Actors dream of “seeing their name in lights” or on the big screen. Writers dream of seeing their name featured prominently on a book cover or on the New York Times Bestseller list. Many years ago, I had a friend who had written a novel. I was one of her early readers and got to hear bits and pieces of her journey to get the completed manuscript published. After much deliberation, she chose CreateSpace as the service to use to self-publish her book.
With some effort and attention to detail and the professional services offered through CreateSpace, I soon ordered her book as a beautiful paperback. It’s still on my bookshelf today. She took control and used CreateSpace to make her dream of being a writer come true. If you’ve decided to self-publish your book, you’ve no doubt heard about CreateSpace as an option. CreateSpace is a print-on-demand (POD) service affiliated with Amazon, one of the largest online retail companies in the world.
One huge advantage of CreateSpace that I discovered during my CreateSpace review process is they currently offer a sixty-day satisfaction guarantee. Another advantage to CreateSpace, for authors, is that your books are printed as they are ordered which means less cost to you up front. With CreateSpace you will need to pay for your proof copy and review it carefully because further revisions can rack up additional costs.
CreateSpace is a great option for writers to use to cut their teeth if they are thinking about self-publishing. I discovered during my CreateSpace review process that those who are the DIY type can publish their book and get it printed in paperback through CreateSpace for little out of pocket cost. If you need help with formatting and editing of your manuscript file or with cover design, those services are available, but you’ll need to spend a little more or hire the work done somewhere else.
Companies that offer these services will print your book on demand as they receive orders. The cost of printing is typically reflected in the cost of the book which can affect your ability to set the retail and wholesale price of your book.
Getting your book published is only the first part of the self-publishing process. You need to take advantage of distribution services to get your book out into the market where people can find it easily. The quickest and easiest way to do this is through established distribution service such as Ingram Content Group or Smashwords (global distribution).
Retailers and Wholesalers
These are the bookstores both brick and mortar or online. Major book marketplaces exist online such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBook store, and Flipkart. Smaller independent bookstores belong to online marketplaces and order their books from those partners.
Retail Book Price
This is the price that individual customers will pay when they buy your book. The retail price should fit with other books in your genre and format but it also needs to be about two and a half times your single copy book costs. If printing your book costs $5.50, your retail price ideally would be $13.75 or higher.
Wholesale Book Price
This is the price that bookstores pay when they buy your book to resell in their stores. Wholesale buyers get a discount from the retail price when buying multiple copies of your book. The wholesale book discount ranges from 20% to 55%.
The higher the discount, the more likely wholesalers or retailers will carry your book. 50% is standard trade discount if your book will be in brick and mortar stores. Book chain stores will sell your book at a 40% discount but it won’t be worthwhile for smaller independent bookstores.
Your Profit Per Sale
If you set a retail price of $14.95 for example, you would calculate your profit per sale with a 45% wholesale discount as follows: retail price x 45%=$6.72. Take the wholesale price ($6.72) and subtract the cost per copy to print ($5.50). Profit per sale is roughly $1.23.
Make sure when you are composing your book format, cover design, and interior, you take into consideration how book pricing might impact your ability to sell your book to wholesalers and retailers.
CreateSpace Review: Benefits
- No title setup fees or inventory costs
- Free ISBN from CreateSpace or use your own ISBN
- Cover Creator Tool (uses templates)
- Preview Tool (to share your work with others for feedback)
- POD services (to get your paperback printed)
- Get look inside and other features if you advertise on Amazon
- Author Book Pricing (some services charge the author full retail price for their own book!)
- Expanded distribution with a wholesale price (bookstores can buy multiple copies if they wish)
CreateSpace Review: Optional Services Available
In addition to their POD (print-on-demand) services, CreateSpace offers optional services designed to assist you in creating a quality result.
Copyediting ($160.00 or.16 cents per word for 10,000+ words)
Focus on grammar, spelling, and punctuation
Line Editing $210.00 (.21 cents per word) for up to 10,000 words
Focus on structure, plot flow, characterization, tone, grammar, spelling, and punctuation
Editing Package $300.00 up to 10,000 words and (.30 cents per word 10,000+ words)
- First round: Structure, plot flow, characterization, tone
- Second round: Grammar, spelling, punctuation
Editing Package Plus $470.00 (.47 cents per word 10,000+ words)
- First two rounds focus on Structure, plot flow, characterization, and tone
- Second round focuses on grammar, spelling, and punctuation
CreateSpace Review: Disadvantages
- No option to print hardcover books, only e-book or paperback
- Requires an ISBN (free through CreateSpace or purchase through Bowkers) to begin building your book.
- Amazon may have some exclusive rights to your book depending on the contract so read the fine print. (Specifically, KDP select requires exclusivity-you can only sell via Amazon)
- Marketing services are NOT included. Be sure you have a marketing and promotions plan for your book launch.
Self-publishing is becoming more and more popular and it can be a source of income for writers. As the author, be conservative with your design choices so that you produce a high quality, eye-catching product that costs the least amount possible to print. Set your retail price competitively and offer at least a 40% wholesale discount to encourage retailers to order your book.
Remember, when you self-publish with CreateSpace, the effort you put into marketing and promoting your book will make the difference in your success. Build your author platform early and use it to spread the word about your book launch to increase sales.