Tips and Tricks For New Authors Part 2


[KDP and CreateSpace]

    Not sure how to publish your book or with whom?  Here is my take on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and CreateSpace.  FYI — Amazon owns both of them. How to differentiate between the two:

  1. CreateSpace is for paperback only
  2. KDP is for e-books only

    The way I went about publishing is I went through CreateSpace first and published a paperback form of “Vampire Next Door”.  I have heard from many people that it’s less difficult to publish the paperback first and then have CreateSpace format (for free) a version and create an e-book that will be readable for the Kindle.  So if you want a paperback or think you will want a paperback, work with CreateSpace first.

    CreateSpace is very easy to use and extremely user friendly.  You are basically going to create a new title, and they use a step-by-step process to get you through it.  The first step is to go to and sign up for a new account.  You will go to your Member Dashboard and Add New Title.  You will then complete the categories of Setup, Review and Distribute.  After you are done creating your paperback, CreateSpace will send all of your files over to KDP, and that makes it so easy!

    You can create a cover through CreateSpace or you can go through any number of other sources for a cover.  The important thing to remember is that your cover should be one of the last things you do, because the cover is a wraparound cover.  That means that your trim size, bleed and page count all come into account.  So if you are in the early stages of creating your book, you will have no idea what your page count is.  If you want to save money on a cover, search Google for “pre-made cover”.  You can find cheap pre-made covers for both paperback and e-books.  It is a lot easier to go with a cover through CreateSpace, but their stock photos will not always suit everybody’s needs.  The number one best thing about picking a CreateSpace cover…?  If you need to edit your book later on and your page count changes, CreateSpace automatically formats your cover to fit your book.  That’s not so easily done through another channel.  That is why it’s very important to make sure you are totally satisfied with your book before going through the process of creating a cover.

   You will run into the option of “expanded distribution” while publishing your book on CreateSpace.  There has been a lot of debate over whether it’s worth the $25 or not to have your book available to Barnes and Noble, libraries, etc.  Well, now CreateSpace offers expanded distribution for free.  The big thing to remember about expanded distribution is that your royalties will be extremely low.  Speaking of royalties, let’s do a breakdown.  Let’s say your book is $10 on CreateSpace.  Your royalties would be as follows:

  • – $2.63
  • CreateSpace eStore – $4.63
  • Expanded Distribution – $0.63

    As you can see, your are going to make the most money from your paperback from your eStore.  Here is my eStore –  When people buy straight from your eStore, you make more royalties.  I have sold only a fraction of paperbacks from my eStore compared to, however.  Amazon offers the free super saver shipping when the customer buys your book and whatever else that adds up to $25.  That is appealing to a lot of customers.  I still try to push the eStore because of the higher royalties, but it’s harder to get people to purchase from there when is so convenient.

    Kindle Direct Publishing is, like I said earlier, only for e-books.  You can sign up for Kindle Select.  That means your book is basically under a contract with KDP for three months.  That might seem like a long time, but it goes relatively quickly.  Being under the contract means you cannot publish your e-book anywhere else.  You cannot go to Smashwords/iBooks/Nook Press, etc.  This contract has nothing to do with your paperback on CreateSpace.  So if your paperback is on Barnes and Noble’s website, don’t worry.  It only applies to the e-book, and KDP will not end your contract.

   One of the benefits of being enrolled in KDP Select is the free promotion.  Basically your book is listed as FREE on  The biggest benefit of this is that your book jumps to the top of the free e-books list.  After the free promotion is over, Amazon pushes your book over to the paid e-books list.  If you are high on the list, you get more exposure.  For a new author, that is great news.  The downside?  The exposure is short-lived and you just gave away hundreds, if not thousands, of your e-book to potential future buyers.  I would only recommend the free promotion if you have a series of books.  List the second book or the first book for free.  If you list the second book for free, people are more apt to buy the first book in the series.  If you list the first book for free, if people enjoyed the first book in the series, they will buy the rest of the series.

   KDP now offers Kindle Countdown Deals.  You can find more information here:  It allows authors to run limited-time discount promotions on their books, which can help earn more royalties and reach more readers.  Basically it marks your book down and people think they are getting a really great deal for a limited time, so they buy your book before the promotion is over.

    My KDP Select contract is over in the beginning of December, and I will be publishing my e-book with Smashwords.  Smashwords will distribute your e-book to various places like Barnes and Noble (Nook) and iBooks for Apple products among many others.  People can even read your book on their computers in different formats.  The royalty percentage is really great too!  You earn 60% of List Price from Major Ebook Retailers and 85% Net at  I will write part three based on my experience with Smashwords.


