Productivity and questions

I love the smell of productivity in the morning.

I had a very productive writing day today. Managed to churn out close to 5k words today. Two and a half chapters done. Also managed to get my book (well the first quarter) converted via Scrivener to an ePub file and view it on my iPad. How heartwarming is it when you see your novel in proper book format?!


Now (and way too soon) my mind starts to turn towards cover art, self-publishing and ISBNs. So here’s three questions for the experts out there –

  • Who did you use for cover art and were you happy with them
  • KDP, Kindle Select, Kindle Unlimited, CreateSpace, other… can anyone explain all this EASILY. The more I read the more confused I get!
  • ISBN. Do I need to purchase one if I self-publish? Where? How!?

And now because I’m so kind, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from today’s session;


“Might be I’m jist riding through, lookin’ for some peace an’ quiet. An’ you know what? Your face is disturbin’ my peace and quiet.”
Isom blinked for a good ten seconds in stunned silence then broke into a raucous belly laugh. His riders, seeing him break into laughter, joined him. Neither Grace nor Johnny laughed.

Isom slapped his thigh and said, “Missy! You got a mouth on you! My face is disturbin’ your peace and quiet!” He broke off laughing and leaned toward Grace with a dangerous sneer on his lips. “An’ what are you gunna do about my face when it’s bobbin’ above you as I bugger you bloody?”

Grace sighed.

“This.” She said. Her S&W danced into her hand and unloaded into Isom’s face. His brains splattered out the back of his head and before his body hit the ground, Grace had fired off three more shots.”

Excerpt From: “Guns of Perdition.” iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Hope you’ve had as productive a day as me!



17 thoughts on “Productivity and questions

  1. About your questions:
    . cover art: some of my the covers (the ugly ones) I didi myself; I also have two designers that I sometimes use (we have an arrangement for the payments)
    . KDP is the Amazon ebook publishing platform: if you want to sell ebooks on Amazon, that’s what you use. Kindle Select is an option KDP offers: you give Amazon the exclusive on your books, you get special promotional tools (you can do free offers for five days every 3 months for each title). Kindle Unlimited is a service that allows its subscribers on Amazon to rent your ebook if your ebook is enrolled in Kindle Select: the math is complicated, but basically this is a good source of income if you publish novel-length ebooks, as long as you get lots of readers. Createspace is one of the two tools Amazon allows you to create a paper book, te other being the recently implemented option on KDP.
    As for myself: I use KDP, have only a few of books on Kindle Select, and Kindle Unlimited works for certain titles (depends on genre), but I mostly write short form, so KU’s not so convenient. And I just tested the KDP paperback machine, and I am quite satisfied with it, but it requires a certain amount of extra work compared to producing just an ebook (and the royalties are nothing to write home about).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU Dave!! That makes so much sense now! And considering Guns will be a full length novel I guess I might try the KS and KU way. Going to save your words of wisdom to my hints and tips folder. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I was forgetting, ISBN.
    You don’t need it if you publish an ebook via Amazon (they have their own free equivalent), and Amazon will get you a free ISBN if you do a paperback through the KDP platform.
    Other platforms (such as Smashwords, that is the second-best choice for self-publishing) provide you with a free ISBN on request.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Davide gave a good description of the Amazon programs. I use KDP Select (which automatically includes Kindle Unlimited). I like the marketing options and royalties are 70% instead of 35%. The higher royalties are because you are exclusive to Amazon. Kindle Unlimited earns royalties by pages read and I do very well here. I have no complaints at all. I purchase my ISBN’s for my ebooks from They’re $9.00 ea.

    I love Createspace and its a very easy way to get your book in print. The guide is a piece of cake and when you hit the publish button it automatically goes to Amazon. You can also purchase your book from them at a deep discount, which is great from book signings and fairs and giveaways. With Createspace, you can choose to have them assign an ISBN. This is what I do and it’s free. (Some authors don’t like to use the Createspace ISBN because bookstores don’t like it. I sell my books in local bookstores and have never had a major bookstore refuse to purchase my book if a customer asks for it.)

    Covers: There is a wide range in cost and resources for cover designs. You’ll want an ebook cover and a print book cover (which includes spine and back). Prices range all over the place. I use Deranged Doctor Designs. They have a great website where you can browse their covers, but they might be considered pricey. Covers are critical, so make sure that you are happy whichever way you go. Hope this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks like you’ve got most of your answers already. I’m a hybrid author, so most of my books are through a traditional publisher. They take care of everything for me, but I have released three indie titles. I did two of the covers myself. For the third, I used the Book Cover Machine and had them customize a cover for me.

