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Old 09-22-2010, 03:08 AM   #1
Luke King
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Anyone have experience with Wordclay, Lulu or CreateSpace?

I realise this is off the ebook path, but does anyone have experience with POD publishers?

I had a look at the CreateSpace site today, but gave up when I realised that non-US authors could only be paid by cheque and there was an $8 processing fee per cheque. Add to that the 30% withholding tax and I'd be lucky to make a cent.

There's something enticing, however, about the idea of having a physical copy of something you've written. I write under a variety of pseudonyms and would like to see a physical edition of something, though I wonder if it's worth it.

What are the pros and cons?
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Old 09-22-2010, 03:36 AM   #2
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Bought a couple of ebooks from Wil Wheaton from Lulu.

I am satisfied as a consumer.
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:44 AM   #3
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I don't know about WordClay, but I've had experience with both Lulu.com and CreateSpace.com. Because I'm in the USA, electronic deposits aren't a factor.

I moved my book from lulu to CreateSpace because the books are less expensive to print via CS, and CS is an Amazon company, so they automatically get listed there. If you buy the $39USD Pro Plan, your per-copy cost of the book goes down, so royalties are higher (or you can lower the price for the book), and you get the expanded distribution (making the book available to libraries and other book retailers). Expanded distribution costs more on Lulu (around $65 IIRC, but I may be off on that).

I've heard that the book quality is higher with CS also, but I've not compared them myself.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:06 AM   #4
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I'm just starting my self-publishing journey, but I've had good experiences with Lulu so far.
Print turnaround is very fast, but shipping/HANDLING is too expensive for my tastes.
The iBook listing was free and it was searchable on iBooks within 5 hours of me uploading to Lulu. That's pretty fast!

As I have more experience with Lulu, I'll try to post my thoughts and impressions.

So far, so good...
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:28 AM   #5
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I've tried CS and Lulu and prefer CS. The quality is about the same, imho, but the prices are better on CS. Lulu inflates their prices too much to be competitive with the big publishers.

And K.C. already mentioned the expanded distribution program. It's worth it. I sell half my paperbacks through retailers other than Amazon. It's also great to be able to tell potential buyers that they can order the books through their local bookstore.
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Old 09-22-2010, 01:07 PM   #6
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Wow, just an update after calculating the prices between the two - CS is *far* cheaper for the print books than Lulu. Orders of magnitude cheaper...

Does anyone know if the "extended distribution" on CS reaches into Barnes & Noble?
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:06 PM   #7
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That's my understanding. B&N and other brick-n-mortar stores buy books from Ingram and Baker & Taylor, the two largest book wholesale distributors. Here's a description of CS's Expanded Distribution Channel:

Quote:
Most online retailers, bookstores, and libraries find books through purchasing relationships with large wholesalers. If your book is not listed with these wholesalers, some retailers may not be able to buy your book, even if a customer specifically requests your title. Through the EDC you can make your title available to these wholesalers who in turn make your title available to thousands of online retailers, bookstores, and libraries.
It's my understanding that the EDC submits your book info to one or both of those distributors, who then make the books available to the buyers at the bookstores. Then someone, somewhere (maybe you) gets to convince bookstores to actually order and stock it.
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewcplourde View Post
Wow, just an update after calculating the prices between the two - CS is *far* cheaper for the print books than Lulu. Orders of magnitude cheaper...

Does anyone know if the "extended distribution" on CS reaches into Barnes & Noble?
Yes, because my novel is in Barnes & Noble and I use the expanded distribution program in Createspace. Infact the Tether is popping up all over the place now.
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:44 PM   #9
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I wish you all much success. Tell us how the progress goes.
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:09 PM   #10
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I'm quite content with my epublishing results for my novel, Legacy, via Smashwords (incl. its Distribution Channel via SM's Premium Catalog) and Kindle. I just completed arm-wrestling my way through CreateSpace's (CS) process (they got confused with my perfectly normal wraparound pdf). Though a "free" service on the front end, royalties outside of your own estore & Amazon suck even here in the USA. I had to pay the US$39.95 to improve my Amazon royalty and for access to the Expanded Distribution Channel (EDC). Just to earn a measley 84 cents/copy through the EDC, I had to price my book at US$9.99 (this is hardly a competitive price for a newbie author). I had also set up my account for EFT payments to optimize my royalty (over the check-payment option). Then, I had to pay US$10 to get my proof copy to me within 3 weeks. So, my up-front costs for Legacy are $50.

