for Kindle sales and a $3 royalty for paperback sales. That Kindle sale seems better, doesn’t it? (Well, maybe you didn’t price your paperback high enough.) There are other things to consider. For example, if you sell more paperbacks, your paperback sales rank will improve. Plus, you’d ideally like to sell both paperbacks and Kindle editions together using MatchBook. Finally, there is a marketing benefit to selling more paperbacks:

  • Paperbacks are good marketing tools. Every paperback you sell can potentially be seen by a customer reading the book on a bus, or lying on a coffee table when friends come over. If you have an amazing cover, this can really pay dividends. “Hey, what’s that book you’re reading?”

The real ‘trick‘ to inspiring more MatchBook sales is to turn this into a promotional tool:

  • With all the marketing you already do, just add a brief note at the end of it to the effect of, “Get the Kindle edition for 99 cents (or whatever it is) when you buy the paperback from Amazon first.” Or you can shorten it something like, “Kindle MatchBook price: 99 cents,” then describe briefly what the customer needs to know about MatchBook in a footnote or endnote.
  • Even better, advertise an incentive for customers to buy both the paperback and Kindle edition together through MatchBook. Show customers how this can be handy. For example, you can buy the paperback edition as a gift and read the Kindle edition for yourself.
  • That’s perfect for Christmas and birthdays. Advertise this during the holiday season: “Give a great gift and keep a copy for yourself.” Mention how MatchBook allows you to gift the paperback and keep a Kindle edition for yourself at a discounted price. MatchBook is a great Christmas marketing tool.
  • This year, one way authors can participate in Read Tuesday (a holiday marketing opportunity—it’s free—that I created; it’s like a Black Friday just for books) is by making the MatchBook price free. I’ll promote the gift potential that MatchBook provides as part of the Read Tuesday marketing. Check out www.readtuesday.com. (It still has the 2013 info there, but that will update in the coming weeks. I have some new ideas for making Read Tuesday even better, and it started with a nice bang last year.)
  • Set the MatchBook price to FREE for a limited time. Run this as a promotion and spread the news: “For two weeks only, you can get the Kindle edition free through MatchBook when you buy the paperback edition.”
  • A free MatchBook offer (even if it’s temporary) can help you stimulate more paperback sales. Provided that you advertise the offer. (If you want to improve your paperback sales rank or take advantage of some of the marketing that paperback sales bring, MatchBook can help you do it.)
  • When you interact with people in your target audience (something you should be doing as part of your marketing anyway), mention how they can take advantage of MatchBook and show them why this may be useful (i.e. mention the gift idea).

MatchBook isn’t the magical tool that will do all the work for you and end your marketing woes all by itself.

But MatchBook does have amazing potential as a marketing tool. You really don’t have to do additional marketing to take advantage of MatchBook. You just need to briefly mention the MatchBook potential in the marketing you already do.

Some authors excel at making the most of the free marketing tools at their disposal. You could be one of those authors. What it really takes is the determination and motivation to succeed at it.

Check your MatchBook royalty on Page 2 of the publishing process at KDP. Make sure you’re happy with the royalty (and realize that this will be in addition to the paperback royalty.)

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Master Page Numbers in Microsoft Word 2010

Page Numbers

 

Introduction

There are several problems that one must solve when numbering pages in Word, and this can be the source of much frustration:

  • You change the page number on one page, and it changes the style or numbering on one or more other pages.
  • You insert a page number on a page, but the formatting doesn’t match that of the other pages.
  • You try to make the front matter have Roman numerals, but all the page numbers switch from Arabic to Roman.
  • You discover that the same page number appears twice in a row.
  • You add page numbers and the file freezes on you. Worse, it won’t open back up.

WHY doesn’t it work? WHY can’t it just be easy?

Calm down. Take a deep breath.

It is possible to number the pages exactly how you want them. The problem is that the way to do it isn’t intuitive. You have to use section breaks, and you have to implement the page numbering a certain way.

If you follow the procedure that Word is looking for, you can master pagination in Microsoft Word.

 

Before We Begin

Microsoft Word is somewhat more prone to file freezing or corruption when making changes to page numbering.

What does this mean to you?

It means you should back up your file before you edit Word’s pagination.

Save your file with a new filename (like Book v2.docx) and save it in two different places (like jump drive and email). If you’ve already spent months typing hundreds of thousands of words for a book, the worst that can happen is that you have to start over… unless you wisely back up your file in multiple places.

 

Procedures

Follow these steps in Microsoft Word. This outline is specifically for the 2010 version, but 2007 and 2013 are nearly identical and 2003 follows the same ideas (but the toolbars are different).

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? At the end of the procedures you can find some screenshots of the key steps.

