Kindle Direct Publishing now offering proof copies

Yaaaas! But nooooooooo…

A refresher for those that don’t remember or are new here. I have discussed self-publishing platforms a couple of times.

KDP vs Createspace

KDP Earnings

One of my main complaints with Kindle Direct Publishing vs Createspace was that you couldn’t order proof copies to check over from KDP. Proofs are essential. Not only do I need to see the way the images come out in print, but reading a paperback version of my tales always helps me pull up the odd mistakes I miss on the screen. What I usually do is create and release a paperback book without saying anything. Order a copy. Once I get the ‘your order has been dispatched’ email, I unpublish the book until I am ready for a proper release.

My editor has just finished going over the next book. On to Amazon and KDP, I go, and as I get to the last page, I see this.

Ahhh, do you see it? Down the bottom. Beta proof copies. Yes, yes and yes. I am a happy Fear. I click to request a copy.

Submit proof request. Now, there are a couple of caveats here. First being, you pay the print price. For me £5.47. Something I need to double check there as it goes. My earnings from a £12 book are £1.73. You can see that in the screenshot above this. I can’t recall why my earnings are so low compared to the print cost. I need to go double check where the rest of the money’s going.

The price doesn’t include post and packaging. In the UK we don’t get free delivery options on less than £10 of an order. The post and packaging for this bring the price to £9 as opposed to £12 for a proper copy of my book. That’s a tad frustrating. I know in the USA shipping costs are a lot cheaper. But if you’re writing a novel, surely the P&P is going to make this discount rather small?

One other thing to bear in mind. With Createspace, I believe the proof copies of the book have no barcode or ISBN. They also have not for resale written unobtrusively on the back of the book. That suits me as I’m a visual person and my books look lovely, I need to take photos of them.

image of little fears presents spiders book 3, a book of flash fiction and short stories

Aren’t they sexy books? Yeah, I need to take sexy photos of my sexy books to sell them.

In addition to that, I take the original copies I order with me when I need to show them off somewhere. The odd spelling mistake makes no difference to me when it’s a display book on a market stall. But you still need them to look darned sexy sitting there, being all fearful.

But, from the page above, a snippet of text.

Proofs are different from regular copies. They have a “Not for Resale” watermark on the cover and a unique barcode but no ISBN.

Huh, what? Can’t be too bad right? Something small and unobtrusive like Createsp…

WHOA! Seriously? Damn! That isn’t going to look sexy in any photo or sitting on display. Nope. Nope, nope, nope.

I get it, I do. Amazon is selling you a book at a lower price. They don’t want you reselling an unchecked copy of the book. But feck that. It costs me £9 instead of £12, and I can’t use it to promote my book at all. So then I have to pay £12 again for a copy after the release before I can even take a photo of it? That makes no sense. I want the pictures before I release the book so I can tease it and promote it. That’s backwards in every way.

Damn you Amazon KDP! So close, yet so far! I’m back to a quiet release and order before releasing the book properly at a later date.

If you think my books are sexy and want to put a couple of quid my way for all the info, you can purchase the print and ebooks I have released so far from the link below.

Eat our books:
Sponsor our Patreon:
Lick our course:
Drink our art prints & tees:


65 thoughts on “Kindle Direct Publishing now offering proof copies”

    1. I don’t think the price thing is so much of an issue for Americans or novel authors. I know a lot of people just photoshop their covers straight from their PC into adverts as well. But yeah, for a Brit who does take photos. Utterly pointless!


  1. I publish through KDP and I was excited to see your post….then I read it. They’re so close and yet so far! Self-publishing is never an easy task, but it’s what some authors are forced to do. All we can do is try to stay positive.


    1. It’s not that much of a big deal for me as I’ve done it on 4 books already heh. It would have just been something very nice if they had executed the proof copy a bit better.


      1. Yeah. I’m sure a lot of people will find it useful as well. Like I mentioned to Peter, there’s a lot of people who just use the jpgs of their covers in promotional images. I prefer actual photos of the books and it gives me a copy I dont mind getting scuffed up a bit when I take places you know? Heh.


    1. You’re welcome. For all the editors in the world, there’s always one mistake that slips through. It’s always easier to spot in print heh,


  2. I’ve been wanting to publish a book (at some point in the near future) but I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m grateful for your post, and will be checking out your past posts on self-publishing. Good luck. Love the covers – they all look amazing!


    1. Welcies Aubrey. Deffo check out the Createspace vs Amazon post. I think Createspace is a thousand times better than Amazons KDP, but KDP suits my type of book better heh. If you have any questions, drop me a message.


  3. I’ve not long rather naively & blindly published a diddy ebook and assumed I’d be able to get a copy for myself for free, after all it is MY book! I managed to accidentally buy a copy (long story), and even though I’d seen it via the kindle previewer, I wished I’d got myself a copy straight away to iron out some issues. Thankyou for sharing your learning curve and insights 😉


    1. Oh mate, I made so many mistakes in my first book! Formatting wise I mean. I Should dig out all my old posts about the learning curve from my first book. Be interesting to read them now I’m on the fifth book heh.


  4. Proof copy or not, that glaring watermark is foul. Geeze, Amazon – get over yourselves!

    As for the Createspace watermark on the back… is that a non-US thing? My proofs have ISBNs and no such labeling. Curious

    Thanks – interesting post and nice covers!


    1. Phwoar, not sure if it’s a US thing. Last time I saw a Createspace proof was before Amazon bought them.

      Never actually used Createspace myself to publish a book. I’d have to sell my books for £18+ Createspace because of the paper and colour images. Ack! Went with KDP because I could get it down to £12.


