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Umgowa
06-19-2018, 09:45 PM
I am reading Rick Smith's book CreateSpace & Kindle and would like some help wrapping my head around certain terms. Is the term "CreateSpace" the umbrella concept that refers to both paperback and Kindle books? Or does that term only refer to paperback books? Smith talks about CreateSpace books as if they were paperback. So is that term the umbrella concept or is it the way knowledgeable self-publishers refer to just the paperback side of their publishing?

There is a key sentence that means a lot to me . . . "If you complete the CreateSpace manuscript first, there's a facility in the CreateSpace control panel which allows you to publish to Kindle directly from your CreateSpace Account." I like this sentence. He tells us with this sentence and others that we can create the book in the paperback world, then click a button and have it published in the digital Kindle world as well. Is my understanding correct here?

OK, let's assume it's correct . . . There are two worlds . . the traditional paperback world and the newer digital kindle world. I get it . . . So please tell me what is going on when Smith suddenly brings in the term KDP? Is this simply just an insider's jargon term for plain vanilla Kindle? Or is this some sophisticated nuance (new wrinkle) to the world of Kindle publishing? People are now throwing around the term KDP as if it were the sole backbone of the self publishing world. I am just getting used to the idea of CreateSpace. If someone could help me through this maze of terms, I would be most appreciative.

veinglory
06-19-2018, 10:19 PM
Createspace is a specific company owned by Amazon that produces print on demand paperback editions.

KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing which is the specific company owned by Amazon that produces kindle editions--which are a propriety version of the MOBI format.

Createspace will export your manuscript to KDP with one button press but my advice is: don't do it. The formatting this automated process comes up with to make a MOBI edition is usually pretty terrible.

Umgowa
06-19-2018, 11:08 PM
Very helpful, Vainglory. Thank you. Given that you do not recommend the one button press mentioned above, what would you suggest would be the best way to go about publishing in both CreateSpace (paperback) and KDP (digital Kindle) formats? I'm guessing that your answer might contain the insiders jargon term MOBI (a term I've never heard of before) so if you could shed some light on the meaning of that term I would be doubly appreciative. Or if you could explain things without using the term MOBI at all, that would be better yet. Thanks again.

veinglory
06-19-2018, 11:46 PM
Mobi is just a kind of ebook file, like pdf or epub is--so your properly formatted book would be a Book.MOBI if it was using the common file format not the kindle specific version.

It is generally pretty easy to import to KDP directly from a plain word manuscript with all unnecessary formatting removed. Personally I don't like fiddling around with files so I use the fee-charging service Liberwriter.com to make kindle-ready files. But I am assured it is pretty easy to do yourself with a little effort.

M. H. Lee
06-19-2018, 11:57 PM
To publish an ebook on Amazon, go here, sign up for an account, and read the guidance they have under Help: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/
To publish a paperback through CreateSpace, go here, sign up for an account, and read the guidance they provide at the top under Books and Publish a Trade Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/

As Veinglory mentioned, letting CreateSpace publish your ebook for you is a bad idea so it's best to do them separately. Print and ebook formatting have different requirements. Poking around the help on those two sites will get you started on what you need to put out a book. (There's far more to self-publishing but it can quickly become overwhelming for a newbie as you've found with the terminology, etc. and those are two good places to start.)

Al X.
06-19-2018, 11:58 PM
I use KDP Print myself, which is like Createspace but is integral with KDP. Regardless, I find it easiest to produce my ebook first, vet it, and then reformat it for print after the ebook has been released, vs. the other way around.

One caution though is that unlike a Word document formatted for print, the correct use of styles for items such as paragraph indentation, and TOC and paragraph headings is critical for an ebook. Depending on how rigorously you used them in your print document, it may or may not be a big deal to reformat it for an ebook.

CathleenT
06-20-2018, 08:23 AM
Here's a free ebook on how to format, uh, more ebooks: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52. It's what I use, and I've never needed anything but a Word file.

