Something new(ish) from Amazon & more
I know I promised the next installment of “Know Your Genre” today but I’ll be honest. I’ve been too busy to write the post I want to. It needs a bit more research than I’ve had time to do. So I will be back later this week with the post. In the meantime, there’s been some news out of Amazon this month that should be of interest to all the indies out there. Also, for those who, like me, prefer tech over old-style but who still find it easier to edit with pen and paper, I may have a new option for you.
Last year, Amazon began offering a beta program which allowed indies the option of creating print books through their KDP program instead of going to Createspace or one of the other POD options currently available. The pros for the new beta program were simple: 1) you could upload your pdf files directly to your KDP dashboard instead of going to another site to do so; 2) your digital and print books linked automatically; and 3) you didn’t have to charge as much in order to get a royalty. All of those were great but there were drawbacks. It was a beta program and we didn’t know how long it would be before Amazon decided if it would stick with it or not. It did limit distribution somewhat. There were no print proofs offered and, the big kicker as far as most of us were concerned, authors could not order at a discount.
Well, some of those concerns have now been answered, In an email sent out by Amazon the first week of the month, they’ve listened to our concerns and have responded to at least some of them. We can now order proof copies, just as we could from Createspace. Better yet, we can order author copies at a discount.
- Available languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch. Japanese will be added later.
- Cost: the same as for author copies
As for author copies, this has been a bone of contention with a number of indies and a reason why they wouldn’t give the KDP print option a try. Now Amazon has removed that concern and it is up to us to determined if the price of a KDP author copy plus the difference in pricing and royalties are enough to make us jump from Createspace or other POD options.
Author copies, like print proofs, are available in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch. Cost for them is the cost of printing plus shipping, pretty much what it is for other POD suppliers. Here’s what Amazon has to say about it:
So, it appears you will get the same basic shipping “discount” for ordering multiple copies as you get from other POD suppliers. That’s a guess and I will learn soon when I place my first order. I will update you when I find out.
Now, as for quality of the printed product. I’ll admit I had become concerned about quality with my last several Createspace books. So, when I released the special edition of Vengeance from Ashes (and I’m linking to the ebook because there is a problem with the print page which I need to deal with today — grrr), I tried the KDP print option. I was impressed with the quality of the book when I got it in hand and with the fact I could price it several dollars below what I had with Createspace and get the same basic royalty amount. My biggest issue was, to see a “proof”, I had to order the book after it went live and pray it didn’t have any major issues. So, I’ll give it another try with the new options in place and let you know what happens.
And I guess that brings us to the next point I wanted to cover. I love my tech. Always have and always will. Yet, when it comes to the final read-through of a manuscript, the one where I’m looking for those pesky misspellings, etc., I have to do it with pen and paper or I miss things. Really miss things. There is something about holding the pen and making handwritten notes that cues a different part of my brain.
But I seem to have found a way to satisfy the techie in me as well as the need for that tactile editing experience. Last December, I picked up an iPad Pro with the Apple pencil and smart keyboard. I wanted something that would integrate easily with my MacBook Air (my writing computer). I also wanted something that could be tossed into my purse or backpack and be used as my on-the-go writing tech. I’ll admit, I had hoped it would do everything the reviews and videos showed but I didn’t hold my breath. I was wrong. As much as I love my Surface Pro 3 (and I still use it a great deal around the house), the iPad Pro is what I take with me when I’m on the go. The smart keyboard doesn’t rely on batteries, etc. It uses a “smart” magnetic connection to the iPad Pro and runs off the tablet’s battery. The keyboard is responsive and I haven’t noticed any ragtime — very important when I’m writing.
But it is the Apple pencil and the way I can use it to edit not only Word but PDF files that have sold me on the iPad Pro. Until I started using the Apple pencil, I didn’t think there could be a better stylus than the one for the Surface Pro. I was wrong. I’m not an artist but I recognize what the Apple pencil can do when it comes to art (Cedar can tell you more about that). But for editing old-style, it is AWESOME.
If for no other reason that I hate taking a stack of pages with me when I run to the local coffee shop, this is great. I’ve also found as I did the final edits on Light Magic that my brain looked at the iPad Pro and Apple pencil the same as it did printed page and pen. I don’t see the edges of the iPad. The Apple pencil looks, well, like a pencil and that helps fool my brain as well. Add to that little to no lag time using the pencil and it all has a very “natural” feel.
But, as with anything from Apple, the iPad Pro and peripherals have a price tag that can make you choke. I’ll admit to buying a refurbed version of the iPad. The Apple Smart keyboard is expensive. There is no two ways around it but it is worth it. As my mother taught me when I was younger, you get what you pay for. Sure, there are exceptions but, in this instance, you do. It is the same with the Apple pencil. No, I’m not saying everyone should run out and buy the set up I did — especially not at full price. But I am saying if you, like me, don’t mind searching for deals and you want something that you can take with you, that is multi-function when it comes to our profession and can overcome that one area where you have remained old-school, consider this set up.
I’ve rambled long enough. I’ll be back later this week with the next genre post. In the meantime, check back later today for a guest post from author Nitay Arbel on how to make your ebooks x-ray ready.