First and foremost, if you missed the live interview this past weekend, the cover for Secrets of the Cronal has been revealed, along with a release date and pre-order! Click here to visit the pre-order page!
Now that my obligatory marketing is out of the way :) One of the frustrations that has recently hit the Self-Publishing market, particularly those who have used Amazon’s solution, was when KDP took over print edition services from CreateSpace (which still boggles my mind that they did this, since CreateSpace was owned by Amazon.) And one of the major reasons this is frustrating? Loss of previously-existing functionality.
In this case, I speak of the ability to order author’s copies prior to actual publication. I was able to do this on CreateSpace, but once everything migrated over to KDP, I discovered that this was no longer an option, and you can only order author copies after a book has been published. If you want to have a launch party on release-day, with copies in-hand, this is impossible via KDP.
The last time this happened, a friend suggested I try Barnes and Noble Press. You can create a ‘personal’ book without ever publishing it, but still order as many copies as you want. So for book 3, I thought I’d give it a try.
It has not gone well…
Bugs, Bugs, and More Bugs
Though their interface for authors is relatively straight forward, I almost immediately ran into problems with my manuscript. It claimed I had not embedded my font in the document. A minor frustration that eventually was overcome by switching from Open-Type Font to True-Type Font. I don’t know why that made a difference, but it did.
After that, things started to seem okay. I wasn’t happy with the price (about $3 more expensive than a proof copy from KDP,) but I ordered my copy anyway. It took them AGES to print it and finally ship it, but about two weeks later, I had a copy in my hand, and was mostly happy. Especially comparing it to KDP’s proof copy, in which they failed (again) to center the cover image properly. I noted that they used a thinner paper stock, too, so the book was about a half-inch thinner than the KDP version.
But these were meant to be initial proofs, and I found mistakes, both in the manuscript and on the cover, that I had to fix. I submitted my files to both. About 10 minutes later, Barnes and Noble Press sends me a message, “We have found copyright violations in your submission. Your submission is locked and cannot be further edited.” Excuse me, what?! I wrote the book, I bought the rights to the cover art, and you didn’t have a problem with the previous submission, so what the hell?
After a while of frustratingly trying to find an email address to contact their tech support, I send them a message about the error.
About 5 days go by, with me checking the project’s status each day, and each day it still says the same. Finally they reply with, “We checked your project and do not see the error you describe.” WTF?! So I log in and find that, mysteriously, it no longer claims copyright violation and is in the process of being reviewed for approval to publish. I call B.S. on the B&N Press Techs. Someone somewhere screwed up, and as soon as you saw it, you fixed it, and then pretended you hadn’t screwed up. Own up to your mistakes, people.
Anyway, over two weeks go by, and the project is still in ‘reviewing’ status. Last time it only took 2 days to review, and at this point it’s been 3 weeks since I submitted the latest revisions…and since then, via the KDP proof I received, I found more issues to fix, but I couldn’t submit the updated files since the project on B&N was locked during review. So I email their tech support again.
5 days later, I finally get a reply. You can see where this is going, right? Only this time, they basically said, “We’ll look into it.”
A week goes by, nothing, no fix, no contact. I email again. Three days later, “We’ve resolved the issue.” Apparently no sense of urgency in these people at all, but at least it was finally approved and ready to order.
Now my latest dillemma? After submitting updates (that I had submitted to the KDP version a month prior,) and the new files getting approved a day later for publication, I submit my order for a new proof copy. A few days later, I check my bank account, and notice that they had charged for the proof copy, and immediately reversed and refunded the charge. I had no communication from them about this. So I check my order status, and it says “Printing.” Not cancelled, nor any other errors.
So I guess I’m in limbo now, not sure if they’ll actually print my project or not. Do I bother sending tech support another email, knowing it’ll be 5 days before I get a response? Will it be fixed? Certainly, at this point, not in time to approve the proof and have copies in-hand by release date, at the speed they move…
As annoying as KDP’s lack of features and watermark on the proof-copy covers are, at least they’ve been responsive in the past when I run into issues, which themselves have been very rare.
Anyone know of another self-publishing website that’ll let you order author copies prior to publication? Preferably one that works far, far better?
Yours in Frustration,