My tips for publishing on Createspace

As a budding Kindle author, if your book starts to have some success you will probably find yourself thinking about getting into print. There are a variety of services out there that offer pretty much similar deals, but I went with Createspace as they are an Amazon company and they offered the easiest solution to getting paper versions linked on my kindle pages.

createspace version of The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

The process is pretty straightforward, and you shouldn't be put off. That said, there are some things to note, so thought I would share my tips from having put four books through them.

1. Start with your manuscript in a suitable word processor. The upload Createspace prefers is a PDF file, and you can save to that format easily in Word.  You will, however, want to consider some different formatting to your kindle books. Firstly, work out what book size you are going to print on Createspace - they have lots of options, and all of mine are in the smallest size as this allows the cheapest price to be offered to the customer. Now set your manuscript document to the same paper size! Also, unlike Kindle, you will probably want to add page numbers, and make them more professional by starting them on page one of your book, not the intro blurb. Another top tip before uploading - think about how the document is going to look in print. You really don't want chapters starting on the left hand page, so work out how it will look and add blank pages if necessary to ensure all chapters start on the proper facing page!

2. More on paper sizes - bigger means more expensive, but also can throw up other issues. The bigger the book, the fewer the pages. End up with your book too thin and not only will it look and feel like a magazine, but the spine will be too thin to put a title on! I would stick to the first couple of sizes.

3. The upload system is a breeze. Don't worry about the ISBN - take the one they offer you. So long as your only other books are ebooks, it is valid to have a separate ISBN for a paper format. Just upload your PDF saved at the right size and you are good to go. You get similar options as with Kindle publishing to add some blurb, categories, keywords etc.

4. You can use your own cover if you wish, so long as it is set up with back, spine and front (ie you will need to expand your Kindle cover which is, obviously, only a front cover. Actually though, I think their cover designer is great, easy to use and gives good results. I used it on all my books. Bear in mind that once you have published your book, changing the cover is much more of a process than with Kindle as you will have to go through the whole review and proofing (see below) all over again.

5. The standard service puts the books available to buy both from Createspace and Amazon, but you can opt for a premium service for $25. I would urge you to consider this. It only amounts to a few book sales, but gets your book in a much wider range of shops and libraries - in fact I am finding new stockists of my book all the time. The royalties are lower for these sales, but it's better than no sales! I made back the $25 very quickly on all my books.

6. Pricing is an area I can't really advise you on, it's a personal thing. That said - do experiment. Remember that the paper version is always going to be more costly than the Kindle and the Createspace service sets a minimum you can charge. Don't choose this one as you will get no royalties!  Mine are roughly double the cost of the Kindle equivalents.

7. Once the book is with them, and all your boxes are ticked, there is a further step to take - you need to review your proof. A while back, this meant you had to order a paper proof copy of the book to check and then go online to give them the OK to publish it. I did this with my first two books. Today, they offer you the ability to do an online proof with a virtual book. I would now actually do this as a matter of course because I know the quality of the finished product is great, and the online proofer works. Do not skimp on this step - check every page, make sure no text is in the gutter, that your page numbers work etc. When you are happy, accept the proof and there you go - within days it will be up on Amazon!

8. In time, Amazon will link your paper book with your Kindle versions on their site. You can speed this up by adding your paper books to your Author Central profile, or speed it up even more by emailing CS at Amazon and asking them to do it. Make sure this happens, as this then shows all the formats available on one book listing rather than having multiples floating around on Amazon.

9. As the author, you also have the right to buy copies of your own books at cost price (which is really quite cheap) - enabling you to sell them privately, give away copies as prizes or tout them at local bookshops - worth thinking about.

10. Sit back and wait - with some success your royalties will start flowing!

I really like the service, and have had no issues with it at all. It's not complicated (I had my last book formatted and up on Createspace in less than an hour) and well worth it for widening your works distribution.

Give it a go!


Hallo!,¡Hola!, Salut! and Ciao!

Something I don't mention to often, but the Amazon Kindle store has a range of other European stores that also carry my books in ebook format.

Amazon Kindle

So .....

You can get the books direct in GermanySpainFrance and Italy!

All that leaves is for me to say vielen dank!, gracias, merci and grazie!


It's not all Kindle Kindle Kindle you know...

Whilst anyone with a passing interest in the publishing of ebooks will automatically think Kindle, that isn't the only option out there, and my books have had real success on some other formats too.

Take Barnes and Noble for instance and their Nook reader - if you are in the US you can upload to that service directly, and for the rest of us, you can get listed via Smashwords, as I did. It is handy because I have had many emails from people spotting the Kindle version of my books and asking if they can get it for Nook.

nook logo
My Barnes and Noble books can be found HERE, and having seen them running on a Nook, they look great.

