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advice requests > Extremely Irritated, what should I do?

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message 1: by Kevin (last edited Jan 17, 2009 12:45AM) (new)

Kevin | 109 comments I'm extremely irritated with CreateSpace.com, and am seriously considering canceling my membership.

To top off the below reasons, I also discovered I had two grammatical errors in my book which my search and destroy method didn't find. I typed your's twice instead of yours. Out of 100 novel sized pages that's not too bad, but it is bugging me on top of everything else.

Basically I need to know if I should continue with my faulty book copy as is, or if I should cancel the entire attempt. I refuse to pay another $10 to "proof my book" just for 3 very minor alterations.

Here's the letter I posted on the create space board.

--yes I realize I made some mistakes in this letter as well, it's late, and I was miffed--
This post is broken into two seconds. My personal experience, and my suggestions:

ok, I've self published through a number of agencies, and I have to tell you that the proofing process on Createspace.com needs to be completely, and totally reworked.

I have two MAJOR complaints:

1. Concerning my cover and a "minor" argument with the createspace.com people. My original cover was perfect, but they refused to let me enter the proofing process because they were "concerned" that there would be "active elements" off the boundary edge. Despite the fact that I followed the mathematical calculations down to the 32nd of an inch. So, regardless of my assertion that it wasn't, I had to move my name to the left. I get my proof copy back and my name is partially on the spine, leaving a noticeable gap to the right.

The solution to the complaint: Book Trimmers work off of mathematical certainty, therefore a book TEMPLATE which is mathematically correct should be adhered to. What the "proofer" did essentially was what Indiana Jones did in Raiders of the Lost Arc - he second guessed the mathematics.

This shouldn't even be an issue, but apparently it is with this company. which brings me to #2.

2. I get my first proof, and besides the cover (which would be a major change if I had to alter it), I noticed that my table of Contents and my Acknowledgments are on the wrong side of the pages. (they were both on the left side instead of the right side).

That was my fault.


I should've been NOTIFIED BEFORE HAND the same way that proofer "notified me" of the cover. So essentially the proofer screwed me by warning me about the wrong thing.

Both, Acknowledgments and Table of Contents need to be on the right side. It's called Industry Standard. A proofer should've caught this.

So I send a message to createspace customer support and say: Do I have to order another proof, it's a minor change.

I was told: "We'll give you another proof since it's such a minor change and it's only the inside text, but you still need to proof it."

that means:
A. I can't fix my cover to fix the error of the "proof reader" because that's a major change and external.
B. I can only fix the side of the page. I can't alter the page count either or I have to pay for the new proof copy. So I manage to stick the acknowledgments on the left side and table of contents on the right. It looks ok, but it's incorrect format for library donation.

So I get my free proof copy. However, because of the errors on the book I'm not even sure it's worth it.

Firstly: Basically, the proofers hired by create space do not know how to do their job. This irritates me to no end. EVERY Proofer needs to make sure they notify the author of such critical mistakes, giving them the option to correct or proceed with the file.
----------I had thought I prepared that portion of the *.pdf correctly, but I didn't. That was my fault. HOWEVER, the entire purpose of a proofer is to INSURE that the Copyright Page, Acknowledgments and Table of Contents are on the correct pages.
----------In the case of my graphic file: it's completely unprofessional to prevent people from proceeding with their cover graphic if it is mathematically correct according to the standards set forth by create space. Printing and cutting machines operate on basic, calculable principles. I can't play a "guessing game" of what the cover will look like if your business won't even abide by its own stupid guidelines.

1. Make sure the proof readers know which page the table of contents, acknowledgments (if present), and copyright page should be present.
2. Make sure that the proof readers abide entirely by the math guidelines set forth for cover preparation and cutting.
3. Make templates of each damned cover. IF you don't have the time to offer the proper templates, THEN DON'T OFFER THAT SIZE OF BOOK! The template I had originally made turned out to be 100% perfect, yet apparently the template that the proof reader used was 100% incorrect!

