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Amazon CreateSpace Transition Not Smooth!

swmirskyswmirsky Creator
edited October 12 in General Discussions
I set up my book, Value and Representation: Three Essays Exploring the Implications of a Pragmatic Epistemology for Moral Thought, on two platforms:

Amazon's CreateSpace; and (of course)

Lulu
 
I wanted to test out the two platforms (since I've used both in the past).

Apparently, as we've been previously alerted, Amazon has decided to fold its old CreateSpace platform (developed when it bought the POD company BookSurge and the POD printer Digitz) into its Kindle program.

That makes some sense from their perspective since it allows them to unify CreateSpace with their Kindle system, presumably getting economies of scale. However, as Paul from Lulu alerted us a while back, this could pose potential problems for users of Amazon's self-publishing platform. Now I have encountered such a problem.

Because Lulu's site proved more difficult to use in the "race" to publish this book, the planned Lulu edition was not ready to go when the Amazon version was. So I made the decision to proceed with release of the Amazon CreateSpace version and defer the Lulu edition while I finalized it. But, because I'm something of a stickler, in the course of reviewing the Lulu edition again, I found some more text I thought could have been better said (plus one typo which I figured I might as well fix), so I uploaded the revised file for Lulu and am now awaiting yet another proof.

In the process I also decided to update my CreateSpace edition. Figured I might as well make both the best they could be. But, having, uploaded the file to amazon's new site, KindleDirect, it seems they won't accept the cover I had created for the book using CreateSpace's cover designer! So THAT effort is now jammed up as I await a response from them as to how best to proceed. But it looks like there's not going to be the smooth transition they promised.

Maybe, in the end, only the Lulu edition will survive this process since, if I can't get Amazon to fix the file, I will likely just shut it down and go with the Lulu version. Well, I did say I wanted to experiment with the two platforms didn't I?

So now I'm seeing the results and learning which site is more user friendly. (Lulu at least has people you can "talk" to here and who sometimes intervene to solve problems. Amazon's new KDP site, on the other hand, seems to be entirely automated, leaving customers to deal with what may just be a bunch of bots. I sent them an email so we'll see how that goes.) 
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Comments

  • I also have an edition of one of my books on CS, and have been informed that it doesn't meet requirements for KDP. So to make a long story short, CS/KDP will no longer be offering that edition, which (I surmise) means it will never meet the threshold for payment of royalties, which means I'm out an additional $25 or so that I will never realize.

    Now, they might surprise me and cash out unpaid royalties regardless of the threshold, but I'm not holding my breath.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Somewhat strange. (And what's the $25 for?) Although KDP now asks people to transfer their printed book to it (via some tool) the K in KDP means Kindle, which are e-books. One would assume that the printed version is not intended for Kindles, so what do they mean the printed book does not meet the requirements on KDP. What requirements? It makes no sense.

    KIndleDP also does not have the tools on it to create a printed book. What happens is at the end of creating a Kindle book, it asks if you also want to create a printed book (using the stuff you have uploaded for a kindle book! I would hate to see what the pages of the printed book look like!) I have no idea what happens if you click Yes, I assume it opens what used to be the CreateSpace Project Wizards.

  • wildwindwildwind Publisher

    Kevin - as so often happens, you are talking with such authority about stuff you nothing about. Why can't you do a little research before you start waffling on?

    For those who are interested in facts: KDP now handles both ebooks and print books, having absorbed what used to be done by Createspace. You can choose to make either an ebook or a print book and, when you are done, you will be offered the opportunity to make whichever format you didn't. The K in KDP might stand for Kindle but this is now a fully fledged print on demand company. You don't have to use your ebook template to create a print book; you don't even have to make ebooks if you don't want to and the print books produced are perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with them.


  • Kevin... I am saying that there are about $25 of pending royalties from my CS book, that I have not yet realized b/c the CS threshold is $100.

    So if they stop my book selling it will never reach the threshold.
    So I'll never get the $25 in current royalties.

    Is that more clear?
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Kevin - as so often happens, you are talking with such authority about stuff you nothing about. Why can't you do a little research before you start waffling on?

    I use KDP, in fact I last used it on Wednesday. I know exactly what it says there.

    For those who are interested in facts: KDP now handles both ebooks and print books, having absorbed what used to be done by Createspace.

    No one has said they do not. Learn to read what is posted here before being so fast to criticise.

     You can choose to make either an ebook or a print book and, when you are done,

    Indeed. Is that news? At the top left there's the option.

     you will be offered the opportunity to make whichever format you didn't.

    Huh? You can make whatever type you want, even if you already have.