Another popular ereader is the Kobo, which over here in the UK has been taken on by WH Smith. My first three books are on the Kobo store (fourth one due soon) and delighted to see that they are all top ten in music instruction category, and my Chords book number one in general music reference!  I must also say, that as a Brit, where WH Smith is a high street institution, it was very exciting to see my books available on their site!

My first three books are also available for the very popular (and one of the original ereaders) the Sony Reader - and can be found on the Sony bookstore.

There are others too, including the ever popular iTunes for iPad and iPhone users.

In summary, I think the choice out there is great, and if you are an author with an ebook available on the Kindle store - don't overlook the fact that not everyone Kindles (despite what they tell you...).  Choice is a good thing, and the wider you can distribute your work, the better.


Facebook homes for my books

Up to a couple of years ago, it must be said that I had never used Facebook. I use it today, but must admit that I still don't like everything it stands for. That said, for getting your content out into the big wide world it really has become the de-facto place people go to look.  In fact, I have people ask me whether my books have a Facebook 'Page'. Well, actually they do.

So, if you go in for Facebook - take a look at my pages, and, of course - clicking that all important "Like" Button is what it is all about!

What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

 Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

More Of What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

Oh, and of course, I am on there too - as me -


Paperbacks now direct from Europe

For those in Europe who looked at my paperbacks some months ago, you may have be put off by the fact that orders came from the USA.

This meant that the postage was expensive and delivery could be many weeks. Not very good! Thankfully a few weeks ago Createspace, the publishers of my paperback changed their supply set up meaning that if you are in the UK or other European Country you can now order the book locally. That means lower postage on Amazon, (and the ability to go for free post) and much quicker delivery times. Good news all round!

Not everyone likes ereaders, so I am pleased with this traditional option!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


On Self Publishing

The question I get asked a lot by writers looking to get their work out there - what route did I choose for getting my books out there?

Well it wasn't really a planned thing, and my first book, What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know was put out as a bit of an experiment. I finished writing the book about the time that the Kindle Publishing platform launched in the UK and I thought I would give it a go.

The Kindle publishing system really is a joy to use, and doesn't really require any extra formatting if you don't want to. In fact you can simply upload a Word document and it will publish. For me though, as my book is a reference manual, I wanted to have a table of contents for my chapter headings and therefore needed some free software (MobiPocket Creator) to do that for me. Other than that though it is a case of just uploading the file, a cover image and some back cover blurb and you are online and available to buy in just a couple of days!

That system only allows for Kindle sales though, so what about the other eReaders on the market such as Nooks and Kobos? For me the free Smashwords service was then a godsend. Smashwords also accept a Word file as your manuscript and, provided you pass their test on formatting, will then put you in their premium catalogue which puts the book on sale at (amongst other places) Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Nook, Sony and iTunes. But.... about that formatting. Beware - Word is a funny piece of software and leaves all sorts of hidden formatting in a straight document. You can't see it, but it is there and Smashwords will reject it. In fact, my first book took a couple of weeks of fiddling to get it to pass the entry requirements. My tip - start with an absolutely clean manuscript and minimal formatting unless you want a headache. Acceptance into their premium catalogue is worth it though.

Having published in ebook format, (and the books going on to do rather well!) the common question I was then asked was "do you do a paperback"? There are several options for authors in this area, but I chose the print on demand service called Createspace (an Amazon subsidiary). Their system is very easy to use and comes with a very handy cover creator - the results of which I went on to use on all my books, whether ebooks or paper.  The standard Createspace submission gets your paperback on Amazon (and recently, on Amazon EU sites too) which is great. For a small fee though you can take out  something called "Enhanced Distribution" which gets your book on a whole raft of other booksellers such as Barnes and Noble, Tower, Sears as well as into lending libraries. This is also well worth it in my opinion and allows bookstores to buy your title direct, in bulk, and at cost. The royalties are lower, but I think it's worth it for a wider spread of your work.

Of course, there are also other options - writers in the US can upload direct to Barnes and Noble, and Kobo has launched a similar service.  Just make sure that if you do have a choice, to compare and contrast the terms and conditions!

So how do they all fare? Well it may come as no surprise, but the Kindle store represents by far the most successful channel for all of my books. Smashwords direct sales are pretty limp, but the sales from their premium catalogue partners are just great too!  What really surprised me though was the success of the paperback version - that is to say a MORE EXPENSIVE version than the ebooks - they have sold bucket loads around the world from a variety of shops and I know that some of my books are now on shelves in libraries which is a nice feeling!  In fact I have now had some music shops get in touch asking to buy some direct and in bulk for their shelves.

And for that success of course, as an independent author you need to put in a lot of hard work beyond just writing the thing. Amazon will do minimal promotion of your title and you cannot just assume that because it is there along side the hundreds of thousands of other books on the store that anyone will even find it. Make sure you tell people it is there!

