This is a continuation of a saga that began on the Lulu.com discussion board. My book is a 36-page storybook, perfect bound, full-color bleed printing.
Once I decided to switch from Lulu to CS, I moved quickly. It was easy to set up my book, once my illustrator made some modifications necessary to reflect the new ISBN number, changed the book size, and sent new PDF files (one for the covers and one for the interior pages). Lulu's large square format is 8.5". CS's large square is 8.25". Go figure.
I selected just Amazon.com as the distribution method. Now the retail price is only $6.95. Booksellers have affirmed that the price is just right. My passion is to get the book into the hands of as many children as will benefit from it, so the price has to be reachable for as broad an audience as possible. My profit off the retail is a whoppin' $0.52. My profit off my wholesale rate is almost $3--much higher than my wholesale profit through Lulu. I planned to sell wholesale directly to book stores and anyone else who wanted to order bulk. CS's customer support is awesome. Human beings answer the phone and solve problems.
Between Lulu and CS, CS wins by a mile.
My saga is not done. I unexpectedly and happily will soon have my own imprint through Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing. I have to switch print houses again--this time to LightningSource. I'm really excited about it. Through Lulu and CS, the Amazon.com entry is US only. Through LightningSource, for the same retail price of $6.95 I will have international distribution through all online sellers: Amazon, B&N, Target, WalMart, etc. And I will make 2.5 times as much profit per book. Same retail price; 2.5 times more profit. What's not to love? Later this week I'll have an account with LightningSource. I hope to be in full swing selling LS-printed books in a few weeks. I'll be distributing "Lily Hates Goodbyes" as an ebook just as soon as possible. I'm looking forward to delving into that world.
I've been publishing books since 1999 and have five books in print, three traditionally printed and two recently published through Create Space--those last two are also available in ebook versions.
I've had really good luck with Create Space and I love their fast shipping.
I do all of my own cover design and interior layout--well, I hire it done--so I can't speak on their do-it-yourself cover and layout services.
The biggest problem that I've had that I can't figure out how to overcome seems really simple--the pub date.
Once you request to have a proof printed (max 5 copies), you are stuck. If the proof is okay and you want review copies, you have to approve the proof, at which point it is automatically published and shows up with that date. There is no way to put a future date in the database and that automatically makes the book ineligible for some review sites. If someone has a way around this one--getting review copies without getting an immediate pub date--I'd love to hear about it!
I did have a bit of a cover curling issue on my first book with them, which I let them know about. My second book is smaller and haven't had any issues at all so don't know if the process changed or not, but it works now and the product looks great!
If you're doing your own cover and interior layout, you really have to follow their specs and take into account the paper thickness to get the spine correct.
I'm definitely pleased with their services. They are always helpful. The only caveat to that is that there is no flexibility on anything--it simply must go according to their set rules and guidelines and system.
I have set up discounts for people to buy through create space with a code, which is a bit more difficult than just buying from amazon, but I can control price that way. Haven't had many take advantage of it, but that may change when the virtual book tour kicks off officially July 4.
Again, back to the pub date--the book was "live" in April but the book tour kicks off in July. What is the official pub date? Well, for magazines and such that require 3-4 months lead time, it was already "old" before I sent the request.
I haven't used the editing services as Merry did, but getting the right kind of editor--or in my case editors--is crucial. Not everyone who says they are an editor--copy or content--is or will fit well with your style and type of book. I've had really good and really bad experiences. I have a great copy editor now that I am very pleased with. Ultimately, however, all the mistakes--and I still had some--fall on my shoulders.
In short, I am happy with Create Space and would definitely recommend them. I think they're great for people who want a specific short run for memoirs or family productions and such also. A wonderful option for a lot of us!
If anyone has a specific question that I can help with, please contact me!
CreateSpace, owned by Amazon, is a good start for many reasons. No upfront costs to produce a book, and a presence on Amazon, where most people buy and search for books.
Kamy, I'll be reaching out to you with a broader view than the self-pub options on your initial list. Since, as you say, the focus is on ebooks, that opens the door to more choices of set-up and distribution for today's e-reader devices.
However, for all authors, putting a book out there isn't enough - we have to engage readers and spread buzz through a solid platform. Of course, She Writes, is the perfect foundation.
Sheri, I have two books with Create Space, books that were previously through a publisher in 2001 and 2002, but printed by Booksurge, which is now Create Space. It became impossible to order books directly through Create Space and the publisher suggested I withdraw my contract and do business with them directly, which I did. Because of the circumstances, I had up-front costs getting those two books republished, since I now hold the contract.
In an earlier post you mentioned you had no up-front costs with Create Space. I hadn't known that was possible? Could you tell us more about that? I'm just finishing my 4th book, a memoir, and am thinking seriously about self-publishing.
Mary - Like Sheri, I also enjoy working with CreateSpace at no upfront cost. I pay only for each book I order and for the proof copies (at cost). i did pay the $39 expanded distribution, which is easier than manually listing on for sale on bookseller sites.
Hi, Mary! Paula Boyd from Women Writing the West days back when. I'm Paula Renaye now. Wanted to say hello! Small world!
As I wrote above, I've been pleased with Create Space and I am so glad to be out (mostly) of the shipping and receiving business!
Best of luck!