     The K in KDP might stand for Kindle but this is now a fully fledged print on demand company. You don't have to use your ebook template to create a print book;

    Again you are ignoring what I said, and what I have previously said (No surprise there, then.) Once you have finished creating a Kindle e-book, you are offered the opportunity to also create a printed version, using the files you uploaded for the e-book. Yes or No. That is exactly what it says. No doubt the opposite is true when you have finished  first creating a printed book.

     you don't even have to make ebooks if you don't want to and the print books produced are perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with them.

    I really would not like to see a printed book that used the files created for an e-book. They are totally different.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Kevin... I am saying that there are about $25 of pending royalties from my CS book, that I have not yet realized b/c the CS threshold is $100.

    So if they stop my book selling it will never reach the threshold.
    So I'll never get the $25 in current royalties.

    I never used CreateSpace, so I don't know how they paid out, but I do know that my KDP account type does not have a minimum threshold.

    KDP says this >>    "Choosing direct deposit, also known as electronic funds transfer (EFT), as a payment method allows you to receive your earned royalties without a minimum threshold before the funds are released to you;"

    It still says that.

  • swmirskyswmirsky Creator
    edited October 15
    Amazon update: They sent me an email over the weekend indicating I would need a phone call to them to fix the problem. Just off the phone with them. So far, so good. After I explained the situation they indicated they will address.

    Now waiting for a call back from tech support to make sure I can update the text of the paperback version without their new platform rejecting. Then will deal with updating the Kindle file. We'll see how this goes.

    In the meantime, I also received an email from our Lulu support office over the weekend indicating my latest proof is on the way. If okay I hope to release the book for distribution ASAP and then monitor how long it will take for the Lulu version to appear on the Amazon website which remains the premier selling location for POD (or pretty much any) books these days.

    Of course, a book like this one is targeted to a somewhat specialized audience so getting that audience to be aware of it remains problematic. It's certainly not going to sell to the general public the way works of fiction or memoirs or certain other nonfiction works would. So what's really needed for it to find its audience is something neither Lulu nor amazon currently seem equipped to provide (or, perhaps, interested in providing).

    A niche market for a POD provider to fill?

    I'm still thinking the possibilities through.   
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    So what's really needed for it to find its audience is something neither Lulu nor amazon currently seem equipped to provide (or, perhaps, interested in providing).

    Yes they do, both of them.

    https://www.lulu.com/sell/marketing-services

    https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201723090

    Spend less time posting, and more time Searching. :)

  • As usual, Kevin, you miss the point. It's not about advertising or promotion in general. It's about finding ingress to a particular, and somewhat closed, community of readers who actually worry about the stuff addressed in the book, i.e., it's about achieving access to the consciousness of a small slice of the academic community without being part of that community.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    No, you are blind to any other 'points' but your own. If you don't think I answered your point I pasted in to my  last reply, then there's a problem with your mind. Although I am here to help >>  click this >>>  http://www.skylinetradeshowtips.com/what-is-marketing-how-10-experts-define-it/
  • What has a website on self-help marketing have to do with my point that to find an audience for a philosophy book you have to gain entree to the world of academic philosophy which is done by forming relationships with other philosophers and institutions where philosophy matters? On the first I have done some of that though I refuse to push my book on them. Only my ideas -- in hopes some will want to follow them up by looking at a more thorough account of them in the book. On the second, I have no strong interest in forming affiliations with academic institutions at this point though that could change. You simply seem incapable of getting my point about how philosophy (of the academic type) is a different animal than fiction or most forms of non-fiction (e.g., memoirs, histories, how-to books, cook books, etc.)
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Can I draw your attention to this statement of yours?  "find its audience ." And to be honest I am now bored of your ...

    (Rest deleted.)

  • I've been bored by you for quite some time now.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    And yet you type 1000s of words in reply.  :)  (But why have you clicked Like on my previous post?)
  • To approve your decision to delete the rest of it.

  • On the Amazon/Lulu front again, I can report that Amazon contacted me by email last weekend to say they are making an exception in the case of my book and will facilitate transitioning it to the KDP platform on a "one time" basis.

    On the Lulu front, I should note that I'm still waiting for the final proof I ordered to review before going live with the book's Lulu edition. I was notified roughly a week ago that the proof had finally shipped. So I guess the book is in the mail, eh?

    Comparing the two platforms is hard at this point because of the transition of CreateSpace. I still favor the Lulu cover which I was able to do here and appreciate the sort of personal attention I got from Lulu when it was needed. But Amazon is still, on balance, much faster and, it turns out, pretty responsive, too.

    It now looks like I'll still be able to update the interior file for the amazon edition before I can even release the Lulu edition.

    What could fix this gap in performance for the two sites? Perhaps more expediting on Lulu's side which would no doubt be costly for their operation if they had to move everyone's books through their system at the pace amazon manages to do it.

