Tag Archives: independent publishing

Why Does KDP Put the “Not for Resale” Strip on the Proof Cover?

Thanks to Chris McMullen for providing this very important update.

What I choose to do with my own property (a proof copy) is my own business, not Amazon KDP’s business.

I will not be starting any new projects with them, now that CreateSpace is defunct.


What cheek! There is no end to Amazon’s brass neck!

WE are the authors. WE are the publishers. WE are the copyright owners, which includes owning the right to dispose of any printed proof copies in our possession in any way we see fit, whether we sell them as seconds, or as one-of-a-kind versions that someday may well become more valuable to their subsequent owners than ownership of an “approved” version copy that many other people may purchase.

Moreover, any subsequent owner of a printed book has the same right to dispose of his own property by re-selling it. This is a boon to authors, for while we do not realize any more revenue from a re-sale, we do get more eyes on our works. This is akin to the loaning of a copy purchased by a public library: A library is exercising its property rights by loaning what it owns, and the exposure constitutes advertising for authors.


This theft also constitutes COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, because Amazon is falsely claiming ownership of the sole right to dictate the disposition of a copy of another person’s intellectual property, and thus that the revenue Amazon gained from the initial sale of the proof copy to the author constitutes the only revenue that can be generated by that copy of that work.


I believe this action on Amazon’s part constitutes consumer fraud, larceny, and a form of copyright infringement, and thus may be grounds for a class-action lawsuit seeking an injunction, damages for lost revenue, and litigation costs. Authors in the hundreds, if not thousands (or even more, considering Amazon KDP’s volume of Indie author output) may have in their possession such ill-branded proof copies, and if they unite, they can put a stop to this practice.

For basic information about class-action lawsuits, see this website:


Please advise via this reply form if you have been victimized by the “Not for Resale” strip:





Ever since I made the switch from CreateSpace to KDP Print, when I order a proof copy there is a horizontal “Not for Resale” strip running across the front cover, spine, and back cover.

CreateSpace didn’t add this strip, but KDP does.

(To be clear, this is just for PROOF copies. Once you publish your book, you can order AUTHOR COPIES that don’t have this strip. It’s just the PROOF copies that are affected.)

Sometimes, that strip interferes with part of the cover that I’m trying to proof. In particular, it often prints over words on the spine or back cover.

My solution is to open the PDF of the cover in Photoshop, crop the image to just the back cover, and print the back cover on my home printer. Similarly, I crop the cover to take a magnified close-up of the spine text and…

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Reconsidering Editing.

Proofreading? Line Editing? Structural Editing? Copyediting? Developmental Editing? 

Editing seems to be a mysterious, fearsome process that many Indies cannot afford to hire out, yet they recoil from doing it themselves. This would not be as big a problem as it has become (as evidenced by the mass of disappointing dreck that’s been published) if there was not a dictum out there (possibly traceable to NaNoWriMo) of “ignore your internal critic.” For that is what editing really is: a critique of a product of written art. And who likes criticism, even if self-inflicted?

There’s also a lot of confusion about what constitute the steps and process of editing. Even persons who do editing for a living admit that the lines here are blurred. In addition, the “rules” for editing fiction differ from those of non-fiction, and there are a multitude of “style” guides to consider, as well.

To demystify and draw the teeth of this monster, I propose an alternative paradigm for editing fiction: the Iceberg Approach.

If we can write, we can edit.

As Indie Authors, we’ve had a lot of practice with writing. In childhood and youth, we were gradually guided through the steps of recognizing words (spelling), understanding their meaning (vocabulary and context), and stringing them into sentences that made sense (grammar and punctuation). We learned how to combine sentences into paragraphs which supplied more detailed meaning (usually in the form of essays), and by young adulthood, we had been instructed in the organization of multiple paragraphs into coherent arguments, primarily in informational (research) papers, but also in persuasive articles (opinion pieces) or brief entertaining stories (creative writing). If we attended university, by that time we were expected to be capable of carrying on accurate research reporting accompanied by extensive nuanced analytical arguments, as well as producing plausibly plotted short fiction (each being different forms and lengths of manuscripts). At almost any point in the process, we were taught the principles of outlining, probably first in the context of learning to read, and later as a preliminary to writing pieces longer than one paragraph. (I disagree with the practice of outlining in preparation for writing, and find it more useful as a tool to analyze a completed work.)

Whatever adult stage of life you’re at now, if you’re reading this, you’ve created a full-length work of written art, and need to prepare it for publication. You may have been editing throughout the process of writing your book, or you may have saved that effort until the first draft was finished. (I think editing is easier and more effectively performed in the creation phase, during which it serves to prevent “writer’s block” and lightens the editing load at the end, but those are topics for other blog posts.) Either way, you’re now in a prime position to apply everything you already know about words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters and manuscripts to polishing your opus.

This doesn’t mean that you have to do it all yourself. Many Beta readers will report issues at the Word level (commonly known as basic proofreading), and others will provide feedback at the Chapter and Manuscript levels (things that may be considered structural and developmental editing). If you can get it, this information is more valuable than the gushing praise, “I loved it!” without any reason given as to why.

The composition of a written work of art may founder at the Word level, but Iceberg editing doesn’t necessarily start at the tip and plod in lockstep downwards, into the deep. Problems with the basic stuff in a published book can be a cover-closer for a reader, but like the iceberg that wrecked the Titanic, even worse trouble for a novel can lurk below the waterline.

Before active editing occurs is the best time to do an outline, which will reveal where your story needs help, and that will probably be at every level. Once you know where the trouble spots are, you can start editing wherever you like, to fix them. You’ll ascend and descend the Iceberg throughout the process, and eventually all the zones will be completely edited. You’ll have fixed more than 90 percent of the problems, and will likely be ready to progress to publishing. That formerly formidable Iceberg will have melted away.

I’ll be examining this concept in more detail in later blog posts, but don’t let that stop you from implementing it right now. If you have a novel to edit, by all means try the Iceberg paradigm, and weigh in with comments about your experience with it, pros and cons.

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Inspiration for Authors: The Man Who Invented Christmas (film)

The Man Who Invented Christmas.

If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it. When I saw the trailer and said, “I have GOT to see that!” my son bought it for me. I saved it, un-watched, until we could see it together. We finally got to do that a few nights ago, and I laughed harder than I’d done in quite a while.

Of course, it’s highly fictionalized, but how it portrays the writing process rings true to my experience as a novelist, in most respects (I’ve never suffered with “blockage,” as expressed by William Makepeace Thackeray, in the script). Non-writers often don’t understand that fiction is neither autobiographical nor biographical, and the film correctly shows how a novelist puts together pieces of real-life experience in a different way, creating a new “fictional reality,” (what I call “Life in the Parallel Universe”). The way Dickens accumulates a following of fictional characters who turn up in odd places and at unreasonable times, and who don’t do what he wants them to do,  is hilariously accurate. There are no Queensberry Rules for writing a novel: it’s a free-for-all; anything goes, and it usually does.

I’ve written about Charles Dickens elsewhere in this blog: All You Need is Love, in which it’s shown that A Christmas Carol is more subtly complicated than many who enjoy the tale would suspect; and in my Another Author’s Insight quotation series, in which Dickens, writing in 1850 after having finished David Copperfield, reveals the true depth of the relationship that can develop between authors and their characters.

My son found my reaction to the film as amusing as the movie, but I told him, “Wait until YOU write a novel – THEN you’ll know!”

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