Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fellow Authors and Aspiring Authors...

I may not have the time to speak to you my fellow authors and friends over the phone much to exchange notes and ideas, especially for those of us that are self published. I may not be able to do the facebook IM or any of these avenues as much as I would love to. But I would love for us to share on this forum if you please. I believe we can all benefit from eachother. I am also specifically referring to those of us who are of African descent because we have certain things in common and we have similar stories which are not mainstream but nonetheless, need to be heard.

And this would also benefit those who are aspiring authors as well. Maybe by asking questions or by reading some of the comments from others, you might even avoid making some fresh ones of your own!

I used Createspace to self publish my book and I would like to know how that compares to Xlibris or Author House for example or even Lulu or Lightening Source. Hopefully, we all plan to do some more writing and we need to get better and improve on some of our choices and decisions each time.

Please share folks!



  1. I guess I'll leave the first comment, lol. I chose Createspace because it seemed easy enough and it was the only company I could find that did not require me to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for the package to start off, except I wanted premium stuff. It basically cost me $39 plus the cost of each proof I ordered and shipping depending on how fast I wanted it. Every now and again I did feel I got what I paid for however. For one, there is no customer service number. You have to use the silly call me now feature which means you have to be at a computer. I love to make my calls while driving (which I do a lot of) so that was frustrating. Once or twice I had some production issues with the product itself but they do respond well each time. They are pretty good at responding to any concerns or issues really. Being an amazon affiliate also was a plus for them and for me. They also are adding many more services almost daily and partnering with eveyone almost. I wish I'd gotten my own ISBN though and not used theirs but I didn't know any better initially and I was being cheap as usual. They also do not imprint the book cost on the bar code which some bookstores require. However, I was really just testing the waters with this project and I have learnt and am still learning so much and I am loving it.
    Let's have some comments about the other POD and self publishing companies people...

  2. Congrats again on your book! Thanks for sharing your experiences on your self publishing journey. I am not published yet so unfortunately I don't have much to share on this topic. I however appreciate the opportunity to learn from those that have traveled this path! So thanks for that:). I have subscribed to your blog and will check it out from time to time. Happy new year!

  3. Congratulations on your book, Folake and this blog is such an excellent idea.
    I went with xlibris for my book - Don't Waste Your Pain - and have nothing but songs of praise about them. It did have its challenges though -I shared them with an old friend today over breakfast and after a good laugh at my expense :) - she recommended that I write another book and call it 'What not to do when self-publishing'.
    Seriously though, I did a lot of research and narrowed my choices down to 2 companies - xlibris and iUniverse. I ended up going with xlibris mainly because of their price. They had a 2 for the price of 1, which attracted me immediately because I am in the process of writing a second book. Their price included the isbn number, getting the copyright, designing the book (cover and inside) and a bunch of other things including listing the book on their website and getting it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc.
    They assign a consultant for each step of the way and dealing with them was such a pleasure.
    So I am voting for xlibris in the world of self publishing and will defend my decision any day, any time.
    By the way, the friend I met for breakfast is a subsidiary publisher and is having a workshop for new writers at the end of January in Metro Atlanta. Send me an email if you are interested nike@nikearemu.com

  4. Cool. I'd like to know more about how much it cost you however. I think considering that I paid next to nothing to Createspace except for the $39 to get on the proplan to have a lower per book cost, they did pretty well. I also considered Xlibris and interracted with them but went with Createspace. Createspace also had all those as add ons and not part of a package so I guess I should have used some of those services. I have learnt a lot too and also have been thinking about some kind of compilation of what I did right and what I did wrong to help others along the way. I had to get my own copyright. I did not realize the LCCN had to be applied for before publishing so I missed out on that. They provided the ISBN but in the future I will get mine actually. I did everything else though. Both the inside and outside book design though I could have also used their own people as an add on. I do pride myself in doing it all myself but will do somethings differently on my next project which I am starting on-fiction this time would you believe! Lol. thanks for sharing.

