Transferring Titles to Ingram Spark

With all of the problems indie authors have been having with Amazon’s replacing CreateSpace with Kindle Direct Publishing, I thought it might be a good time to transfer my paperback titles to a more stable platform. This is possible because I own my books’ ISBNs. As long as I use the same files with the same ISBN, I can have my books printed from as many sources as I wish. In fact, many authors publish through both Ingram Spark and CreateSpace, because IS gives greater royalty flexibility for non-Amazon distributors. For books sold through Amazon, royalties are higher for books published through their printers, hence the strategy to go through both.

The process of transfer was certainly easier than directly uploading the files to IS. I created an account and then contacted IS staff, explaining what I wanted to do. They advised me to reach out to CS to give them a heads up, and then remove all my titles from Amazon’s Expanded Distribution. Expanded Distribution covers all non-Amazon sales. Royalties are smaller through Ex. Dist., which is the reason for choosing IS for these sales.

It took a while because my request was initiated right before the big push to close CS and get everything moved to KDP. But both sides were cooperative and very helpful, and eventually, I received word from IS that the transfers were complete. Now I have to learn their ropes! Best of all, transferred files don’t require the IS processing fee, so moving all four titles was free.

My new titles will be be published through both KDP and IS.

Outline For Chapter 6

5 Acres & A Dream The Sequel

F. Ch. 6. Food Self-Sufficiency: Feeding Ourselves
   1. Production
	a. garden
            1) downsizing garden
	    2) year-round
		  a) fewer annuals
		  b) more perennials (permaculture hedgerows)
	    3) soil building - never enough compost and mulch
		  a) chipper - mulch
	    4) permanent no-till (but not raised) beds
	    5) hugelkulture swale beds
	    6) continue diversity with companion group planting
	    7) planting by soil temperature
	    8) cover crops for resting beds
	    9) hoop house 
	    10) greenhouse (future)
	b. orchard
	    1) pectin
	c. field crops 
	    1) wheat
	    2) corn
	    3) other: cowpeas, cushaws, mangels, sugar beets (shared with critters)
	    4) goal - try rice				
            5) challenges 
	        a) not pushing the soil 
		b) soil building (discuss in  ch 10, "Resource Self-Sufficiency")
		    i. cover crops
		    ii. carbon
            6) no-till
	d. perennial foods 
	    1) herb garden
	    2) permaculture hedgerows
	e. eggs, milk, meat
	    1) eating seasonally
	    2) challenges with eggs
		a) storage
		    i. dehydrating
		    ii. water glassing
	            iii. liming
		    iv. see Prepper's Livestock Handbook for more
	    3) challenges with milk
		  a) year-round milk for kefir
		  b) cheesemaking in a hot climate
		  c) brine and oil packed cheeses
	    4) challenges with meat
	f. honeybees (fail)
	g. mushrooms        
        h. miscellanious            
            1) smoke flavoring
	i. hay (discuss in ch 7, "Food Self-Sufficiency: Feeding Our Animals")   
    2. Preservation
        a. less preservation / more year-round growing	
        b. canning / freezing / dehydrating / lacto-fermentation
        c. dry pack vacuum canning	   
    3. Storage	
        a. challenges - heat, humidity, insects
        b. eat more fresh (year-round garden)	
        c. rethinking storage goals 
        d. root cellar
        e. solar powered pantry (discuss in ch 8. "Energy Self-Sufficiency")
    4. Miscellaneous
        a. apple pectin
        b. smoke flavoring (canned or frozen)
        c. hops for homemade yeast
        d. leftovers frozen soup mix
        e. foraged foods
            1) greens
    5. Challenges
        a. diet fatigue
        b. diet diversity with limited foods

Time to Make a Decision

With CreateSpace closing, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my options. Transferring to Kindle Direct Publishing might seem easiest, except for a number of authors relaying problems they’ve had with the transfer process. The other option is to find a different print-on-demand printer.

