You may have already heard that I’m doing a new and hopefully improved edition of Mousetrapped and if you haven’t – well, you have now.
This is going to be a very interesting experiment. While it’s super easy to update an e-book – you just upload a new file – updating a Createspace paperback – especially when you want the new version to exist separately from the original one – is another kettle of fish entirely. Producing the thing will be easier than ever thanks to Createspace’s new, simpler user interface and the fact that this time round I have previous experience, but organizing its selling is bound to prove a bit of a headache.
The Mysterious Pro-Plan
Here’s the thing that might not be explicitly clear to those of you lucky enough to not have any experience of Createspace: when you pay your $39 to upgrade your book to their ‘Pro’ distribution plan, you have no guarantee that it’s going to end up on, say, Amazon.co.uk or The Book Depository. You don’t really know where it’s going to end up, only that it will ‘be available’ to a wider distribution network than just Amazon.com. (You can read their completely information-free Pro Plan explanation here.) I’m guessing this is because it’s up to the retailer and not Createspace, and maybe a little bit down to chance (or sales), and therefore they can’t promise anything to anyone except for the promise of opportunity.
I was very lucky. Mousetrapped‘s paperback edition is currently sticking its head up in all sorts of places but most of my sales come from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. When you publish with CS you’re guaranteed the .com but what will I do if I don’t reappear on .co.uk? I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
The other thing is that wherever I do appear, Mousetrapped will have a whole new listing because it will be a whole new book, technically speaking. I’ll lose data like ‘Customers Also Bought’ and ‘Customers Ultimately Buy’ and I’ll lose my reviews, although I think if I e-mail Amazon I can get my old reviews link to my new edition, and hopefully get my Kindle edition linked to the newer version of the paperback…
I feel a headache coming on already.
What Are We Changing?
The aim of this game is to make Mousetrapped as perfect as possible so that after this I can forget all about it other than banking the cheques once a month, safe in the knowledge that there is no typo I can eliminate, no description I can make clearer and no poison-pen reviewer I can agree with on any point. I’m taking everything I’ve learned in the last year or so – from other self-publishers, from reviews, from traditionally published books – and using it to what I hope will be my advantage.
Changes will include:
- Three ‘Praise for…’ pages at the very beginning showcasing some of Mousetrapped‘s reviews. I’m doing this for a number of reasons. First, it makes it look more like a real book. Second, if it’s on a shelf or a friend’s coffee table, I believe these pages might sway the undecided into picking it up and starting to read. Thirdly, I’ve always thought that reading positive reviews at the beginning of a book – and I do always read them, if they’re there – sets me up to like the book in some subliminal, subconscious way and hey, I’ll try anything. Finally, when someone takes a moment to review my book on Amazon and basically says it was an offense to their eyes, I can quickly pick up the nearest copy and remind myself that someone liked it.
- A new version of the ‘In God We Trust’ chapter which previously was a bit lecture-like and whose tone didn’t sit well with the rest of the book. Thanks to everyone who participated in my little focus group, by the way. You rock.
- A paragraph’s expansion on the infamous limo ride to the airport story as not one but two reviewers claimed that they wanted to know more about that story – which, they said, they were ‘teased with’ – and less about such mind numbing events as man leaving the gravitational bounds of earth and looking back on his own planet from another celestial body for the first time (and in the sixties) and people blasting off on a rocket ship to a human base in space. I did this not to appease them but to the prove that if they think me catching a ride with my friend to the airport who happens to be a limo driver is more interesting than the manned exploration of space, then I can’t help them. Maybe no one can.
- An author’s note. You can read it here if you’re so inclined.
- No errors. There were a few typos, a couple of misspellings and one place where I put ‘it’ instead of ‘if’ that all needed to be rectified. Side note: I do mention the hotel by its real name at one point in the book, but it’s in relation to the portfolio of its architect who was also involved in a building in Celebration. This is intentional and not a mistake. So there.
- Links to More Mousetrapped. So if they want more, they can have it. You can too – here.
E-book edition only
- Acknowledgments added. When I did the e-book first time round I took out everything unnecessary to make the formatting easier for myself, and that included the Acknowledgements. But hey, it’s the Acknowledgments. It’s like a paragraph and a heading. Back in you go!
- Further Reading list added. For the same reason.
Paperback edition only
- A new IBSN. Because this is a second edition of Mousetrapped and not just a slight amendment to its original edition, it needs a new ISBN. Once again I have spat on the altar of the Self-Publishing Evangelists and taken up Createspace on their offer of a few ISBN, which is 978-1456559816.
- A new back cover which I’m really excited about. Perhaps abnormally so. The existing back cover is fine – it was my idea, after all! – but I’ve always felt that it looked a tad self-published, and it never competed with its much better front cover, which I’ve always felt looked damn fine. Wanna know what’s going on the new back cover? Well, you’ll just have to watch this space.
- Table of contents removed. Because why do we need them? I think I just liked seeing all my clever chapter headings in one place, but that novelty wore off quick…
- Photographs! The exclamation mark should be your clue that this is what I’m most excited about. Nine of my favorite photographs from my time in Orlando, in black and white and printed on the same cream paper as the rest of the book. I haven’t seen a proof yet so I’m not sure how this will turn out, but I have it on two good authorities that it’ll look okay: a blog book I had Createspace make me for private use a while back (the photos were black and white and printed on their standard white paper; they looked fine) and a Celebration book I have where black and white photos are slotted in amongst the text instead of on glossy photo pages in the middle (mine are going in the middle, but on the standard page). I always prefer my non-fiction books to have photographs, so let’s see how they end up looking in mine.
So here I am flailing about in the magical world of POD and there you are coming along with me for the ride.
It’s like January 2009 all over again.