  1. Insert a section break anywhere you want the style of page numbering to change. For example, if you want to number your first page on the fifth page of your manuscript, you need a Next Page section break at the end of the fourth page. If you’d like to switch from Roman numerals (v, vi, vii, viii, ix, x) to Arabic numbers (11, 12, 13) on the eleventh page, insert a Next Page section break at the end of the tenth page. Remove the ordinary page break (if that’s what you have presently) and instead go to Page Layout > Breaks > Next Page to insert a section break instead of an ordinary page break. This section break tells Microsoft Word that you wish to change the header or footer style (your page numbers are either part of the header or footer, depending on where you place them).
  2. Press the Show/Hide button (it looks like ) on the Home toolbar. This will help you identify page breaks, section breaks, and blank lines, for example. (If your page numbers aren’t lining up between different sections, this will help you see if you accidentally pressed the Enter key while formatting the page numbers in one of the sections, for example.)
  3. Start at the very beginning of your Word document and work your way forward one section at a time. Very often, sections link to previous sections (though you can choose to unlink them), so if you make changes to one section, it often affects every section that follows (sometimes it also affects previous sections). Problems are best minimized by starting at the beginning and working forward one section at a time. After you make any change, immediately review all the previous sections to double-check that none of the previous page numbers have changed. You can save a great deal of frustration by nipping problems in the bud. It’s worth checking. It might seem like it’s a lot of extra work, but in the long run it might be much less work.
  4. If you don’t already have page numbers, go to the page where you’d like to add them and find Page Numbers on the Insert toolbar. Choose one of the options (it’s possible to customize it after inserting them); the simpler options are less likely to result in freezing or file corruption, but nothing is foolproof. Return to the same place and click Format Page Numbers. This gives you the option to change the starting number, continue from the previous section, or change the style from Roman numerals to Arabic numbers, for example. You can highlight the page number and change the font size or style. You can also place your cursor just before or after the page number and type characters (such as ~ to make your page numbers look like ~17~).
  5. You can remove page numbers the same way as you add them. Just go to Insert > Page Numbers > Remove Page Numbers.
  6. Remember to check the previous sections each time you add, remove, otherwise make changes to page numbers. You don’t want previous sections to change. It’s okay if following sections get changed; you’ll be able to correct that once you get to those later sections. If previous sections do change, hit the Undo button at the top of the screen (what a handy button!). Then you need to unlink the current section from the previous section before trying to make these changes. See the next step.
  7. The magic button is called Link to Previous. It’s actually a checkbox. Simply place your cursor in the page number area to open the Design toolbar for page numbers. Uncheck the box to remove the Same As Previous flag and that will allow you to modify the current page numbers without affecting previous page numbers. (Changes you make might affect page numbers in following sections, but that’s okay—you’ll be able to fix those when you get there. It’s the previous sections that you need to check on repeatedly. You don’t want previous sections to change.) Sometimes you do want the current section to follow the same style and numbering as the previous section. In these cases, you want the Link to Previous checkbox to be checked.
  8. When you want a new section to have different page number formatting from the previous section, remember to uncheck the Link to Previous box and verify that the Same As Previous flag disappears before making the changes. Otherwise, previous sections will change, too. It’s easy to forget. Remember also to go back and check all the previous sections anytime you make changes. Once in a while, a previous section (sometimes, it’s way back) changes even though the Link to Previous box is unchecked. So it pays to check. Also, remember to insert a Next Page section break (see Step 1) instead of an ordinary page break anywhere you’d like to make changes to the page numbering style. Not sure if you have a section break where you need it? See Step 2.
  9. Place your cursor in the page number area on a given page to open the Design toolbar. Two of these options can be quite useful. One is the option to have different page number styles on odd and even pages. For example, this helps you place page numbers near the outside edges, which would be the right side for odd-numbered pages and the left side for even-numbered pages. Another option is to have a different style on the first page of each chapter. Many books don’t number the first page of the chapter, so this option allows you to remove the page number from the first page of each section without disturbing the other pages. Well, if you suddenly remove the page number from the first page of the chapter, you may need to go in and reinsert the page numbering on subsequent pages of the same chapter (in addition to just checking the box for a different first page).
  10. Note that the two-page view in Word does NOT show you an actual book view. In a real book, such as one you self-publish at Amazon using CreateSpace, odd-numbered pages appear on the right-hand side and even-numbered pages show up on the left-hand side. Word shows it backwards. Just ignore the way that Word shows it; don’t try to adjust your page numbering based on Word’s incorrect two-page view. If you would like to see how your book will really look, save your file as a PDF file and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader (you can get the Reader for free from Adobe’s website). Then go to View > Page Display > Show Cover Page in Two Page View, then View > Page Display > Two Page View.
  11. If you’re having trouble getting two different sections to display page numbers the same way, try clicking the Show/Hide Codes button (see Step 2) and comparing the formatting marks in both sections. Also check the settings in the Page Setup Dialog Box (click the funny-looking, arrow-like icon in the bottom right of the Page Setup group on the Page Layout toolbar to open this dialog box); check all three tabs there—Margins, Paper, and Layout. Especially, check the From Edge values in the Layout tab (which should be the same for every section if it’s applied to the Whole Document).
  12. You can change the position of page numbers relative to the body text using the From Edge values (see Step 11). The right combination of margins and From Edge values should allow you to get the body text and page numbers to look exactly how you want them to appear.
  13. Note that headers and footers are set differently. For example, if you unlink one section’s header from the previous section, the footer may still be linked to the previous section. So, for example, if you have both page headers at the top and page numbers in the footer below, unlinking the page numbers won’t unlink the page headers. This is important to keep in mind when you’re trying to format both headers and footers in the same document.
  14. If at first you don’t succeed, vent some of your frustration, get some rest and relaxation, and try again. See the suggestion in Step 15.
  15. Unfortunately, once in a while Word seems to go haywire. That is, you’re sure did everything right, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Sometimes, it helps to undo the last change, remove the section break, reinsert the section break, and then try again. It’s also possible for a Word file to become corrupt, in which case it’s best to start over with your back-up file. Didn’t back it up like I recommended? Ouch!
  16. If you just can’t hammer the square peg through the round hole, there is an alternate solution, which can really come in handy for self-published authors formatting books for print-on-demand services like Amazon’s CreateSpace. You can break your file up into smaller files. Before you do this, see if you can find a Word to PDF converter that allows you to join multiple PDF files together (e.g. Adobe Acrobat XI Pro offers a free trial period, and also offers a monthly subscription; Nuance PDF Converter Professional offers this feature; and there are also many free converters available on the internet). When you publish with CreateSpace or Ingram Spark, it’s best to submit a PDF anyway. If you’re able to join PDF files together, then you can break all the separate sections of your Word document into separate files. The trick is to ensure that all the page sizes, layout, and formatting is consistent across all of your files. Then you just need to get the page numbering right in each individual file, which is easier than getting it right in several different sections of a large file.
  17. If you’re also self-publishing an e-book, remember to remove page numbers (and all headers and footers) from the e-book version of your file.

