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CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: June 30th, 2012, 11:04 am
by oldhousejunkie
I'm winding up the revisions to my novel and looking to upload soon. But which platform should I use? I was under the impression that if I upload to SmashWords, it gets out to all of the e-book purveyors except for Amazon. So I would also have to upload to CreateSpace as well? Is that right? Should I be doing something else? Thanks for any advice you can give me!

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: July 1st, 2012, 2:20 am
by Schussman
I can't attest to LuLu or CreateSpace, but I used Smashwords and love them. My book is available in EVERY format, including the Kindle format (That's if you get into the premium catalog). What this means to you is when a reader wants to download your book to their Kindle, they can. However, they cannot find you on Amazon's eBook site.

Heidi Schussman
Counterpart (espionage-police-detective)

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: July 2nd, 2012, 2:39 am
by Whirlochre
Smashwords is surprisingly easy to use. If you can edit and format a manuscript, the extra instructions for preparing your document for publication are no problem at all to follow. My only concern with Smashwords at the moment is that it seems to be attracting a glut of trashy looking porn and erotica books. Every time I log on to see how stellar are my current sales, I'm greeted by a panorama of the unashamedly penile.

Smashwords will distribute to places like Apple, B&N, Kobo etc, but in the case of the latter I've noted a formatting glitch in my book blurb which I can't see any way of fixing. Also, I'm not sure how being listed at these sites works if and when people decide to go with Amazon's KDP program. To do that, you have to unpublish everywhere else, and though this facility is a click of a mouse away at Smashwords I don't know how long it then takes for the books to disappear at B&N etc.

But, broadly happy with the new tech thus far. Beats having to walk the streets with the text of your book tattooed onto your forehead.

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: July 3rd, 2012, 12:30 pm
by Sommer Leigh
Smashwords does publish to the other distributors, but check out the difference in royalties. I believe you get more if you distribute directly through Barnes & Noble and Amazon yourself and not through Smashwords. It is more time consuming, but might be worth it to you. Do a deeper dive on the terms for each of the sites.

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: July 11th, 2012, 10:13 am
by oldhousejunkie
Thanks all for the input.

I just managed to clear the autovetter at Smashwords...after two days of banging my head...I mean re-formatting my MS. I've uploaded to CreateSpace but it seems to be more concerned with how the MS will look in print. But I don't want to pursue print publication at this time. I just wanted to make sure it landed in the Kindle Store. I'm trying to figure out Kindle Direct right now and am running into similar problems. My text runs off the page and I can't figure out how to fix it.

Any advice?

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: July 11th, 2012, 10:51 am
by Ryan
If all the tech and formatting stuff is killin' you then you should consider having a pro format your book into epub and Mobi. This way you have the files and then you can create an account and upload where ever you want. The drawback to this is that if you find errors later or want to make changes then you have to have them do it, but that is also a good thing because you have to REALLY make sure it's ready to be released into the world. Make sure your "baby" is ready for the world. :) A few hundred bucks to free yourself up to edit and write and get a good product could be worth it.

There have been some posts on here advertising conversion services. Maybe check them out.

I used these guys based here in Portland and was very happy with them. They busted out the epub and Mobi file very quickly they were very patient as we spent over a year working out the kinks in my multimedia ebook. Digital Bindery --

Good luck! Don't rush it and get too frustrated. All this stuff takes a long time and is part of self publishing.

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: November 13th, 2013, 4:45 pm
by ltfhenry
I'm having a very bad experience with CreateSpace and looking for alternatives. Lulu FastPencil are possibilities. Who has their own stories to share about private printing, self-publishing or vanity presses? I would really love to find a good comparison matrix showing the features, costs, pros, cons of all the different choices. Maybe we could collaborate and come up with one?