If you find you need to convert to mobi and epub files later (and you probably will when it comes time to get reviews), Draft2Digital has a free service where you load your Word file and they'll convert it to mobi and epub for free. You can even preview it before you download. You don't even have to finish distributing your book there if you don't want to. You can leave it there as a draft and just snag the files. :)

Al X.
06-20-2018, 07:00 PM
Here's a free ebook on how to format, uh, more ebooks: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52. It's what I use, and I've never needed anything but a Word file.

If you find you need to convert to mobi and epub files later (and you probably will when it comes time to get reviews), Draft2Digital has a free service where you load your Word file and they'll convert it to mobi and epub for free. You can even preview it before you download. You don't even have to finish distributing your book there if you don't want to. You can leave it there as a draft and just snag the files. :)

You can do that through Amazon as well, just download the preview file as an Epub or a MOBI and you have it. One thing about D2D though is they have different formatting requirements than Amazon and Smashwords. They require three lines vs. two to preserve section breaks. It's not a big deal but I have to do a global search and replace in my D2D editions for the formatting to work correctly.

Umgowa
06-20-2018, 07:32 PM
Some fantastic advice above . . . thanks so much. As a technically challenged person and based on the above information, here is my plan of attack: First look at the CreateSpace/paperback world and get my book properly formatted and submit it to the Create/space web site . . . Omitting the magic button that will automatically publish in the Kindle ebook world. Next I will work with Liberwriter.com and get my perfectly formatted paperback file massaged, tweaked and re-formatted to the Kindle world. Then I will take the file I get from Liberwriter and submit that to the KDP web site at Amazon and publish it separately with a file that you all think is less problematic. Does this approach make sense to you? Thanks for any feedback.

CathleenT
06-20-2018, 07:37 PM
Yeah, Al X, I like the preview feature on Amazon, too. But the thing I use that Smashwords ebook for, over and over again, is the linked table of contents. I never remember how to do that particular task--I always have to look it up. And you need a TOC for Amazon, and just for readers' convenience generally.

And the Smashwords book will net you a decently formatted Word doc that you can publish anywhere. It doesn't have to go on Smashwords afterwards. :)

And I HATE the D2D formatting thing with breaks. I put in page breaks and section breaks where I want them. I had to move my author name closer than I like to the title on the title page. They broke my title page into two separate pages.

But I'm still at the penny-pinching stage, trying to keep this pubbing gig from running too far into the red. I can deal with the D2D ebook formatting, and be grateful for it. Later on, hopefully I can just hire someone with Vellum. Or buy a Mac. :)

CathleenT
06-20-2018, 07:49 PM
Oops--sorry, OP, we cross-posted.

Do the ebook first. I'm telling you this as a friend. They're way easier to format than paperbacks. If you're anything like me, you'll soon grow to hate your headers and footers and page numbers--things you really need for print but don't exist in ebook. You'll have to decide how you'll deal with widows and orphans. First you'll have to find out what these things even are (short bits of type, perhaps only a line or even a single word on the final page of a section).

Also, I don't know how it happens, but it seems like you always miss something. In my last book, I omitted a word, and AW's shortstorymachinist kindly pointed it out to me so I could fix it. (He--I left out he. No problem, right--only the subject of the clause missing. Aargh.)

Get that fixed on the ebook where it's cheap to offer to send someone a revised copy. You don't want to be replacing paperbacks.

And ebooks are where the money is, at least in the adult market. My print sales aren't even remotely close to my ebook sales, and that's the case for most authors.

And also...this stuff is hard at first. Do the easier task so you can take that feeling of accomplishment into the dreaded paperback formatting. If you need a laugh in the middle, I wrote a funny post about it the first time through: https://cathleentownsend.com/2015/11/30/14-stages-of-self-publishing/. :)

ETA: And on formatting, except for the linked TOC (which will have to be changed to include page numbers), you can take that same ebook file into paperback formatting. You just add stuff to it--changing the margins in your overall document so your print is the same size as your paperback (I use 5.06 by 7.81.) From there, you'll venture fearlessly into the world of headers and footers.

Just be sure to SAVE THE PAPERBACK FILE AS A SEPARATE DOCUMENT or all your ebook formatting will be gone forever, and you'll have to recreate it from scratch. Really not fun.

