In January 2018, Amazon announced that it was discontinuing CreateSpace’s editing, design, and marketing services. You may have received an email informing you that CreateSpace would “no longer offer or fulfill any paid professional services, including text or design changes to your cover or interior files…after April 20, 2018.”
Oh dear. That sounds ominous.
This is indeed a huge change in the self-publishing landscape. We understand if you’re freaking out a little—especially if you had a project underway at the time of the April 20 deadline. But as the wise author Douglas Adams once advised: Don’t Panic!
First, for those with half-finished projects worried that you’re going to lose everything: you won’t. While the deadline for submitting changes to your design files was March 15, if those changes could not be implemented by April 20, CreateSpace is offering a full refund for the purchase price of any incomplete services. So while production of your project may stall out until you find a new home for it, the hard work (and money) you’ve invested so far won’t be lost.
Second, for those who have already published titles with CreateSpace: breathe easy. The changes at CreateSpace do not affect you or the availability of your work. Print books and eBooks currently for sale on Amazon will remain for sale. Period.
Third, for authors who have PDFs ready to go, you can still use CreateSpace for POD and access their portal to get your book on Amazon. Just upload your prepared files as you did before. These changes don’t affect you right now.
Going forward, we can’t rule out the possibility that there may be additional changes in store. CreateSpace may be shuttered entirely or its POD functions folded into Amazon’s e-book publishing unit Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). This seems like a logical next step, although nothing has been announced publicly at this time. Watch this space (and the usual publishing industry news channels) for more developments as they happen.
Finally, you may be wondering whether you want to go on living in a world without the bespoke editorial and design services that CreateSpace was providing. Fortunately, you don’t have to live in such a world—and you never did. Kirkus Editorial is but one of several places where independent authors like yourself can go to receive the expert one-on-one attention you require.
You may already be familiar with the respected criticism printed weekly in Kirkus Reviews but unaware that we offer a host of author services through Kirkus Editorial. What sets us apart from other editorial partners is that every one of our editors has worked on books published by the big five (Penguin Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and HarperCollins); award-winning independent presses, such as Graywolf, Kensington, and Abrams; and notable genre publishers, such as Harlequin. They aren’t going anywhere, and neither are we. Get a cost quote for our book editing services here. Or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-407-4474.
The CreateSpace closure reminds us that change is the only real constant in the world of indie publishing. So what changes lie ahead in the near-term and how will they affect authors like you? Here are five trends that independent observers across the industry have told us to watch out for in 2018 and beyond.
Audiobooks were the fastest growing segment of the book industry in 2017. That growth is on pace to continue in 2018. Amazon’s Audible division currently dominates the market, but that should change as other industry players like Apple look to get in on the action.
Podcasts are the new blogs. They provide an invaluable opportunity for authors to take control of their own messaging, whether that entails talking directly to readers or in some cases performing their own books in their entirety. A quick scroll through the Arts category listings on iTunes reveals a wealth of book-related podcasts, including many on the business of self-publishing.
Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime provide a new model for the distribution of serialized content like eBooks. While Kindle Unlimited remains the largest eBook subscription service, Kobo and Scribd are just two of the companies mounting a challenge to Amazon’s supremacy. Isn’t it just a matter of time before Apple and Google get into this game as well?
The days of choosing between self-publishing and traditional publishing are over. With the stigma that once attached itself to self-publishing now (thankfully) a thing of the past, more and more writers are taking a “yes, and” approach to marketing and distributing their work. Meanwhile, more and more traditional publishers are finding there’s money to be made selling their editorial, design, and marketing services to indie authors. It’s a win-win.
If all you do is follow the tribulations of Barnes & Noble, you might miss the bigger picture. After years of taking it on the chin, bookstores mounted a strong comeback in 2017. Sales were up and the number of indie bookstores opening up is on the rise as well. Apparently there’s something about the one-to-one connection a book buyer can make in a small community bookshop that just can’t be replicated online. As hubs for readings, signings, and other curated events, bookstores offer a unique opportunity for indie authors to interact with their readers and promote their work. Reports of the bookstore’s imminent demise are (happily) greatly exaggerated.
We want to reassure you that the climate for independent authors continues to be favorable despite the recent changes at CreateSpace—and we expect it to remain that way for the foreseeable future. Or to borrow a phrase from a poster you may have seen: Keep calm and publish on!