I just found a page about this, titled Publishing A Book: 7 Cost-Effective Self-Publishing Services at ... for-books/

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: December 14th, 2013, 3:30 pm
by JustLiz
Well I've tried LuLu so far. It was kind of a pain in the butt to set up my book there, but I finally got it up. Unfortunately, that seems to be all there is to it. The real job, I've discovered, is trying to market your book so that people actually know its there on what ever site you choose to place your book.

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: December 14th, 2013, 4:55 pm
by polymath
Marketing has four corners: packaging, advertising, promotion, and publicity. Packaging a self-published book effectively, besides design considerations, can be as straightforward as independent ISBN assignment. Packaging also impacts the other three corners. A copy sent out as a gratis review copy packaged in a slick package calls attention to it. Plain brown wrapper might be more enticing than a manilla envelope too.

Gratis review copies are one advertising and promotion method. Buy a few copies and send them to targeted readers. Maybe they'll read the book. To encourage reading review, ask for comments that might be used as back jacket blurbs. This latter method may be better practiced before final release of a book to the marketplace. Though innovative to many self-publishers, the method no longer holds the freshness appeals it once held. Still, targted reader reviewers might generate word of mouth buzz. That one, that's the gold standard in marketing.

Another target for a self-published book is libraries. The local libraries might accept books by local writers. Mine do and have. Their policies vary. Regional libraries usually have lower standards than university and state and federal library depositories. Mine that have been accepted at local libraries only required an ISBN and proof of registered copyright. Mine that have been accepted at larger library systems required proof of a marketplace identity, like availability at a bookseller, online or brick and mortar.

Another marketing practice is placing consigned copies with retail outlets: bookstores, of course, convenience stores, even bait and tackle shops. The big box stores like Barnes & Noble have a lengthy acceptance procedure, but mom and pop stores are generally open to consignment or wholesale price purchase. If purchased, an agreeable return policy is a best practice. And regular mechandise service. Monthly visits is a good practice.

Book talks and book fairs are a helpful promotional method. Local venues usually are looking for interesting talks to fill their calendars. Having product available to sell at them is essential. Mixed media presentations about the book and its making are especially wanted. National book fairs are marketing venues for the trade. Large conference venues, national book fairs are often tied to writing and publishing conferences. Entering a self-published product or line at a national book fair is possible, Booths and travel, room, and board are costly, though.

These are just a few of my marketing practices. I won't give away my A-game methods. But the above is a taste of how much marketing can be done. Burdensome, yes. But getting a buzz started can pay off. And that is worth the candle.

However, no matter if self-published or traditional, the writing quality and subject matter caliber are paramount marketing practices, as they've always been, will always be.

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 2:06 pm
by longknife
oldhousejunkie wrote:Thanks all for the input.

I just managed to clear the autovetter at Smashwords...after two days of banging my head...I mean re-formatting my MS. I've uploaded to CreateSpace but it seems to be more concerned with how the MS will look in print. But I don't want to pursue print publication at this time. I just wanted to make sure it landed in the Kindle Store. I'm trying to figure out Kindle Direct right now and am running into similar problems. My text runs off the page and I can't figure out how to fix it.

Any advice?
Download free MobiPocket to format for Kindle.

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 5:07 pm
by JustLiz
Thanks polymath! Those are some really good ideas I hadn't thought of before. I should try as many of those as I can. Do you think it would work in other kinds of stores too? The downtown area here is full of different kinds of shops that might take things on consignment.

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: December 15th, 2013, 8:19 pm
by polymath
Yes, JustLiz, any outlet that is open for book displays is a potential point of sale and promotion venue. developing a cordial relationship with a contact person is the hardest part. I've made book displays for countertops and floor areas, subject to retailer approval. Some of the retailers stipulated that I provide the displays. One that I did had related merchandising I offered gratis from online downloads: maps, artwork from the cover design and interior, and a paper cutout figurine that model makers could download, print, and assemble. That one went global. I got e-mails from across the world by model hobbyists and school classes. The book also performed quite well. Eventually, I gave a digital version of the book to a public education website. It's still out there fourteen years later. But I won't post a link to it. I'm conflicted by protecting my privacy.

