Operation Concrete

So, it's been a few weeks coming, but I finally produced and rendered my novel and pushed it through the Amazon CreateSpace self publishing and print on demand system, and I must say, it has been the best experience so far. Right off the bat, this one is easily the most professional product, and the whole service is definitely for producing a more professional novel and for more the more advanced customer. For instance, people who know how to design and render to a good degree will definitely prefer this service.

So, as is vitally important with these services, it's ease of use. Now on this front, CreateSpace has both good and bad points. Firstly, you do the entire design by yourself, to specific measurements that, in some instances, they can provide you as a template PDF for import into Photoshop or Indesign. I say some instances, because it's not all. I for instance, chose the difficult route, as always, and opted for a 'Special print size' which meant they could not provide a pre-built template for me. But no problem, after I'd worked out the spine thickness with the information they provide on paper and ink thickness, I was ready to rock.

Basically, if you like design, this one is perfect, because, unlike Lulu, and Blurb, you can fully render your idea in your piece of design software, export as PDF, and you get exaclty what you design. Literally, exactly what you give them. This is because they provide you with very clear bleed and cut space parameters. So, whatever you design, you get, and the print quality is great. As you can see in the image below, I've got big solid red and yellow sections, and the ink distribution and quality is far superior to that of Lulu.

Concrete Operational from CreateSpace

Now, the inside. This is the same, they require a PDF with embedded fonts, and you get exactly what you give them, which is great. This time around I didn't spend ages on the design and typography of the inside, but for the final product you can guaruntee I'm going to go to town on in and I'll get exactly what I give them.

Couple of other things, the front cover is still laminate which means it's a bit of a finger print magnet, but seems at the moment better quality than both Lulu and Blurb. I've been carrying it in my side satchel for a week or so now as I do to test out duribility and it's standing up to a good beating. The page paper quality is also better than Lulu, although about on par with that of Blurb.

Finally, I think the best thing about Createspace, and the reason why I'm going to be using it, is the quality of service you're getting alround. For starters, you get listed on Amazon instantly and receive all the benefits that that brings. Secondly, you get a barcode and ISBN number without paying any extra costs. Thirdly, the prices for customers are the most competitive out of the three I've tried. Fourth, you get optional 'premium' services to bring down the cost dramatically for bulk orders. Fifth, you get an option for your own E-Store, and the option to have the novel downloadable for the Kindle. So it's all there really. Oh and finally, I had a few questions when it came to bulk ordering and postal costs etc, I sent questions and got answers, like they guaruntee, within 24 hours and they were great. I even emailed to say how impressed I was with the responses and got another email back saying 'Anytime!' which was nice.

So, all in all, I'm going to go with CreateSpace over Lulu, although the reduced rates on bulk orders for Lulu are attractive, all the other services, the paper quality and sizes as well as stability and professionalism that Amazon brings tip the scales for me. Also, after paying $40, for the premium service, you get greatly reduced costs which are highly competative with any other service out there anyway.

I'm going to do a comparison post of all three services with a bit of a table and stuff as well, just for easy reference by people in the future. Hope this was helpful.

In regards to the blog as well, I'm going to get back into the habit of one post per week now. Loads to update on regarding the self publishing project as a whole, and I want to get back involved with the online writing community at large.