 

Breaks

20140703_222956

Link to Previous

Show Codes Arrow

Page Setup Location

Page Setup

Page Headers, too

Headers and footers in general work the same way as pagination.

For example, if you would like to have even-page headers show chapter names and odd-page headers show the book title, you can do this by formatting the page headers the same way as page numbers are formatted. It’s also common to exclude the page header from some pages, such as some of the front matter and the first page of each chapter. It would be wise to see what header and page numbering styles are common for the type of book you’re publishing before you decide on the formatting.

 

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

 

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

 

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Most Valuable Marketing Tools for Self-Published Authors

Tools

1 Word of Mouth

What it can do for you:

  • It can generate sales even when you’ve had a couple of recent unfavorable reviews. What a reader’s buddy tells them about your book carries more weight than what some random stranger writes on your Amazon product page.
  • It doesn’t rely on Amazon to sell your book through search results or customers-also-bought lists. Those can change over time. Word-of-mouth sales can yield traffic during times when Amazon’s marketing isn’t helping your book.
  • It helps your book get discovered. Instead of having to hunt your book down amongst thousands of others in that genre, your book is reaching readers’ ears directly.
  • It lends credibility to your book. Somebody that readers trust is recommending your book.
  • It gets readers interested in your book and puts them in a positive frame of mind at the outset. Readers discovering your book on Amazon often approach it with concern.
  • It can lead to a very long-term chain reaction. A few readers hear good things about your book. It may take weeks for them to buy and read your book. If each of them recommends it to their buddies, the number of readers and recommenders has grown. Many months later, what starts out small can lead to something much bigger.
  • It can build your reputation as an author. This helps not only to sell one book, but to generate interest in your full line of books.

Word-of-mouth sales can be the most valuable, but also the hardest to get.

How to earn them:

  • Your book has to have a wow-factor. When strangers pick up your book and feel impressed with the read, you really have something. Your book’s strengths need to compel readers to want more of that. Give readers more than they expect; much more.
  • Fiction books need to evoke strong emotions in readers; they need to also deliver on readers’ expectations for the genre. Nonfiction books need to fulfill the range and depth of information that readers want; they also need to be well-organized, communicate ideas clearly, and present the information at the right level.
  • You need to shore up your book’s weaknesses. Even if the storyline or characters are incredible, readers find it hard to recommend books with editing, formatting, or other issues. Their reputation is on the line, too, in the recommendation. Your book needs to earn it. You’re charging money for your book; it needs to appear professional.
  • If your book has that wow-factor, get it into the hands of readers. Run promotions, find bloggers who review books in your genre, and find and interact with your target audience. Find experts to read your book and politely request an editorial review or a quote that you can use in your book’s blurb—that’s a professional recommendation that carries weight with some customers.

When the author goes the extra mile to impress readers and produces a book worthy of word-of-mouth praise, this can have a huge impact on the long-term success of the book.

2 The Horse’s Mouth

What’s the next best thing to hearing positive things about a book from a trusted source?

Interacting directly with the author, of course.

Even in today’s world where millions of authors are getting books out there, it’s still a treat to meet and interact with the author.

Why does it matter? This personal interaction can do things that your product page can’t:

  • Show your passion and enthusiasm for your book.
  • Make the reader feel special. Don’t just draw interest in your book. Get interested in your readers, too.
  • There is greater potential to establish credibility as an author.
  • Answer any questions that the reader has.

Of the most common ways for books to sell, personal interactions with the target audience is the one big factor that is most accessible to self-published authors. (The other big factors include shopping the bestseller list, shopping by the name of an established author, browsing through the gigantic haystack of books on Amazon, professional book reviews, and bookstore recommendations.) When you aren’t dealt a good hand, you better play the one good card you do have. If you do play your cards right, you can eventually benefit from the other popular ways that books sell, too.

Think long and hard about where to find your target audience. Go out and interact with them. Charm your potential readers.

While you can reach greater numbers online, interactions in person are more likely to result in sales and reviews.

3 Flash It

Your book needs attention.

Shoppers will be browsing through hundreds of thumbnails in search results. Others will see your cover when they come across your marketing efforts.

Your cover needs to stand out.

It also needs to look the part. If it looks like a mystery, but it’s really a fantasy, your sales will be a bad romance.

A fantastic cover won’t provide long-term success for a lousy book.

