Saturday, April 26, 2014

Working with Createspace: What size book? What color paper?! What is ISBN? WHERE AM I???

Hello lovely blog readers!

Today, we are going to talk about publishing through Createspace and how to make some of those pesky decisions that you have to make when you decide to indie publish through Amazon.

FIRST DECISION (chose wisely!)

Will you publish e-book only, or paperback only or both? It would be silly-pants to do paperback only, because once you have all that uploaded, Amazon will import everything FOR YOU into KDP and the e-book world, and the more exposure the better. But I know a few people who started e-book only, or who currently sell e-book only.

Some things to think about: e-book is easier. You don't need a full spread (that sounds dirty) which includes the spine and back blurb stuff for cover art, you just need the front cover. It's also very quick to publish e-book only (once you've spent half your life crafting the dang novel in the first place).

Why would someone chose e-book only? Well, maybe you don't have the time or resources to have a full blown cover designed. Maybe you need to make some money to pay for said cover, so you want to see what you can get with the e-book and THEN get the paperback version available.

What did I do? I did both almost simultaneously, and I'm glad I did. I got to hold a paper copy in my hands, and I was able to review the paperback and find more things I wanted to change, formatting issues, etc. before I hit publish on the ebook. Also...YOU GET TO HOLD A PHYSICAL COPY IN YOUR HANDS! Come on, we all want that, right? Yes, I had to spend a little bit more money and time, but I feel it was worth it.

DECISION PART DEUX

So, you log into Createspace, you enter in all the easy stuff: Title, author name, is this is a series, etc. And then comes something funky...ISBN. WHAT IS THIS? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I See Buggy Noobs?

ISBN is International Standard Book Number. (Warning: what follows is information I've gleaned from various sources across the interwebs, which are hopefully accurate. I know, I know, everything I read on the internet MUST BE TRUE!)

Your ISBN is what the industry uses to track and distribute your book. For example, when you strike it real big and libraries and bookshops want to sell your book, they find and track it using your ISBN. When you become a bazillionaire and everyone wants to represent you and publishing houses are begging at your door for the chance to wipe your sweaty brow, they use the ISBN to see how many sales you've made with a particular title.

When you choose your ISBN on Createspace, you have three options.

Option One: Free Createspace assigned ISBN. This is free. You have access to Creatspace's expanded distribution, which means more potential buyers. Things to consider: people will see that your publisher is Createspace and they will know you are an indie author (SIDEBAR: I saw this on multiple sites and I am kinda annoyed by it. I mean, as someone who reads a lot of both indie and traditionally published works, I really don't care who published it, I care whether the book is good or not. Also, if you want to self-publish your work and you're that concerned about what others are going to think about it being a self-published work...maybe self-pubbing isn't the right path for you.)

Another BIGGER con is that you cannot use your Createspace ISBN to publish your book through other channels. If you decide later you want to push your book through another distribution channel, you may need a different ISBN for the same product and that's when things get sticky, distribution wise and sales-tracking info will be harder to nail down.

Option Two: Custom ISBN. I don't really understand the draw with this one because you pay $10, and you still cannot use this ISBN through other publishing platforms.

Option Three: Purchase Custom Universal ISBN for $99 where you can use this ISBN to publish across other platforms, and still have access to Amazon's expanded distribution channel.

Option Four: Purchase your own ISBN through Bowker or another ISBN agency. This seems to be the best choice, but again, it's going to cost you. The cost for one ISBN through Bowker is $125. They give you deals if you purchase more. For example, you can purchase 10 for $295, or $29.50 per ISBN.

Phew. I know, that's a lot of nonsensical information. I guess it comes down to how much you want to spend and if you think you're going to want to distribute elsewhere or get an agent/publishing deal down the road. It will be easier for them to see how well you've sold if you have one ISBN across multiple platforms.

Here's a chart that may help.


Price
Imprint
Distributors
CreateSpace-Assigned ISBNFreeCreateSpace Independent
Publishing Platform
CreateSpace
Custom ISBN*$10You chooseCreateSpace
Custom Universal ISBN*$99You chooseYou choose
Provide Your Own ISBNExisting ISBN
Required
You chooseYou choose

FREECreateSpace-Assigned ISBN

  • CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform is your book's imprint of record. If you select Amazon.com or Amazon's European websites as distribution channels, this imprint will be reflected on your book's detail page.
  • You can sell your book through Amazon.com, Amazon's European websites, a CreateSpace eStore, and all Expanded Distributionchannels.
  • This ISBN can only be used with the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Your book's ISBN information will be registered with BooksInPrint.com®

$10Custom ISBN*

  • You choose your book's imprint of record. If you select Amazon.com or Amazon's European websites as distribution channels, this imprint will be reflected on your book's detail page.
  • You can sell your book through Amazon.com, Amazon's European websites, a CreateSpace eStore, and some† Expanded Distributionchannels.
  • This ISBN can only be used with the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Your book's ISBN information will be registered with BooksInPrint.com®

$99Custom Universal ISBN*

  • You can use this ISBN with any publisher.
  • You choose your book's imprint of record. If you select Amazon.com or Amazon's European websites as distribution channels, this imprint will be reflected on your book's detail page.
  • You can sell your book through Amazon.com, Amazon's European websites, a CreateSpace eStore, and some† Expanded Distributionchannels.
  • Your book's ISBN information will be registered with BooksInPrint.com®

Provide Your Own ISBN

  • You can purchase your own ISBN fromBowker or through your local ISBN agency.
  • If you are reprinting your book, the title, author name, and binding type must remain the same. A new edition requires a new ISBN.
  • Your book's imprint must match what's on file with your ISBN.
  • You can sell your book through Amazon.com, Amazon's European websites, an eStore, andsome† Expanded Distribution channels.




DECISION PART THREE

The next thing you will have to decide is trim size and interior type. You will be given the option of  black and white text only, or full color. Obviously, if you have pictures or colorful drawings and such in your work, you're going to pick full color. Full color is more expensive to print, so it will be more expensive for people to buy, and you will have to spend more to get a proof copy. According to the Createspace calculator for manufacturing costs, a full color 200 page book (6X9 dimension) will cost over $14 to print. Black and white interior (text only) with same specs is $3.25. Pretty big difference.

Another decision to be made here is the color of your paper, white or cream? White is pretty glaring when you get a print book (My eyes! My eyes!), and industry standard is cream for fiction, white for non-fiction. I went with cream since my book is fiction, and I think it's a little easier to read. My pasty white legs have blinded enough people as it is, no need to stretch that to my novels as well.

Next, you pick trim size. 6 X 9 is the most recommended option with the widest distribution options, and I suppose you may pick a smaller size or larger size depending on your page count and what it will look like. The good news is that you can order a proof copy and review it before hitting publish, allowing you to make changes and find out which size/dimension will work best for you.

Is your brain hurting yet?

And wow this post got waaay longer than I thought it would! So before I bore you to tears we'll stop here and continue another time with even MORE decisions you get to make when indie publishing.

Coming up soon: Formatting! Uploading! Waiting! Oh my!



3 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you're doing this because I will be using all this info at some point! :D Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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    1. Eventually, I will create a tab at the top of the blog called "Resources for Writers" and I'll compile links from my blog and elsewhere that will hopefully help! With both the writing and publishing journey :)

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  2. Thanks for this great and comprehensive overview of CreateSpace, what it is, and what you can and can't do, Mary. I've only recently begun to explore indie publishing. I have one long short story published on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. But there is still a lot left to learn. I'll keep an eye out for the Resources for Writers tab you mention above. Thanks again, Joe

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