Thursday, 3 January 2008

Dual-wielding Lulu and CreateSpace

Erin finished reading my CreateSpace proof copy of City of Masks yesterday (the replacement one that they sent after they sorted out why the ligatures were disappearing), so today I made the edits, re-uploaded the files, and also uploaded the Lulu versions. I made the mistake of setting the size for the CreateSpace edition, completely arbitrarily, to 8.5 x 5.5 inches, and that's a size that Lulu doesn't offer. Next time it'll be 9 x 6 for both and I'll be able to use the same interior file (though I'll still have to make a small change to the cover, as CreateSpace has more trim on their cover spec than Lulu).

I'm using both services because CreateSpace gets me into Amazon for free, but Lulu gives me much better discounts for bulk orders - they cut in earlier (at 26 copies instead of 50) and are more generous, so it's worth my while to put the book through them as well so that I can order bulk copies to sell directly off my website, to give to people who helped me by offering critique, to send out for review, give to my family and all the rest of the things one does.

There weren't very many changes. One was to the blurb, which was originally written before I finished the book. Blurbs are traditionally written last of all (I know, because when I worked as a book editor I was several times called on at the last moment to do so). So I souped it up following her suggestions. It now uses the keywords "adventure" and "Shakespeare".

Another was slightly embarrassing. Erin didn't know what "barratry" was (in a short list of crimes), and when she asked me, I had to confess that I wasn't sure either, but I thought it was some sort of violent crime, like assault. "You really shouldn't use words that you don't know the meaning of," she said, and as is so often* the case, she was right. I looked it up today. The connection with assault was all in my head (probably because it sounds like "battery"). It's the crime of, among other things, sinking a ship in order to claim the insurance. So I changed it to "assault".

I want to write in depth on the differences between the two print-on-demand houses, but a couple of them I found today: Lulu have automatic, immediate checking that your uploaded cover file is the right size (because of an error I'd made - confusing points and pixels - mine wasn't). CreateSpace's checking is apparently manual, or at least batched overnight.

The other difference is that CreateSpace insists that you receive and sign off a proof before you can release the book; Lulu suggests that it's a really good idea to get one before selling, but you don't have to.

So now the two are racing, since I uploaded the files immediately after one another. Who will win?

*But not always. Sorry, Chook.


nathan118 said...

So how did the two work out Mike? Did you end up getting an ISBN with lulu and then using it on both books? Where are you selling more?

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

My follow-up post comparing Lulu and CreateSpace tells part of the story, but only part. You also need to read Amazon acts like a corporation.

Because I'm in New Zealand, I got an ISBN from the NZ Government issuer - it's free. I used it on both versions.

I have sold a few copies (rather disappointingly few, given how many people have listened to my podcast version of the novel, but anyway) through Lulu, and none whatsoever through CreateSpace or Amazon. Of course, I'm not promoting them as much because I get a smaller royalty than from Lulu, which may have something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. I am a new author and I was looking for information for who to publish with. I certainly hope your sales pick up.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great information. I am a new author and I was looking for some actual authors views on self publishing. If you have any other adice on the subject feel free to contact me.

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

Thanks, Twilightmusings, and all the best for your self-publishing venture. It is worth the work, I think.

If you look at the Self-Publishing tag on the blog here you will see everything I have to say about it - you can also subscribe to a feed (Atom, I think) that is just the posts with that tag, which means that as I post more you'll pick them up in your feed reader.

Andy said...

Hey Mike - I'm a kiwi sci-fi POD author too! We need some kind of support group for our addiction!

My book got a bit out of hand size-wise and had to be split into tow halves - part one is out at and is called 'Elysianh Fields'. i'm thinking of using createspace too....

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

Good to know there are more of us around, Andy, and best of luck with the book.

Jake said...

Awsome! Is createspace free?

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

CreateSpace is not totally free because you do have to buy a proof copy of your book and have it shipped to you as part of the process before your book can be available for sale. Other than that, there is no upfront charge. They have a premium subscription-based deal where you get a higher proportion of each book's sale price, but it's optional.

As an update, I have now sold a couple of books on Amazon, I think because someone (one of my podcast listeners) was kind enough to review it there.