But a fantastic cover can have a significant impact on the sales of a quality book.

For a highly marketable book (i.e. there is demand for the book and the content delivers on expectations), investing a modest amount toward a fantastic cover can pay nice dividends in the long run. And what you might lack in terms of financial investment, you can make up for in time. After all, time is money. Take the time to learn the how-to, get feedback, and get it right.

There are no guarantees in the publishing business, but most successful self-published authors credit their covers for being valuable players on their books’ sales teams.

4 Talk to Me, Baby

An effective cover grabs the attention of the target audience and brings shoppers to the product page.

Now it’s time for the only salesperson you have at the point-of-sale to close the deal.

“Who’s that,” you ask? It’s your blurb.

The description of your book isn’t a summary. It’s a sales tool.

The blurb needs to attract attention right off the bat. It needs to engage interest in the first line and hold that interest until the customer clicks to Look Inside.

Many effective blurbs are very concise, especially in fiction. Too much text there can be intimidating. If you’re exploring hundreds of books, you don’t want to read a long description for a book you might not even buy. In nonfiction, you can make important points easy to read by using bullet points (such formatting is possible through Author Central).

If the reader gets bored, it’s no sale. If the blurb doesn’t reinforce the genre depicted by the cover and title, it’s no deal.

Once the blurb generates a click to Look Inside, the Look Inside needs to wow the customer into making the purchase. Like the blurb, the Look Inside needs to engage interest immediately and keep it throughout. It must also look professional and read well.

Finally, the book must deliver on the promise made by the cover, blurb, and Look Inside. Otherwise, you get returns and frustrated readers.

5 Hunt ’em Down

Your book is out there, but who knows it?

You want to find your target audience. The word for this is marketing.

A great cover and blurb help, but first people must find your book. Recommendations are great, but first people must read your book. First, you need to get your book discovered.

Paid advertisements probably won’t be cost-effective for marketing a single book. Unless you have an amazing promotion going on and you supplement the paid advertising with much free marketing. In that case, a BookBub (click the link to learn more) or other type of promotion may come in handy.

There are many free marketing strategies, which are often more effective for books than paid marketing. Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites help you build a following and interact with your target audience. The key words here are target audience, which means posting content that will be relevant for them, using appropriate hash tags, and finding relevant Facebook groups.

Social media is a slow process. Now you go from just getting your book discovered to getting your social media pages discovered. You can do this through months of effective posts, interacting with people in your target audience, and directing readers to your social media pages in an About the Author section in your book. Then you’re kind of going in circles. But your social media helps two ways: You want people to discover you and your book, and you also want to attract fans so you can tell them about your next book when it comes out.

Don’t forget old-fashioned media: newspapers, magazines, television, and radio. Local papers often have column inches to fill and local radio stations may have minutes of air time to fill. Think about what can make you interesting to their audience. You’re selling yourself to sell your book. Learn how to prepare a press release package.

Remember, personal interactions are valuable to self-published (and all) authors. See if you can put together a successful reading or signing. Visit local libraries to see if you can get a paperback copy in circulation there or volunteer to read (appropriate material) to kids or senior citizens (visit a senior citizen center, too). Try to get stocked in local bookstores, and antique and other kinds of stores that sell books, but don’t specialize in books.

You need to work hard to find your target audience. But you can also help your target audience find you. Over time, turn your blog into a content-rich website with nonfiction material (even if you write fiction) that will attract your target audience through search engines. Your goal is to get 100+ visitors daily to your site through relevant search engine queries after a year of posts. That’s a lot of people discovering you and your book. It starts out very slow, but if you do it right, it can be very effective toward long-term success.

6 Can’t Get Enough

It’s easier to market several similar books than it is to market a single book.

It’s also easier to buy a book from someone who looks like a committed writer. When readers try out new authors, they’re looking for someone with the potential to provide a lifetime of good reading. If you just have a couple of books out, there isn’t much potential reward even if the book turns out to be good (i.e. comparing a reader who likes your book to a reader who likes a book by an author who has a dozen books out, this second reader will be enjoying many more books).

You also look like a professional writer when you have several books out.

And then each book that you sell helps to sell your other similar books. A hot promotion on one book helps to sell all your other books. More books, more readers, more recommendations, multi-book sales… If you’re looking to grow your sales, you need to publish a full line of books.

Don’t try to build Rome in a day. Take your time and get your books right. Just look ahead to the future. Your long-term goal is to have several good books that all help one another. It won’t help at all to have several books out unless readers enjoy them.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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CreateSpace Royalty Math

list price

CreateSpace Royalties

When you self-publish a book with CreateSpace, you set your own list price and your Amazon royalty is based on the list price that you set. In this way, you have the freedom to determine your own royalty rate.

Unfortunately, the formula that CreateSpace provides to calculate royalties for Amazon sales is a little roundabout:

CS share 2

(For a more direct formula, see the section below entitled “Amazon Royalty.”)

CreateSpace’s share is the sales channel percentage (40% of the list price for Amazon sales) minus the author cost. The author cost includes two parts: the fixed charge of the book plus a per-page charge. The fixed charge also depends on the page count (add one page if needed to make an even page count):

  • For black-and-white interiors with up to 108 pages, the fixed charge is $2.15.
  • For black-and-white interiors with more than 108 pages, the fixed charge is $0.85 plus 1.2 cents per page.
  • For color interiors with up to 40 pages, the fixed charge is $3.65.
  • For color interiors with more than 40 pages, the fixed charge is $0.85 plus 7 cents per page.

