January 13, 2015 in Createspace Publishing
About 2 years ago, I self-published my first 3 books and sold them on Kindle and Createspace. These three books are part of a series… and little did I know back then that writing a series was the way to go. However, those books have become my top selling books. Recently, I got back into publishing and added 2 more titles to this series. However, the newest books had cover designs that were more modern and clean looking. That meant I had to update the old covers so they all look like they’re part of the same series.
Having never updated my books before, I didn’t know how long the process would take. My main concern was the time it takes for the Createspace book to get updated on Amazon. Because of this concern, I decided to experiment with one of my books that has pretty much zero sales. This way I’ll know what to expect when I begin to update my books that do sell.
I’m writing this post as a reference for me and anyone else who might be curious how long the process will take. For this experiment, I made minor modifications to my book cover so I can immediately tell when the update is complete on Createspace and eventually Amazon.
On Thursday at 3pm, I logged into my Createspace Dashboard and selected the book I wanted to update. On the next page, I clicked on the Cover link in the Setup column. Then on the Cover details page, I clicked on the Change button in the Changes section. from there, I uploaded my new cover.
I then did a search on the Createspace store and immediately found that my book was no longer found in the search results. I then went to Amazon and searched for my book. The Amazon search results still showed my original book as available for sale.
But that night I got back on the computer at 11pm and searched for my book on Amazon. I was surprised that the updated cover was actually showing on the Amazon search results page but it really wasn’t updated yet. When I clicked to view the actual product page for my book, the old cover was still there.
The next day about 15 hours later at 5:30am, I got an email from Createspace saying My proof is ready to order. For this book, I am not going to order a proof since I didn’t change the interior and I was confident that my cover file is ok. At 10am, I finally got around to my computer and approved the proof.
I immediately did a search on the Createspace store and was able to verify that the updated book was available for sale at that time.
From the last pop-up screen during the approval process, it says that the files will appear on Amazon in 3-5 business days. So that’s the time frame I was expecting. That night I got back on the computer at 11pm and checked my book on Amazon. I was surprised that the updated cover was showing up on an Amazon search page… but it really wasn’t updated yet.
So when I clicked to view the actual product page for my book, the old cover was still there. At this point, there’s nothing to do but wait.
On Monday morning at 8am, I checked my book on Amazon and I verified that the new cover is there on the product page for my print book. Yay! The cover automatically switched over seamlessly!
I’m glad I ran this experiment because I now know that I can update my Createspace covers and have them up on Amazon in about 2 business days (emphasis on business days).
Now that my Createspace book has been updated, I started to upload the cover on my Kindle version. I uploaded my new Kindle cover at 9:30am and got an email from Amazon at 11pm that night saying that my book was ready. I checked and sure enough, the Kindle cover was updated. Now both covers are in sync with each other.
Revelations and Tips
Tip 1: One thing I realized after doing this experiment is that I need to update Createspace files early in the week like on a Monday or Tuesday in order to shorten the time it takes for those changes appear on Amazon. When they say 2-3 business days, that’s actually how long it takes. Because I uploaded my files late on a Thursday, it took about 5 days to complete this whole process because of the dead time on the weekend. From now on, I will only upload early in the week.
Tip 2: In my experiment, I only made changes to my cover but if I had any changes to the interior of my Createspace book, this would be the time to do it. That way, both interior and cover are updated simultaneously and it saves time.
Tip 3: Also, update the Kindle files last. I waited until the Createspace version was online until I updated my Kindle version. This is because Kindle files usually update within 12 hours after changes have been made. However, in the future, I may upload my Kindle cover the night before my Createspace cover will be updated on Amazon.
Tip 4: I was also able to confirm that my print book became unavailable for purchase during the time I was updating and waiting for approvals. Here’s a graphic found below the description of my book. The interesting thing to note is that while my book was unavailable, whoever is selling used copies or new copies that aren’t mine are still able to sell theirs while mine is offline. The Amazon Price column is where my books are listed.
Tip 5: You can approve your Createspace book for sale from the online proof. When you do this, the book is immediately queued to go onto Amazon. However, if you order physical proof copies to review, you have to wait until the physical copies are marked as shipped before you can approve the book for sale. This is an extra waiting period I did not anticipate. On a newly written book, I usually wait until I receive the actual book before I approve for sale. That’s because I like to do final edits on the physical book itself. But on updated books, I can approve the book and make it ready for sale as soon as I receive the email from Createspace that my books have shipped… that is unless I feel I need to review the physical copy again.
Now I’m going to spend this week updating the interiors and covers for 3 of my books and then be ready for upload this coming Sunday night or early Monday morning. I hope you found this helpful with your own book updates. Feel free to share your experiences on the Createspace updating process in the comments below.
Update: I updated the cover and content of my Kindle books and it took just over 48 hours for the changes to be complete on Amazon. The changes seemed to appear sooner when searching Amazon on my iPhone but everything happened in stages. The covers were the first to update and the content file took the longest. When I say 48 hours, it means business hours. Again, I made the changes over the weekend and nothing happened on the weekend days.