Kindle Direct Publishing – Paperback


5111xg4qthl-_sx311_bo1204203200_1About a week ago, I noticed a new chart on my daily sales report on KDP: Paperback. Turns out, Amazon decided to cannibalize its own print-on-demand branch, CreateSpace, and offer KDP authors an option to drop their books to paper straight from the KDP dashboard.

For the moment, there is little incentive to do so on books that are already printed via CreateSpace. The options are limited – there is no Alternative Distribution, no free copies. The pricing – as you can see below – is identical to CS. The service is very much in beta. So for the sake of testing, I chose to paper-ize my haiku booklet, as there’s no chance of my experiment harming its sales  🙂

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Starting out, the interface is a combination of KDP aesthetics and CreateSpace options. You’ve got your usual setup, already filled in with information from the ebook version. If you have the ebook all set up, there’s nothing for you to do here other than approve and click Save and Continue.

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If you have the book already as paperback in CS, this screen is where you let Amazon know about it so they can automatically import all the paperback settings for you – although, as I said, at the moment there’s no incentive to do that.

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On the next page, if you haven’t imported CS settings, you’ll get a bunch of options to choose from. As far as I can tell, these all cost the same in print, except the difference in color and black & white. Here’s more pricing information from the help page – looks identical to CS prices.Screenshot 2016-10-22 08.49.54.png

NB, at the top of the second page you can assign your own ISBN, or let Amazon assign it for you.

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From the second page, you can launch the Cover Creator if you don’t want to create the cover yourself. Again, standard CreateSpace fare. The selection of layouts and colors is limited – I certainly would advise creating your own image if cover quality is important for you. There are a few bugs here, too – for example, only on the second time I launched the creator did it tell me that the book is too narrow for the spine text – after I’ve already previewed and approved the book to print. I’m not sure what the final product of this would look like, and it’s a pity I wasn’t told beforehand, especially considering Amazon doesn’t offer free author copies like CS.

Screenshot 2016-10-22 08.59.10.pngThis is the screen you get after uploading the content PDF and cover, and approving everything to get to the next stage. For me this took a long time, even though the booklet is tiny.

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The editor found one major problem: the content PDF didn’t fit the print size. This threw me off a bit, since all I did was save doc as PDF from Word, without changing anything – I guess Word took my printer settings for PDF? Anyway, the editor fixed the scaling with a push of a button, and the rest of problems were not critical to the quality of the book (mostly having to do with DPI of images and embedding of fonts, neither of which was important for this experiment).

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The standard 3d preview of the “ready” paperback

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The final page, as always, is the pricing. I thought the prices were better than CS at first, but no, CreateSpace offers exactly the same prices and royalties for its main distribution channel.

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Two versions of the same book. Unplusgood. 

Weirdly, Amazon is unable to automatically link the paperback and ebook versions, despite them both coming from the same source; same problem as on CreateSpace, but you’d think they fixed it for their in-house solution. I hope it’s just a matter of time, or of the service being in beta, otherwise it’s going to be a bit of a pain. If the two versions do get linked eventually, I’ll update this post to let you know.

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KDP and CreateSpace comparison chart

So there you have it – the KDP paperback. The setup is easy, especially if you’ve already did some work for CreateSpace version. If you only care about selling paperbacks on Amazon, this is a valid option – but you get that from CreateSpace anyway, and you miss out on Extended Distribution. Amazon promises to add that, as well as proof and author copies, eventually – and once they do that, I guess KDP will replace CS as the go-to paperback solution, but for now that seems a long way away.

The Next Big Reading Question


Aah, the smell of polyvinyl acetate and the rustle of dead tree pulp...
Aah, the smell of polyvinyl acetate and the rustle of pressed cellulose pulp…

There’s a debate sweeping the reading world; it’s been slowly heating up for several years, and is now ready to erupt and rage through the community. Friendships will be lost, and money will be earned, all depending on the answer to the crucial question: what are you reading the books ON ?

If you thought, however, that the choice in the question is between paper and e-readers – you’re stuck in the deep technological past. That question is so 2010! And it’s already been answered. Paper is, for all intents and purposes, dying: it’s going to go the way of the vinyl, steam train and horse-drawn carriage. None of those things had disappeared completely from our lives, and neither will paper books, but they will remain a domain of hobbyists and devoted fans of vintage.

With that matter settled, the reading world has moved on to the next big question: e-ink or screen?

Deader than a Deceased Dodo?
Deader than a Deceased Dodo?

