Five Reasons You Should Publish Your Book, DVD, or CD Through Amazon’s CreateSpace
I am a very satisfied — in fact, enthusiastic — CreateSpace user. So far I have published three books, one DVD, and a bunch of audio CD/podcast tracks using CreateSpace. And not only has it been easy to bring these things to market, it has been (dare I say it?) a joyful, liberating experience.
Now I guess you’d call me a veteran author. Before using CreateSpace, I worked with several publishers to publish five books and a bunch of magazine articles and chapters in multi-author professional collections. And while I have always enjoyed the writing process, it isn’t always fun jumping through publishers’ hoops to get the finished product out. Worse, when working with traditional publishers I had virtually no input regarding the selling price, my royalties, the sales and marketing strategy, or anything else, aside from the writing. In these matters the publishers made all the decisions.
In contrast, my CreateSpace experience was all about my controlling the process. From the initial conceptualization through the final publication, I made all the decisions. But don’t think I was completely alone and left to flounder. Whenever I needed it, the good folks in the CreateSpace Members Services team were just a phone call away. However, unlike a publisher who might be pushing the process and calling the shots, the CreateSpace team was simply available to advise and help me answer logistical or technical questions as needed.
So I highly recommend using CreateSpace to publish your creative products. It has been a great experience for me and I intend to use them again and again in the future. Specifically, here are five reasons you should use them.
1. Freedom to Create Anything You Want to Create
This freedom to create anything you want is a BIG DEAL! Consider this example. My latest book, The Project Management Minimalist, is a bit of an oddball as PM texts go. It has three very different and distinct parts: 1) PM “nuts and bolts” tools and processes, 2) Team building “people stuff,” and 3) a “taking care of yourself” section that is meant to help individual project managers maintain their mental and physical health. And that’s just the way I wanted it!
However, my experience tells me that it would have been a struggle to get any publisher to approve a PM book with these three disparate elements. They would have pushed me to choose one or another and then they would have attempted to shape the finished product into something that was more marketable through their distribution channels. (And I can only imagine an editor’s reaction to the Frank Zappa quotation and related rant that I used to set the tone at the beginning of the book!)
So here’s the point. You have a creative vision. You know what you want. Using CreateSpace, you can implement that vision any way you want. And this process manifests itself as the “joyful, liberating experience” I mentioned earlier.
2. Freedom to Collaborate … or Not.
Having been a published author for over 30 years, I can produce written materials that don’t require a lot of editing. Though some of you may take issue with this, I think I write fairly well and know my way around grammar and punctuation rules, etc. And I know from experience that when I have someone editing my stuff, I typically end up ignoring 50% of their edits after we engage in time-consuming debates about “why I said it that way.” So, for the most part, I’m willing to forego engaging an editor.
In addition, I’m comfortable (in fact, I enjoy…) selecting my own artwork and designing my own cover art, etc. When you see my publications, you might decide that this is a mistake. But, after all, it’s my book (or DVD or CD) and I think the cover looks fine the way I designed it!
The bottom line: CreateSpace has a community of folks who can collaborate with you (some for a fee, some for free) to edit and help with the content or the “look and feel” of your cover art, layout, etc. They also have some templates and automated design tools you can use. But it’s up to you. You can take advantage of these services or ignore them like I did. With a typical publisher you simply don’t have this choice.
3. Freedom to Set Your Own Price
It’s simple: It’s entirely up to you what price you set for your finished product. CreateSpace provides you with a cost/royalty calculator so you can play around with various pricing schemes and decide how much you want to make, after CreateSpace takes their “cut” to cover their production costs. And unlike a typical publisher, which pays the author only 15% or so as a royalty, with CreateSpace you will most likely earn much more. In fact, you will probably be keeping well more than 1/2 the sales price as your royalty! (Note that CreateSpace will provide you with detailed monthly sales reports as downloadable Excel spreadsheets so you can track sales and royalties.)
4. Freedom to Sell It and Distribute It Your Way
At minimum, you will get a CreateSpace product sales page with a unique URL to which you can link. This page will allow people to buy your finished product by clicking a purchase icon/shopping cart. You simply share the URL, your buyers will visit the page and make the purchase, then CreateSpace will collect the money and pay you your royalties. (Example: Click here to see my CreateSpace page for The PM Minimalist.)
In addition, CreateSpace can set up distribution of your product through Amazon (hard copy and/or Kindle) and several other distribution channels such as those used by college book stores or brick and mortar book stores or chains. Some of these high-power distribution channels may require that you buy an additional set-up service from CreateSpace (a one-time cost of about $40).
And how about a customized version of your product for a client? No problem. Just create it and upload it, then get a unique ISBN, and pick your distribution method of choice.
For example, when Franklin University wanted a customized version of The PM Minimalist for their graduate IDPT program, I simply made the changes in the text of the book, adjusted the cover art, then uploaded these as a new product. This new product has the Franklin University logo on the cover, a unique ISBN, it’s own special distribution channels (to accommodate the Franklin University bookstore), and its own product sales page/URL. And it only took a few hours to create, since it was based on my generic version already on sale at CreateSpace!
5. Freedom to Offer Discounts and Special Deals
Finally, you can set up as many discounts and special deals as you want. It’s just a matter of having CreateSpace generate a discount code and then you assign a discount value to match that code (i.e., 25% off or $7 off, etc.). So, for example, I was able to offer The Project Management Bookstore (the largest online PM book seller) a huge high-volume discount by giving them their own, unique discount code so they could make bulk purchases. At the same time, I could provide visitors to my website with a different, less extreme discount code on their individual one-at-a-time purchases. What’s more, I have been able to run special deals through my website for a limited time by simply activating and then deactivating a discount code after a certain date.
In sum, the CreateSpace experience for an author is all about freedom: Freedom to realize your creative vision in any form you choose, then freedom to bring it to market by employing any of the CreateSpace power tools for authors. So if you’re an author or media producer and you’re ready to take charge of the fruits of your creative labor, get your CreateSpace account and become your own publisher!