Thursday, February 21, 2013

Publishing-on-demand: I'm saying this for the last time...

I publish my crap with CreateSpace.

Yes, CreateSpace is part of the "evil empire" that is Amazon, and yes, one day Amazon will dictate what librarians will buy because they will control all the bestsellers by promoting whomever they want on their sites and by sending suggestions to all their Kindle users and creating the bestseller lists from their stock of Amazon authors. Yes, this will happen.

But when I read about libraries assisting their patrons with self publishing by getting a "print-on-demand" machine or service, I think or how much better it is with CreateSpace:
CreateSpace is free. Totally free. Completely free. No cost. Nada. As free as free can be. When I published I Came in Peece, I paid nothing. My only cost was for the 3 copies I bought for friends (total cost for 3 copies, shipped to me, around $12).

I did not pay for a proof copy because I proofed online. Free.
I did not pay for an ISBN which costs around $125-$140. This was provided free.
I did not pay for a bar code, usually $25. Also, free.

I did not pay to have anyone design my book cover because CreateSpace has a wizard for that. I uploaded my own photo and used the wizard for all other design elements. Again, free.

I don't remember the payment system, but you also need to complete that information. But I think you don't need to enter too much personal information if you want them to send you a check for your royalties (ha!), but you need to enter bank info if you want your money sent to direct deposit.

And when I was done, my book was available on its own CreateSpace web page AND also on Amazon.

And after a few days, the "Look Inside" feature was available so that anyone could preview my book. So preview it, you cheap bastard.

Now, you can hate Amazon for destroying all the traditional booksellers by being the online version of "when Walmart came to town."

Or you can hate them for giving that Chicago grandma dozens of naked lady books in her search results when she only wanted to find books for her tween granddaughter.

Or you can hate them for patenting "one-click" purchasing, which is actually 3-clicks since you need to click to sign-in before one-click becomes active, so the patent really covers what every online business had already been doing for years.

Or you hate them for selling The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure, by Phillip Greaves, or Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers, by David L. Riegel, which were a big stories a while back, so I don't even know if those books is still for sale, or if any of the thousands of other books that cover topics that might piss you off are currently for sale. Dunno.

Or you can hate them for not collecting sales tax that could have benefited your state for the last 15 years, and you can hate them for all the other reasons that we hate multi-billion-dollar companies.

But if you want to get your library patrons published so that they have the best possible exposure for their books and so their family and friends can purchase them, then you should consider using CreateSpace for your "makerspaces." I know this process is not "print on demand," which might be what your patrons want, especially those really old guys who don't expect to live out the week. But my order for my books got me in about nine days.

Now, CreateSpace is part of Amazon's family, but they don't seem to communicate that well, so it's a dysfunctional relationship. I had a lot of trouble getting my book, I CAME IN PEECE (read it!), in Kindle format even though it was supposed to be a simple click of a button to make it happen. But I had to create a whole new account on Amazon and upload everything myself without getting any help from CreateSpace. But now it's out there in all its Kindley goodness. And it's only 99 cents!

And since CreateSpace is free, you can try it by uploading anything. Yes, even your dreamy-dream journal.

FYI, I published a book back in the 1990s and the 500 copies I had to order (and pay for) for the minimum print run are still collecting dust in the attic. So this is new way to publish is practically a freakin miracle.