The death of e-ink has been, rather prematurely, announced several times over the years, with each new technological breakthrough. It was supposed to be killed by Pixel Qi (I don’t even remember what that was!) in 2010; by Kindle Fire in 2011; by the iPad Mini in 2012; by sales plunge in 2013; and most recently, by Fire Phone and the sad, but not unforeseen, demise of Nook. It seems that by remaining firmly in the e-ink camp, I am just as outdated and old-fashioned as those paperback retroists yearning for the smell of glue and rustle of paper.

And yet, for what it’s worth, the trusty Kindle remains my favourite and by far the most used gadget. No phone or tablet shares its advantages: it’s robust (try throwing your iPhone across the room!), cheap (no real fear of losing or having a gadget worth half a minimum wage stolen), lasts throughout the entire holidays on a single charge, can be read in sunlight, on a bus, in an airplane, with no fuss. Why would I ever chose to read on anything else?

Ooh, shiny!
Ooh, shiny!

The demographics quoted in that last article are clear and unsurprising: the young people prefer shiny things that can satisfy their short attention span by enabling them to do a thousand things at once – AND read books. I’m not old enough to not get that. But I think it’s wrong to transfer the young vote into the future prediction – in politics and market analysis. Young people don’t work – and they don’t have holidays. They don’t yet appreciate the real worth of things – and of their own time. Let’s see how they deal with having to charge all their devices every day when they are on two-weeks vacation with their family, and how comfortable they are with having a gadget bought with real money being stepped on by their kid…

But of course, by that time the gadget-makers will probably come up with something else, something that will make today’s tablets as obsolete as e-readers, apparently, are today; Kindle Eye Implants, maybe? And then it will be the time to pose another Big Reading Question…

"Of course I'm looking at the road, dear - the Road by Cormac McCarthy"
“Of course I’m looking at the road, dear – the Road by Cormac McCarthy”

Until then, what is your choice of a reading medium?

Drive-by News: Paperback out


 Hey People!

Just letting you know that “Chrysanthemum Seal” is now available in paperback.

We’re travelling again this summer, so I’ll be mostly present on the other blog until we’re back to more stable conditions.

 

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Also, if you haven’t yet checked out my old short story collection “Transmission” because you didn’t like the cover, it now has a swanky new one 🙂 Though the inside is still the same. But, if I ever add more stories to the volume you’ll be getting them for free with each update, so it’s best to buy now 🙂

 

 

That’s all for now, over and out!

Back in Paperback


Year of the DragonAfter a brief hiatus while we were fixing some of the formatting issues discovered since launch, “The Year of the Dragon, 1-4” is now again available on Amazon and Createspace on paperback.

I’ve also added all my paperbacks to Createspace’s Expanded Distribution, which means it should be available to buy from other outlets, such as Barnes&Noble online store in a short while – I’ll add links to the sidebar as soon as they appear.

Don’t forget, it’s also enrolled in Amazon’s KindleMatch program, which means if that if you shell out on the paperback, you’ll be able to download the Kindle version of the book for a mere $1.99


In related news, it’s day 12 of NanoWrimo and I’m managing to keep up with the daily wordcount quota, so hopefully the first draft of “The Chrysanthemum Seal” will be ready long before Christmas!


In non-related non-news, I’m recently mildly obsessed with the British comedian and musician Matt Berry. Do search him out on a music media of your choice; his pastiches of 1970s rock are utterly brilliant and, like all good pastiche, virtually indistinguishable from homage.

Kindle MatchBook


matchbookSo Amazon.com has just announced the launch of its Kindle MatchBook program. We’ve known about it for some time in the publishing world, and as soon as the opportunity came, I decided to enroll all my books (those with paperbacks, at least) into the program.

What does the MatchBook program mean for you? It means that you can buy a paper copy of a book, and get the e-book version at a discount or sometimes even free! It’s the literary equivalent of Amazon’s AutoRip program, which gives you MP3 to go with your CDs or Vinyls.

There were some grumblings and rumblings coming from the old-school publishing industry about it (what initiative of Amazon’s was ever welcomed by those guys?) but frankly, I see no downsides. The readers get what they’ve always wanted – choice; the publishers gain additional incentive and promotional tool for selling more of their precious paperbacks – and to possibly earn twice on the same book. It’s a win for all.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t sell many paperbacks – it’s not where my marketing efforts go – so for me enrolling in the KindleMatch is more of a gesture towards those of my readers who like my books enough to shell out for a hardcopy. So, if you’re one of those special fans, here’s the deal from now on:

If you buy a paperback version of “Shadow of Black Wings“, “Warrior’s Soul“, “Islands in the Mist” or “Rising Tide“, you’ll get the e-copy ABSOLUTELY FREE.