Tips and Tricks For New Authors Part 1


So you published a book…now what?

    Publishing a book is both exciting and terrifying at the same time if you are an indie author.  The following is my take on being an indie author through my eyes.

    I recently published my first novel “Vampire Next Door”.  You can find it here on Amazon –  To say I am a total noob at the whole indie author/publishing thing would be the understatement of the year.  I did some research before publishing, and I will stress the word some.  I have had several people ask me for advice, and my number one piece of advice is always do your research.  You need to know what you are in for.

    Your novel should be about 50,000 words and over.  Just remember when you self-publish a book — the more words and the bigger your book is, the more money it will cost to manufacture it.  The more it costs to manufacture it, the less royalties you will have.  So in a sense, a shorter story will make you more money in the long run.  So you want your book to have a great story, but keep it on the short side, if you can.  If you can’t shorten it, think about writing a series of books.  A lot of readers will gravitate towards a series more than a single book.  A lot of publishers are in the market for book series right now as well.  Young adult, dystopian and series are three things you will hear that are in high demand as of right now.  That is always subject to change, however, as people’s tastes change and the next new “big thing” hits the market.

    If anyone tells you that writing the book is the hard part, they’d be lying.  Writing the book is absolutely the easiest part of the process.  With millions upon millions of books out there and a big percentage of them being independently published (and relatively easily I might add), the entire process of publishing your own book can be quite a daunting task.  I came to realize that firsthand.

    The most important thing to remember is that you are publishing independently.  Don’t expect results overnight, and don’t quit your day job…even if you hate it.  Helpful Tip — Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) waits 60 days to pay you.  That’s for e-book sales only.  So if you sell in August, you are not getting paid your royalties until the end of October.  Patience is something else you’ll need to learn all too quickly.  CreateSpace, on the other hand, pays monthly.  That is only for paperback sales, however, and I personally have been selling four times as many e-books than paperback.  If you are publishing your e-book with Smashwords, they pay quarterly.  The bottom line is don’t expect money right away.  It will take a few months to see any real profit.

    If you think are you ready to publish your first novel, think again.  Go back and read your book, edit it and then edit it again.  Your grammar and formatting should be flawless or close to it.  Why?  Because if you have too many grammar mistakes or your book is hard to read or understand, your reviews are going to be horrible.  How many times have you read reviews on Amazon that read “I loved the story, but just couldn’t get past the poor grammar”?  Can’t afford an editor?  Have some friends or family members (that you can trust) read over your book for free.  If you are afraid of putting your life’s work in someone’s hands, then don’t do it.  Edit the book yourself or find a more trustworthy friend.  The formatting and grammar of a book can mean the difference between a two or three-star review and a five-star review.

    Speaking of reviews, getting them will be difficult, to say the least.  It is definitely not an easy task for most authors.  Unless you have a strong and large fan base, you will quickly learn why people are paying other people to review their books.  Let’s face it — The more reviews you have, the better your book looks to possible customers.  The easiest way to get your first review is to ask a friend or family member who has read your book to leave a review.  Even if you only get one, one review is better than none.  The most important thing to remember is don’t put too much pressure on someone to leave a review.  Most of the time I ask nicely.  Either they leave one or they don’t.  It’s out of your hands at that point.  You don’t want to nag someone to leave a review, because they could, A, not leave a review at all or, B, leave a negative review.

    Why don’t people leave reviews?  The most popular answer to that question is they don’t know what to say.  They feel like anything they write would be inadequate or dumb.  But in reality, even a review that says “I loved it” or “I liked it” would be more helpful than they could ever know.  The best thing you can do for an independent author is LEAVE A REVIEW.  If you are thinking of doing a book giveaway, do a giveaway for the people that leave reviews.  That should give you a jump start on getting reviews.

    If you are gearing up for your first book release, you should already be building a Twitter and Facebook following.  It’s a quick and free way to get a lot of potential readers and communicate with fellow authors who will be more than happy to help promote you in return for promoting them.  You can search for authors on Twitter by the #author hashtag.  Another trick to find new readers is search for keywords such as “love to read (insert your book’s genre)”.  I often search for romance/paranormal or just plain old “love to read”.

    So you joined Twitter, but you need help connecting to other authors.  A great group on Facebook is Authors Tweeting Authors.  It’s a private group that allows authors to tweet each other.  Here is the link to the group:  Another way for authors to tweet authors is to join the World Lit Cafe at  There you can joint tweet teams, post your Facebook page links, Twitter usernames and more.  It’s a great way to connect to fellow authors and, once again, gain exposure.  And the best part is it’s free.

    Stay tuned for part 2…