Createspace Review ~ Self Publishing A Christian Novel

the-richest-heart-fc-blog

Today, I wanted to do a review of Createspace for any fellow, self-publishing authors out there. I have been using Createspace over the past year, and what an adventure it has been! Let me start by saying that ultimately I’m pretty satisfied with the company. So far they have given me great customer service, and I was able to achieve the end results I wanted. With that said, I will admit that not everything has been a piece of cake with Createspace either. This is going to be a balancing review showing the things about Createspace that I like, the things I don’t like, and sharing the one really worrying experience I had with them recently.

Okay, the things I love about Createspace:

  1. Their wholesale price is incredible! I have a book with a little over 400 pages and it costs me less than $7 to print it. This means that if I order copies and sell them myself in local stores or at events, I can make a pretty decent profit on them!
  2. The pages feel quality. I like the weight and feel of their paper. I usually choose the cream colored paper, because I think it’s easier on people’s eyes when they read, and I really like the way the interior of my books turn out!
  3. Both the glossy and the matte covers turn out looking and feeling wonderful! I can say with certainty that (as long as there are no accidental mistakes) the quality of the cover material is good!
  4. This one seems obvious, but I love Createspace because they have allowed me to make my dream come true! Sharing my books with the world was important to me, and Createspace makes it possible for me not only to have my books in print, but to have them available on Amazon.com. It was really important to me that my books were available on Amazon. It’s a site that everyone recognizes and trusts.

Things that I don’t particularly like about Createspace:

  1. Instructions for formatting novels for Createspace aren’t exactly easily found. Maybe this was my own fault and lack of observation, but it took a lot of trial and error to format my novels. After doing a lot of fiddling with the margins and trim size of my document, I finally realized that Createspace offered Microsoft Word templates. That would have been a life saver if I had only known it sooner, but somehow I missed it! This isn’t really a mark against Createspace. But it would be so, so nice of them to make their template page a little more conspicuous so authors could find it right off the bat!
  2. Formatting the cover image was…confusing. So, Createspace offers templates for creating a properly sized cover image depending on the trim size you have chosen for your book. I used it and designed my front cover. I thought that I did it just right, but each time I upload the image to Createspace, it notifies me that the image was sized incorrectly and that they had to adjust it. Ultimately, the image works. Createspace resizes it and it ends up looking fine, so no real problem. But I’m still confused. If I used a template, then why does it say it was sized incorrectly? Again, this may be my own lack of understanding. Formatting cover images for Createspace is tricky¬† and I wish that they could give us a more in depth tutorial about it.
  3. You are unable to preview your uploaded cover image until after Createspace has reviewed the media for 24 hours. This is always so frustrating, because since formatting is a little tricky and slightly uncertain, you won’t know if you did the sequence of converting JPEG to PDF right for 24 hours (sometimes a bit less). It’s inconvenient, but perhaps Createspace has a very good reason for this step, so we’ll just excercise some patience and wait to see the results.
  4. The ink for the cover art is darker than expected. I’m not saying this is a big problem or frustration to me, but it’s definitely something to be aware of. If you’ve made your cover rich with dark hues, you might want to lighten it just slightly or some of your darkest objects may not be fully visible.
  5. Createspace only allows you to make books which are 22 pages in length or longer. Now, I’m sure they have a good reason for this one, maybe their printing machines need to have 22 pages in order to bind them together, I don’t know, but it’s still slightly disappointing. As well as novels, I am a children’s book author/llustrator. Children can’t handle a lot of pages, their attention span runs out too quickly. I’m afraid that 22 pages is too long for some ages, which means that I can’t publish my small picture books through Createspace unless I group several of them together.That can be done, but it isn’t the way I envisioned my books being published. For picture books that are shorter than 22 pages, I would suggest you look into thebookpatch.com. If you’re interested in that company, you can go check out the reviews which I wrote about my experiences with them.

Okay, now to share my dramatic experience. Keep in mind that the following account is in no way meant to paint Createspace in a negative light. In the end, I was totally happy with them and I was a satisfied customer. Here it goes: this December, I had made plans to go to the local Christmas Bazaar. I was so excited because it was the first time I could present both of my novels to my lovely town’s people. So, as soon as I had formatted my second novel and gotten it uploaded to Createspace, I ordered a few copies.I don’t know why, but I had a sort of premonition that something was going to go wrong. Time wise, I knew that I was cutting things close and I was kind of scared that the books wouldn’t come in time for the Bazaar. But, they did! I was really glad, but my joy quickly turned to horror. When I opened the box, I noticed that my cover was a little bit weird looking. The left margin was a bit cropped. I thought “Oh no, I must not have formatted it right!”. Disgruntled but trying to make the best of things, I decided that the appearance of the cover wasn’t bad enough to worry about. On further inspection however, more problems arose. As I took each book out of the box, I noticed that some of them had bent corners. The box was way too small! The packaging was a little bit sloppy. There was also a glue-like substance smudged over the back covers and spines of the books, and when I looked inside, I noticed that the left margin was cropped there too! When you held the page in your hand, you barely had enough room for your thumb to rest on the page without covering the text. I knew that this was a factory mistake, because when I formatted my book, I made sure that the margins were roomy. I grabbed a measuring tape and discovered that the books had been made over a quarter inch smaller than my selected trim size. Compared to the proof copy I had ordered a couple weeks earlier, they were very small! Yes, you can imagine that I was a very discouraged girl at that moment. But, I got on the phone with Createspace, and my troubles began melting away. Here’s were my complaints end and my praise for this company begins. They have excellent customer service! Yes, I did have to wait on hold for a long time. No problem. Once my call was put through, the man on the other end was so friendly and helpful! He listened to my story and immediately took action, giving me instructions on how to send the defective books back and ordering a replacement shipment right away. He promised that they were going to make sure that the books looked right before I got them, and he gave me free priority shipping! I was holding my breath so to speak, because the Bazaar was only days away! To my delight, the new shipment of books arrived the evening before the Bazaar and they looked splendid! Since Createspace was so good about righting their wrong, I don’t hold this dramatic experience against them. I know what their printing quality is usually like, (excellent), and even though I got one batch of defective books, I’m hoping it was a short lived error. I am a happy customer! I got a box full of beautiful books and had so much fun sharing them with people at the Christmas Bazaar! So, there’s my story and my review about Createspace. One of these days, I’m really hoping to put out a post about formatting books and uploading them to Createspace. I don’t claim to be a professional, but hey, I went through trials, errors, headaches and more until I finally created a book that I am proud of! Maybe my experiences will help others avoid all of those time consuming errors as they make their dreams come true! Oh, and if anyone has suggestions or experiences, or if you know something I don’t, I would love to hear your thoughts about Createspace, self publishing, marketing etc…! If you’d like to check out my two novels, you can take a look here! They’re available in both paperback and kindle formats, and you can read the first few chapters on Amazon.com! You can also follow me on Goodreads! You can find my novels posted there, and take a look at my favorite books to read! I love sharing my favorite reads, discovering new ones, and writing reviews from a Christian perspective. Have fun, keep writing and I wish you the best!