Example: Consider a book with a black-and-white interior with 200 pages. The author cost for US sales is $0.85 + 200 x $0.012 = $0.85 + $2.40 = $3.25. CreateSpace’s share for US Amazon sales is $3.25 + 40% of the list price. If you set the list price at $8.95, CreateSpace’s share is $3.25 + $8.95 x 0.4 = $3.25 + $3.58 = $6.83. In this case, your royalty would be $8.95 – $6.83 = $2.12.

Fortunately, there are a couple of simpler alternatives to this calculation. However, you need to know your page count. To do the calculations by hand, you’ll still have to determine the author cost first.

Royalty Calculator

However, CreateSpace does provide a convenient royalty calculator: https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/#content6:royaltyCalculator. It’s worth playing around with it.

While the royalty calculator is fun and handy, there are actually a couple of formulas that may still be useful.

Amazon Royalty

Here is a more direct formula for determining your Amazon royalty for CreateSpace paperbacks:

royalty

Example: You set the list price at $7.95 and the author cost is $2.50. Then your Amazon royalty is $7.95 x 0.6 — $2.50 = $4.77 — $2.50 = $2.27.

One thing you can see from this formula is the effect of changing your list price. Once you have a tentative list price in mind, consider raising or lowering your list price by one dollar. For every dollar you add to the list price, you would earn 60 more cents per book; for every dollar you subtract from your list price, you would lose 60 cents from your royalty.

This can be an important figure. For example, suppose you were thinking about pricing your book at $4.95 and had determined that your royalty would be 40 cents. By raising your list price to $5.95, your royalty would be $1.00 instead. You would have to sell 2.5 times more books at $4.95 compared to $5.95 for the lower price to pay off. For every person willing to pay $5.95, do you really see 2.5 or more people walking away who would instead buy the book if the price were $4.95? This is unlikely, unless you happen to be in a unique market where most of the similar titles are selling for less than $5.95.

Let’s look at a second example. Suppose you’re planning to set the list price at $9.95, for which you’ve determined that the royalty would be $3. If you raise the price to $10.95, your royalty would be $3.60. In this case, if you can sell 20% or more books at $9.95 compared to $10.95, it would be more profitable to go with $9.95. It’s just a dollar less, but looks like a one-digit number instead of a two-digit number of dollars. Here, I’d be inclined to try $9.95. You could also consider $8.95, for which the royalty would be $2.40. Most customers who would be willing to pay $8.95 would probably also be willing to spend $9.95, so the lower price might not draw the extra 25% of sales needed to make it pay off—unless, for example, there are many similar books selling for $8.95.

Royalty Rate

Something else you can do is pick the royalty rate that you’d like to make, like 25%, and see what the list price would be. I’m not saying you should set your list price this way, just that it’s worth exploring.

The following formula tells you what list price to set in order to make a given royalty rate. For this to work, express the royalty rate as a decimal. For example, write 25% as 0.25 (just divide the percentage by 100). Remember, this is for Amazon royalties for CreateSpace paperbacks.

list price

Example: The author cost is $3.00 and you wish to earn a 25% royalty rate. Set your list price according to $3.00 / (0.6 — 0.25) = $3.00 / (0.35) = $8.57. This gives you a royalty of $2.14, which is 25% of the list price, $8.57.

Research

You shouldn’t just base the list price on the royalty amount or royalty rate that you’d like to make. You should look at these numbers, but they alone shouldn’t dictate your list price.

It would be wise to research similar books on Amazon. Don’t just compare prices of books similar to yours in terms of topic, but also compare the page count, the depth and range of content, the quality of writing, and other factors that customers are likely to explore when shopping. If your book is noticeably below or above the typical range for comparable books, it may greatly deter sales.

Underpricing doesn’t always create more sales, and even if it does, it takes many more sales to generate more royalty (e.g. you might make more money selling 200 books at $8.99 than you would selling 250 books at $6.99). Many customers believe that you get what you pay for, which is why lowering the price doesn’t always improve sales frequency. Quality of content, good packaging, and effective marketing are often more important than price, provided that the book isn’t significantly underpriced or overpriced compared to similar books.

Another consideration is the Expanded Distribution channel. If you have a large page count or color interior, for example, adding the Expanded Distribution channel (which is now free) raises the minimum possible list price. Opting out of the Expanded Distribution allows you to set a lower list price. For most books, you should be able to set a fair price and draw a healthy royalty with the Expanded Distribution; the exception usually applies to books with large page counts or color interiors, where comparable books have competitive prices.

Think of your CreateSpace paperback as a trade paperback, not as a mass market paperback, when comparing prices of traditionally published books.

Finally, note that Amazon often sets a sale price below the list price, offering customers a discount. This is good for you because CreateSpace still pays the royalty based on the list price, not based on the sale price; if anything, the discount will probably help sales, not hurt them.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Which Should Come First—Kindle or Paperback?

First

Unless you have a book where Kindle formatting is impractical, you should make both Kindle and paperback editions of your book.

Benefits of the Kindle Edition

  • You can make the Kindle edition much more affordable. If your price is $2.99 or higher, you can still draw a high royalty (70% minus delivery costs).
  • Many customers only read e-books.
  • It’s much cheaper for you to send out review copies.
  • There is no extra charge for color.

