Hello 919 friends! Welcome to part 4 of my series of blog posts counting down from rough idea to published book. One important part of the countdown for anyone who wants to write a book is figuring out how to publish your work. Even if you know you're going the self-publishing route, you still have many choices about which self-publishing service you'll use. Today, I'll share my experience with two self-publishing companies: CreateSpace and Lulu.
CreateSpace: After just a few days of playing around with CreateSpace, I knew they were the company I was going to use to publish my book. They have great services and products, and they underpromise but overdeliver!
1. The books are generally much less expensive than on Lulu. After buying their Pro package (for just $39), the cost of my 168-page 6X9 book was $2.89 a copy. With Lulu, a copy of my book was $7.84.
2. The books were of excellent quality. I bought a proof of my book from both Lulu and CreateSpace to compare them. CreateSpace's proof had heavier paper and solid print throughout. In my Lulu book, there were some places that didn't have enough ink, or looked smeared. (The covers were awesome on both, though.)
3. The books shipped FAST! I sent away for several hundred copies of my book last Wednesday, and CreateSpace estimated I would get my books mid-May. But I came home yesterday to find 2 huge boxes of books on my porch! It looks like when they fill up a box, they go ahead and ship it, instead of holding everything until they can ship the entire order.
4. They list it on Amazon for you. 'Nuff said. :)
1. Fewer options. CreateSpace allows you to create paperback books in different sizes, but beyond that doesn't have as many options as Lulu does. (See Lulu Pro #1 below).
2. Less wiggle room. CreateSpace is the place to go when you've got your interior PDF and your cover totally done, and you're ready to publish it for all the world to see. There seem to be fewer opportunities to "play around" with your book on CreateSpace, because every file you upload has to be approved before you can use it. (See Lulu Pro#2 below).
Lulu: Lulu was the first service I used when I was getting my book ready, and it was a great way to get the hang of the self-publishing process!
1. Lots of options. Lulu allows you to do hardcover, softcover, photo books, calendars, and more in a variety of sizes. You also have more choices about binding--they offer saddle stitch and coil binding in addition to the perfect binding that CreateSpace offers.
2. You can revise like crazy. Unlike CreateSpace, Lulu doesn't require your files to get "approved" before you can use them. Because of this, you can revise and experiment to your heart's content! I uploaded .pdf after .pdf to Lulu as I tried out different margins and spacing, and it didn't slow down the publishing process at all.
3. Their cover designers are great. I used Lulu's $80 Custom Cover service, and the book came out looking like a million bucks!
4. They offer bulk discounts. Unlike CreateSpace, Lulu offers discounts if you buy tons of books.
1. Price. Even with the bulk discounts, it was still cheaper for me to buy 200 CreateSpace books than 200 Lulu books.
2. Paper and print quality on 6X9 perfectbound books. As I mentioned above, Lulu's paper was thinner, and the print quality wasn't as good. (However, the paper they use for smaller, saddle-stitch books is out of this world--thick, glossy, and gorgeous!)
3. Shipping time. Although Lulu is right down the street, it took them about a week longer to send my excerpts than it took CreateSpace to send my first batch of books.
So, what did I end up doing?
I like both CreateSpace and Lulu, because each has its own signature strengths. Because CreateSpace did a better job with my books, I went with them as my "publisher". But since Lulu gave me such a great intro to the publishing process, I wanted to send a little business their way, too. So I used Lulu to publish my excerpts to be used in press packs. Both the book and the excerpt look great!
What has been your experience with Lulu and CreateSpace? Please feel free to add your own expertise to these pro and con lists!