If you buy a paperback version of “The Year of the Dragon, 1-4“, you’ll be able to buy the e-copy for a mere $2.99 instead of its listed price of $9.99.

Deal?

*) disclaimer: KindleMatch is an Amazon program. I take no responsibility for any technical problems involved. If you’re unable to get your discount for some reason, please contact Amazon Support.

PS: the Bundle paperback may not be available for the next few days as we need to iron out some formatting issues, but that’s only a temporary problem.

The Paperbacks :)


Me and the Dragon :) I got the proof copies of “The Rising Tide” and “The Year of the Dragon” bundle today from CreateSpace. That means the paperbacks are now available on Amazon.

I only really create these paperbacks for the fun of it, and to have tyotd2physical things as giveaways and gifts. The profits from POD are meagre: a little more than a dollar per copy, despite the price. Still, it’s nice to have a physical object to represent two and a half years of hard work. At 820 pages, the book weighs 3 pounds and is almost 2 inches thick. It’s definitely a THING. I have created a THING.

tide1The Rising Tide paperback looks nice too, of course 🙂 It all grew to a pretty substantial bookshelf, with four small books and one huge one. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m back to writing – time to create some more THINGS 🙂

PS: The Year of the Dragon bundle contains a new map, unavailable in other editions: the Map of Gwynedd.

Map of Gwynedd
Map of Gwynedd

Yaldā Advent Calendar 2012 – Day 12 – excerpt from “The Rising Tide”


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For Day 12 I have something for those of you who wait for Volume 4. Yes, it’s being written! I have just finished draft one, actually, and am now working on draft two. Here’s an excerpt from the current version. Keep in mind that as this is an early draft, the scene may change or even be removed from the finished manuscript. I tried to find something least spoilery 🙂 This will be somewhere at the beginning of the book.

(in other news: I just got all three paperbacks in post. They look really nice together! 🙂
paperbacks


There was fresh blood on Dylan’s boots.
It came from a puddle he had stepped into a street earlier. Or maybe from another, a block away. There was no way to know for certain; all the streets of Shanglin were bathed in blood.
He stepped over a dead body and stumbled over another, lying just beside it. He didn’t look down; not anymore. They all looked the same, anyway: stripped naked, mangled, slashed with swords and burned with gunshots. Only the sizes and genders differed. The conquerors of Shanglin did not discriminate. Old men, children, women… all were piled along the walls and blood-filled gutters. The dead, black window holes of the burnt-out houses stared down at the carnage in silent accusation.
Dylan didn’t bother to count the slain. How many people had lived in Shanglin before the war? Ten thousand? Twenty thousand? How many more gathered here fleeing from the besieging Imperial Army? Only a few hundred women survived, spared for the soldiers’ entertainment. Another hundred may have fled into the marshes. That was all.
There’s always war in Qin, he thought. Not like this.
He climbed the arch of a wide bridge spanning one of the city’s many canals, and passed Qin soldiers guarding the passage. They let him through without a word, or even a bow. Dylan was too numb to take offence, although he did make a mental note of the guards’ behaviour.
Beyond the canal lay the Tianyi Gardens, where the conquering army made their headquarters. Even here there were traces of destruction and fire, though all the dead had been removed from the paths, and blood scoured from the gravel. Rose and camellia bushes were cut down to make place for tents. Soldiers sat on moss-covered boulders and stone benches around ponds, playing ma jiang for bits of Cursed Weed and money. Gold and silver coins, looted from the city’s treasure houses, were strewn all over the grass.
No discipline at all, thought Dylan bitterly. This rabble would never have taken the city without our help.
The Bohan set his staff up in the main lecture hall of the great Library Pavilion, a long, two-storey building with eaves like sickle blades pointing to the skies. Dylan found him studying a large map; several other maps lay scattered around the floor and tables.
“Ah, Commodore Dí Lán!” the Bohan welcomed him with a grin and open arms. “Come, join us. We are planning our next stratagem. What do you think of moving on Chansu?”
“Another siege?” Dylan asked. He dismissed a servant who offered him a cup of tea.
“I know you Dracalish like moving swiftly, but this is how this war will have to be fought for now, until we push those vermin beyond the walls of our cities.”
Vermin.
“Perhaps it would be easier to capture the cities if the defenders were given a chance to survive.”
“You don’t approve of our methods, Commodore.”
“No, I can’t say I do. I will write a report of all that’s happened here to Fan Yu.”
Bohan stood straight, letting go of the map; it rolled up with a rustle.
“These… rats dared to stand against the Mandate of Heaven. They got what they deserved. Besides, they had plenty of time to surrender without bloodshed.”
“Plenty of time? The siege lasted less than a week – thanks to our guns and our dragons.”
And you will want them again for the next battle.
“That was a week too long.”
“Her Majesty will not take kindly to having her troops associated with this massacre.”
The Bohan smirked.
“Do not presume to deceive me, Commodore. I know your orders as well as you do. You are to provide us with any assistance we require, in defence of your country’s trade interests – and provide us you shall. Speaking of which, I will need half a dozen of your dragons to…”
“Enough!” Dylan slapped his hands on the table. The outburst surprised even him. The Bohan raised a sharp eyebrow. “My men are not butchers! You can capture your cities yourself. Huating is safe, and that’s all that matters for our trade interests.”
The Bohan blinked, and then laughed.
“You want to teach me about butchery? You, a Westerner? I know you. You’ve conquered, enslaved, destroyed entire nations all over the world. You’d destroy Qin if you thought this was in your… interests. Oh, but you’re too shrewd for that. You prefer to kill slowly.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Certainly, the Dracaland army never did anything like you did here.”
“No. I don’t suppose so. Not yet, at least. But your Weed trade killed more of my people than any war. And how many died of famine in Bangla because you took their fields to plant the Weed? So don’t you lecture me about butchery, Commodore Dí Lán, unless you want me to get better at it. Play war like the nice soldier you are, and we’ll all be free to go home in no time. Isn’t that what you want?”
Dylan said nothing. He turned on his heels and stomped outside, clenching his teeth and knuckles.
“I will send my requests to your tent, Commodore!” the Bohan cried after him. “I expect a prompt reply!”

