My book covers may not be stellar, BUT I believe in the time worn adage that you should never judge a book by its cover. My books, as some of you know by now, are idiosyncratic — & I would NOT have it any other way. So, it would be crazy if I didn’t design the covers myself. Yes, of course, I have tried the ‘cover creators’ provided by KDP (& others). I find that they kind of force me into a straight-jacket. But, to be fair, they have given me inspiration & ideas.
I used to create my book covers using Word. SMILE. I had it all nailed down. I used a TABLE as the basis for the cover. That way I could set the height & width of each cell — one cell for the front cover, one for the back cover & another for the spine. It worked, & I successfully created over 25 covers that way.
Then it occurred to me, one fine day, that it might be even easier to create a cover using PowerPoint. There were TWO points in favor of this approach.
- With PowerPoint you can specify a CUSTOM slide size (via the DESIGN tab) to the exact height x width dimensions you need (& in my case specifying that in inches). There are NO margins you have to contend with. So, once you get from KDP — via the HELP section — the cover dimensions (via a set of two TEMPLATES), you can just bang them in & BINGO you have a slide that is the right size. In the above example, for a 166-page, 10″ x 7″ book, the required dimensions, including the TRIM was 14.63″ x 10.25″. So, I created a slide EXACTLY to that size. No margins. You can see that above.
- PowerPoint’s built-in ‘Save As PDF’ works a treat. No messing about. You don’t have to specify any options or parameters. Just a straight ‘Save As PDF’. Within seconds you have a PDF to the EXACT dimensions you (& KDP) need. That is it.
Once you know how many pages are in your book, you can get a KDP cover template …
The templates are downloaded as a .ZIP. No problem. Just click on the zip file & you will see two files inside. Just copy them & save them somewhere else. One of the files is a PDF. Check the PROPERTIES on this file to get the cover dimensions. That is what you use to set up your PowerPoint custom slide size. The other file is a PNG (i.e., image file).
Once you have created your PowerPoint slide INSERT the PNG file. It should fit the slide 100%. Exact size. You can now really use it as a template. Keep it as the BACKGROUND.
Check Category ‘Books‘.
Just a heads up.
KDP is logjammed.
It is NOW taking 10-days or MORE for ‘Look Inside‘ to get activated. I know. I spoke with them in November about this. Yes, it used to take less than 24-hours. Not now.
Phone support is still available & they REALLY do try. But, what they can do ‘on-the-fly’ is limited. EVERYTHING has to be submitted, in batch mode, to the ‘Back Office’.
Check Categories ‘Books’.
The Old & New Editions of My ‘The Conclave‘ Book.
Yesterday I ran into the ‘New Edition’ issue. You can no longer just to an update & publish a new edition of a paperback. Bummer. I used to rely on that. Now you have to UNPUBLISH the old edition & republish the new. Yes, more hassle. But, at least I now know. Aggravating.
A heads up for the rest of you. Paperback new editions — you must unpublish the old edition. Don’t forget. SMILE.
Check Categories ‘Books’.
I discovered this to my cost and embarrassment when I sent a GIFT of this book to my Canadian friend Paddy Kelly in part to say thank you for the “Live @Loon” CD he had so kindly sent me earlier this week.
He could NOT download the book.
I first thought it was a timing issue, i.e., book still not released in Canada.
We tried twice more the next day.
Then it dawned on me.
This book is $0.99 in the U.S. but Can. $ 1.31 in Canada!
Biggest issue is that Amazon does not state this anywhere. There should be a warning.
But, now YOU know.
And THINK of this. I can buy a printed book in the U.S. and send it to Canada. Amazon does NOT stop me from doing that.
Check Category ‘books’.
This is new. KDP only used to be e-mail (and I would know since I have been using KDP for over 8-years).
So, I tried it out. Transpires that I got the CreateSpace Ecuador Call Center. I asked them about the South Africa Call Center. That is still active too. I was told that ALL of the CreateSpace Call Centers are still active and that the deal is that they will continue to be active.
This is GOOD NEWS. I am also very happy for the Call Center folks.
Just wanted to share this with you.
When Transitioning Paperback Publishing From ‘CreateSpace’ To Amazon’s ‘Kindle Direct Publishing’ (KDP).