My first idea was to test the waters. I thought I might try transferring one of my titles to KDP to see what kinds of problems I ran into. And what it would take to fix them. Unfortunately, the transfer must be for all books, so I decided to continue waiting. Several fellow authors chose to transfer their books to Ingram Spark, so I’ve been watching those conversations as well. A common concern is that Amazon will “punish” such authors by making their books either unavailable on Amazon, or take weeks to fulfill the order. Some people claim this has happened to them, but I hold these claims with a grain of salt. We humans tend to personalize everything, even when other explanations are more obvious and logical. Best to reserve judgement and not make assumptions.

There are several other POD publishers out there. Lulu is popular, but when I was getting ready to publish 5 Acres & A Dream The Book, they offered the lowerst royalties. A self-publishing acquantaince used Lightning Source, but about the time I was ready LS had switched small indies to Ingram Spark. At that time the author had no control over the wholesale discount (something which has since changed) so I didn’t sign up with them. I tried a smaller company, but the pdf proof was unsatisfactory. Apparently they couldn’t handle my interior design format. Eventuallly I went with CreateSpace.

Last night I read an announcement from CS staff on their community forum. Books remaining at CS will be transferred to KDP by staff by the end of December. Time to make a decision. More on that next time.

Good-Bye CreateSpace, Hello Problems

Those who keep up with the Indie publishing scene will likely know that Amazon is closing CreateSpace and shifting its paperback publishing arm to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I’ve gone through CreateSpace for my self-published print-on-demand paperbacks and used both KDP and Smashwords for my eBooks. Recently, KDP started offering paperback printing services to it’s eBook authors. Now Amazon is closing CreateSpace. In the announcement email, we were told that we could either transfer our books from CS ourselves, or they would do it automatically in the near future.

I’ve been extremely happy with CS, so like most of the other authors who have published through them, am sorry to see this turn of events. Because of that I expected to see grumblings on the CS community forum, but it’s worse than that. People are having significant problems with KDP to the point of looking for different printing venues. Common complaints include dropping book sales, limited font availability, awkward author dashboard, decreased royalties, books suddenly becoming unavailable on Amazon, and little to no technical support. Both cover and interior book files which passed CS’s reviewing process are being rejected by KDP.

Everyone is scratching their heads over the whole thing. and authors’ speculations are not flattering. The most common sense explanation is that Amazon rushed into a business decision without taking the time to analyze potential problems and properly prepare for the move. Considering that so many authors are having problems but can’t get help, it looks to me as though Amazon has simply lost interest in POD book publishing.

None of this instills confidence in the direction Amazon is taking its print-on-demand publishing service. I used to be an enthusiastic promoter of CreateSpace, but suddenly find myself considering other options. That will take some work, but apparently, so will transferring my print books to KDP. At this point I’m thinking I may as well save myself the headaches of the latter.

Proposed Outline

I’ve been in something of a quandary over which project to put some serious focus toward. I have several potential additions to The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos, including a revision of  How-To Home Soil Tests. I’ve been learning so many interesting things about carbon and soil building lately, that I seriously want to update that eBook. On the other hand, I am drawn toward working on my sequel for 5 Acres & A Dream The Book. Inspiration is starting to come to me, so that I have to stop whatever I’m doing and go write it down. Here is the first skeleton of an outline.

I. Front matter

A. Title Page
B. Copyright
C. Dedication
D. Table of Contents
E. Acknowledgements
F. Introduction

II. Body

A. Ch. 1. The Dream: is it still alive?
B. Ch. 2. Evaluating Our goals
C. Ch. 3. Priorities: Staying on Track
D. Ch. 4. Analyzing the Master Plan
E. Ch. 5. Transition
F. Ch. 6. Food Self-Sufficiency: Feeding Ourselves
G. Ch. 7. Food Self-Sufficiency: Feeding Our Animals
H. Ch. 8. Energy Self-Sufficiency
I. Ch. 9. Water Self-Sufficiency
J. Ch. 10. Resource Self-Sufficiency
K. Ch. 11. Distractions
L. Ch. 12. Discouraging Things
M. Ch. 13. Toward Keeping a Balance
N. Conclusion: Lessons Learned

III. Back matter

A. Bibliography
B. Appendices

1. Resources
2. Homestead Recipes

C. Index

If you’ve read 5 Acres & A Dream The Book, you can see that the chapter titles for The Sequel parallel those.

