Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Case for CreateSpace: Best bet for Self-Publishing

--> I am going out of a limb here and recommend CreateSpace by Amazon for anyone wanting to self-publish, whether it is a cookbook, family history, textbook, novel, or nonfiction. I am not getting paid for this endorsement (of course not!) but I am a pleased customer and found the process easy and doable (but I have better than average computer skills and far better than average writing skills--sorry, but it's true.  I can't play the piano, so that makes it even).
After failed attempts for about three years to find a suitable publisher for two of my novels, Bringing Abundance Back and The Unexpected Christmas Visitors, I decided to take the plunge and try CreateSpace.  At best it was an experiment, but as a friend says, I am not getting any younger, and for me, getting the books to the public is more important than the possibility of a contract with a publisher who may or may not help me very much (many small presses do very little for their writers, but that is another story).  

I had already published the Christmas novel (doesn't everyone have to write one of those?) on Kindle, again as an experiment and learning process, so making it available in a physical format was overdue.  I had tried to work with CreateSpace a while back, but was in the middle of doctoral work and let it slide; the files were as I had left them on the website, so I just had to pick up where I had left off.  However, I actually published the BAB first.  

The process was simple.  Amazon really does everything for you.  The best thing is to use the template in Word that they provide for download.  It is formatted, even with page numbers, and you just need to cut and paste the manuscript into it, and of course play with it some (yes, that can be tedious, but it's doable if you are remotely tech savvy).  
Amazon also provides the ISBN, the page for you on their online store (where you can create an author page), an edition in Kindle for download for $1.99, and copies at cost.  My almost 300-page novel costs less than $5.00 a copy.   Of course there is shipping and handling, so it comes to less than $6.00 a copy if I want to give away or sell myself.  Of course, it goes for more on Amazon because they have to make their cut.  I should also say that although mine has a very nice color cover that I designed with their template and two .jpg files, the interior does not have any graphics, so that might be more.

Now, you can get them to do it for you, and do editing, and those packages cost a bit.  I feel no need for their editing features because (a) I have friends who can proofread pretty well (doctorates in English); (b) I vetted it through my writers’ group; and (c) I’m a pretty decent, though not perfect, editor myself.  I also could figure out the technical stuff, which amounted to using the template and adjusting the lines and such for the pages to look right, uploading and editing the text and photos on the cover, and navigating their website.  I was able to choose a matte cover rather than a glossy cover for my books, which makes a great deal of difference to me in achieving the look I was going for. 

Because Amazon has to send the profits directly to your bank account and report taxes, you have to give them your Social Security and bank number; I created an alternate account for my writing.  Some people may not be comfortable giving your Social to Amazon, and I can understand that.  You can check your sales daily or hourly if you like on both the Kindle and the physical copy of the book.  You can get reviews and link to your blog and author page.  So I can’t see the downsides other than that you will only be able to sell on Amazon (not Barnes and Noble, Tower, CBD, etc.) and well, it is Amazon, the elephant in the room, and some people may just not like them, and I can understand that.  You, of course, can also order as many copies as you want to sell yourself, and it will be cheaper for you and your readers in the long run to do that.

There are many “self-publishing” houses out there that will willingly take your money.  I have not heard much good about them but I don’t want to get into trouble here, so I won’t name names.  I just am giving a testimonial of almost complete satisfaction with CreateSpace and want my fellow writers to know that. 

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