The Book Patch Review ~ My Novel in Print

Quite a while back, I reviewed a company called The Book Patch (TBP). I am a self published author and illustrator. For a few years now, I’ve been enjoying the adventure of building stories and sharing them with the world! I have written three children’s picture books and just recently, I completed and illustrated a middle grade novel called “A Hero at Heart”. I can’t tell you how excited I am! In the near future, I’ll be putting this book on Amazon.com and I’ll be documenting my experience using Createspace’s print on demand services. But today, I wanted to make one more review about The Book Patch.

Lately, I’ve been hearing some disturbing news about TBP. People have been noting that the company haven’t been answering their e-mails or phone calls. This kind of unnerved me. I hadn’t worked with TBP for probably a year or more, and I had to wonder whether the company had changed their quality. I can’t speak for their present customer service. When I dealt with them years ago, I had a wonderful time e-mailing them and getting all of my questions answered. I haven’t had a reason to e-mail or call recently. But, I set out to discover whether their printing quality was still good. This morning, I can say with pleasure that it is. I just received my first copy of “A Hero at Heart”, and I found it pretty satisfactory. The printing is excellent, the cover is beautiful and the paper feels quality to me. To be perfectly honest, I’ll mention the one flaw that I found. The book had a fine line where the corner got slightly bent (probably during packaging). It’s hardly noticeable and I’m not that worried about it. In the paragraph below, you’ll see that working with TBP isn’t always smooth sailing, but in my opinion, the product and quality is worth it.

For those who haven’t read my previous reviews and are interested in using TBP’s services. I’ll give you a few tips and thoughts. Tip #1. have patience with the website. When you go to upload your PDF and Front Cover image, you may find that the website glitches for several seconds and then pops up a window that says that a “script” has stopped working. Each time this happens, I find the only way to move forward is to click “stop script” and then the website will carry on. Tip #2. Make sure your PDF is the right size. The Book Patch will warn you if you’ve chosen a book size that doesn’t match your PDF. Do make sure you get this part right, or your book will not turn out. Tip #3. Don’t expect your order to come quickly. Printing takes quite a while. If you’re pressed for time and need your books printed for a specific occasion, make sure you order (I’m guessing here) about three weeks ahead of time. My book took two weeks and three days to print and ship to my house. Tip #4: Don’t expect a confirmation e-mail when you place your order or when your book ships. I don’t know if this is a set in stone fact, but I didn’t get either. It kind of scared me at first, but it didn’t mean a thing. My book still got here!

So, to sum up, I am still very pleased with TBP and would definitely order from them again.

 

Publishing with The Book Patch (A Review)

There isn’t much said about The Book Patch.com, so I thought I’d be one of the first few to write a review about this company. I have been working with TBP for about a month. I published my first children’s story “A Baby in the House” through them, and I am extremely satisfied with their service and quality. For an example of TBP’s printing quality, check out my last post “My Self-published Book in Print”. I hope this is helpful!

What is TBP:

TBP is a small, print-on-demand publishing company. They have been acknowledged by the Better Business Bureau.

 

Pros and What TBP Offers:

Free to sign up

Free set up

Free option to publish on TBP’s online book store

Optional Paid Services (i.e. book layout templates etc…)

Upload your own PDF for free or use their free writing editor to compose your novel and let them turn it into a PDF.

A Simple and Liberating Policy (you retain all rights)

TBP does not take royalties.

Great printing quality

Great wholesale prices for the author (order 1 or one hundred + copies and then distribute yourself.)

Very friendly customer service

TBP offers “Buy it Now” Buttons for your blog when using their online bookstore.

You can buy and upload an ISBN number through TBP which will appear on the back cover of your book.

 

Cons and What TBP does not offer:

A few minor glitches concerning the writing editor (slow loading, slow saving, doesn’t upload pictures very well)

When selling through TBP’s online bookstore there is a $40.00 royalty threshold which must be met before your check is sent.

TBP does not distribute your book to bookstores and they do not make your book available to retailers like Amazon.com or B&N.