I've moved to another two blogs, one on writing, and one on general stuff like this one. Please come visit! MY NEW BLOGS:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Brandie asked me about this one. I hadn't heard about 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 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 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,, 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.


Michael said...

A good way for a writer to avoid the stigma of the Lulu etc. label is to really become a self-publisher.

After having bad experiences with several traditional publishers, I formed my own publishing company, obtained my own ISBNs, hired a cover designer and copy editor, and used Lightning Source to print my books via Print-On-Demand.

It's more work, but I make more money, books come out faster and my books are not stigmatized.

My books are available on,, and several book-selling websites I never heard of -- with no effort on my part.

Anyone who can use a PC can become a publisher today with a relatively small investment and a potentially big payoff.

Michael N. Marcus, author of "I Only Flunk My Brightest Students -- stories from school and real life"

Rita Gerlach said...

My advice --- if you are serious about being a novelist, work hard at submissions, and be patient until you do land a contract with a traditional publisher. I published with a pod publisher back in 01. My new novel is coming out in August through Abingdon. Comparing the two is like day and night. I am glad I waited.

Amy Deardon said...

Michael -- thanks for stopping by! Your book on amazon looks beautiful. Congratulations, and best wishes for a successful launch. I've already done some marketing ideas on my blog over the past few weeks, and plan a series going through the entire shebang of my own adventures, so stick around if you'd like.

BTW a printer with excellent prices and is a dream to work with (lots of support) for POD is -- check them out!

Everyone, Michael is exactly 100% correct. If you publish yourself rather than going through a traditional venue, no matter what you are going to put resources (time and money) in at the front end or the back. Do it right.

Amy Deardon said...

Rita has another excellent point. If you want to have a career as an author, a traditional publisher gives you automatic credibility. Self-published books often scream this, even with beautiful packaging, because the writing is NOT up to par. Traditionally published authors go through many editors and other people to make sure the book is as good as it can be.

Self-publishing is not a decision to be made lightly, folks.

Brandie said...

Amy, thank you so much for looking into Createspace for me, and for providing the link to the forum--that is extremely helpful. As are the rest of your insights on being self-published. This information, from someone who has done all of this, is priceless. Thanks again!