One reason not to create an e-book is if you have a book where this is impractical, such as a workbook where the reader needs to write down answers.

You should also consider publishing your e-book with Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, etc. The only reason not to do so if you feel that the benefits of enrolling in KDP Select outweigh the benefits of having your e-book available with several e-book retailers.

Benefits of the Paperback Edition

  • Some customers prefer to read print books.
  • Amazon will show your Kindle edition as a percentage off compared to the paperback edition (once the two editions are linked together).
  • Kindle’s new MatchBook program encourages the sale of both editions.
  • It’s convenient to edit your writing with the printed proof.
  • You get to experience the incredible joy of holding your baby in your hands.
  • Local bookstores and other retailers might be willing to stock your book. If nothing else, your friends and family will believe you really are an author.

Which Should You Publish First?

Once you decide to make both Kindle and paperback editions, you must decide which edition to publish first.

Most authors simply publish each edition as soon as it’s ready. Some authors prefer to format e-books and have the Kindle edition ready first; others love the art of formatting pages and have the paperback edition ready first.

That’s not necessarily the best course. Suppose you had both editions prepared, but neither was published yet. What’s the best thing to do? Should you release them simultaneously? Or is there a reason to publish one edition first?

Some authors who plan this—rather than simply first publish whatever happens to be ready first—choose to arrange preorders for the paperback edition using Amazon Advantage. They use preorders as part of their strategy for building buzz for the book’s release, and to help foster a strong sales rank and prospects for early reviews when the book is released. They then release the Kindle edition when the paperback goes live.

Once you have both Kindle and paperback editions available, you can have them linked. This creates an interesting possibility that was recently mentioned in the CreateSpace community forum: If your Kindle edition is available for sale now and linked to a paperback edition that’s on preorder, any reviews left by Kindle customers should, theoretically, show on your paperback’s product page, since the reviews are linked together. (Paperback customers can’t review the paperback edition until it goes live.)

There are two good reasons not to release both editions simultaneously:

  1. You gain visibility by having a book in the Last 30 Days and Last 90 Days categories on Amazon. This is based on your publication date. (Tip: Don’t enter any publication date at CreateSpace. That way, your book’s publication date will be the day you click Approve Proof. This maximizes your book’s visibility with the new release search filters.) Release one book 90 days prior to the other and you get 180 days of new release visibility out of one book.
  2. You have the opportunity to create double-buzz. Build buzz for one edition. Then a month after its debut, you have two months to build buzz for the other edition if it’s going live 90 days after the first.

You could release the Kindle edition first. At the same time, setup preorders for the paperback edition. Arrange the paperback edition to go live 90 days after the release of the Kindle edition. Make the publication date of the paperback edition when it goes live, so you get a total of 180 days visibility in the Last 90 Days category.

If you’re one of those authors who can publish two books per year, you can use this method to always have a book listed under Last 90 Days.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Where Are Your CreateSpace Sales?

Trust

Every week, I see multiple questions on the CreateSpace community forum regarding “missing sales” and “reporting problems.” I also see blog posts and articles across the internet about this issue.

I have monitored my sales ranks and royalty reports for several different titles for five years, and I see a very close correspondence. I see no evidence of reporting issues. However, I am aware of various reasons for reporting delays.

When authors (and indie publishers) suspect that a royalty hasn’t been reported, very often it’s due to one of the following explanations.

Where Are Your Royalties?

(1) CreateSpace reports the royalty when the book is printed, not when it sells. (A couple of years ago it was the other way around, but not anymore.) Depending on sales volume and maintenance issues, sometimes the book prints the same day as it is sold while often it prints 2-3 days after it sells.

Therefore, most royalties show up within 2-3 days of the sale. However, there are significant exceptions, as noted below.

(2) Returns and exchanges are fairly common, even though returning a print book by mail seems inconvenient (it’s actually pretty easy and painless once a customer learns how), although cancellations are simple.

CreateSpace never shows a return or exchange on your royalty report. Rather, Amazon waits until the next order comes through and simply uses the returned (or canceled) book to fill that order. Since the book had been printed previously, you’ve already been paid the royalty.

So here’s what might happen. A customer buys a book and returns it. Now the author’s friend buys a book, but no royalty shows up. The author freaks out. But that’s because the author didn’t know about the return.

(3) This point probably accounts for most of the missing royalty concerns. Amazon sources occasional orders through third parties (instead of using CreateSpace). Perhaps this happens when CreateSpace is unable to keep up with demand, but there may also be other reasons.

When Amazon sources the order to a third party, the royalty doesn’t show up for 1-2 months (maybe even 3). CreateSpace reports the royalty when Expanded Distribution royalties are reported (which can take a couple of months). The royalty correctly shows as an Amazon royalty, but is reported when Expanded Distribution royalties are reported.

Note that this happens whether or not your book is enrolled in the Expanded Distribution channel.

Although I said it happens occasionally, it is significant. Every month, when Expanded Distribution royalties are reported, I see several other sales reported at around the same time (in both the US and the UK, so it happens with UK sales, too).

A couple of years ago, CreateSpace used to send us an email and report these royalties as an adjustment; this is how we know about this issue.

(4) If your book is enrolled in the Expanded Distribution channel, a customer may order the book through a third-party seller instead of Amazon. In this case, the royalty reports as an Expanded Distribution royalty in a couple of months.

