More On Why I Use Createspace

Are there less costly ways to self publish a print book than through Createspace? I know they exist and I have checked out some of them. I stick with Createspace because they consistently do a good job and give me excellent customer service if a problem does arise.

My goal in self publishing is to make a profit and keep things as simple as possible. Createspace keeps my upfront cost low but more importantly, once you learn how to prepare your interior and cover files, they take care of everything. You can market your book around the world and they handle all aspects of the fulfillment.

Certainly I could make more on each book if I purchased a quantity and fulfilled the orders myself but that would also take a lot of my time away from writing and publishing other books and that is where I prefer to spend my time. Once I have published a book I never have to do anything else other than marketing using my web site and other methods.

Createspace creates an eStore for my books in addition to placing it on Amazon. They also make it available worldwide. When an order comes in, the credit card sale is processed, the book is printed in the appropriate country, and the book is shipped to the customer promptly. At the end of the month my share of the sale is deposited in my bank account.

For me this makes business easy so I can continue writing which is what I love to do. Createspace has worked for me since 2007 and after 18 books I don’t have a single complaint about the way they do business.

Doing It All Yourself Can Be Difficult

You can write and publish a book or ebook entirely on your own but many of the steps can be difficult and lacking experience you can come up with a poor quality book that could hinder sales in spite of your marketing efforts. If you want to do it all, my self publishing workbook (http://selfpublishingworkbook.com/) can be a great help and you can find help in this blog plus soon I will have some tutorials available on specific aspects of the publishing process for both print and ebooks. Unless you are already skilled in the various steps involved or can learn them, I suggest that you hire some help to ensure a quality book.

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New Posts About Simplifying Self Publishing

If you plan to do most of the work yourself because you have the skills or face a limited budget it takes some time and effort to learn the various aspects. I believe that the entire process is often overcomplicated or over priced unnecessarily. To do it yourself it’s important to keep things as simple as possible. I am including a series of posts on my publishing simplified blog and will be sharing some of that information on this blog also. This will include specific methods for simplifying every task. This post is an introduction to the many simple methods I use to write and publish my books and ebooks. These are methods that you can use to keep things simple.

I write and publish how-to books based on my personal experience but my methods will work just as well for any non-fiction books even if based on research and will even help with fiction books. In the next few posts I will cover every step I go through when writing and publishing my books. If you find them of value you can follow them and ask any questions you may have.

In the next post I will describe how I begin writing my books.

More On Simplifying Self Publishing

Since I publish books for other writers in addition to self publishing my own writing, the publishing aspect of my business takes a lot of my time but the writing is what I enjoy the most. As a one-person business I get to handle everything so simplifying is critical. I’m often told that I can make more money by printing my books in quantity and fulfilling the orders myself and I realize that’s true. Unfortunately, that takes a lot of time that I prefer to spend writing. And, realistically, if you consider the time spent in storing, packaging, and shipping out books, you really aren’t making more money, you are getting paid for the additional labor. For me POD (print on demand) is the only sensible method and Createspace is my choice to handle my printing and fulfillment worldwide. I do all the front end work including design, formatting, layout, cover creation, and then upload it all. Once I go through the proof process to make certain of the quality of the book, then I can focus on marketing and let Createspace handle all the fulfillment no matter where in the world the orders come from. This allows me the time to write.

Naturally, each of us has to choose the best path to self publishing but for me, after twelve books and 7 years, Createspace print on demand is what works best.

Simplify and Avoid Order Fulfillment For More Writing Time

As a writer/publisher I read many blogs and lists so I can keep learning. Many times I run into valuable tidbits that help me to simplify my work. I also read many messages about how to make more money by ordering books in quantity instead of using POD (print on demand). That advice I always pass up because I don’t believe that I’m actually making more money if I have to spend much more time fulfilling orders.

For me, POD in general and Createspace in particular provides a totally viable option that lets me concentrate on writing and publishing books. I don’t have the time nor inclination to maintain a thousand books in my garage and box up and ship out every order from a customer. Perhaps your income will be higher but when you consider all the time spent in the fulfillment tasks, are you really making more?

My next post will cover how my customer’s orders are fulfilled promptly worldwide and how that takes place without me doing any part of it.

Best Tool For Writing A (Fiction/Non-Fiction) Book?

I read several self publishing blogs and groups always with an eye to learn more since I believe learning is a lifelong endeavor. Recently I ran into a long exchange in one of the groups regarding which was the best tool (Word, Wordperfect, OpenOffice, Scrivner, Etc) for writing a book. From the gist of the discussion it was really about formatting and layout as opposed to writing. Since it was a self publishing blog, that makes sense but it was obvious to me that many people confuse writing with publishing and to me they are two different things.