    As to the Lulu self-publishing website itself, I have generally found it easier to work with than Amazon's CreateSpace, though this time out I've found lots of glitches in Lulu's system that slowed things up and drove me to distraction (requiring hands on intervention from Paul or Taylor -- and from some others, I believe, though their names escape me). But because of the migration of Amazon CreateSpace to the KDP platform a fair comparison cannot now be made. The KDP platform is still unfamiliar to me AND there were special problems because of the added steps in the transitioning process.

    Perhaps when I'm more familiar and comfortable with the KDP site a real comparison can be made. Until then, the only thing I can say for sure is that the Amazon edition is out and has already sold a small number of books while the Lulu edition is still in pre-publication limbo.

    Well, maybe by next week the two editions will be closer to being in sync!     
  • swmirsky said:
    On the Lulu front, I should note that I'm still waiting for the final proof I ordered to review before going live with the book's Lulu edition. I was notified roughly a week ago that the proof had finally shipped. So I guess the book is in the mail, eh?
    If you are shipping to a US location, the order has tracking. Just log in, go to My Account & Orders, and view the order details. Any order that has shipped will have an active tracking link.
  • I see it shipped October 10, 2018. So it should arrive any day now, right? 
  • The tracking should have a delivery date. If you shipped by mail, Fedex will be delivering to the local post office to get it to you. I know both Fedex and the postal service are already claiming a slow down with the impending holiday rush.
  • Okay, maybe. Thanks again. There's no urgency anymore as the book is now out via the Amazon platform. But I had promised a former philosophy teacher of mine a copy and wanted to send him the Lulu version since I kind preferred it. So the hold up is really affecting his copy adversely. The other edition is covering all other bases for now.  (By the way, does nine days sound like a reasonable time fame for delivery after printing or should I assume some sort of delay has occurred?)
  • Okay, it says it shipped out via FedEx on October 14th, five days ago, so I guess it's not as late as it seems. No delivery date shown though. I guess that will depend on our local post office then. Thanks for the response.
  • It should be there soon then, continental US, even with mail, is usually pretty quick.
  • swmirskyswmirsky Creator
    edited October 22
    Updating the transition issue at Amazon: After a number of email exchanges with Amazon staff I have now managed to (I think) successfully upload my revised manuscript for the KDP edition.

    On the Lulu front, I am still awaiting the latest proof. However, during this wait period, which I used to update the Amazon KDP edition, I have made further changes (found very minor typos but also a few more things I thought I could have said better). So now I'm not sure I want to release the Lulu edition as is (really now as it was). Having emended the KDP edition, that one has now become the definitive version. Since I still like the Lulu cover better and feel an obligation to Lulu since I have spent so much time here preparing the Lulu edition of the book (and Lulu has been a good platform for me in the past) I now face a decision: Update the interior file and order STILL ANOTHER PROOF and wait and wait for it, or just cancel the Lulu edition and stick with the improved KDP version.

    So here is a question for Paul. Having already ordered more than a dozen Lulu proofs in the process of finalizing that edition, do I STILL have to order a proof again, after updating the revised file, before hitting the publish button? I know that Lulu is set up to operate on hard copy proofs only while Amazon allows one to proof online and then publish. Can Lulu take that approach, at least in this case, given how many proofs I have already ordered?
  • Unfortunately there is no way around the proof requirement. Our distribution agreement requires that you physically approve the most recent version before Amazon or Ingram will add it to their catalog.
    I can understand the frustration with purchasing multiple versions, but it's a restriction we can't get around with our current distribution agreement.
  • Ah, that's too bad. Alright, I'll have to figure out how to proceed from here. I definitely don't want an edition out there which is less good, even modestly so, than another one. I'd originally intended Lulu's to be the definitive edition but now it seems that will have to be the KDP version.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Could I suggest making sure the file contents are as you want them, before uploading to the Project Wizards? Really, to me, a Proof is to see if they look OK in print, not for searching for typos, etc.
  • swmirskyswmirsky Creator
    edited October 23
    A good suggestion and what I generally set out to do. But I am somewhat obsessive about errors, I'm afraid, even pretty minor ones like typos!

    Moreover, writing philosophy isn't the same as writing fiction. What we say and how we say it are important in philosophy in a way that they are not in fiction. Of course, they are important in fiction, too. Style in fiction, in my view, should be smooth and transparent and, indeed, it should facilitate the storyline by setting the mood, creating the resonances, moving the reader quickly along so he or she will not notice the narrative per se, but will be absorbed into it. Typos, misspellings, poor word choices and other errors can slow or utterly wreck the mood of a piece. (I haven't always succeeded with all readers of course, e.g., some readers of my saga-based novel found the saga "voice" I'd adopted distracting and some even complained that they didn't find it convincing -- fortunately most of those who were prepared to read that sort of narrative and who chose to comment on Amazon didn't agree!)

