Wow, that was even more tedious than proofreading

Okay, so I have now loaded all three versions of TASMAKAT to KDP, with a week to go to the last possible upload date, so that’s good. Here, if you are interested, is the process:

Step one: create the files. I’m much more efficient at this than I used to be, but it’s still tedious. Now that I know how to do it smoothly and without encountering weird problems, at least it’s not especially annoying.

Step two: load the final kindle file. Load the cover. Get the preview. Flip through ALL the pages to confirm that there are no horrible-looking formatting things that shouldn’t happen, but sometimes do. No blank pages at the end of a chapter, which again shouldn’t happen, but sometimes does if I missed an extra page break while creating the file (which is astonishingly easy to do).

Step three: notice that there is no clickable “other works by” section at the end because I forgot to copy that over from a different book. Also notice that there is no clickable link to leave a review because I’m an idiot and forgot to put that in. At least this time I noticed before letting the book drop. Add those to the file and load the new! improved! final version to KDP, but this time don’t click through all the pages because that would be insanely obsessive.

I mean, I am in fact pretty obsessive, but there are limits, and this book is almost exactly as long as three (3) normal books, so I am not going to spend that many minutes clicking through the entire preview again. No. I just check to make sure the new Works By section is there and looks okay.

Step four: open the paperback file and make sure that the widows and orphans thing is turned on, because it’s annoying to have to fix that along with everything else. It took me an insanely long time to figure out where that is in Word. (It’s in the extra Paragraph menu, in the “line and page breaks” tab.) Did I remember to right and left justify? No? Let’s do that now before loading the file. This file is going to need to be adjusted multiple times, so any adjustments that can be made now are a good thing. Hey, is the ISBN in the actual book? Time to add it!

Step five: load the paperback file. Load the cover. Get the preview. Does the title page appear on the right-hand side? Does the ToC begin on the right-hand side? Does chapter 1 begin on the right hand side? If not, that means adding extra blank pages here and there to make sure they do. I find it impossible to tell about this until the file is actually loaded and the preview is up.

Once the preview is up, flip through ALL the pages to once more look for the odd formatting issue, much more important in the paper editions, AND also remember to record the page numbers for all the chapters, which will not be the same as in your file, so you have to check them and then put them in the table of contents, which is blank until this moment. Remember to check the page numbers through the whole book in case the book starts counting from one again somewhere in the middle. (This is a problem I now know to look for and how to fix, but it took me aback the first time it happened.)

Step six: load the version with the correct blank pages, the corrected ToC, and, as much as possible, formatted correctly. Flip through the preview AGAIN to check that all the formatting issues are gone. Something will still be wrong, there’s just no doubt about this. Something is always still wrong. Fix whatever it is and load the new version and look at it again. Hopefully the third iteration is the last.

Step seven: start over with the hardcover file, same exact business as the paperback file.

Step eight: Grimly note, not for the first time, that the sensible thing to do would be to have broken TASMAKAT into three normal-length novels, gotten two more covers, and set them up to release a month apart, one after the other.

I commented in an earlier post that releasing a giant book was a mistake. Why, you may be wondering, was this a mistake?

I’ve learned various things about KDP by loading a book this long. I did not expect problems because I know there are other books this long, eg, The Hands of the Emperor and lots of omnibus editions and so on. But it turns out there are in fact problems, so just on the off chance any of you find it helpful to know about this, here is why I should have done this as three separate books and why you, if you ever write a super-long novel, should check to see if these limitations still exist and think about whether you should break it up:

A) Yes, you would need more covers; yes, the cover artist may be booked up for three to six months, thus screwing with your release schedule; plus yes, that would obviously cost more; but –>

B) The top price you can put on an ebook in KU is $9.99, even if the book is super long. Therefore, if you’re putting a super-long book into KU, breaking it into thirds and pricing each at $4.99 would be more sensible, even if the very long book is part of a larger series. Pricing each of three books at $6.99 would literally double the royalties for the book. I did not know about the price restriction when I asked for one cover, and when I realized, I was too impatient to re-assess, order two more covers, and push back the release dates for the other two books.

Impatiently putting the full thing up as one book was especially a mistake as the higher price of $9.99 is definitely holding down preorders. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that this higher price has had a large impact on number of preorders, even though the book is in practical terms substantially less expensive than if I’d broken it into three books, each of 100,000+ words, and listed each one for $4.99 to $6.99 — especially since I would probably have gone for something on the higher end of that range.

The benefit to you all is of course that you are getting a price break plus the entire story all at once, no waiting. This is nice, sure, but still.

In the fullness of time, all this will become unimportant. When there are eight more books in the Tuyo world, I won’t care that I should have done TASMAKAT differently. Still, if I were doing it over, I’d do it as three books and release them at month-long intervals or something. This is especially true because –>

C) The top number of pages you can put in a 6×9 paperback is 828 for black-and-white pages, which is A LOT and should not be very limiting. BUT, the top number of pages in a 6×9 hardcover is 550, which is much less, and wow, I did not see that coming. That is why the font size in the hardcover version of TASMAKAT is going to have to drop to a painfully small size, and I’m sorry, but there’s no help for it. This also meant I had to go through the book looking for any chapter that ended with a small number of lines on a page, then go through that chapter and take out words here and there to pull those lines up a page and save one page of length. I did this to four chapters and shrank the font of the ToC to get it on one page and wound up just barely making TASMAKAT fit — it’s 549 pp in hardcover. Also –>

D) If you ever do an omnibus, then it’s difficult to handle really long books. You cannot cram that many pages into a physical edition.

E) While we’re talking about super-long books and omnibuses, did you know that Amazon caps the number of KU pages for which you can get paid for a single book? If you enroll a book in KU, you will earn approximately $0.0044 per page read UP TO 3000 PAGES. If your single book goes over that, then you do not earn anything for any additional pages over 3000. This is Kindle Normalized Pages. It’s hard to imagine going over 3000 KENP. Even TASMAKAT is not going to do that. I’m just saying that if you do go over that, there is this length limit for KU. I can easily see omnibus editions going over that limit.

The basic take-away here as far as I’m concerned is that 120,000 to 160,000 words is fine as one book, but from now on, anything that goes to 180,000 words or more is going to get broken into two or more books. Anything that approaches 300,000 words is going to get broken into thirds. If you want to know the exact length, TASMAKAT is 315,600 words.

However, and this is obviously the good part: TASMAKAT has now been loaded properly in all three formats and all that’s left now is waiting for the clock to tick down.

I’m feeling good about the way the first half of the year has gone!

I’m looking forward to doing final revisions to the World Companion, looking forward to sending INVICTUS to early readers, and REALLY looking forward to starting SILVER CIRCLE!

Please Feel Free to Share:


4 thoughts on “Wow, that was even more tedious than proofreading”

  1. I’m looking forward to reading *Tasmakat*!

    Are there multiple types of hardcovers available? I bought a hardcover of Hands of the Emperor and it was definitely more than 550 pages. I’m not sure whether it was 6×9 but it had a dust jacket. It also cost $40, so maybe that’s not a good option either way.

  2. Kriti, I saw that. It’s like 900 pages. I don’t know what Goddard is using to do that, but not ordinary KDP, which does not do dust jackets and definitely does not allow that kind of page count. Maybe I will figure that out and bring out a different edition.

  3. I understand why it makes sense for you to break up a very long book in the future, but I love forward very much to SO MUCH Tuyo universe dropping soon.

  4. OtterB, to be fair, I have to admit that despite all the reasons it was stupid to drop it as one volume, I am also SO MUCH looking forward to that!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top