Yaldā Advent Calendar 2012 – Day 7 – “Islands in the Mist” Paperback and new Amazons


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Day 7. What do I have for you today? Well, the paperback of volume 3 has just gone up on Amazon – “The Islands in the Mist”, so that’s today’s event. Just in time for Christmas, you can buy all three volumes of The Year of the Dragon in physical form 🙂

Amazon US | Amazon UK

ALSO! This week Amazon opened two new marketplaces where you can buy KDP books (including mine) – CANADA and BRAZIL.

You can find my books on Canadian Amazon HERE

And on Brazil Amazon HERE


The Islands in the Mist
(The Year of the Dragon #3)

Bestseller in Historical Fantasy & Alternate History Amazon US

ebook ISBN: 978-83-935529-4-8 ASIN: B009MPDHZY
Published: October 2012 by Flying Squid
paperback ISBN-13: 978-8393552955
ISBN-10: 8393552958
Published: December 2012 by Flying Squid

Guided by the mysterious samurai, Bran and the girls reach the fabled shrine of Kirishima, where his dragon is held. But other forces are also keen to put their hands on the prize…

The Black Wings have landed, and Edo is in turmoil. So is Kiyo, after the recent disturbing events. Doshin Koyata receives a strange blood-red signal in his dreams…

In Qin, Dylan trains an army of volunteers to stop the onslaught of the Rebels, with the help of an old Admiral – who seems to know many secrets…

A detailed and fast-paced historical fantasy based around the turbulent opening of Japan to the West in the middle of the 19th century, “The Islands in the Mist” is the third volume in “The Year of the Dragon” saga.

Kindle Edition:
Amazon US | Amazon UK  | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR |Amazon ES | Amazon JP | Amazon BR
Kobo Edition:
Kobo | Kobo 楽天

Announcement: Goodreads Giveaway


I’m giving away two paperbacks of my first novel, “The Shadow of Black Wings” – all you need to do is register your interest on the page below and hope for the best 🙂

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/31464-the-shadow-of-black-wings

The giveaway ends on August the 25th. If you’re out of luck, you can always just buy the paperback from Amazon – just go here.

Paperback Writer, part 3


The paperback version of “The Shadow of Black Wings” is now available on Amazon (.com and all the European ones)

Here’s the final part of the story of how it became a reality. Read the previous instalments here and here.

The cover, distribution and the final product.

Continue reading “Paperback Writer, part 3”