|Photo by adamr|
First of all, let's just say more often than not, living in Charleston doesn't allow for access to people like David. Typically, companies (large and small) in the publishing world aren't located in South Carolina.
New York? Yes.
Charleston? Um, no.
CreateSpace, however, is located in North Charleston, S. C. I was thrilled at the opportunity to hear from David without travelling to a conference to ask him my questions directly.
David and his colleagues were informative, knowledgeable, and willing to answer even the toughest questions to the best of their abilities. First, he reviewed the process of publishing a book with CreateSpace from start to finish. Then he discussed royalties, and finished with a Q&A session. Needless to say, tough topics came up like the Indie bookstores' boycott of Amazon products, the lack of returnability of CreateSpace products, and lack of access to Amazon Canada, just to name a few.
Here are my takeaways:
1. CreateSpace is just about as easy as it gets for new authors to upload a book, create a cover and hit publish. Now we all know that ease is not the most important thing when it comes to self-publishing, but for someone like me who has used other Print on Demand companies, ease is a welcome change. Who doesn't want easy?
2. CreateSpace (print books) and Kindle Direct Publishing (ebooks published for the Kindle) are NOT the same thing. While they are both owned by Amazon and work together, an author must create an account with both companies and upload your document to both companies. Definitely a downside when you are looking for a streamlined service.
3. Amazon Canada is not part of the distribution options when you publish with CreateSpace, yet Amazon Europe is. Is that a big deal? I think so.
4. Expanded Distribution is optional for $25. This means Amazon will make sure you are listed with Ingram and Baker & Taylor. But, let's face it, the chance that a bookstore will pick up your book when it's not returnable (and CreateSpace is not), is small at best. Unless you are the next Amanda Hocking, they will go with something else to fill that wild card spot on their shelf.
5. There are many different options when it comes to ISBNs through CreateSpace. The options range from the simplest (you are assigned of their ISBNs for free) to publishing as your with your own imprint and purchasing an ISBN at $99. This is a convoluted topic. Do your research before making a decision.
Overall, I was impressed with CreateSpace's software, their commitment to making publishing easy for everyone, and the fact that they recognize they may not be the perfect publishing route for everyone - but they're ok with that. They strive to do the best they can for the authors that choose them.
Finally, here was the Quote of the Day summarizing one attendee's take-away:
"You don't have to pick one way or another (traditional, hybrid publisher, or self-publishing); you just have to have quality content."