So if you have some work that you have been meaning to try to get published, my advice is to give it a try. The services above are pretty painless really and it has been a great ride over the last year or so too.

My thanks must also go out to the friends I have met on the Facebook Writing Kindle Books group who have been totally fantastic and supportive, offering plenty of tips and opinions.

Give it a go, and if I can be of any help,  just get in touch!


Pleasing chart positions

Many authors will tell you they don't bother looking at the charts - they are lying. It's a natural instinct, and at the end of the day, it's also your measure of whether people are actually bothering or not.

It's also really nice to see a new book doing well. My first book - What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know went on to be the number one selling music book on Amazon UK (and top three in the US). OK, OK, that is no Fifty Shades Of Grey, but for a book about the humble ukulele, extremely specialist in nature, I thought that was a good achievement. I remember looking at the chart page with me sat above Ozzy Osbourne / Cheryl Cole / whoever!

Anyway - really nice this morning to see my latest book go into the top 40 of the same chart in the UK for Kindle books. Onwards and upwards!

Thanks so much to anyone who supported me - it means a lot!


Online book samples added

Pleased to report that I have added online Kindle version samples for all of my books on this site.

Simply click the book name on the menu at the top and scroll down for a sample you can read in your web browser (looks even better if you hit the full page button too)

Whether you are a Kindle owner or not you can now check out the books, and if you like go for the paperback!



Book reviews that make me smile.

It is so nice to read a book review that makes it clear to you that the reader really took something from what you wrote.

Here are a couple of my favourites from my first book What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Uke reference--GREAT Kindle editionDecember 26, 2011
First, thanks to the author Barry Maz for making this book available for the Kindle and at an attractive price. If you have a Kindle and a uke, you should have this book.

This is NOT a "how to play" method book. There are plenty of books for that, plus video tutorials available for free and for pay all over the Web. (check out Ukulele Underground.) This is a reference book on how ukuleles are made, the sizes they come in, the variations, the woods used to make them and other subjects, such as stringing.

The string section was in particular very helpful for me. The types of material (nylon, fluorocarbon) are discussed, how they affect the sound, and when you might want to employ them. For example, if your ukulele has a naturally bright (loud) sound, you may want to put on the Worth brand brown fluorocarbon strings which will mellow out the tone. If you have a ukulele and you are not fond of the sound, try restringing it first.

There is a section on electronics (pickups, mics) a section on training your fingertips to harden against blisters and pain and a section on common notation for ukulele transcriptions. There is much more. It really is "what you want to know."

I think this book is a must-have for any player.

5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for!October 13, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know (Kindle Edition)
This is a complete, thorough, and yet concise description of how ukuleles are made, the most common woods they are made from, and the history of the ukulele. There are tutorial chapters on basic techniques used for playing and maintaining the ukulele along with internet links for key ukulele websites. The writer discusses his own experience encountering the ukulele for the first time, buying his first ukulele, and learning from his mistakes. A few of the brands he refers to are no longer available, but by and large his desciptions of the nature of the different ukulele makers is clear, concise, and accurate. An excellent introduction to a thoroughly modern, largely misunderstood, and frequently underestimated musical instrument.

5.0 out of 5 stars Uke Players Bible25 July 2011
C. Canty "Shimmy" (Uk) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an excellent book well written by and expert in his field. Baz guides you through the different aspects of the ukulele in a very helpful way.I suggest anyone considering buying a ukulele buys this book first.Another plus point is that it fits in the storage pocket of my gig bag!


Can't beat a paperback

As much as I love my Kindle, and the convenience of the Kindle store - I still don't think you can beat a paperback.

Even better, I don't think that for an author there is anything quite like getting your own hands on your own book in print.

Take a look at my stable!

To grab a copy - see the links on the right.


Back in to the top 20!

Really pleased to see that my first ukulele book, What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know is back in to the top 20 music reference books on in the Kindle format!

You can grab your copy here What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know


Ukulele Paperback - in the flesh!

Well my new omnibus, The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know, has landed in paperback. And it sure is a biggie! All 337 pages of it!

The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know Paperback

Available now at Amazon UK and with other booksellers to follow.

Everything a beginner needs to know in one volume!


Chord Book - now one third of the price!

My Chord book, Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To Know has been set at a third off normal price for a while on the Kindle Store!

Chords That Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

And for those wondering - here is an actual Kindle screenshot!

ukulele chord book kindle screenshot

Grab it here! Get it while it's hot!



Welcome to my new blog and home to my ukulele beginners books!

I thought it was about time I had an authors blog, as a place I can put news about my various books and also discuss the writing and publishing process.

Along the top of the blog you will find a tab for each of my books with a little background about them. There is also a tab called "Other Authors" which I intend to use to showcase some of the other writers I have come across since I started writing my books. Some of the people in the author community are very fine folks indeed and they have given me a LOT of advice.

So - give me a bookmark!