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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I get my book ready to ship off to my editor, I've started researching the various PoD options (CreateSpace, Xlibris, etc. etc.) and the plethora of options is truly mindboggling. Not only that, so many of them give me a vibe that indicates I should be very wary (particularly Xlibris). I'm starting to wonder if it's even worthwhile to pursue PoD. I'd have to sell a heck of a lot of copies to break even on them. I'm already paying for cover art, promotional art for my blog, maps, and editing; I really don't want to invest more money on an option for which I'll not see any return.

I know things are changing at Amazon and they're starting to dip their toes into the market as a publisher of print books. Now, I'm thinking maybe I should just make my book available to eReader and hope it gets noticed by someone who'll put it into print. It seems like I have as much of a chance of making money on it that way as I do putting it print myself. It's all very frustrating.

The type of stories I write will (probably) not ever be considered "literature" or the next "Great American Novel." I suspect they'll be just the sort of thing that is perfect for e-readers, and I think those are the wave of the future anyway; dead tree volume won't cease to be, but they'll be come more collector items than things sought after be people who devour 3-4 books a week. So is it even worthwhile for me to bankroll that myself?

Just to be clear, I fully intend to press forward with the e-reader editions (though I'm starting to think buying a Mac so I can get it into Apple's iBookstore is a better investment than a full-service POD option), and Wings of Twilight will be on Kindle and Nook (at the very least), this fall.
 

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Hi Hans,

  It can be overwhelming.  There are so many out there to choose from and it is all new territory for most of us.  I've only published on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.  I did however upload The Red Balloon as a free book to Smashwords.  I would check out Smashwords as they make your ebook available to many different vendors.  It is also free.

I haven't dared to dip my toes into the POD world yet.  I don't understand it and it intimidates me, but I've heard Create Space is a good place.

Welcome to this new way of publishing.  Read through the threads here and ask for help when you need it.  I think you will find a lot of great information from other authors here who have "been there done that" and this will be a good resource to help you make your decisions on which way to go.  Congrats on publishing!
 

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CreateSpace is easy (the templates make it a cinch), the quality is quite high, and if you don't pay for the Pro Plan, then all it costs you is the cost (and shipping) of one proof copy. (If you do choose the Pro Plan, which gives cheaper author and proof copies, higher royalties, and the ability to get greater distribution, then it costs only $39.)

I make $1.59 royalty per copy sold through Amazon, $4 per copy sold through CreateSpace directly (not that anyone has bought through there, LOL), or 17 cents per copy sold through a third-party bookstore. Considering as it has only cost me $39, plus about $7 (for the proof plus shipping), it's roughly the cost of 20-something print copies. Not much at all. The book has only been on sale for a couple of days, but I'm not concerned about making that cost back at all. I give it a week or two at most (possibly just a few days).

Seriously, POD can be very inexpensive. You don't need an expensive service. Createspace's templates are incredibly easy to use. I'm completely design and techno-illiterate, and if I can do it, anyone can.
 

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Something worth mentioning is that quite a few book bloggers / reviewers are willing to accept independent authors but only take print versions. A POD version is not necessarily a bad thing to have in your back pocket, even if it doesn't generate sales.

nb: None of my stuff is POD-ready, for silly bureaucratic reasons* unrelated to how good or bad an idea I think it is.

*It's complicated and really not all that interesting.
 

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Marcin Wrona said:
Something worth mentioning is that quite a few book bloggers / reviewers are willing to accept independent authors but only take print versions. A POD version is not necessarily a bad thing to have in your back pocket, even if it doesn't generate sales.
THIS.

Even if you don't make back the cost of getting the book ready for POD in actual print sales, it's entirely possible that it will generate e-book sales if you are able to send print copies to influential reviewers who will only accept hard copies.
 

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I've gone through CreateSpace, because it is associated with Amazon, and very NEATLY links directly to my ebook version. It's simple, easy, and I don't worry about fine print that will bite me later.

With other sites (Xulon, Xibris, etc) I found all kinds of loopholes that I didn't like. Nothing that I'll bash them about here. Just personal preference.

I have purchased the pro plan, and sold about 20 actual print books to friends, family, and people at my credit union (not kidding... they discovered I was an author and wanted a copy to put on display.) So far, for the approx $75 spent there (plus the cost of the books), I've broke even, and it has generated a TON of conversation that has resulted in ebook sales. In short, don't spend more than $100 to get it printed. I have a friend that went with Xulon and paid $2000 to have books printed. He kicked himself later.

Just watch your Ps and Qs, and get a few copies in-hand. Show those around to people you talk to, and sell YOUR copies for the same price Amazon is charging for your print copies. They'll be the BEST advertising you've ever made, and you'll make money on them.

You can also sell the print copies on Ebay. I've lost a little on that route after ebay fees, paypal and shipping, but it's generated some interest in the ebook again, so I think it's paid off in the end.
 

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Check out Smashwords to get into the ibookstore. It's free so you won't have to buy a mac  ;). Smashwords will also get you into bn (if you choose), Kobo, Sony, Diesel, and others, I think.

Good luck. I know little to nothing about the pod services.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So, basically, if I take my time, take care of formatting (which is no problem; I've done page layout professionally) myself and all that, then I'd be stupid NOT to put it up on CreateSpace for PoD. It's only a money sink if I start paying them to do a lot of the work for me?