    When it comes to philosophy, much more rides on achieving le mot juste though. The slightest misuse of a word or nuance can change the meaning or undermine the clarity. As I've said here many times before, I read this new book's manuscript over many, many times before deciding to commit it to book form. But even so I have found on reviewing proofs (secured both via Amazon Createspace and Lulu) that there were still elements that needed to be altered. As a result I have chosen to spend the additional funds for new proofs because getting what I'm trying to say right is more important to me than the cost of the proofs or even the time it has taken to achieve a proof I am happy with. As of now, based on what I saw on the KDP online proofing platform, I am there. However, as noted, that version is already different from the last one I uploaded here for the Lulu edition and, frankly, I am reluctant to do yet another proof via Lulu when I've already done so many and the problems have been fixed on KDP.

    Just to be clear, I do not imagine that I have absolutely, positively eliminated every error even in the KDP edition at this point because, if the past is the guide here (as it must be), I will surely discover that I have missed some other typos, or poor usages at some point, or that I COULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING I SAID BETTER THAN I DID. I'm not supposing that what I have now finished through KDP is perfect. However, I am prepared to step back here if only for practical reasons, i.e., one can't keep doing this forever. But I face the Lulu problem which is that according to their set-up, as per Paul, I cannot proceed to publication unless I order what may well be my thirteenth Lulu proof, even though I am able to publish on Amazon KDP without ordering still another proof! That discrepancy in methods has given me pause and I am now at a point where I must decide if I really need the Lulu edition, even though I like the cover I did through Lulu better than the amazon version.

    On another, less sanguine, note, I received an email from Amazon KDP this morning informing me that the same transition problem exists preventing my making the re-publication fix on KDP that they had previously advised me was no longer a problem because THEY had fixed if for me. So either one hand at KDP doesn't know what the other is doing or glitches like this are simply endemic to POD self publication whether here on Lulu or over at Amazon! I sent them back an email this morning calling to their attention the fact that they had previously informed me they'd ALREADY FIXED the problem they now say I need to fix (but which I can't because it involves accessing the CreateSpace file which, apparently, is no longer accessible!).

    So I guess whether or not I proceed with a Lulu edition at this point is now partly dependent on whether or not the Amazon KDP edition is fixed as I'd hoped.

    Short answer to your question, Kevin, is that I know that I could have held back going to proof until I thought my manuscript was absolutely error free but, given that I also know nothing is ever error free and that the kind of writing I was doing would inevitably have me second guessing what I'd previously written, I made a calculated decision to go forward and am living with the result, i.e., that I have had to fund numerous proofs to get this right. Getting it right, especially in a work of philosophy, is way more important to me than getting it out!    


  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

     given that I also know nothing is ever error free

    Then what is the point in looking for them? (A bit of philosophy for you there.)

  • swmirskyswmirsky Creator
    edited October 24
    The point, Kevin, is that 1) philosophy is different than fiction and so requires a keener precision than the fictional domain, and 2) I am obsessive so if I can fix something, I generally will.

    For the record, I belatedly discovered some minor typos as well as some stylistic failures in my 1998 historical novel but Xlibris, my POD provider at the time, didn't make fixing them possible short of paying to re-publish. When I was in discussions with SuperiorBooks.com to republish the novel, I used the opportunity to fix those errors, as well as to make other assorted "improvements" which I had come to believe would make for a better novel. But, because of that company's principal's insistence on doing his own "editing" (which I came to conclude resulted in a botched job) we had a parting of the ways. And so I canceled our agreement shortly after the new book came out with its new title, Blood of the North. Fortunately, I had not shut down the older Xlibris version at that point, The King of Vinland's Saga, so the book survived and has to this day in its Xlibris form (minor typos and stylistic missteps and all).

    I would have preferred it otherwise, of course, but, as we've already discussed, the digital file for that book was lost in the flood that affected my area in 2012, leaving me with no other way to fix and republish it but to type the whole manuscript up again. Aside from not wanting to do that (because of all the added work involved) I figured that, given where my head is at today, it would likely end up being a different book.

    So for good or ill, KVS is now fixed, to all intents and purposes, in digital stone. One reason I keep trying to make sure my new book is as correct as it can be is that I wish to avoid reprising the KVS experience with Value and Representation, even given the fact that the two works are totally different genres .(actually "genre" significantly understates their differences). 
  • Updating the Amazon saga: Got a phone call from an Amazon rep this morning. It seems the information provided to me by email was incorrect. They are going to try to work with me to fix the cover problem that has arisen as a result of the transfer of the file from the CreateSpace to the KDP platform. But it will likely take a few days and the agent who called wasn't sure how he would be proceeding to make the fix. A lot of trouble as a result of the migration of the files. Well, we'll see.

     
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