(5) After you’ve sold some copies, it’s possible for customers who have your book to resell them on Amazon used. You don’t receive any royalty for such re-sales. For most books, customers tend to prefer to purchase new copies directly from Amazon, so this is unlikely. This is more likely with books that have very high list prices, or books that have sold numerous copies.

(6) Some people say that they bought your book, but either didn’t buy your book or they canceled the order (or the credit card didn’t go through). It happens.

(7) Amazon may choose to stock up on your title. When Amazon does this, CreateSpace prints several copies in advance. You’re paid when these copies are printed. When they subsequently sell, you don’t receive a royalty because you already have.

Two ways that this might apply to you are as follows.

About a week into December, CreateSpace prints several copies of the hottest sellers and ships them to Amazon. From the data I have available, it looks like if you sold about 4 or more copies per day (on average) at Amazon US in November, on around December 10 you may have noticed an order for 50 (or much more, depending) copies of your book. From around December 8 until the time at which Amazon runs out, you won’t see any royalties from what is ordinarily your hottest-selling book. (Last year, CreateSpace sent an email about this.)

Amazon may stock books in Canada in a similar manner, printing a few up front to stock in their warehouse. Therefore, you may see your sales rank change at Amazon Canada (any time of the year), but don’t see a royalty report (if your book was in stock in the warehouse in Canada, you were paid when the book was printed).

Transparency

This method of royalty reporting isn’t transparent. If the royalties instead always reported when a sale was made, it would be much easier to see the correspondence between sales and royalties.

Publishers who sell large numbers of books are more likely to see a close correspondence between sales and royalties. Authors who sell a small number of books each month are more likely to notice a couple of royalties that haven’t yet reported due to one of the above explanations.

(If you happen to have several orders on a day when Amazon is, for whatever reason, fulfilling them through a third party, then it can seem like many royalties are missing. Or if you suddenly had a large number of returns, it could seem this way.)

Trust

I use CreateSpace because I have come to trust Amazon through several years of experience dealing with Amazon because CreateSpace is an Amazon company. I suspect that many other authors use CreateSpace for a similar reason. (It’s not the only reason; e.g. it’s convenient and the prices are good, too.)

Amazon has a reputation to uphold. If there were any royalty reporting inaccuracies, publishers who sell thousands of books per month would see large discrepancies between sales ranks and royalty reporting, and there would be many more complaints out there.

You shouldn’t just trust, you should also verify. You can monitor your sales rank through Author Central, for example, and compare this to your royalty reports. After you sell hundreds of books, you’ll probably see that there is very good correspondence, but there may be occasional delays according to the reasons noted above.

If you’re concerned about a possible missing royalty, the best thing is to contact CreateSpace and inquire about it. If you can get the printing number from the last page from the customer, that will make it much easier to track the royalty.

If you don’t trust Amazon or CreateSpace, or you believe you’re missing royalties, you should consider looking for another print-on-demand service.

Personally, I would be more suspicious of other services. (However, Ingram’s two services, Lightning Source for small publishers and Ingram Spark for indie authors, I would be willing to trust.) Even if you publish traditionally, you must still have concerns about the accuracy of royalty reporting (in fact, I see articles about this online, too).

A CreateSpace Author

I’m Chris McMullen. I’ve published several paperbacks using CreateSpace since 2008 and I’m pleased with my decision to use CreateSpace. But you should decide for yourself.

Follow me at WordPress, like my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles by clicking one of the following links:

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

CreateSpace Discount Codes—Suddenly Better

40 off

Amazon.com recently raised the qualifying total of eligible purchases from $25 to $35 in the US for Free Super Saver Shipping.

(Yes, this is significant for CreateSpace discount codes. You’ll see.)

When you reach the bottom of this post, you will find an incredible reward. No peeking!

In the past, many customers who were buying a $10 book would simply add a couple of more books to make the total $25 in order to qualify for free shipping. Now you need another $10 on top of that. Suddenly, for some customers it might be better to just buy one book with shipping than to spend $35 or more.

(Some customers do have Amazon Prime. They get free shipping on eligible purchases regardless of the total. Perhaps the price change will get a few more customers to give Amazon Prime a shot. However, many customers don’t have Amazon Prime. Those who don’t may be reluctant to purchase $35 worth of books all at once.)

So how does this relate to CreateSpace discount codes?

Until now, many customers would rather buy a book at Amazon.com with free shipping than get a discount at CreateSpace because shipping isn’t free at CreateSpace. The new Free Super Saver Shipping requirements change this to some extent.

Customers who would now pay for shipping at Amazon will also pay shipping at CreateSpace. With shipping charges being roughly equal, now a discount code at CreateSpace may entice customers to shop there.

(Another hurdle is that customers must sign up for an account at CreateSpace. That’s true of most shopping sites. They don’t have to publish a book. They just need to enter minimal information to place an order. If the discount is compelling, it will be worth the effort.)

