As a new author and someone slogging through the publishing arena alone, I ultimately decided to use Amazon’s publishing arm, Createspace.com, as my path to publish my first novel.
I began by opening an account whereby I was able to create my title, participate in the Createspace community, and use their free online tools. Under the Books tab on their home page, I reviewed each free tool, including Cover, Interior, Printing Options, Distribution, Royalties, and Buying Copies. Each category was new and scary and I initially felt terribly inadequate for creating a book that could stand up next to the wonderful authors I read each night.
Createspace offers professional services, including Editing (a must!), Interior Layout, Cover Design, and Custom Publishing Solutions. As I looked over the massive information and choices required for publishing my book myself, I knew I needed help, at least on this first endeavor. When viewing my work as a stepping stone to a new career, I decided the investment of hiring professional services was justified to make sure my finished product was something I could be proud of and want to share with friends and strangers alike.
Because I didn’t want to go overboard, I signed up for one-shot assistance with the cover art and editing. I hadn’t had my book read by a professional editor up to this point. And as much as I love and trusted my beta readers, I wanted to make sure the final manuscript was clean of any grammatical errors and the story line flowed and made sense.
The cover designer asked my opinion before getting started as to my ideas for the design. With that in mind, they came up with several options, as well as their own idea based on the book content. Although their offerings matched my original ideas, I ultimately chose their idea, agreeing with the reasoning behind it and the image it portrayed. Sending the images back and forth via email was painless and efficient.
The interior layout consisted of my own choices within a variety of offerings and they created a beautiful, professional looking interior as my story took on a look of a real book. Again, the response time was quick and the work was exemplary.
The editing services were truly where Createspace shined on my project. As an author, sometimes I’m so close to the story, knowing all the ins and outs of every character, dialog, and backstory, that I cannot see obvious plot holes or backwards sentences. Beyond that, I do not claim to be an expert on all grammatical rules, especially the elusive comma. My editor provided a detailed letter with specific examples of where changes were suggested. He didn’t change the manuscript but referenced each time a change should or could be made, along with suggested changes. Thankfully, he pointed out a truly glaring hole in my story that, while it initially raised my hackles, I saw the need for the change and made it easily, creating a much more believable scene. Since that particular scene was the final twist to my romantic comedy, I was forever grateful to have the problem pointed out.
Lastly, I paid for marketing tips and back cover copy help.
Looking back, I’m glad I hired the professional services for my first novel. I know if I had tried to do it all myself, the end result would not have been the high quality I feel I accomplished. Never was there a time when the Createspace staff made me feel as though I wasn’t completely in control of my work. They provided just what I paid for: professional services that left all decisions in my hands. From start to finish, my book was available for purchase within six to eight weeks – unparalleled speed when compared to traditional publishing paths. Any delays were strictly on my part as I made decisions and did final revisions.
For anyone publishing for the first time, or for those who want to spend their time on writing instead of the additional work of preparing a manuscript for publishing, but still want to go the indie route, I happily recommend Createspace’s professional staff of designers and editors.