It's been quite awhile since my last post, but I'm back and I'm asking for your feedback / input.
The Reunion, my first fictional romance novel is complete, including the editing, and I'm ready to get into the final phase ... getting it printed. I've narrowed down my choices to CreateSpace and IngramSpark. I've done my research, read several postings of pros and cons on the internet for both of them, and now I'd like your input if you've had any experience with either of them. If you've chosen either of them would you do it again, or not? And why?
My plan is to release the hardcover first, followed by the eBook & Kindle, and then the audio version (arrangements have already been made and I'll be heading into the studio in Nashville within a month!).
I'm trying to put an estimate together on the time frame and financial investment with either of them, so if you could share your experience with the turn around time from the point where you first submitted your file and made any necessary adjustments until you had your finished book in your hand, as well as what it cost you for the set-up, and any design assistance they gave you, plus your cost on the book (I know it varies by how many pages you have (mine will be between 375 and 400) that would be great!
Thanks in advance for your comments & suggestions!
Thanks for the info, James. I understand the CS is easier to set up, and they don't charge for changes, but one drawback I've found is that they're acknowledged as the publisher, not just the printer, and I've set up my own publishing company. I have some experience along that line after self-publishing a book of my poetry MANY (ahem) years ago and handled all of the marketing and distribution on my own. IS appears attractive because of their wider distribution possibilities.
CS is only listed as the publisher if you use one of their free ISBNs. Buy your own and your imprint is listed.
Wider distribution with IS is only valuable if you can tap into it. With a platform and some media exposure, it can work.
I recommend doing both if you do IS, but you have to do IS first or they won't accept the book because CS has the distribution set up (and you can't change the wholesale rate or settings if CS is doing expanded distribution, which is one more reason bookstores don't like Amazon). IS royalty rates are bad, but by doing both at least Amazon sales will be through CS and you'll make more.
I've published several books on createspace and I continue to be happy with it. They keep making improvements so doing a softcover and kindle version is now a pretty seamless process. The only problem I've had has been an issue with how Amazon creates user accounts. I still don't know how it is possible but I have had multiple accounts created with the same user name on two occasions. The result is that you can't get to some of your books if you have more than one. It takes weeks to fix when it happens. You don't lose anything except time while you are dealing with it though.
Createspace does not do hardcover anymore so if you must absolutely do a hardcover you would have to look elsewhere. 9 times out of 10 you probably don't need it. I've actually got to a point where a hardcover makes sense for an upcoming book so I am looking at options for this. It completely changes your options for distributing the book so I would recommend avoiding it if you can.
As far as costs, other than some design and editing costs, it hasn't cost me anything to publish any of my books on Createspace. A 400 page book would probably be around $4 each for print copies that you might order for yourself. If you have all your files together, you can go from start to finish within a week. A lot depends on whether you use their virtual approval or request a proof copy first. The later will add a couple weeks to the process, but you will catch things in a physical copy that you might miss in the virtual option.
Hope that is helpful. I would be curious to hear what your experience is with the hardcover direction since I may be headed that way myself shortly.
This is very helpful, Rob. Thank you! I've heard that CS is easier than IS to work with, but I hadn't heard about the issue of multiple accounts before. Hmmmm .... something to watch out for.
At this point I'm planning an initial run of at least 250 hardcover copies before adding other formats, so I might bite the bullet and take the challenge of the IS set-up (which I understand can be quite a challenge to some), and then go from there.
I have had a lot of success with CreateSpace. However, I am thinking of using IS with my next book to get it into bookshops.
Hey Jace, maybe a separate question / comment, but if you're writing romance, I'm not sure hardcover will do you any good. Most romance readers a big into ebooks, and audio is definitely a good plan. I would save the expense of doing hardcover and set up paperback.
That said, Createspace is easy to use. Once you have your files, you can have a finished book (proof) in hand within a week. Depending on where you live, you might get your copies shipped to you within a few days. If you're in the southeast, you'll have print copies from Columbia, SC. They offer print covers or custom designs for $99 starting, I think. If you do your own (or have your designer do them) then it's free to upload. Vellum (Mac only formatting program) can do print versions now. It is $200, I think, but well worth the investment if you plan to write more books.
I've never used IS, but it's $50 to set up a title and any change is $25. I've heard author copies are also more expensive. Every once in a while IS will offer free set up, but I haven't seen that in a couple months. Last year they did offer it around September / October so if you choose to go that route, keep an eye out for those discounts.
If you're going to be writing romance, you might want to look into Romance Writers of America. I'm a member and have found it incredibly helpful when it comes to all things romance.
Thanks, Mary! Very helpful! We live in Tennessee so I guess the Columbia location will be the one for me, if I choose to go with CS.
And thanks for the tip on Romance Writers of America! I'll look into it!