Well, I’m dead excited because I am holding in my hands an actual ink-and-paper copy of my book!
My old ebook distributor, Pronoun, are sadly closing down, so this has prodded me to at last join the ranks of the KDP massive. The ebook version of Hidden Dawn is now available, as it ever was, on Amazon, but I’ve also taken the plunge and used KDP’s beta paperback publishing services. I was a little bit daunted, but Amazon being Amazon, they make it very easy for you, giving you templates for internal layouts and cover design.
Previously, I impressed myself by designing my own front cover for the ebook, but now I’m positively glowing with achievement after also designing up my back cover and spine (with a little help from Photoshop!). With the Amazon template, internal typesetting was very easy in Word. You just copy and paste in your content, with a new section for each prelim/endlim and chapter. Then you just have to fiddle about with font, font size, leading, etc. until you have a viable set of spreads.
The only snag is, at £8.99, it’s quite expensive when compared to other paperbacks on Amazon. It’s about £1 more expensive than paperbacks in bookshops, but with Amazon’s loss-leading discounts, the paperback of Hidden Dawn seems uncomfortably dear. I do apologise, but as it’s print on demand (POD), you don’t get the advantage of bulk discount that traditional publishers get. £5 of that price is the cost of printing, and Amazon add 60% of that price as their pocket money, sparing me the few pennies left over in royalties after they’ve creamed off a further 40%. That price is absolutely the lowest I was allowed to go without paying you to buy it. I’m not grumbling because I’d rather readers had the option of a physical copy, if that’s what they prefer. I just wanted to be transparent and explain why it was so expensive. I’m afraid I have no control over that 😦
Overall, I’m really impressed with the quality of the printing. The paper inside is particularly nice when you compare it to the thin rag you get in a lot of mass-market paperbacks these days. The gluing is robust, just like any other paperback, and the text is pin-sharp. I admit I had a few anxieties over the quality of a POD book, and I fully expected to have to make a number of changes after I got a copy actually in my hands, but I can’t see anything that I would actually change. Colour me impressed.
Well done Amazon!