Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Pros and Cons of Printing Part One: Createspace

If you have spent the better part of a year (or two, or a hundred), there is a part of you that is not going to be satisfied by a digital copy of your book. For me, at least, it didn't sink in that I had published a book until I was holding a physical copy in my hand.

The decision to print copies is not one that should be taken lightly. There are a few reasons to do it, and a lot of others that you shouldn't. I have covered this topic before, but I think I am in a better position to evaluate the publishers at this point. Here are three that I worked with along with their pros and cons.


This is probably the choice that most authors go with, if they are going to get print copies. There are a lot of pros to this company.


- It's Free. That's a huge plus, as far as I'm concerned. There are some many costs that can slam you in publishing, mostly set up charges, that it's awesome to have a company that doesn't do it.

- It's Print On Demand. Some companies require you to purchase a set number of copies from them for each order. That way, the risk is all on the author. If you order 50 copies, you better damn well hope to sell them. Createspace prints each copy as it is ordered so that you have no up front costs here, either.

-It's Easy To Get On Amazon. Createspace is owned by Amazon, so it is no hassle at all to get your books listed with them. You upload your files, approve the proofs, click a button, and there you have it.


While this model will work for the majority of authors, there are some drawbacks to using Createspace.

- The Formatting Is Difficult. I used Createspace after I had printed copies through another publisher. I had to go back and reformat my entire book to their "unique" requirements. I haven't had to do that with any other publisher I've looked at, so this is both odd and frustrating.

- They Only Have Gloss Covers. Many people won't feel this is a drawback, but I think it is one of the largest to using Createspace. Their covers have a very glossy lamination on them, resulting in a very "cheap" and amateur feel to them. They stand out, in a bad way, next to "real" books, instantly telling readers that you are self published. I definitely wanted a matte cover, which is why I didn't end up using them.

- Bookstores Won't Order From Them. If your goal is to get your book onto a shelf next to your favorite author, Createspace isn't for you. As I mentioned before, they are owned by Amazon. Brick and mortars are at war with the company, and won't order a product that benefits the online retailer. Also, they can't return the books if they don't sell. That's an important factor when bookstores order product.

- You Can't Set A Release Date.  Once you've approved your copy, and hit the button, your book is available right then. You can't drum up interest with preorders or tell them to delay the release to a specific date. Maybe that's not important to most writers, but I believe a build up before release is what's helped me sell books.

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