Self-Publishing: The Last Word (until next time)

In my previous article, I pointed out areas that new writers might want to be aware. I found a few more. 

I went to Lulu.com and Createspace.com to look over their processes.  And I put my name, phone number, and email on a site for information from that site….and here cometh the phone calls and emails.  I’m amazed they didn’t track me down me on Facebook.

Let’s start with the calls.  There are a plethora of companies out there who are willing to publish your book.  They claim to publish and distribute, provide assistance with marketing, and many other options.  Each option increases the price.  They will send you glossy mailers that tell you nothing and emails that give you hints.  Then the phone calls begin.  Not exactly hard sell but persistent.

I’d love to give you specifics for the one I spoke at length with but, true to form, I have misplaced the envelope I wrote it on.  The general concept was that you provide the manuscript, agreement on price is made, and the total price is divided up between three or four payments to be completed before the book is actually published.

#PODs serve a purpose but do your research. #read the fine print. #publishing #indie #author… Click To Tweet

Since Print-On-Demand is pretty much the standard these days for smaller presses who don’t want to deal with back stock, it isn’t the printing that is taking the several months, it is the money.  They, of course, do not guarantee sales. 

It is obvious that writers take them up on it but I am left to wonder how the costs worked out versus sales.  Still, they serve a purpose.  Just make sure they have all the information up front and in a contract…a real paper contract.  And they require the ISBN be provided by them.  If you decide to move to another publisher later on, they own the ISBN.  So?  Your ISBN is one of the pathways to your book.  If you switch publishers, like to a traditional, the old ISBN will show that the book no longer exists.  You could lose sales.

publishing_contractNow Lulu.  The online publisher is ranked high on the scale and has published more books than I can count.  Templates are provided to aid in formatting.  Aid is available.  They give you a ‘basic package’ price per book up front and it looks promising.  Mine was $5.25 per book but it had cover and size limitations. 

But that was for the book to only be available on their online shop. To expand distribution (add to other companies catalogs) the cost goes up per book.  Mine would be $7.25.  So, if I have this right, you would have to sell a 300 page book for $12.99 to get a $5.74 profit. And that is just a guess based on the base price.  It does include a custom cover and other details. 

Now the one thing that ticked me off.  A couple days later after my general inquiry, they sent me an email with my new ISBN through their company.  They did not have my manuscript but they sent out that hook to make a person think they were obligated to publish with them.

Your ISBN is one of the pathways to your #book. #publishing #indie #author @NE_Miller #ourwriteside Click To Tweet

Crystal UnicornsI published my first book, Crystal Unicorns, in paperback through CreateSpace after self-publishing the eBook with Amazon (CreateSpace is the hard copy part of Amazon).  I don’t remember the cost.  I remember I had to use a credit card.  The process was relatively simple.  So I tried again with Shark Bait, my current work.  I can’t give you a price because you have to get to the end of the process to find out and I wasn’t ready to commit.  I was pleased with the first experience but I will admit the only paperbacks sold were to myself.  It was worth it to me to hold my book in my hand.

One more thing about CreateSpace and Kindle, when I first published (and they may have changed this rule) if you place your ebook elsewhere in addition to Kindle then you must make sure their price is higher than Kindle’s.  I’d have to check to see if Createspace has a similar clause in the contract.

So that is it.  A lot of questions are left unanswered, I’m sure.  Just be careful out there and read every single word.  Let it stew.  Go back and read it again.  Ask questions of others who have self-published.

Lulu and CreateSpace are respected online publishers.  They do exactly what you pay for.  That’s their job.  To get paid for a service.  If they do that service badly, then sales drop because we all know how fast a bad review can travel on Facebook.  

Miss one of my self-publishing posts? Click here to find them all and download the free eBook coming in September to have them all in one place. Just subscribe by email in the purple box at the bottom of the screen to receive our members only free eBooks.

 

Nancy E Miller
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Nancy E Miller

Columnist/Illustrator at Our Write Side/OWS Ink, LLC
Nancy E. Miller, romantic suspense author of Shark Bait and Crystal Unicorns, lives near St. Louis with her husband and three dogs, pygmy goats, chickens and a cranky rooster named Ketchup. Her degree is in Psychology and Sociology. She has worked in education and mental health as a case manager and crisis counselor.
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