I’ve omitted a few things, and everything is subject to change of course. However, I feel like I’ve now got a solid starting point.

Finding the Time to Write

Nothing profound is going to be said here. No suggestions, tips, or ideas for organizing one’s time or how to put it to better use. One can’t find the time to do something when there is more to do than time to do it. Such is the reality of the homesteading lifestyle and that’s just the way things are; especially when the harvesting and food preservation season is in full swing. These can’t be postponed or put on hold. If they aren’t done as needed, then the crop is a waste.

I’m not complaining, mind you, because this is what I chose. But I am lamenting that there isn’t a little more time available to be creative. Now that late summer has arrived with autumn soon to follow, things will start to slow down a bit and I’ll feel like I’ve got a little breathing room with my time. The fall garden must still be planted (if it isn’t too hot), and there is a long to-do list. But the to-do list is ongoing, so this time of year is when I start to look for chunks of time to spend writing.

I have several things composing in my head, and I even find a few minutes here and there to jot down ideas. But I need a good chunk of time to let the words flow. I get snippets of inspiration, but organizing them into something sensible needs mental preparedness and concentration. Writing is work.

I’ve toyed with the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but hesitate. 50,000 words in 30 days is a big commitment. Then too, am I really a fiction writer? I have ideas, but …

Anyway, looking forward to cooler days and less to do. Looking forward to my writing season.

I’m a Bad Author Blogger

A very bad author blogger. I’ve written many a post in my head, but none of them have made their way to this blog. Maybe it’s because it’s the busy outdoor time of year, or because I spend my computer time writing posts for my homesteading blog, or because I lost so most of my current writing project when my old hard drive died. Or maybe because there’s no pressure to keep fresh content before my slim Building A Book readership. (Thank you to those who do take the time to read and comment!) I should have at least posted about Prepper’s Livestock Handbook being available!

That’s my biggest news, that Prepper’s Livestock Handbook is now in print! As excited as I am about that, I confess that it was a lot of work, especially as we got close to the deadline. It was a relief to get it done and switch gears for awhile to focus on other things. Those other things have mostly been the garden, the goats, building the new goat barn, and making a rotational grazing plan. Also a little time to pursue the odd hobby or two. Even so, I’m always writing in my head.

Other good news is that fellow homesteading author Anna Hess has asked me to write a sidebar piece for the second edition of her The Naturally Bug-Free Garden. I’m truly honored to be doing so and have always appreciated Anna’s help in the promotion of my own books.

Mental work has begun on my next book. I’d like to do a sequel to 5 Acres & A Dream The Book. Dan and I have learned so much since that book was published. We’ve been steadfast in working toward our self-sufficiency goal, and in ways I never dreamed possible when I first published 5 Acres & A Dream The Book. As one might expect, there have been ups, downs, and learning curves, and I’d like to share them all with others on the journey. I’m just in the outline stage, but hopefully I’ll have that figured out soon so when the garden harvest slacks off in autumn, I’ll be ready to hit the keyboard.

eBooks. New volumes to my Little Series of Homestead How-Tos have pretty much been on hold for the past year as I’ve worked on Prepper’s Livestock Handbook. Then when I had problems with Paypal, I unpublished all of my books on Smashwords, because Paypal was how I was paid my royalties. However, I recently changed that payment option, so they are available there once again. I have ideas for several new additions to this series, so stay tuned for that.

In other eBook news, I have permanently unpublished my Critter Tales Series eBooks but will continue to keep the Critter Tales paperback on the market. Turning it into an eBook series was something of an experiment, but for the interested reader the paperback is the better bargain.

I think that about wraps up my author update. Hopefully I won’t be so long with the next one.