Why I Chose CreateSpace for Self PublishingBack in 2006 and 2007 I began researching self publishing both for my own projects and to help provide details for my BellaOnline editors. I tested out CreateSpace, CafePress, and Lulu, which were the three main options at the time. You can see my in depth notes on my Getting your Book Published pages. I needed test items to do my experiments with. Since I had five of my novels complete by this time, I used those novels to test out the systems.I did not put any of the books live for external sale. These entries were just for testing, to see what the print quality was like and how smoothly the process went in each system.
Curiosity tweaked at me and, since CreateSpace was associated with Amazon, I put all five of my books into their system. I then put two of them live to see what they looked like in the Amazon listing. I'll note that I'm currently a top-50 reviewer on Amazon, and at the time I was in the top 10, so I review a lot of other peoples' books. I don't always give them five star reviews. So the minute one of my books went live, one of these authors immediately jumped on my listing and wrote a scathing review of the book - even though there had been NO SALES of it. Their sole purpose was to "get me back" for what they perceived I had done to them. I'll note that I personally don't write scathing reviews generally ... but I will write a review that points out flaws if I find them to be egregious.
So I immediately took the listings down, wrote Amazon to complain about the bogus review, and they removed the review. So that at least was good. But I could only prove it was a bogus review because nobody had bought the book. What if a few people HAD bought the book? Now my page could become a magnet for "revenge reviews".
So I completely shelved the self publishing idea and went back to pursuing Harlequin as my main focus. I detail the long term efforts I put into that task in my Lisa Shea and Medieval Romance page. In the end, despite years of effort, a relationship with Harlequin was just not meant to be. So in the summer of 2011 I turned my attention back to self publishing.
By this point I had been publishing a quarterly art book with Lulu for five years. That is the Mused Literary Review. Lulu offered the best options for size and print quality for those large size books five years ago, and once we began using their system, there was no reason to change. Everyone has been thrilled with the print quality of the Lulu full color issues. Plus by having the books in Lulu it meant I could take advantage of Lulu's listings and sales PLUS Amazon's listings and sales. So I was getting double listings and double sales for every issue.
So here it was, September 2011, and I was launching my medieval novels on my own. I had to ponder my self publishing options for those novels. I wasn't going to go with CafePress - the third option when I did my surveys - because they are not well known for books. Having my books in a CafePress library would do little good for marketing purposes. So it came down to choosing between Lulu and CreateSpace.
Lulu pros - a huge library that many people actively use that is *in addition* to the Amazon library. So my books would be double listed. There's also a Lulu forum to do promotion in, in addition to the Amazon forums.
Lulu cons - I've already had my books set up in CreateSpace, albeit not live, for five years. I simply have to reload the new covers and content and everything else is linked to and defined and ready. With Lulu I'd have to start again from scratch here and lose whatever traction those Amazon entries have built up.
CreateSpace pros - everything is set up there already. I just reload where necessary and hit the "live" button. Quick, done.
CreateSpace cons - I lose half my marketing effort! I won't be in Lulu's listings or forums at all. Lulu is HUGE, so that would be a lot of lost potential sales.
The interface for both was nearly identical. I found the process of loading in the PDF insides and PDF cover to be nearly the same. So in terms of the process, there seemed to be no difference. I didn't break out the difference in profit I would get, but I imagine it would be nearly the same. I list Mused "for free" - i.e. zero profit - so that to me is a far lower priority than the marketing aspects.
In the end I was swayed by having those five years of history for the books in the Amazon system. I'm hoping that having them all there for so long gives me some sort of an advantage in listings and promotions. We will find out as I move forward!
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Contractions in Medieval Dialogue