Might have to invest in a cover designer, then. I've started the ball rolling on artwork, but I'm not terribly confident in my abilities to create a good-looking book cover.
 

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Hi There,
I used createspace for my paperback and I have to say, they were unbelievably professional and always on top of things and willing to answer my endless questions. They did everything I asked--redid things that I didn't realize I had not done well until I saw it in print/design. And they are not expensive. My book has been out for 1 month and I've earned back my money on the actual print copies already. I even used a high cost, traditional book cover artist (that's where all my cost was) and I am doing really well. Approx. 1700 books sold so far. Many are ebooks and many are my own hand sales at my signing and beyond. The bottom line to me is: readers don't give a damn who published the book. They just need to know it's out there. It is possible to recoup your costs. My marketing costs?...those I'm still earning back...

Kathie
 

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I would say that Createspace is a great option.  I made my books into paper for years via Lulu, so had some experience with the templates, design, and covers, but CS was actually easier in the end (and associated with Amazon).  I second the vote for  Smashwords, which distributes all my books to everyone but Amazon.

Good luck!
 
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HansCummings said:
So, basically, if I take my time, take care of formatting (which is no problem; I've done page layout professionally) myself and all that, then I'd be stupid NOT to put it up on CreateSpace for PoD. It's only a money sink if I start paying them to do a lot of the work for me?

Might have to invest in a cover designer, then. I've started the ball rolling on artwork, but I'm not terribly confident in my abilities to create a good-looking book cover.
You've got it.
 

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I'm going back-and-forth about doing a print version for my historical novel which I will release towards the end of the summer.

Aside from everything mentioned above, one big advantage is that it can boost your e-sales, simply because Amazon will list the Kindle price as a discount.

What I mean is, if you have your e-book at $2.99 and your print version at $11.99 - Amazon will highlight the savings in red ink saying something like SAVE $9!

I'm sure this has an effect on your Kindle sales.
 

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HansCummings said:
So, basically, if I take my time, take care of formatting (which is no problem; I've done page layout professionally) myself and all that, then I'd be stupid NOT to put it up on CreateSpace for PoD. It's only a money sink if I start paying them to do a lot of the work for me?

Might have to invest in a cover designer, then. I've started the ball rolling on artwork, but I'm not terribly confident in my abilities to create a good-looking book cover.
Yup. Seriously, it pays for itself. Yes, e-books are a growing market, but many people don't read e-books, or maybe they'd just prefer a print copy anyway.
 

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Will someone address the pricing?  The one thing that always concerned me is that the price would have to be high in order to make a profit.  Is this right?  I don't think I've a book that is long enough to merit an 11 dollar price tag.  What is the norm?  Thanks so much.
 

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They have a royalty calculator on the site and you can play around with all kinds of different prices. All you need to know is your length and trim size, and then you can plug in prices to see what you make at each price point.

I'm selling at $6.99.
 
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JeanneM said:
Will someone address the pricing? The one thing that always concerned me is that the price would have to be high in order to make a profit. Is this right? I don't think I've a book that is long enough to merit an 11 dollar price tag. What is the norm? Thanks so much.
Just go to CreateSpace's website here: https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/#content5

You can put in your book length and then just see how much it'd cost with/without pro plan, and how much royalties you'd get at various markets (eStore, Amazon, and then expanded distribution). And if your book isn't that long, then just tweak the font and whatnot and make it a very short book. I've got Land of Ash for sale on Amazon at $5.99 through CreateSpace, and it's about 120 pages or so.
 

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David is correct...play around with font and spacing. I took what was a 200-page manuscript and turned it into a 146-page paperback, and the font sizing and spacing is very pleasing to read, actually. I've compared it to comparable paperbacks, and it's almost identically sized and spaced.

 

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Hans,

You'll need to have a cover regardless of the published format, so this should be done first.  I found POD through CreateSpace a bit challenging--especially for the cover--but I finally got it right after a few hours.  The cost is $10 or $12 for the proof copy, including shipping and handling.  If you wish to sell and make a decent profit, you'll have to purchase the "Pro Plan" for your book, which costs $39.  I recouped this small investment on the first day of sales.  Book quality is excellent at CreateSpace.

An important consideration at CreateSpace is page count and physical book dimensions.  I originally designed my paperbacks as 8.5" x 5.5" volumes.  This gave me page counts around 440.  CreateSpace charges by the page count, so publishing cost was about $6.50.  Amazon charges 40% to sell at Amazon.com, meaning the lowest price on the 8.5 x 5.5 volumes was about $11.00--with zero profit for author.  I reduced page count to 300 by going with a larger format--9.0" x 6.0" or 9.61" x 6.61"--and by reducing font point size from 12 to 11.  CreateSpace doesn't charge extra for larger format, so again you're paying only on the basis of page count.  By dropping to 300 pages, publishing cost fell to $4.25 each, meaning that I can sell below $10.00, give Amazon its 40% profit, and still earn nearly $2.00 per unit sold.  I steer my customers to CreateSpace, where the profit is only 20%, meaning I take $4.00 per book.  So far I've been getting about 50% sales thru Amazon, 50% thru CreateSpace, so I'm averaging about $3 royalty per book.

I continue to sell many more ebooks than paperbacks, but the paperbacks are good for those people who insist on paper.  Also, as some have already noted, some reviewers accept only paper, no ebooks.

CreateSpace is not problem-free, but I recommend them.  Cost is low, quality is high, and it's not terribly difficult to learn their system.
 
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