After having just written an article on all that is wrong with Dell & Asus, it is time for a little balance with some brief comments about a good vendor & service. This is a little out of the norm for my blog posts as it has to do with book publishing. In some of my downtime I turned a silly little story into a children’s picture book (thanks in large part to talented illustrator Bruce Arant).
After a bit of research I ended up doing my first publication on Createspace. They had decent prices and a simple interface to get started. They also were a bit less expensive than some other online services like Lulu and also have direct ties to Amazon listings. The entire process went well, if a bit automated and impersonal.
Kickstarter to Createspace
Recently, through an odd series of events having to do with Musiplicity (mynewest startup), I ended up getting a Kickstarter account. I was trying to learn about their selection process and the parameters that were keeping them from approving Musiplicity as a project. I decided to try getting my children’s book on the site. Sure enough, my project was approved. The project? Make a hard-cover edition of the book.
Based on my initial research the process of creating a hard-cover self-published book was going to be a chore. Not too mention expensive.
Createspace To the Rescue
After having been approved for creating a hardcover book, I now need to do some real homework to find out what costs were involved so I could set my “fund price”. How much money would I need to raise to get this done and do it right? Initially the word coming back “from the street”, and from a bunch of book publishing firms, was that I need to create at least 500 books if not 1,000 in order to even get started printing a hardcover copy. Doing this one-at-a-time at Lulu was going to price the books out of the market at $16 each. Most vendors were quoting $10k or more with a 1,000 unit minimum run. Setting up the art and content? Another $500-$1000. This was looking like a $15,000 project.
During the research process, my admin assistant happened to ping Createspace. Turns out they have a well-downplayed service for creating hardcover books. They don’t advertise it because they won’t list, distribute, or even drop-shop orders via an automated system. There are some different requirement for doing that and they are not setup to handle it efficiently.
However, Createspace *does* have a hardcover book option. In fact they have both a dust jacket over cloth option and a laminate option (color images printed right on the hardcover). Not only do they have the service, they will convert your paperback copy into a hardcover copy for $99!
That is a great deal. Every other printing firm charges no less than $500 to do any sort of conversion to a hardcover edition. Createspace is not only 1/5th the price but they also include the ISBN and do all the work based on your prior paperback edition setup.
Createspace : Stellar Customer Service
Not only is the service a great price and a great deal, the most amazing part to me was the exceptional customer service they provided. For a $99 service I received several emails from a knowledgeable representative from the Createspace headquarters in North Charleston, SC. Sara not only answered all of my questions but did so in a timely fashion and convinced me that this is truly an “everything you need to get there” service.
On top of answering my email, Sara took the time to call me to ensure I understood the process and all my questions were answered. She even answered the phone on the first ring when I called. When was the last time you called ANY business line and actually spoke to a real person? Especially on the first pick-up without going through the 37-step menu?
For anyone that is considering doing self-publishing I highly recommend Createspace. If you decide you need something a little above & beyond the norm, email them and ask for someone like Sara. It is truly a great service at a great price. Even better, although you can’t get their standard distribution service you CAN order as many “author copies” of the hardcover as you’d like. Order them one-at-a-time and put in the address for your customers and they’ll even ship them direct.
The price is fair, the service is outstanding.
Great job Creatspace.