I have used many “tools” for writing my books including Word, Wordperfect, OpenOffice, and even Wordpad. I find the tool that I used for writing is unimportant because I don’t do any formatting or layout when I write, I just write. I keep writing in the plain vanilla Normal style until I finish the book. Then I edit several times myself and have others take a shot at it until I finally arrive at a final manuscript with which I’m comfortable. Then I switch gears, or is it hats, and become a publisher. Once that happens none of those writing tools, which are office productivity not publishing tools, is acceptable unless you are just producing an ebook. If you are going for a printed book I advise the use of a good desktop publishing software. My favorite, which I have used for a dozen books, is PagePlus from the Serif software company in Britain. The latest version is X7 but X4, usually available for a fraction of the cost of the new version, does a great job as does version X5. Even if you went for the newest version and paid full retail it would cost only $99.00, an absolute bargain for a fine application.

No, I don’t sell the product nor do I benefit from it’s sale either from the new version on the Serif web site or older versions from Amazon. I just know it’s a great tool for publishing any book. So, no matter what software you choose to write your book, once you are ready to publish it’s time to find a publishing tool.

Reasons For Writing and Self Publishing A Book or eBook

I find the comments in blogs and groups regarding how anyone can now write and publish books or ebooks, and the negative impact this is having on the publishing business, disappointing. Some comments even mention that many would-be writers really have nothing to say. Even if there is some truth in those comments, it’s not relevant. Writing and publishing is a business and if I have an idea for a book, wanting to write it is reason enough. When published as a book, an ebook, or both, the market will decide if it has value.

Whether the books I choose to write become financial successes or total failures, all the choices, risks, and rewards are mine not those who choose to disparage books or self publishing because they don’t meet some perceived standard.

The many writing and self publishing blogs and groups provide a unique opportunity to learn and share valuable information. They would be of much more value if we stop concerning ourselves with the actions of those we may consider less talented and focus on producing the best possible books and ebooks.

The Self Publishing Business

Spending some time browsing self publishing blogs and lists indicates there are varying viewpoints regarding the topic. Most self publishers see it as a business and publish with the intent of profit. That is my motivation for every book I write or simply publish for someone else. As a one person business it’s critical that I handle every step as efficiently as possible and that’s why I use POD (print on demand) printing. I handle all my books using Createspace as a POD printer. I handle the writing and the publicity but Createspace handles the printing and the fulfillment of all my book orders leaving me free to do what I enjoy while still selling books.

Self Publishing Stigma?

Does self publishing still involve a stigma? It would be great if the answer were no but, in spite of the ever growing popularity of self publishing, it’s still a negative to many. A good friend of mine still seems pessimistic about self publishing even after publishing his own book. I helped him publish and it turned out quite good. He is very appreciative of my publishing help and the quality of his book. Still, he seems to view self publishing as a stigma.

At dinner recently, after complimenting my wife on her children’s book, which I published in 2007, he said she needed to find a traditional (real) publisher to market it successfully. I know he meant well but, as publisher of the book, it bothered a little. Since it was high praise for the book and a wonderful evening, I avoided starting a discussion about self publishing.

Obviously, my friend really believes a traditional publisher would do things with my wife’s book that we didn’t do, perhaps not realizing that traditional publishers do little marketing for books by unknown authors. After a few preliminary actions they turn it over to the author to market alone, unless he or she is famous.

I was learning when I published my wife’s book and we both learned fast and worked hard to get her book noticed, including sending out press releases, contacting media, and conducting book signings. Because my wife is a retired educator, we went even further and collaborated with a reading specialist to create a Teacher’s Guide which we made available for download to teachers at no cost. We followed that by contacting every school librarian in the state about the book and the Teacher’s Guide. We did manage to sell quite a few books but it wasn’t a big seller.

I don’t believe her book, “Lottie’s Adventure: A Kidnapping Unraveled,” suffered because it was self published. Perhaps a professional publicist could have done more with it since I was just starting out at the time and lacked first-hand experience, but another publisher was not the answer and still isn’t.

As long as even some who self publish view it negatively, self publishing will face a stigma. Nevertheless, if done professionally, self publishing can equal and even exceed traditional publishing and some, admittedly few, self publishers have already become millionaires and famous, in some cases receiving substantial offers from traditional publishers because of the fame. As I write this there are four Smashwords, self published ebooks on the New York Times Best Seller list. So, in spite of the stigma, it would seem that the most important thing about a book is still the quality. If it is informative or entertaining and well marketed, who published it isn’t important.