Al X.
06-21-2018, 06:31 PM
One tip with managing headers and footers - you may want to have i, ii, iii page numbers for your front matter and 1, 2, 3 page numbers with even/odd page headers starting with chapter 1. You can separate the two with section breaks but it's a PITA. Alternatively, you can create them with two separate files and then merge the PDF's prior to uploading.

veinglory
06-21-2018, 06:36 PM
I would agree that the ebook is the easier format--so that is the better one to start with. And if you hit any issue the kdp forums have people who can troubleshoot.

Umgowa
06-21-2018, 10:51 PM
A bit of clarification here . . . As I said, I am technically challenged. I don't intend to do any formatting myself. I have a formatter all lined up. I'm going to submit my word file to her. And my cover designer (who I also have all lined up) needs a word count before they can design my total exterior . . . front, back and spine . . . (must have word count to do the spine). So for me, first comes paperback formatting (by an expert other than me), next comes cover and spine design, then publish on CreateSpace (paperback), then submit the file to Liberwriter and get a new file back from them which is more precisely formatted for the KDP world. I will then submit this new file to the KDP side of Amazon and create my Kindle publication. I would love some validation for the above approach. What I need more than anything is simplicity. What I do not need is more options, more buzz words, or anything that might make this process more complex than it already is. I have learned a lot from this thread, mostly to publish my paperback and KDP versions separately and to use Liberwriter to format my KDP file. I am very thankful for that advice. Now I would be most appreciative if someone with more experience out there could simply validate that the path I have outlined above does in fact represent a viable track to run on. Thanks.

veinglory
06-21-2018, 11:28 PM
You could, however, submit your unformatted manuscript to Liberwriter and go from there. Because the ebook does not have a spine or a back or require any formatting beyond a title page and contents page. If you have a front cover it's about a day's work from beginning to end.

So sure your approach is fine, but you are starting with the harder part that will probably have fewer sales (most books on KDP/CS sell more as ebooks).

Al X.
06-22-2018, 03:05 AM
A bit of clarification here . . . As I said, I am technically challenged. I don't intend to do any formatting myself. I have a formatter all lined up. I'm going to submit my word file to her. And my cover designer (who I also have all lined up) needs a word count before they can design my total exterior . . . front, back and spine . . . (must have word count to do the spine). So for me, first comes paperback formatting (by an expert other than me), next comes cover and spine design, then publish on CreateSpace (paperback), then submit the file to Liberwriter and get a new file back from them which is more precisely formatted for the KDP world. I will then submit this new file to the KDP side of Amazon and create my Kindle publication. I would love some validation for the above approach. What I need more than anything is simplicity. What I do not need is more options, more buzz words, or anything that might make this process more complex than it already is. I have learned a lot from this thread, mostly to publish my paperback and KDP versions separately and to use Liberwriter to format my KDP file. I am very thankful for that advice. Now I would be most appreciative if someone with more experience out there could simply validate that the path I have outlined above does in fact represent a viable track to run on. Thanks.

I would say with veinglory's recommendation to submit the unformatted manuscript to Liberwriter, your approach would make sense. What I think you don't understand is that your completed manuscript, before it goes to your Createspace formatter, is already nearly in the form it needs to be for an ebook.

It would surprise me that a person experienced in formatting for digital print wouldn't also be knowledgeable about ebook formatting. Why not let her format both versions? Has she stated she doesn't format ebooks?

Polenth
06-22-2018, 03:07 AM
Next I will work with Liberwriter.com and get my perfectly formatted paperback file massaged, tweaked and re-formatted to the Kindle world.

Your paperback file will most likely be a pdf, so not suitable to sent to be turned into an ebook. An ebook formatter wants your original word processor file. But if you are getting a word processor file back with your paperback formatting, you don't want to send that to be turned into an ebook either. Some things that are done to format for print don't work properly in an ebook.