  5. I just found out some really cool things about createspce today. Other POD (print on demand) companies do not appear to ship out your book immediately. With createspace, if I place an order today, it ships out in less than 24 hrs and will arrive based on the shipping preference I picked without fail. Also, it appears they have the cheapest production cost per book for Self Publishing which generally is of course more expensive than Conventional Publishing (which means a huge stock of books all printed at once and stored). It has definitely been worth my while considering I had no upfront costs practically. Definitely a good way to start slow and without capital. Kudos createspace and amazon...

  6. Folake
    Hello, I must say congrats on your new venture. However, I have published two books one with iUniverse and the other with Xlibris and must say i would do iUniverse again but would not use Xlibris again. I also took a long look at createspace but didn't go with them I did like them but felt like they wouldn't give me the total package. Like the barcode,Copyright etc. Still it's a good start like you said. I do however want to suggest you look over the book by Dan Poynter titled Self-Publishing Manual.This book will take you to every detail of publishing. Again congrats.

  7. Thanks Deborah! You are right. I had to do a lot of things myself with createspace but I was ready to do it and I actually enjoyed the process. It worked because I would not have been able to publish otherwise without the money to invest. However, I will not repeat the process because it is very time consuming and with a day job, it will wear you out. We all hope to get a proper publishing deal sometime I hope and like the saying goes, if you sell enough books, even at a dollar or two per book, you will still be smiling to the bank! Will check out that book you mentioned...

  8. Hey Ms F!
    How are you? Allow me to say thank you very much for this forum, it offers a wealth of information that keeps me up till all hours!

    I must say that I am still umming and ahhing about who to go with in order to publish my children's play -Mouth Almighty and I've been considering exilibris as well as a smaller company based here in the UK called Budding Press but again,it's taking me ages to make a decision- I keep finding myself referring back to various blogs (including yours) and books to cross check my list of do's and don'ts!
    I would be interested to know why deborah (two above) did not go with exilibris or if anyone did what criticisms they had. I am learning so much about something I know so little about.
    Many thanks!


  9. Hi Tayo,
    You could email Deborah directly for first hand advice since she actually used Xlibris. She left her email address on the comment so I'm sure she would not mind hearing from you.
    Here's my take on it. I have never used Xlibris but from what I have heard, I don't want to really. They appear to offer all this help upfront but they are all things you can do yourself if you have been following K. L. Brady's posts and some of mine. Their editing is not top notch. They set your price to benefit them and not you which sets you up to fail even before you start. I have total control of my price and my discount at all time, both with Createspace and with Lightning Source which means I can give discounts on amazon to increase volume and sales etc.
    Also, they sell your book to you at a 40% discount (same as indutry standard for bookstores ect) which means you can only sell at the high cost price they set, when comparing to other similar books on the market with comparable page counts. Bookstores or wholesalers can only buy from them directly. Wholesalers often require up to 55% or 60% in discount because they are essentially distributors. I don't believe Xlibris makes room for this because they want to be the sole wholesaler for your book.
    the main issue I have with them is the fact that you cannot set or change your own price even when you know they set it too high and people will be less inclined to pay that much for it.
    They do have different plans however and I guess the more you pay them up front, the better the deal you get possibly. Some of these include a certain number of books with the initial package.
    Self publishing is supposed to give you autonomy and control but Xlibris takes that away even though they do not do all you would get from a traditional publisher. It's all to benefit them though and not you.
    Have you tried to find an agent or publisher first before giving up and settling for self publishing. It's hard and time consuming and you essentially learn a new trade so it's not for everybody. I'm not even sure I'll do it again! I just don't have the time it takes with full time work and "mummyhood".
    I chose self publishing because of the unique nature of my content and with it being non-fiction and all.
    You should try to find an agent or publisher first in my opinion.
    Hope it helped.

  10. Thank you for your pointers and opinion. From my research I'm kind of drawing the same conclusion about Exlbs too.
    As for finding an agent, easier said than done!! I would have loved to have gone that easier route but it's taking so long and I'm not getting much response. Also, because of the work involved with schools that I'm doing, the play is very much out there and exposed so I'm anxious to get it published and make it more readily available in book form. I am therefore looking for a children's editor and will just get on with it via POD!
    Thanks again for your thoughts, (if you have any more I'd love to hear them) otherwise, I'll keep you updated.