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: February 18th, 2014, 10:23 am
by johnp85
I have used smashwords. I wouldn't say it is very easy to set up but I did it. Have not received any sales from them though.

Lulu: they order their distribution from another book publisher so it is better to go direct

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: March 5th, 2014, 10:42 am
by davidtharwood
Hi there everyone -

I'm a newbie self-publisher. I've written my book (topic is internet marketing for local businesses) and I'm trying to figure out the best self-publishing company to use. I like the idea of printing on demand because it's critical that I keep my costs as low as possible up front. However, I'm not overly concerned about making tons of money from my book. Of course, every dollar I can make would be wonderful, but my main goal is to gain some consulting/coaching clients on the back of my book. Please note that my book is not a sales gimmick - I honestly want it to benefit people and I truly believe that it will help lots of people. I'm simply looking to gain a handful of individual clients off the back of it. With that in mind, I'm happy to forgo a larger share of the profits from the book in favor of partnering with a self-publishing company that can get my book out to as many bookshops and online sellers as possible - and maybe will even help me with the promotion side of things.

There seem to a lot of different companies out there that can get your book distributed in a whole bunch of places, and at this point it's becoming difficult to really tell them apart - so I figured I'd turn to some experienced self-publishers for some viced based on your own experienced. Thanks in advance! :)

Re: CreateSpace, LuLu, SmashWords...Which One?

Posted: March 6th, 2014, 11:10 pm
by polymath

Your book is a how-to. Though smashwords is solely electronic formats, it's primarily targeted by creative writers. Also, smashwords does not practice any Digital Rights Management, DRM, protocols. Lulu offers a choice, CreateSpace doesn't allow non-DRMs.

Many publishing oufits have cropped up in the digital age that provide publishing services and distribution plans to list products at online booksellers. Many of them charge exorbitant fees for little more than pass-through services. They produce what a writer submits with little or any input, no editing scrutiny, no design or packaging services, nor product development, and no promotion except for a fee-based listing: up front and unit production charges, and a higher percentage of royalties earned. Many of them are no different than vanity presses.

Lulu and CreateSpace business models are essentially book manufacturing. They do no design or editing either; however, they only bill per product sold, manufacturing costs and a low, set percentage of royalty, and pay per product sold, costs for print publication, a percentage for electronic publication, and a one-time distribution fee. Submit a complete project, and know that X will be a unit cost and Y will be a unit earnings, no al la carte charges accumulate the way they do for other so-called publishers.

I favor Lulu because they offer Barnes & Noble placement distribution for Nook and print. Only Kindle Publish places KIndle products on Amazon. Both CreateSpace and Kindle Publish are Amazon subsidiaries. Placing either Nook or print directly through Barnes & Noble requires an application and vetting and cost process that is I believe simpler and less expensive to do through Lulu. Lulu offers more options than anyone at present, at the least cost and challenges, and the fewest overlapping agendas. They do manufacture short print runs in-house (POD and PQN) for direct distribution; however, once a product is uploaded, they distribute the packaged file to other outlets for their in-house manufacturing and distribution; i.e., Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and if the demand is large and widespread, then Ingram as well as possibly distribution catalogs for university bookstores and libraries.

Package your book, place it through Lulu, use an independent ISBN assignment, order a distribution package to the markets you favor, upload a digital version for Nook, and place a Kindle version through Kindle Publish, the same as the digital edition for Nook, and sit back and see what happens. Maybe order a few dozen print copies at a bulk manufacturing rate for self-promotional purposes. All told, for the actual publishing, not including ARCs or promotional copies, the amount spent up front should be under $300.00, including copyright registration, less if a lower tier distribution package selected. That way, the product gets the widest possible outlet access.

Edited to add: Since this post, Lulu has added Kindle to its distribution outlets. Nook, Apple Store, Sony, and Kobo, too, are Lulu electronic publication outlets. Now on par with Smashwords.