I'm not sold on Wordclay. It appears, to me, to be yet another vanity publisher, though packaged a little differently. Access to their distribution channels will cost you US$100 (more than twice the price CreateSpace charges). I choked on the US$700+ for "return insurance" - the fact that this option is even offered, suggests Wordclay is a vanity publisher and not POD. If you're not intrested in POD, then I'd suggest using iUniverse, where you'll pay US$900 - 4,500 to publish and promote your title. iUniverse had the highest overall ranking in a survey taken last year. Besides the main issue of insane up-front costs, problem with vanity publishers is it'll still take most of them 6-18 months to get your book out.

For my tastes and budget, I'm content, for now, with POD via CreateSpace. With my next novel, Cellar's Bridge, I'll stay with Smashwords, Kindle, and CreateSpace. With Legacy, I'll know whether or not CS EDC is worth the investment.

I believe you'll need to set your retail price stratospherically high to cover real and imaginary production costs and taxes, no matter who you go with, if you live outside the USA and want your books sold here. These are effective import barriers; financial and artificial tariffs preventing you from competing on a level playing field here in the USA.
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LC_Cooper View Post
I'm quite content with my epublishing results for my novel, Legacy, via Smashwords (incl. its Distribution Channel via SM's Premium Catalog) and Kindle. I just completed arm-wrestling my way through CreateSpace's (CS) process (they got confused with my perfectly normal wraparound pdf). Though a "free" service on the front end, royalties outside of your own estore & Amazon suck even here in the USA. I had to pay the US$39.95 to improve my Amazon royalty and for access to the Expanded Distribution Channel (EDC). Just to earn a measley 84 cents/copy through the EDC, I had to price my book at US$9.99 (this is hardly a competitive price for a newbie author). I had also set up my account for EFT payments to optimize my royalty (over the check-payment option). Then, I had to pay US$10 to get my proof copy to me within 3 weeks. So, my up-front costs for Legacy are $50.

I'm not sold on Wordclay. It appears, to me, to be yet another vanity publisher, though packaged a little differently. Access to their distribution channels will cost you US$100 (more than twice the price CreateSpace charges). I choked on the US$700+ for "return insurance" - the fact that this option is even offered, suggests Wordclay is a vanity publisher and not POD. If you're not intrested in POD, then I'd suggest using iUniverse, where you'll pay US$900 - 4,500 to publish and promote your title. iUniverse had the highest overall ranking in a survey taken last year. Besides the main issue of insane up-front costs, problem with vanity publishers is it'll still take most of them 6-18 months to get your book out.

For my tastes and budget, I'm content, for now, with POD via CreateSpace. With my next novel, Cellar's Bridge, I'll stay with Smashwords, Kindle, and CreateSpace. With Legacy, I'll know whether or not CS EDC is worth the investment.

I believe you'll need to set your retail price stratospherically high to cover real and imaginary production costs and taxes, no matter who you go with, if you live outside the USA and want your books sold here. These are effective import barriers; financial and artificial tariffs preventing you from competing on a level playing field here in the USA.
Just a thought and this is working for me, are you ordering copies to sell direct yourself? I'm having success doing this and its paid for all my upfront costs and has helped me break even. Its also opened my eyes to other opportunities too.
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:06 PM   #12
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I have to say, I'm impressed with CreateSpace. I ordered my proof copy on Tuesday and chose "slow" shipping. Not the slowest, but the next one up. On Wednesday, I got an email saying it had been shipped. It was coming from CA, and I live in GA, so I expected it late next week at the earliest. I received the book today, Saturday.

And it looks terrific! The paper is very nice quality, the cover is glossy and colorful, the binding seems secure, and the back cover print is clear and readable.
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:36 AM   #13
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Other costs to consider when establishing your US retail price:
* currency-conversion fee assessed by your bank: I suggest you shop around and find a bank that offers the smallest fee for this "service" and open an account with them specific for your books sold in the USA.
* check-cashing fee for USD-denominated check: Again, I suggest shopping around. In Australia, St. George's bank charges AUD12.00 for this "service," and says it takes up to 60 days for the check to clear (in my case, all US-denominated checks cleared within 2 weeks). Bank of Queensland charged AUD20.00 and sat on my checks for 3 months - only releasing them when I screamed my way up the food chain. That time delay in processing your checks is certainly a cost consideration.
* impact of the IRS' 30% tax-withholding: Mark Coker, of Smashwords, wrote a summary with some good links. You might reside in a country that has a tax treaty with the USA. If so, your US tax may be much smaller than the 30%. Here's the URL for more info: http://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq
Look for the FAQ "Are there tax withholdings on my earnings if I reside outside the United States?"
* Lead the charge to eliminate Amazon's $8 check fee: Pester CreateSpce/Amazon's CFO to get EFT set up for authors living outside the USA (really not difficult). It may be that the World Trade Organization (WTO) at www.wto.org may have a legal precedent against this uncompetitive trade practice. My high-level search for "unfair bank fee" produced potential results.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
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