I ran afoul of two small things in the KDP setup that screwed up the process. So, I just want to give you a heads-up. They don’t seem like much but either of them could delay the publishing process.
So, here are the two innocuous but, nonetheless, costly ‘gotchas’:
- The first (default) option for book interior is CREAM and not white (as you would expect). Cream paper is THICKER. So, this makes the spine of the book BIGGER. So, if you, like I, upload your own cover, as a PDF, your cover size will be WRONG! Very annoying.
- The default on covers you UPLOAD is that they will contain the barcode! Yikes! Yes, yikes. There is a little box that you have to UNCLICK if you want KDP to print the barcode. Don’t get this wrong. It will cost you a 24-hour delay in publishing.
I screwed up on BOTH of these — partly because, as ever, I was in a hurry. I am sure that if I took my time I checked all the options carefully I would not have screwed up. But, just want to make sure that you don’t run into these two issues.
Have fun. Good publishing.
P.S., I still miss CreateSpace.
Yes, we all knew for over a year that it was going to happen, BUT it was still a shock — and very sad — when it happened.
I liked CreateSpace. We had our issues BUT they tried and there was ALWAYS somebody you could talk to at the end of a phone line. That is gone.
I hadn’t logged onto CreateSpace for months — not since July 2018! I have been busy proofing a 475-page book. Today, with the proofing finally coming close to an end, I logged on. I was confronted with a message that I HAD TO MIGRATE all my titles to KDP — using a tool they provided. That was a shock.
Since I had 18 titles to transfer it took some time. I haven’t checked whether it all worked ‘OK’. I am kind of despondent.
Not sure why Amazon felt the need to kill CreateSpace. I think it was a false economy.
Click to ENLARGE and study closely.
With this, my latest book, I ended up ordering proofs from both Kindle KDP and CreateSpace. Nothing to stop you from doing so. You can’t publish the book with BOTH — but I haven’t published it at yet! I am at the ‘order proof’ stage with both and that is perfectly kosher. I did this with my last book too — except at that juncture I couldn’t order paperback proofs from Kindle KDP. I got the proofs from CreateSpace and eventually published with Kindle! They are BOTH Amazon companies so it is by no means robbing Peter to pay Paul.
So, both proofs printed by Amazon — and they both came in Amazon Prime boxes.
But, can you tell the difference, and whose is whose. A very obvious difference right up front.
Yes, the KDP proof as the ugly ‘Not for Resale’ banner. CS has never done that. Instead, they print a BIG ‘PROOF’ on the last page.
But, also an obvious difference in the quality of the cover. You can tell even in these photos. The CS cover is brighter and more detailed. That is crazy.
CS proofs were published in Columbia, South Carolina; Kindle in Middletown, Delaware.
Click any to ENLARGE.
They are INCREDIBLY flexible and appeared to cover all the bases. Lulu and others offer similar capabilities BUT Lulu (who I used to publish with many years ago) has become a pain to use/
As some of you know I have been a diehard Amazon, Kindle (KDP) and CreateSpace fan when it came to publishing my books. While a Kindle eBook can be read on any Apple device I knew that not having my eBooks as iBooks was a ‘limitation’. So, that Draft2Digital’s biggest pull — plus that I didn’t have to jump through any hoops in terms of reformatting my eBooks. The Word document I used with Kindle would work — AND DID WORK!
Draft2Digital is EXTREMELY SLICK. Wow.
It took me a TOTAL of 12-minutes to create an account (from scratch, with passwords etc.), set-up payments (PayPal) and TAX INFORMATION AND publish the first book!
Yes, I had all the files, book descriptions etc. from doing it on Kindle. So all of that was just copy-and-paste.
No fees or up-front payments. They take 15% commission (or thereabouts) and I am cool with that.
My problem is that most of my eBooks are still subject to KDP Select — which means Amazon has exclusive rights to them, ALBEIT on 3-month rolling windows. So, a couple of weeks ago I went ahead and cancelled all the KDP select rollovers. But, right now I only have this book (I published) and the Pope John XXII book that are OUT of KDP Select. I will publish all of them as they come off KDP Select but that will take me into January 2018.