Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More 5 x 8" paperbacks, troubleshooting.

Last night I pushed the button on the 5 x 8' paperback for 'The Case of the Curious Killers.'


For some reason the CreateSpace automatic reviewer kept finding a problem with the formatting. It came at the end of the book, where I had a bio and URL. This was the third section of the book, written and formatted in Word. The bio was too wide, and for some reason every time I saved it, it reverted back to an unacceptable form.

After three or four attempts, I simply deleted the bio and URL. One, there is a URL in the front matter, and two, my bio is on numerous author pages, social networks and on my blog. I'm happy enough reciting it to old people at bus stops and strangers sitting on park benches. So it's not absolutely vital. Over the course of formatting, I learned that a 5 x 8" paperback in the 400-page to 600-page range requires a minimum of 0.875" for a gutter. This was the problem with that section of the book, and for some reason I was unable to fix it.

'Case' came out at 434 pages and retails for $10.99. This would generate two-something on CreateSpace and $1.74 on Amazon. If I sell an e-book of the same title, for $2.99, it generates about two dollars. That's how I set the price. I want to keep it as low as possible, and yet still make a profit. If the volume goes up, I could still reduce the prices and increase revenue. At this stage of the game, it's a good idea not to sell yourself short, and make it so that it's not worth your while or offers no real hope of future success.

That's why any sort of plan, based on knowledge, is so important: otherwise you just flounder or tread water with no direction and not much hope of survival.

Remember the best-seller, 'Swim With the Sharks?'

Sometime today, I'll get an e-mail telling me one of two things, either the book is okay format-wise, or changes are required.It's no big deal. Some of the mystery has been dispelled about the process of creating the physical product known as a book. I also have a POD file ready to go for 'The Shape-Shifters,' but I think that one can wait a couple of weeks or so.

There is a process. Once I click on 'order proof,' it's going to take a week or ten days to see the product. Then I 'approve proof,' and it takes another few days, up to a week, and then the thing magically appears in the Amazon store, linked to my e-books. And, since I have been selling and giving books away on Amazon, this means that while they don't have any ranking as yet, they are presented as if they do as an alternative format, item, or article to purchase. At last report 70 % of book purchases were still in hard form, and the sales of a title are sales of a title. A buck is a buck.

Marketing Images.

My cover for 'Case' was shot with a $100.00 camera, but the image for 'Shape-Shifters' came from Morguefile, and it was clearly shot with much more professional equipment. I'm really looking forward to seeing it. The 'Case' one required further fiddling after an upload or two, as part of the title was in the danger area. The CreateSpace process won't let you go any further until it is acceptable and within tolerance.

I use Nero Photosnap and Paint.NET when creating marketing images. With eleven titles and a few changes to the marketing images over the last couple of years, the limitations become more apparent, but in e-commerce, embossed, gold-coloured fonts lose some of their grocery-store checkout display appeal anyway. It's a learning curve rather than a spending curve.

Write or Procrastinate.

In the meanwhile, what I really ought to do is to open up the file of story ideas and produce some short stories with an eye to submitting them.

Rather than engaging in outright procrastination, I wrote a blog post instead.

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