I started writing The Fan Plan in 2011. The story just took off in my mind and I had fifty thousand words in a matter of weeks. I knew that this was a story that deserved to be in hard cover. I thought about using PA again, but didn't want to be nickeled and dimed like last time. I looked into Create Space when I first started e-publishing, but decided against hard copy for Vander's and HS. There is also the problem of the same price being set for hard copy and e-book. This never made sense to me. I mean there's a printing cost and material cost for a 6X9 paper book. Why charge the same price for something delivered by and read by electrons? The advantage of e-readers is that you don't have to pay 3 to 5 bucks in shipping costs.
I asked around to the other writers at Southwest Writer's Workshop and Writer's 2 writers concerning other POD companies. Many seemed to be better than PA because they will release the book on e-format with the publishing, but again e-book and paper are same price.
I then thought about simply going to a local printer and paying them print the book acting as my own publisher, but they all need a volume of from a hundred to a thousand copies which is way beyond my budget up front.
So wanting this novel to be in paper I started the process with Create Space. It is much more complicated than PA.
I set up an account and started doing their steps. I submitted the manuscript for their review which says takes 2-3 days before they get back to you, but is usually ready in a day. They came back with format problems. I had to download their template and copy and paste from the Smashword's template onto theirs. It makes sense because you're downsizing from letter to a 6X9 page where the left page has narrower margins than the right page. If threw o
ff all the indentations and other formats. At this time the story was 120 thousand words. Going through the story to re-indent and paragraph led me to do a little trimming to move it out of the R rated category to a PG.
They also had me download instructions on making the books cover. Their instructions were for Adobe IP. I downloaded and could use this program for 30 days. It costs $400. I really do hate instructions that say if click on this then this screen should pop up then click on this link, because guess what, when you click on the this the screen they say should pop up doesn't and you can't go on! I did through trial, error and multiple temper tantrums turning my poor German Shepherd into a quivering mass of jelly came up with a book cover complete with spine and back page. All to be told when submitted that the pictures didn't have enough pixels. I've made three other covers using different pictures in HD 1141X1000, it still says not enough pixels. I give up and am using the last cover. My thirty day trial was over by the third try but I've had Microsoft Publisher since it was free for taking an Intel Teach to the Future class ten years ago. I worked with it and came up with the latest cover. When I looked at their pdf of the cover it looked fine to me. The pictures were clear, not blurred as they said it would be.
Cover entered, reworked story entered I submitted them and got to the part about pricing. It calculated the printing of the book at $4.77/copy and I could price it at anything above that. $4.99 makes sense, but that only gives me 23 cents per paper book and a buck thirty seven per e-book. I downloaded a pdf proof copy, but instead did another edit trimming it down a hundred pages to 98,000 words. This cut out a lot of back story, but after a good run through makes the plot quicker. I'm still setting the price at 4.99, but the publishing cost is down to 4.37.
Everything is now re-submitted. I have a pdf proof copy and purchased a hard copy today. The proof copy was 2.62 +3.59 shipping and I will have it in a week. I'll wait to do the proof on the hard copy then transfer them to the pdf for resubmittal. I'll also be able to judge the cover to see if it looks good enough.
All in all I'm happier with Create Space than with PA. They offer professional editors and cover artists, but at way too big a price for a retired educator. I can see how other authors getting tired of paying agents and being pushed around by traditional publishers would go this way. It gives more control over the integrity of your story and affordable pricing.