Do you want customers to shop at your CreateSpace eStore? That’s a good question you must ask yourself:

  • The royalty rate is higher: 80% minus the author cost vs. 60% minus the author cost.
  • However, if you offer a discount code, this cuts into your royalty.
  • When customers buy your book at Amazon, it helps your sales rank. CreateSpace eStore sales don’t affect your sales rank.
  • If a customer buys your book through CreateSpace and leaves a review, the review will show as an unverified purchase.
  • Your book is probably on sale at Amazon. You may need to give 5 to 10% off just to compete. It may take 15% or more to entice customers over to your eStore.
  • Discount codes help you reach customers who wouldn’t pay full price. If you can target customers who wouldn’t buy your book at Amazon because of the price, offering them a discount of 20% or more may get you sales that you would ordinarily miss out on. (But if your discount is large, you may earn a smaller royalty than usual.)
  • Offering a discount at your eStore is a good way to create a short-term sale on your paperback. If you run an effective promotion for a short-term sale, you may succeed in gaining exposure. This might lead to more full-price sales at Amazon months down the road. There are some big IF’s here. Things might not work out this way.
  • For books that tend to sell more often as e-books than in print, a discount code may help to stimulate more paperback sales. (Now ask yourself if that’s something you want to do.)

European customers can probably get much better shipping rates by purchasing directly through Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon.es, or Amazon.it. They probably won’t be interested in your CreateSpace eStore if they have to pay international shipping charges.

Once you decide you would like to sell some books at your CreateSpace eStore, the next challenge is driving traffic there. Customers are very unlikely to discover it all on their own.

You must market your eStore and provide a link to it. An effective promotion can drive traffic there. One way to do this is to offer a compelling discount and be effective at spreading the word about it.

How do you make discount codes at CreateSpace?

  • Click on a book from your dashboard to open its project homepage.
  • Select ‘Channels’ on the ‘Distribute’ column.
  • Choose ‘Discount Codes’ under CreateSpace eStore.
  • Look for the ‘click here’ link in the paragraph above the table.
  • This will create a new code. Click ‘View Codes’ to see them all.
  • Copy and paste the code into the table (previous window).
  • Choose dollars off or percentage off.

Enter a ridiculous amount, like 99% off, and CS will tell you the maximum discount you can offer. This way, you don’t have to guess or figure it out yourself.

If you want to make a royalty on the sale, don’t choose your maximum discount. The smaller your discount, the greater your royalty.

Here is the formula for computing your eStore royalty:

(List price — discount) x 0.8 — author cost = royalty.

Example: List price = $7.99, author cost = $2.53, discount = 20%.

($7.99 — 20%) x 0.8 — $2.53

= ($7.99 —$1.60) x 0.8 — $2.53

= $6.39 x 0.8 — $2.53

= $5.11 — $2.53

= $2.58.

Make sure you are happy with your royalty. If you want to double-check your math, feel free to use the comments section below.

The link to your CreateSpace eStore will be https://www.createspace.com/titleid, where you must replace “titleid” with the numerical value for your title id (find it on your Member Dashboard). You can alternatively find the url for your eStore by clicking eStore Setup from the Channels page for your book (this will also let you customize your store).

Unfortunately, each book has its own store and you can’t consolidate them. However, you can add a Continue Shopping URL and Continue Shopping Text to let customers go back to your site, where they can conveniently find each of your books. (This reminds me, I haven’t done this yet…)

You can use the same discount code for multiple books. This makes it easy to put several books on sale for 20% off, for example. However, you must add the discount code to each book separately (use copy/paste).

Shipping is cheaper when purchasing multiple books. Encourage customers to buy multiple books at CreateSpace to reduce the per-book shipping charges. If you get together with other authors to create discount codes, promoting all of your discount codes may help to inspire multi-book sales and encourage customers to shop in your eStores.

A customer can use multiple discount codes on the same order, even if purchasing books by different authors. I tested this out. After logging out of my account, I went to two different CreateSpace eStores by different authors, added 3 books of one and 2 books of the other to my cart, and then entered my discount codes (save this until after adding all the books) one at a time. It correctly reduced the price when each code was entered.

(The discount code is only good on the book or books associated with it. John’s discount code won’t work on Sue’s book or vice-versa. But you can buy John’s and Sue’s books together, enter both discount codes, and CreateSpace will automatically discount each book correctly.)

If you decide to deactivate your discount code, return to the table of discount codes, check the box to delete the discount, and save your changes.

(As you probably know, CreateSpace discount codes are only good at CreateSpace. They don’t work at Amazon.)

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I promised an incredible reward.

This discount is good for 40% off all of my books at CreateSpace from now thru Tuesday, December 10. That’s crazy! Especially, since almost all of my books already have very competitive prices, $6.99 to $9.99, to begin with.

N6BSBJ36

It’s good on my self-publishing books, math workbooks, fourth dimension books, science books, puzzle books, golf books, and chess books.

Why? I’m participating in Read Tuesday—a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers. Hopefully, this amazing deal, 40% off my paperbacks, will help attract a little attention. (I sell half a dozen paperbacks for every e-book. If I ever start publishing fiction, maybe that will change some.)

If you want to use this discount code, you’ll need to find my eStore. Click here to find links to my books at CreateSpace. Enter the code N6BSBJ36 to save 40% when you’re ready to check out. Offer is good now thru Read Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

No limit. Buy as many of my books as you want at these amazing prices. These would make nice gifts. You can also save on per-book shipping charges with larger orders.

It’s not just my books. Many authors will be participating in Read Tuesday on December 10. Check it out.

Don’t call me Crazy Chris. Call it Crazy Read Tuesday.

Love books? Check out Read Tuesday, a Black Friday event just for books (all authors can sign up for free): website, Facebook page, Twitter

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Volume 1 (formatting/publishing) and Volume 2 (packaging/marketing), Facebook page, Twitter