    1. It took a month to get there heh. Audio done for the course I was talking about by the way. Have 2 videos left to finish, hope to be on target for release this week.


  5. Many aren’t aware of the effort and grit it takes to self publish, let alone the cost and slim profit margins. I’m sure you opend a few eyes to the reality of it all. There are very few wealthy writers even from the big 3 publishers, it takes an enormous amount of book sales. But on the positive side we’d never discover some great writers-illustrators like you. But one does have to wade through the junk of “anyone can get self published.” They don’t have the same demand for perfection that you do Peter.


    1. Thank you very much sir. I’ll be honest, my drive for nice books comes from how god awful my first cover for January was. Released it as an ebook only. Wanted to do a paperback, but was put off by my own book cover. It was that bad, it put me off haha!

      I now spend nearly a month working on each book, despite each one being pre-written for the blog. Effectively I only need to assemble it and make a cover heh.


    1. Honestly, I don’t sell many books considering how much effort I put into them. They’re part of the ‘Little Fears’ branding now I guess.

      Top three places for sales I see though, are Twitter, Tumblr and if you take a lot of sexy book photos, Pinterest. Can always check in on the hashtags #AmWriting, #FridayReads, #BookLovers and #BookPhotography.

      Some folk have luck with Instagram, I never have heh.


  6. I think it’s great that you share your experience with the platform, Peter. So many writers keep things to themselves to cut down on competition! I tried Amazon KDP a couple of years ago, but couldn’t get the format to iron out. Even hired a company to “convert it to KDP” for me, but it’s still off-kilter with the layout. Interesting post!


    1. CHeers RHC. I think I’ll do a retrospective for a Monday evening post some time and gather up all my original posts about my learning experience. Holy crap did I get it wrong with the first book haha.

      Urgh, yeah, companies that offer those services can be pants. Unfortunately, nobody shares your unique vision for how the book should look. On top of that, very few people care about your work as much as you do.

      I have a decent editor who I’ve known for 8 years, long before I ever thought of writing a book. She know’s I’m a difficult sod. So she makes annotations next to edits, then I do them all myself. I gotta have complete control over every detail and had to learn how to layout books myself heh.


      1. You’re right, it would be interesting to see the process you went through when you have time to post. I never did get my e-book to format properly and, by rights, I should remove it from KDP. Even the title has a colon (punctuation, not the bodily organ, yikes) floating in mid-air away from the title. The only reason I’ve kept it live is in the hopes that one day, my son (a teen) will read it, as it’s a light-hearted self-help book aimed at teens.

        Thanks for the info!

        Take care,



    1. Mine too. An interesting thing, I’m an awesome brand PR. Gimme a product and I can whip up a frenzy for it. I’m fairly good at social media and getting products into real-world events. Give me my own product though? And man, I choke! I think as writers and creatives, we struggle to market ourselves often because of psychological reasons than actual ability.


  7. The books look great. Yeah, don’t care for the proof copies displaying that stupid line going right through your art. And I didn’t know you didn’t have free shipping, and since I haven’t worked with CS, Kindle, or any publishing platform yet, this info is helpful. Looks like Amazon and Kindle still have some work to do.


    1. Thank you, Dot. I do need to get into selling my unused book covers heh.

      We can get free shipping on orders over £10. Doesn’t help in this case heh. Createspace is still better than KDP in every way. Just, unfortunately, KDP works better for me.


  8. Just another reason why I might stop making paperbacks for my books. They are just a pain in the ass to make, review, and promote. A lot of work for little pay. EBooks are so much easier to review, change, and make right.

    They should send us at least one free copy to proof. That way we can promote our work, make sure it is right, and that in turn will give them lots more money. Can’t see how they would lose with that deal.


    1. They are a massive pain in the arse. I reckon for anything that doesn’t need images, ebooks are the way to go. Paperbacks sell better than ebooks for me though heh.

      I don’t actually mind paying for a copy. Even at usual cost price, I’d be OK with it. But that hideous watermark means it’s useless for marketing and costs nearly the same as my usual price. That’s daft…


  9. Wow, yep, that is probably one of the world’s least subtle watermarks. They might as well have made it neon – at least then it would be both pretty and annoying 😛

    Thanks for sharing this; certainly something to keep in mind if I settle on the self-publishing route!


    1. Heh, welcies Celeste.

      I think for standard paperbacks on cream paper, with free USA postage, it’s a useful service. Just not for me haha!


  10. I was glad to hear this but, yes, I can see why that’s a problem for you. It’s not a very satisfying proof when the cover art is mucked up either. Even if just keeping for myself, I want that lovely ‘ahhh’ when I see my painstakingly designed cover for the first time. It’s not really a proof if it’s modified visually. Barely better than nothing. I guess you can check contents etc. Sorry for the sad surprise in the mail.


    1. I had the sense to google if it had that watermark when I saw it on the purchased screen and cancelled my order heh.

      Yeah, I know it’s intended as a proofread, but stone the crows that watermark! No attempt of subtlety heh.


    1. I write 6-12 stories and do 6-12 doodles every day. I discard at least half and shape the rest into the Fears. I guess for me, it’s a case of write and doodle every single day. It gets better.


  11. We just ordered a couple of ours (after the fact, unfortunately, and after STILL finding a couple of typos- self-editing is NOT easy), but they do look good. No free Prime shipping in the U.S. either, but at least it does still serve a basic “proof” function.


    1. I honestly feel it’s a good idea. I always spot something in the paperback I don’t in digital. But for me, it’s not quite good enough.


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