Finally, my last post about CreateSpace. I left off at the point where I’d ordered a proof and was waiting for it to arrive. When it did, I discovered a missing word when I proofread the story. Can you believe the word was ‘a’? Normally I would have let that go, but since the book is tiny and the proof only cost around $5 total for printing and shipping, I decided to correct the error and order another proof.
I approved that proof today, so I’ve now completed the CreateSpace publishing cycle. It took so long for me to reach this point because I was also in the process of releasing a book through Lightning Source, which took priority.
When I approved the proof, I asked for an eStore for the book, mainly so I could see what one looks like and show it to you. Here it is—the eStore for A Tragic Romance. An eStore is easy to hang off your website, as I’ve just done. The only drawback is that a single store can’t handle multiple books, so if you wanted to offer more than one book, you’d have one store per each. It’s worth noting that sales through the eStore pay the highest percentage, so if you were to drive traffic and sales to your eStore, rather than to your Amazon page, you’d make more money. However, I have no idea if eStore sales count toward your Amazon sales ranking. I suspect they don’t.
A Tragic Romance is a book in the public domain. It’s quite rare, so I had to buy a copy off eBay. When I last checked, none of the usual public domain sites had it, probably because it was hand-sold by the author back in 1904. There’s an interesting story behind the author, which I’ve included in the book.
It’s a short story, so the book is only 34 pages long (not counting the title and copyright pages). Unfortunately, I had to price it at $4.95 due to the printing costs and the share that CreateSpace takes. At that price, I’ll make less than a buck per sale.
But that wasn’t the point. I’d been curious about CreateSpace for a while and decided to try it out using this book. I typeset the interior myself and used CreateSpace’s cover generator, hence the cheesy template cover. The short story is actually very interesting for reasons I go into in the Afterword. If you’re curious, I’d buy it from the Kindle store, where it’s only $0.99. But if you’re wondering about the quality of CreateSpace printing, here’s a book you can buy cheap to check it out.
So, having worked recently with both CreateSpace and Lightning Source, I have to give the thumbs up to CreateSpace for ease of use, and the nod to Lightning Source for distribution. Here’s how I see it: if you’re just interested in seeing your book up on Amazon and maybe offering it through an eStore, there’s no easier route than CreateSpace. But if you want to make the most money per sale, and you want maximum distribution into online bookstores, then you need to use Lightning Source. LSI can be more difficult to use, but mainly when you first open an account and when you prepare your files for each title.
When you open your account at CreateSpace, you’re treated like an individual. Provide your contact details and a credit card, and you’re done. Lightning Source deals with you as a company, so you have to first create a company (easy to do if the company name will be the same as your legal name, though that’s not recommended). Then there’s a multitude of paperwork to do, but you only have to do it once.
When it comes to setting up titles, LSI’s requirements are much more stringent than CreateSpace’s. With CreateSpace, I created a “High Quality Print” PDF and that worked fine. LSI requires PDFs in the PDF-X:1a standard and a 240% maximum ink limit on covers, among other things. If you hire someone to do your interior and cover or you know how to do it yourself and have the appropriate software, it’s not a big deal. But for publishing newcomers, it can be daunting.
If you’ve worked with CreateSpace or LSI and have an opinion about either, I’d love to hear it. Let me know in the comments section.