Brandie asked me about this one. I hadn't heard about CreateSpace.com before, and had fun searching around their website. I only looked at books, since this is the area that I have a marginal degree of familiarity with which to evaluate.
The site is owned by amazon, which means it has the advantage of allowing your book to be listed here. The production costs looked reasonable, especially for the pro plan. It works like lulu.com in that you upload the files without upfront costs. On the website, it looks good. Since the company is part of amazon, though, I'm wondering how accessible they might be if there's a problem -- based on my own experiences getting errors in my own amazon listing cleared up. Let me just say amazon is a fortress, insulating itself from a tactic of repeated calling and emailing that I've normally found effective. I found a forum that discussed CreateSpace.com HERE -- it seemed like people were either very happy or very unhappy with it. Books seemed to have a few more problems than DVDs, although since this is an extremely small and unrepresentative sample, it's hard to draw conclusions. Take it as interesting information.
Brandie, I'm sorry I'm not able to give a more detailed evaluation.
OK, let me move for a moment to a few general thoughts I have on self-publishing. Remember, please, that I am NOT an expert in this field, although I have done a lot of research and have produced my own book through this process. For a good starting resource to learn about self-publishing, check out Dan Poynter's site HERE. He has many free resources available on his website. I'm also planning to compile a list of helpful books, hopefully soon...
Your publishing venue should be determined by your goals for your book. No more, no less. If you want to be taken seriously as an author, you are going to have to have a serious press. Traditionally published authors immediately have credibility. Self-published authors, especially of fiction, rightly or wrongly are not generally respected in the literary field. In other words, if you self-publish you are going to have to jump additional hurdles.
Publishing entities like lulu.com, createspace.com, and other book packaging companies are well-known self-publishing venues. If you publish with one of them you'll be marking your book with a stigma that will be almost impossible to erase. This is a complicated issue based also on marketing etc., but in general is true, and this is also why I almost always discourage people from using book-packaging companies if they want to commercially sell their book. Yes, there are some exceptions with a few, really excellent, book packagers. Alternatively, if you want a limited print run, say for your community group, or have a built-in platform such as being an in-demand speaker, this self-published label won't matter as much. Again, what are your goals?
I promise, I'm going to start a series on this that starts at the beginning, since I feel like I'm jumping into the middle of a complicated field. It's great that you're all so interested in this! Gee, I actually know something useful :-)
Have a great weekend.
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