    Now, all of that aside. I freaking LOVED that excerpt. Not how I expected it to go at all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your insights into hybridization (is that a word?) publsihing. I’d give that a shot but am kinda keen to self-publish my first effort. (Control freak). Glad you enjoyed the excerpt, I think you’d have known what was coming if it was in proper context; Grace is not someone to mess with!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on your productive day – there’s nothing more exciting than seeing your book “in print”, even if it’s digital print!

    To answer your questions: I do my own cover art… kinda. I hired a designer off Fiverr after looking through his portfolio and customer reviews, and had him create a cover for me using a stock image. That cost me about $40. My intent wasn’t to end up with a finished cover that I could use; but to get a design concept that I could tweak. I’m good at Photoshop but bad at graphic design, so once I had a concept I liked I could branch off from it with my own images and content. It’s a cheap-and-cheerful approach, but you have to be good at Photoshop and have a basic grasp of cover design and composition.

    I publish through KDP and Smashwords, and I avoid Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited. I don’t like to limit my options with the exclusivity that Kindle Select requires – Smashwords gets my books into Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and iTunes, and that makes up nearly half my income – not to be sneezed at! Regular KDP also gives me a 70% royalty rate for most of my books as long as I stay within their price range, so it’s a win-win.

    I produce the ebooks myself from a Microsoft Word source document. Smashwords accepts the Word document as long as it’s formatted to their requirements, and they port out multiple formats and distribute them to all their retailers without any additional input from me. I use MobiPocket Creator to generate .prc files which I upload to KDP, and they convert them to .mobi (Kindle format).

    My paperbacks are a tiny fraction of my income, and I’m currently using Lightningsource (or Ingram Spark or whatever they’re calling themselves these days). For my latest book I’ll reviewing various options to find the best print-on-demand solution – I’m not overly happy with the one I’m using because my base price is so high that I’m basically priced out of the market except for my truly rabid fans. Createspace is an attractive option because it can create ebooks or paperbacks from the same source file.

    You don’t have to have an ISBN to self-publish, but it’s a good idea to get one since it makes your books more “trackable” and some marketplaces require you to have an ISBN. I’m in Canada so our ISBN process is different than the States – I don’t know what is the best process for acquiring them there.

    I’ll add one more excellent resource for you: Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. It’s free, and it’s a comprehensive education on everything you need to know about self-publishing, from writing to editing to marketing.

    Best of luck with your book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Diane! Thanks so much for the info and for giving me even more options! I guess the best thing to do is trial a few different approaches on the many books I plan to publish 😙 and see what works best for me. Thanks for the tip on Janice Hardy too I’ll pop on over and take a peep.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats on a 5k day! That’s awesome 🙂 Mostly it looks like you’ve got the KDP Select situation explained, so I’ll spare you repeats. I didn’t do Select for my first book but am considering it for my second. I have my first book up on Smashwords enrolled in their program that releases to B&N and Kobo, etc. but I have exactly 0 sales through them and only about 5% of my sales come from Apple so I’m considering enrolling in Select next time around to see if the extra promotion options will help at all.

    My covers are designed by the fabulous Fiona at Fiona Jayde Media. Your cover is so important, and making it fit your market is super important, too. A good designer can be expensive, but people judge a book by its cover, you know? Plus, you’re also paying for the designer’s knowledge about what is selling in the market right now, what isn’t, what people are looking for in your genre, etc. Note too that if you’re going to do a paperback, you need to design both a cover for your ebook and a cover wrap for your paperback. There’s help for this through CreateSpace but if you have a designer you end up with a more cohesive product (IMO).

    ISBNs: You don’t *need* to buy an ISBN. KDP will assign you an ASIN when you publish your book through Amazon, Smashwords, which distributes to a bunch of retailers as detailed above, will also give you a free ISBN to use with their site, and CreateSpace where you can create a paperback does the same. That said, I own my own ISBNs. They’re $250 for 10 or $125 for 1 (explain that math to me). The reason I purchased my ISBNs is because you can register them to yourself whereas if you use the free ones assigned by Smashwords, Createspace, etc., they’re registered to Smashwords, Createspace. I’m also just particular about IP and leery to the max. That number is basically the social security number for your book, and I want that to trace back to me, not someone else.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aimee! You’ve cleared up a few remaining thing! Think I’ll go with my own isbn pack of 10 (yes, I don’t get that math either, plus having 10 of them sitting there is good inspiration to write more 😊 ).


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