Hello Book Lovers of Bloglandia!

So in my writing update a couple weeks ago I hinted at an excitement new project I’d been invited to test out. Due to confidentiality legal do-dahs, I couldn’t say anything at the time, but I’m guessing that since the tested product is now live, I’m allowed to tell you about it.

I hope. If not, please understand I may need to wipe your memories at some point in the near future.

So, with a little showman’s flourish, let me whisk back the virtual curtains to reveal….

My books are now in hardback!!

Okay, not all books.

And not in all stores.

But I’m still super excited!

Dreams Can Come True…

I’ve wanted to make my books available in hardback for THE longest time. But the only reliable way to go about that was through IngramSpark and I honestly can’t afford their setup fees or the cost of an ISBN (to get the set-up fee waived).

Also, because I like to keep my books up to date, I often change the back matter of my books…both the ebook and the “real” book versions. Since Ingram charges around $25 (from what I remember) every damn time you make the slightest change (even fixing a typo), this would have been a budget-straining recurring expense.

So, I set my dreams of hardbacks aside and simply made do with paperbacks from Amazon and now Draft2Digital (who distributes to pretty much all the places Ingram does…with no set up, ISBN, or change fee).

Then one day I get an email from Amazon asking if I want to beta test setting my books up in hardback format. 

My first thought was, “Oh hells yes!” My second thought, since it asked me to click on an account link, was, “Is this a phishing scam?”

I emailed Amazon, and turns out, it was a legit offer. You’ve never seen someone jump onto the KDP Dashboard so fast. My dreams of books you can pretend are drums was about to become real!

A Little Tricky to Format

Since this is new, Amazon didn’t have a template for the full spread cover (hopefully soon). Their only guidance was to say how much bigger the cover needed to be compared to your paperback. This is because the hardback cover wraps around and needs to overlap on all sides.

Tricky business getting this to fit “just right” on a hardback.

That set up wasn’t too bad, I just adjusted my page size. The trouble came with getting the image to widen just right without distorting anything, getting the image to wrap around without the text going wonky or off center, and getting the image not to leave weird gaps at the edges or the spine.

Basically, I spent a few hours nudging the image the tiniest bit, making the PDF, uploading it to Amazon, zooming in on the proof, lather, rinse, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

I figured I had it where I wanted it, so I ordered a proof copy.

Almost There

Unfortunately, I didn’t have it. The first attempt didn’t line up exactly right (see video below). There was a blank spot along the back edge, the image spilled over on to the spine, and a few things didn’t quite wrap how I thought they would. 

But I had my proof copy in hand, which meant I could now use that and the online proof to make adjustments.

Yep, back to tiny nudges, making PDFs, uploading to Amazon, etc. 

Luckily, once I had one cover done, I could pretty much just copy the dimensions and placement measurements for the other covers. Phew.

In other words, I now have hardbacks that look pretty darn good!

The Quality of the Hardbacks

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. But I was pleasantly surprised. The quality of the cover is really good (again, see video below). It’s paper wraparound (not cloth), so the edges did get scuffed when I had it propped up on the rough wooden picnic table outside, but nothing terrible. 

The binding is amazing. The pages aren’t stitched in place, but whatever glue is holding it to the cloth interior spine is REALLY good.

How good? I used the proof to do my final edit on The Untangled Cassie Black and let me tell you, I am ROUGH on my proof copies. To get them to lay flat I bend them back with full force, I smash them down, and do all sorts of things that would make a book lover cringe.

And that binding held tight! No pages gave even the tiniest hint of coming loose, and the exterior spine looks as good as new (except for the scuffs). 

Limitations: Not Available Everywhere, Not All Books, Pricing

For now, I’ve only done my Cassie Black Trilogy books in hardback. I will get to the others at some point, but that’s a project for another day. And hopefully if I wait, Amazon will get that cover template up and make my life much easier.

The hardbacks are expensive (about $22 USD), but that doesn’t mean I’m making more money. The printing costs are higher than paperbacks, so most of the price increase is going toward that. Basically, I make about the same whether you buy paperbacks, hardbacks, or full-price ebooks of my work.

Amazon is also not offering hardbacks everywhere. Yet. Currently the only Amazon stores that have hardbacks are the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. But I imagine if you live elsewhere and want to pay shipping from a long-distance Amazon store, they’d be willing to ship it to you.

Video Time!

I made a quick 2-minute video to show off the proof copy. It gives you an idea of the booboos I fixed, the quality of the cover, and is easier than me taking and uploading a dozen photos.

Just click the image below, if you want to have a gander.

Note: I recorded this in a hurry so the sound isn’t perfect (and I’m bending over to film, so I sound a but stuffy). It’s also a little lower resolution than my other videos, so don’t try to play in on your 72-inch Hi-Def TV.

If you want to get a copy of The Undead Mr. Tenpenny or The Uncanny Raven Winston, here’s the links that will get you there….

For Amazon, just click the Kindle icon. Once on the book’s Amazon page, you can select the format of your choice.

Note: The Untangled Cassie Black comes out 18 May. You can pre-order ebooks, but not physical copies (sorry, these things aren’t up to me)

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***

About the Latest Cassie Black Book: The Uncanny Raven Winston…

There’s nothing like an evil wizard to ruin a perfect good trip to London.

Ever have one of those weeks? You’ve taken an overdose of magic, you’ve just melted a twelve-year old girl, and Magic HQ has sent a letter “requesting” you come by to discuss your magic control issues.

No? Just me then?

I don’t want to go. I’ve got a boss in a wheelchair (my fault), a zombie cat who demands his treats on schedule, and no interest in sorting out the quirks of another magical community.

But when someone slips me information tying my parents’ disappearance to HQ, I can’t pack my bags quickly enough.

I’m soon destroying historical displays, befriending befuddled ghosts, and focusing more on uncovering the truth about my past than on figuring out how to rein in my magic. Which, since HQ has a test for me that if I fail… Well, best not to think about that.

This second book of The Cassie Black Trilogy squeezes you through a magic portal, lodges you in a hidden corner of the Tower of London, and plunges you into a tale of mysterious mishaps, peculiar ravens, and TV-binging trolls.

If you like contemporary fantasy with unforgettable characters, snarky humor, and a touch of paranormal mystery — or if you’ve ever wondered what those garden gnomes are really up to — you’ll find it hard to pry yourself away from The Uncanny Raven Winston.

 

 

 

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