The first print proofs for The Olive Grove and An Endless Hunger arrived yesterday! While I love new technology and ebooks I do have a very visceral attachment to print. I worked in specialty printing and publication design for many years. It was an exciting moment to see the six paperbacks stacked on my kitchen table begging to be flipped through. I got butterflies in my stomach for all of a split second, shrieked with joy and proceeded to whip out the red pen. Marzio and I were up till midnight reading stories that we’ve read a million times. He jokes that The Olive Grove has surpassed The Hobbit in the number of times he’s read it. Even for two small novellas (approximately 60 pages each) the amount of work that went into them was staggering. The results for us are no doubt wonderful, but it was no easy task. Between research, writing, formatting, cover design, websites, marketing, editing and all the odds and ends of putting a novel together we have spent a countless number of hours. Which leads me to my next point. Use systems, websites and tools that will make your life easier.
I did a ton of research on CreateSpace vs. Lightning Source and came to this conclusion: If you are new to self publishing or publishing in general go with CreateSpace. I am a print veteran and I can tell you that I uploaded no less than 20 versions to CreateSpace as I fixed issues. If you want a professional looking book don’t take the easy route, be diligent and detail oriented. Did you issue a second ISBN for print? Is that ISBN correct in Bowker and on the inside of your book? Did you eliminate all widows and orphans from the text? Did you lose the italics from the Smashwords edition along the way? Are things aligning right? Are fonts crashing? In short, even for someone who knows what they are doing, sending a PDF off to LSI and praying for rain is pretty much the same thing. LSI just didn’t have the feedback loop I needed to get the best product possible. The costs for LSI were higher all around and they provided very little feedback. I also didn’t need the extensive distribution services they provided. At some point it became hard to justify, especially since I was planning on doing most of my selling on Amazon.
CreateSpace has very nice online tools that are well documented. They also provide templates which is a huge help. LSI contracts took forever to setup and felt like I was filing my taxes. In the future I may send files to both companies, but until then, CreateSpace is the clear winner.
For a thorough cost breakdown read Write to Publish’s excellent article Create Space Vs Lightning Source.