Basically, think of it as your original file getting formatted twice. One time for print and one time for ebook.

cool pop
06-22-2018, 03:22 AM
The issue with KDP print for a lot of authors is they don't offer expanded distribution meaning they only put your book on Amazon. That's why many authors (including myself) don't use KDP print. I don't want my books only at one store. That makes no sense to me because I have readers on all the retailers who I want to have access to my print books as well as my ebooks. If you want your books on other store sites then Createspace or Ingram is the way to go. I use Createspace because it's easy and doesn't take much time. Some authors use Lulu but I don't know what that entails.

veinglory
06-22-2018, 08:02 PM
You can use KDP without being exclusive to Amazon so long as you don't join "KDP Select". For most people Amazon is the leading ebook seller so it is worth starting there and them looking for a service that distributes to other e-tailers later.

cool pop
06-24-2018, 07:48 PM
Amazon is the biggest e-book retailer (in the US) for now, but they aren't nothing in the global market. Authors often don't take their audience into account with things like this and they should. If you have a good global and international presence and sell ebooks to that audience you need to have your ebooks and print books in places where international readers can find them. I have audiences on all retailers and globally so my books are in a lot of places. Amazon isn't even a blip for the global markets so if you sell ebooks to these markets then you need to have your print books available in these markets as well if you want substantial print sales.

Amazon is US-centric but globally the big dogs are Kobo and Apple. From what I see it's like Amazon doesn't even try to reach the international market beyond just having a site.

Like everything in publishing, this choice of print distribution, etc. comes down to the individual author, his or her goals and expectations.

Also, I am from the US and used to be a loyal Amazon customer and I haven't shopped there in over a year because I have gotten very dissatisfied with their prices going up and up and with them catering to Prime members and if you are not in Prime they act like they could not care less about you. I can't stand browsing the Amazon store for books anymore so I don't bother. I'm not the only one who has moved from browsing and buying books on Amazon. I only buy a book on Amazon now when I see a recommendation on FB. I can't get through that jungle of trying to find what I want.

There are signs where I can see things shifting and Amazon won't be the big dog forever in the US. No company stays that way and I am not the only customer/reader who has expressed disgust with Amazon lately. A number of readers on FB have mentioned moving to Kobo lately due to their e-reader and their store being much, much cleaner to navigate because they don't have to swim through tons of ads and books in the wrong categories.

veinglory
06-24-2018, 10:04 PM
I have had books wide and Kindle, including the foreign Amazon stores, outsold all other sites added together. So I would say that it has majority market share in a lot of cases. Whether or not you go exclusive with them to get into the borrowing program, it is the logical place to start for most indies.

Laer Carroll
06-25-2018, 03:41 PM
I use Sigil to create an .epub for submission to Nook and Apple. Then use Calibre to translate the .epub file to .mobi format for Amazon. My fiction books use no special formatting beyond bold and italics and a simple structure, so this works well.

I sell maybe a hundred ebooks for each "pbook" and dozens more through Amazon than the other sellers. For pbooks you must create .pdf files then submit them to CreateSpace. So I put out my ebooks first because I sell more and sooner than pbooks.

And as for international distribution, Amazon beats all the others. I sell in Canada, the UK, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and Australia mostly, and several other countries. OH, and India. It may once have been true that Kobe and Apple were better for international, but it is no longer.

Jennie
06-28-2018, 09:11 PM
:hi:
Thank you very much all of you - Veinglory, Cool Pop and Laer Carroll - for the invaluable information given here about self-publishing, which I intend to do in the fall. I've been reading a lot to figure out what is best to do. I'm going to publish direct with Kindle and Kobo, and through Smashwords for Apple, Nook and the other retailers. Then I'll see about doing a POD paperback, just because I'd like to have a book to hold ;). There's lots of information to find on the Smashwords website and free books about how to proceed written by Mark Coker, who created this platform. I also found interesting information in David Gaughran's books, as well as in the Alliance of Independent Authors (https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/) which you probably already know about.

I'm going to try to format the book all by myself, or ask for help if frustration is too big.

I have practical questions to ask about self-publishing my book (a long SF novel). Is this the forum where I should create a thread, or should I do it elsewhere? The questions concern: organization of the book (TOC, character list, glossary, where to put them?), should I add reading-group information?, how much free text?

Thank you again!