Tips & Tutorials

Need some tips and tricks?  Insider hints?  Want to know how to wrangle Amazon's Look Inside the Book?  Look no further. Chances are, we've already discussed it here. We also happily welcome suggestions for articles and how-tos, so don't be shy.  


 

The Createspace Cover Template Creator

How To Create Your Print Book Cover For Createspace

nce your print book is in production with us for layout, it's time to think about the creation of your full cover--front, back, and spine. You can't just take three pieces to Createspace and hope that they'll get your cover right. Instead, you or your cover designer will go here: Createspace Cover Template Maker.

You or s/he will input your page count and your paper type. Obviously, if you have just started your print layout, you probably won't have a number for your total page count yet. If not, wait for that figure, from your designer, and then input it into the Template maker. You'll get back a PDF template, all in one piece.

Createspace Cover Creator Print

As you can see from the image, it's hardly difficult.  You will already know your trim size, and you've probably already thought about what paper you want.  (Note:  if you have images of any kind, it is usually dramatically better to choose WHITE, rather than CREAM.  Particularly if you have B&W images!  Just a handy tidbit of information for you.) 

Your cover designer will then create your final print book cover, marrying the front, back and spine portions of her design. She'll give that back to you in PDF form. When you are ready to publish your book, you'll upload the PDF of the interior and the PDF of the exterior. Createspace then binds the cover to the interior when making your book--and you're off and running.

Note: experienced authors will do many of the Createspace steps in the Dashboard before they have their final PDF or PDFs. We heartily endorse that idea, both for your print book and your eBook. Taking care of the simple, but important, things while you are in production makes sense. Oftentimes, new authors get so excited over a book that they get too rushed to do the Dashboard items (like categories, keywords, the description/blurbs) correctly, or with the care that will help you get your book sold.

Good luck!

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13 Questions You'll Ask At the KDP, And The Answers

13 Things You'll Ask at Amazon's KDP Program, Part 1

Here at Booknook.Biz, we've been doing this for quite a while now.  One thing I can't help but notice is that the same questions get asked at the KDP Publisher's forums, over and over again.  To help prospective publishers, I'm going to answer them here.

Do I have to register my copyright before I publish?  

No, you don't.  In the United States of America, your book is copyrighted as soon as you've completed writing it.  If your book is stolen/pirated, however, you can't file suit until the copyright is registered, which you can do with $35 and the link to ECO, the Electronic Copyright Office. Here's the link to ECO and here's a link to the Tutorial. 

Does enrolling in KDP mean I can't sell my books anywhere else?

 No, it doesn't.  If you enter your book in the KDP, you can sell it any place you'd like (Barnes & Noble, iBooks, KoboBoks, etc.).  The KDP contract does stipulate that you can't sell your eBook at a lower price anywhere else.  If Amazon discovers that you are selling your book for less somewhere else, they'll lower the price of your book (price-match) for the duration that the book is lower-priced elsewhere.  If you join KDP Select, however, then, yes--you are required to give exclusivity for 90 days in return for the features of the KDP Select Program. These features include the ability to make your book free for any five days out of the 90, and capacity to join other marketing programs. 

(Con't.)

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An Example of Amazon Look Inside The Book Gone Wrong

How Do I Fix The Look Inside the Book on Amazon?

Is Your Look Inside the Book a Wreck?

One of the questions that I see posted, all the time, at the Amazon KDP Forums is this one--some variant on, "my Look Inside is a mess!," or, "How do I fix the Look Inside, because all my nice page breaks are gone!"

Here's the bottom line:  mostly, you can't.  

I know, I know--now, you're horrified.  But here's the thing:  while an eBook like a Kindle or an ePUB is made out of HTML, so are the Amazon webpages.  The problem is, it's not the same kind of HTML.  While the HTML itself is the same, HTML is controlled by something else, called "stylesheets."  That's how companies like ours make things like fonts work--by using Stylesheets.  In HTML, they are called "CSS." (Cascading Style Sheets).  They're called cascading because a more important style will override a less important style, to put it simply.  Or, a more detailed style will override a less detailed style.  

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An eBook made from a Commercial Template

Can You Sucessfully Use eBook Templates?

Once upon a time, (okay, about two months ago or so)  in a fit of curiosity, I decided to buy one of those advertised templates—you know the ones—make your ebook from WORD!  Why?  Because we get a lot of inquiries here.  In fact, we receive about 300 emails a day, believe it or not.  We get people asking why our services are “better” or different than what they can do themselves. A lot of what we do is invisible to the human eye.  This makes it hard to answer those types of questions without sounding self-serving. 

As in, “well, gosh, we export and clean up the HTML, so that all the bad code that you can’t see with the naked eye doesn’t make your book go wonky when it’s opened on a Kindle.” This is a difficult sell, to be honest.  It’s the same difficult sell that I run into when I try to explain that Smashwords does not do the same thing that we do.  But, when you look at a sausage, do you know what’s inside it? Can you tell that one sausage-maker lovingly crafted his sausage from the BEST stuff, while the other used what remained on the floor after the first guy finished?  No, you can’t.  Not unless you already do this for a living, and if you did, we wouldn't be having this conversation--would we?

An eBook-making Test:  Show, Not Tell.

In that vein, I decided to test what we do against those "DIY Word" templates that you can buy all over the Internet.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?  Perhaps, I thought, if I simply used one of those commercial templates, I could show--not tell--people the difference.  I made sure that I bought a well-written template, from one of the most reputable and best-known websites on the topic of bookmaking.  For both ebooks and print books.  Below, see the original, unstyled Word file.  (click ANY image to enlarge/lightbox).  

Read on to see my test.

 

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What is The Best eBook Format For Kindle?

What Is the Best File Format For Kindle?  Why, The One that Works, Of Course!
What Is the Best File Format For Kindle? Why, The One that Works, Of Course!

About eBook Formats

One of the questions that we are often asked is, "what is the best eBook format for Kindle? I'm not always sure what question I'm being asked.  Is the person asking to find out what file format they should upload to Amazon? Are they asking what's the best way to make a book for the Amazon-Kindle ecosystem? Really, there are only two eBook formats that are still remaining in the USA, and, when you look around, in the world. Those formats are:

  • ePUB: which stands for ePUBlication (clever, eh?), which is used by B&N, iBooks, Sony, KoboBooks, and Google, and,
  • MOBI format, which is the preferred Kindle file format.

If you've Googled, you've likely seen all sorts of claims, ranging from some folks telling you that you can put an ePUB on Kindle, to the idea that using Word is the best "Kindle eBook format." The bottom line is, the files that Amazon sells to its readers are, by and large, a single file format, called "MOBI."

What Format Does Kindle Use?

Now, if you've run across various forums, you may have seen people refer to AZW format, or AZW3 format. The former is the actual, final, encrypted Kindle format that is dispensed from the Amazon store, to your Kindle as a purchased book. That's not a format that you can make yourself. And, even if you could, you can't upload that format at the KDP, the Kindle Digital Publishing platform. The latter, AZW3, is a file format, created to emulate what's called "KF8," (the more-advanced Kindle formatting) by a piece of free library software called Calibre. However, just like AZW, you can't upload an AZW3 file format at the KDP. You can certainly make a file in that format, and side-load it to your own Kindle device, but you can't publish it. Obviously, that format, then, lacks utility.  Fine for personal use, but useless for publishing.  If someone starts yammering away at you, talking about how you can convert your file to AZW or AZW3 format, for the purposes of publishing--that's not someone to whom you should be listening.

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