Monday, February 14, 2011

Time to Create Space

Yesterday I read a very compelling article on "Why Create Space is better than Lightning Source." My husband and I had already determined that we should switch printers for the paperback copies of I Serve, and the financial data in this article was the cherry on the sundae.

When I independently published I Serve a year and a half ago, I will confess that I had very little idea what I was doing. In the last eighteen months, however, I have become much more familiar with the publishing world, and thanks to my husband's unflagging interest in the subject, have been able to stay abreast of the continual changes within it.

I originally went with a company called Lightning Source to print the paperback copies of I Serve. This printer is associated with Ingram, a book distributor who will make your book available in its catalog to all major book stores. With a retail price of $16.95 and a 372 page book, I receive $1.89 in royalties for each book sold. Throughout the past year and a half, I've sold approximately 300 paperback copies of I Serve, and it's been interesting to note that ALL the copies have been sold through Amazon.com.

Another quirky fact about I Serve is that since July of last year, I actually make more money on each Kindle sale than I do on a paperback sale. With a retail price of $2.99, a Kindle copy of I Serve gives me a royalty of $2.03 per book (except for copies sold outside the U.S. or U.K. which garner $1.04). I had never thought much before about how low the paperback royalty from Lightning Source was, but when the Kindle royalty climbed above it, I began to wonder if there were a cheaper way to get the paperback printed.

As the publishing arm of Amazon.com, Create Space looks like it will be a much better printing avenue for us to use. Create Space offers high royalties for books sold through Amazon and low royalties for books sold elsewhere in the "Expanded Distribution Channel." Since all of our paperback sales are through Amazon, choosing Create Space seems like a no-brainer. To better serve our readers, we are planning to lower the retail price to $13.95, and even with that price drop, the per-book royalty will still be $3.06 (which, in case you don't want to do the math yourself, is $1.17 more per book than we were getting from Lightning Source).

Tomorrow I'm meeting with our technical expert Masha Shubin (who designed the cover and layout for I Serve) to get the files reformatted for submission to Create Space. Since she has the know-how and the software to create the PDF's according to Create Space's specifications, it is FREE to begin printing the book on Create Space. (Well, OK, there is a $39 fee to join the optional Create Space Pro Program, but that's peanuts, right?)

If you have published a book on Create Space, I'd love to hear some feedback from you. It seems like a great way to go, and as long as it delivers what it promises, I think we'll be happy with it.

2 comments:

  1. Rose: I am not sure that you should depend on hard cover sales. All market trends in publishing indicate that digital is leading the way. Traditional book sales are faltering -- ie news on Borders bankruptcy this week -- and more and more authors are turning to digital. If you can make a higher percentage of earnings using digital I simply would not make the $$ investment in a hard copy. I'd keep enough around to sell when I do speaking engagements, but otherwise I'd tell folks how to purchase the book digitally. Have links on my website and at other websites. Put it out there in social media, etc. A better investment might be an ad in a church magazine. If you follow Publishers Weekly or any of the other trade magazines, this move toward digital will be confirmed. Good news on the reviews.

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  2. Karen,
    Thanks for the advice. We actually have already been doing all of our marketing for the Kindle version of my book, and not the paperback. We've sold approximately 7 times as many e-books as we have hard covers. David There is no significant financial outlay to making a paperback copy, however, with either Lightning Source or Create Space, so it doesn't hurt us to have a paperback copy available as well.

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