Both of my novels, El Niño and Fisherman’s Blues, are now safely uploaded on to CreateSpace and legally available for sale. Unlike a normal shop, they are available 24/7 and unlike a normal publishing house – it’s not financially necessary to publish big orders at a time. It’s Print on Demand. If the Demand is not there, the books aren’t Printed. When a reader buys either of the books, anywhere in the world, it arrives to their house within a week (I bought some myself recently and it took just four days).
CreateSpace is not just for writers. You can do this with your CDs or Films too. It offers the ultimate alternative to getting your work out there and you don’t have to talk to a single other person. It’s complete creative independence and you can get it set up over a leisurely weekend. If you have a cover ready, you’d be all good within an afternoon.
If you go the traditional Agent/Publishing route it can take years to get your book on the shelves. Saying that, writers often prefer this way as they feel it gives their work more legitimacy and can lead to long term relationships with established publishing houses – possibly leading to a bona fide writing career. It’s worth nothing though that any publishing house in the world, no matter how well established, will drop any writer when they feel the need. If your appeal wears off, their profits go down, or you hit a dry spell in your creativity, it’s adios amigo and you’re back to where you started.
If you go the Kindle route, you may succeed beyond all expectations. It has happened in the same way people have won the lottery. It could be you. You’ll get to have the feeling of having your book published and you can dream of opening your e-mail some day and be shocked at hitting a million sales overnight. As you can see from my previous blogs, it doesn’t always work out that way and your work is wide open to fraud.
If you self publish through a printing press it can cost you money upfront which you are not guaranteed to make back. On the other hand, you’ll have physical copies of your book in your hand within a short space of time. Some places will have your book ready for shipping within a month – as opposed to years. It all depends on how confident you are about the quality of your work and when you are ready to give the go ahead. My experience went awry but ultimately worked out for the best. Some people continue to self publish through printing presses for years and succeed to sell their books and are perfectly content.
CreateSpace is the best of all worlds. It doesn’t cost anything and you get an e-mail notification after each sale. My sales are steady and the payments come in regularly at the end of each month. You get sent an Excel breakdown of how many copies are sold, and where, and how much your royalties are. It’s then lodged into your account at the appointed date. This is a stark difference from having to invoice a publishing house and wait up to three months to be invariably underpaid. With CreateSpace, you’re not chasing anyone through e-mail or phone calls and you’re not worried that the money won’t come through. So far, for me, there is no downside.
*Reblog from 2018. CreateSpace was eventually merged with Kindle and all work transferred over.