I really wish I didn’t have to write this blog post. You have no idea how much I do. But it wouldn’t be fair to you otherwise, so here goes…
Amazon’s Kindle Direct self-publishing service, commonly known as KDP, isn’t worth it anymore.
I used to recommend it all the time. And I’m still using it right now since it’s so much of a hassle to switch everything over.
Otherwise, I’d be long gone.
As late as last summer, Amazon had two different self-publishing divisions. There was one specifically set aside for handling print books, called CreateSpace. The other was Kindle Direct Publishing, and that was reserved for e-copies.
It makes sense that they would want to combine those two. To be perfectly honest, I’m not really sure why they had the two separate departments in the first place. But as much sense as the switch made, nothing good seems to have come of it.
As a self-published author who’s worked with Amazon since 2013, I no longer have much to recommend about a service I appreciated intensely before.
It’s sad but true.
I’ve been trying to publish my latest manuscript, Proving America, the third book in my Founding America series – and failing. That’s thanks to all the changes they’ve made to KDP in order to accommodate the creation of print books.
For instance, you can no longer upload PNG files. Or JPEGs. You have to upload your cover as a PDF instead.
That’s annoying in and of itself, since it has to be exact measurements that way – and I mean absolutely exact measurements. Back with CreateSpace, you could shift the image around somewhat so that it fit appropriately.
Not anymore though. Now you have to be an expert graphic designer instead of the fairly competent amateur that I am.
In addition, uploading the text portion of the document has become its own absolute chore. As I write this, I’m on the phone with a very, very nice young woman who’s trying to help me fix the issues that came up… which have never come up before, mind you.
So far, I’ve been on the phone for over half an hour with no desirable results. And that's on top of three unsuccessful email conversations I've had about the issue at hand.
[Editor’s Note: A total hour in, and I think it’s fixed. I have to do (hopefully) just a little additional fiddling and then re-upload it.]
Even so, none of this is why I’m recommending that self-publishing writers steer clear of Amazon. Because wait!
Even before Amazon merged its CreateSpace and KDP divisions, its printing process was going downhill.
The covers are just not cut well, with jagged edges as if they were sliced with a mini chainsaw. And when you ask them for a quality check, there’s not a single difference in the appearance.
I’m not being a melodramatic creative writer here either. In this case, none means none.
Last time I had to order books, I had to return I think a third of them because they were messed up. It wasn’t pretty.
That was even with them re-sending me copies. Twice.
I don’t know what happened to this once impressive service, but whatever it was, it’s made the company un-recommendable in my book.
From now on, when one of my author-in-the-making clients wants to self-publish, I won’t be recommending Amazon KDP.
I’ll send them over to Lulu Publishing instead.
I can’t in good conscience do anything else.