Hello Everyone, this is our second interview this week about self-publishing. We know some of our readers are in the process of writing their own manuscripts and figuring out which publishing road to take. Since we have become connected with many authors that have used various publishing sources we wanted to share with you a few perspectives on self-publishing.
We will be hosting a live author chat with Yvonne Perry Tuesday May 10th. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details.
Yvonne, Stacy and I are in the process of reading your books to share with our readers. One of the things that caught my eye was that you published with CreateSpace.
1. Can you begin by telling us about yourself and how you became an author?
I am the mother of two children, stepmother of three, and grandmother of eleven. My family is the joy of my life. However, I also enjoy helping people discover a life of love and joy that comes from the knowledge that we are one with our Creator and each other. I am the host of We Are One in Spirit Podcast, a talk show that offers people a chance to discuss their spiritual experiences. I have a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics from the American Institute of Holistic Theology.
I first became an author in 2004 when I self-published Email Episodes, my humorous book, which was about my midlife crisis. This was the same year I quit my corporate job and began my own freelance writing business, Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services http://writersinthesky.com. There wasn’t as many options for publishing back then. Publish-on-demand companies were just coming on the scene and they charged quite a bit up front and had a bad reputation among conventional publishers and bookstores.
2. Why did you pick CreateSpace over other platforms?
I picked Createspace due to my experience with self-publishing and publish-on-demand companies:
I published More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife through Booksurge (now owned by Amazon) in 2005. A good experience overall but they charged a set-up fee, and I had trouble getting my file to meet their guidelines for submission, and each revised upload costs additional money.
Right to Recover ~ Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America was published through a medium-sized independent publishing house in 2007. I do not own all the rights to this book and can’t even turn it into an e-book. The company wants to charge me to keep the book off the backlist. A bad experience all around.
In 2009, The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children was self-published through Lightning Source. A good experience overall but they have a set-up fee, a yearly catalog fee, stringent guidelines for file submission, and each revised upload cost additional money.
3. You self-published your children’s book with Lightning Source. Why did you choose to publish with CreateSpace for your latest book about empathy?
I had heard about CS from an author friend who had a great experience with them. Her book looked fabulous but I decided to test the waters by publishing a book of poetry that I had saved on my computer and never done anything with. Stockpiled Poetry: Introspective Thoughts About Life, God, and Other Stuff That Can't Be Explained turned out great, so I decided to use CS for my empath book, Whose Stuff Is This?: Finding Freedom from the Negative Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You. A very positive experience indeed.
4. How long does it take and what is the cost for using CreateSpace?
There is very little lag time on Createspace’s part. I could have published within a week if not for ordering printed copies for proofreading purposes and then uploading revised files. Once I approved my final copy, the title was for sale on Amazon the next week.
CS does not charge for publishing unless you choose their custom cover design service (they have free templates you can use), editing or marketing services, or upgrade to Pro status. I upgraded to Pro status for this title because I wanted to offer it in expanded distribution channels and offer a bulk discount to bookstores and counselors who wanted to buy books for resale. Plus, you make more royalties per book by choosing this option.
5. When you publish with CreateSpace is your book available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble?
Is it automatically published on Amazon.com, but you have to submit the title to Barnes and Noble.
6. Do you retain all digital rights? Is your book available on Kindle and other digital devices?
I have all rights to the book. In addition to Amazon, I have published Whose Stuff Is This in the Kindle store, Barnes and Noble (both as print and NookBook), and Smashwords as well as selling the PDF version on my Web site. This covers all markets including English reading foreign countries and people who do not have electronic readers. I’m currently creating an audio book from the text and plan to sell it on my Web site: http://whosestuffisthis.com
7. What option did you choose to publish your other books?
See question 2 above.
8. Can you take us through a typical process from beginning to end once an author decides on using CreateSpace?
Set up your account at Createspace.com
Edit and proofread the book to get it as error free as possible before uploading the file.
9. What are the publishing options available to authors today?
Option Two: You can use a “publish on demand” (POD) service. Most of these companies will accept any work from anyone, but you can expect to spend as much as $1,000 and you will not get any copies in your hand for that price! That will cost you an additional $5-6 per book. You may have to do all the design work or you may choose per-item services or packages that include editing, cover design, formatting the interior layout to their specifications, fulfilling orders, and marketing the book. The POD will help you obtain an ISBN and list the book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and other major chain bookstores, but remember whoever owns the ISBN, owns the copyright. You may think you are self-publishing, but unless you purchased the ISBN under your name, you may very well have given your publication rights to the publisher. One good thing about POD is they do handle distribution and order fulfillment. When someone wants to purchase your book, the POD will print one copy, ship it, and pay you a percentage of the purchase price (minus print costs) as a royalty.
I recommend CreateSpace because they have a quality product and will publish your book for free. Like any POD, CreateSpace will keep a percentage of your royalties to cover their cost of setting up your book files. They have a fee-based upgrade program that will put your book into their distribution channels.
Option Three: Self-publishing. Within the past few years, Lightning Source (LS)—the printer for about 90 percent of all books published—began offering publishing services to individual authors. This company will use off-set printing (bulk order) or print-on-demand technology (one/few book at a time) and place your book in Ingram’s distribution channels. LS charges a setup (upload) fee even though you have to do your own interior layout and cover design.
Option Four: Publish your work as an e-book. This is the least expensive way to publish, and people do actually buy e-books—especially since electronic readers such as Sony, Kindle, and iBooks for the iPhone/iPad have become so affordable To make your e-book/iBook available for others to read on any electronic reading device, upload an Microsoft Word document of the completed manuscript to SmashWords.com.
Or you can allow people to buy the PDF version of your e-book by setting up a business account with PayPal and add the e-book to your product list. PayPal will create an html code for the “pay now” button that you can copy and paste to the point of purchase on your Web site. When someone makes a purchase, they will be directed to the Web page you specified for downloading the e-book.
It is very important to have someone edit and proofread your text before submitting your file because the printing or POD company will print exactly what you send without making any edits or doing any revisions. An unedited book can ruin an author’s reputation in the book industry and make it harder to sell any subsequent titles they bring to market.
No matter how you publish, you will have to market your book. Most authors have no clue about how to create and carry out a marketing campaign for a book launch. WITS provides this service.
10. Your books are very well put together. You really can't tell you self-published. The editing is remarkable. Did you edit your own book or hire an editor?
I edited the book as I wrote it. That’s because as a professional ghostwriter and developmental editor, I can’t separate the writing and editing processes. Once I had the book as clean as I could get it, I had an editor on the WITS team copy edit it. Then, five more people proofread the book. As we are now recording the text for an audio (MP3) version of the book, we are doing another round of proofreading.
11. How can someone get in touch with you for your editing services?
WITS Website: http://www.writersinthesky.com
WITS Blog: http://www.writersintheskyblog.com/
12. Do you have a website or a blog?
13. Are you on Facebook and Twitter?
Twitter: http://twitter.com/writersinthesky and http://twitter.com/WeR1NSpirit
Thank you so much Yvonne Perry for your time. We look forward to talking with you live May 10th
Written by: Carol Lawrence
Thank you for the interview, Carol. I look forward to our live chat may 10 at 8 p.m. Central Time.
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