Like Cindy’s friend, I’ve found Amazon changing the prices of my books without asking or informing me, but Barnes & Noble and Kobo have done the same thing.  In my case they all occasionally offer a 15% discount.  Why?  I’m not sure.  When?  I’m not sure of that either, and I’ve yet to find a discernible pattern.  I’ve assumed that they were all applying some brilliantly conceived sales algorithm that suggested sales would be enhanced by modifying the price.  Ignorance combined with helpless dependence often cause me to rationalize.

Of more concern to me in the area of warnings is Create Space, an Amazon offering that enables authors to create POD trade quality paperbacks.  There’s no cost to the author but Amazon charges an annual fee (I believe it’s $39) for some alleged maintenance functions, though what they consist of is anyone’s guess.  I tried using Create Space for my third novel, Critical Focus.

Warning number 1: the medical term titration applies here.  Don’t expect a perfect product on the first try, and I’m not referring to the spelling, grammar, and style issues in your book.

Warning number 2: don’t expect clear instructions on how to use  Create Space.  Instead, Amazon refers you to consultants who will happily charge you for their services, usually a cost in hundreds of dollars (for each service).  Which gets me back to titration.  The final product depends on the format of the submitted manuscript.  I submitted the same PDF that I’d sent to the other POD producer I used.  The proof copy was pretty good, but Create Space apparently makes it’s own headers.  Mine weren’t tall enough and contained nothing but a naked page numbers almost resting on the text.  I’m sure I’ll work that out, but it will take some time and effort.

More difficult in Create Space is the cover art.  A cover involves three jpegs, for the front, rear, and spine.  For a cover to look decent they have to merge smoothly into each other.  But Amazon doesn’t apply any expertise at all in this area — they just glue the three together without any editing.  Since I can’t know until I hold a proof how thick the book will be I can only guess at the width of the spine.  Guess how successful that process turns out to be?

You’ve been warned.

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