Secondly: EVEN IN THE INDUSTRY Proof Copies are not made for every little change. Proof Copies are only made for MAJOR changes. For CreateSpace to demand that a proof copy must be made for EACH alteration, even MINOR ones, is absurd, it's a waste of time, and it's a waste of money. I actually had to pay twice the cost of my book in shipping for my first proof copy.

1. Require only 1 proof copy +1 for each MAJOR change (i.e. 30 kb or more than 8 BLANK pages in *.pdf size, or major visible graphic changes). Do this by allowing the create space proof reader to compare the old sample cover image against the new cover image, and also comparing size of the past and new pdf files.
2. Allow the author to opt out of proof copy if the changes made are extremely minor (i.e. repositioning of "active elements" yet keeping them well within the cut off boundaries, or fixing the page count).

If you notice I said more than 8 BLANK pages as one of the cut offs. That's because some library requirements still work off the 8 Page System.

You know what? I'm not the only customer with this problems in your book publishing department. Something needs to be fixed in how you handle the system.

The whole idea that I have to pay $10 (6 in shipping) to fix a MINOR issue, whether it's caused by me or the createspace.com staff, is just an outrageous way to handle the business. CreateSpace.com is 10-20% cheaper than most places, but if I have to go through this kind of headache, while not ever becoming satisfied with the final product, then why should I even bother?

Yeah, CreateSpace.com does offer "free ISBN services", but seriously. When is an ISBN going to be useful outside of Amazon.com? Most of your createspace.com customers won't even sell 1 book on amazon.com, let alone the 100 necessary in order to recoup the proofreading costs! That makes the ISBN absolutely worthless!

I'm just so unhappy with how this process has turned out, I'm seriously considering dumping my project. Yeah, I did make a mistake, but createspace.com made two critical errors. Yeah, I did get a free proof copy, but it was only on the condition that I alter the interior. I would've had to pay for another proof copy if I fixed the exterior (the big glaring mistake that's bugging the **** out of me). Another $10 and 1-2 weeks wait is just not satisfactory for me.

I have to think about this tomorrow before I decide how I will proceed. I'm just so irritated at this entirely broken process at this point, that I may dump my account for another means to publish.

message 2: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments Kevin,

If I am understanding you correctly, you paid CreateSpace to proof your book?


message 3: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments I'm just kind of amazed here, I think. I've re-read your post, trying to understand.

First, on this ISBN issue--the ISBN is the international stock number for your individual book. This is what other booksellers, outside of Amazon, will use to order it for their customers. Most people serious about publishing will buy their own block of numbers, whether that's ten or a hundred or a thousand. From what I understand, CreateSpace allows you to use your own. But having one on your book is the only way you will have even the remotest chance of getting your book into libraries. When CreateSpace or some other entity assigns an ISBN to you, they, not you, are the publisher of record--this is the kiss of death for major reviews, among other things. Sure, you can certainly publish without an ISBN, but your work will not be taken seriously by anyone in the publishing/bookselling industry. You can buy a block of ten ISBNs, where you will be identified as the publisher of record, from Bowker here in the U.S. Here is the link: http://www.myidentifiers.com/

Even ten ISBNs might seem like a lot but when you consider that you will have to put a different ISBN on every different version of your book, electronic, paperback, hardcover, audio, you can see how fast these will be used up. To start my company, Jigsaw Press, I bought a block of 100, just to let the industry know that I'm not going away any time soon. Lots of publishers I know, however, started with a block of ten.

Once you have your own ISBN block and have decided on a name for your publishing company, I suggest you check out Lightning Source www.lightningsource.com for the printing. They have the templates for the cover and book blocks, their set up fee is a flat $75.00. But their proof will cost you thirty (free overnight air shipping) and revisions will cost you forty every time you upload, although there is no requirement forcing you to order another proof every time you make a revision. They offer no editing, no proofreading services, they expect you, the publisher, to know what you're doing. But they give you the tools to get the job done. They put out a high-quality product, and you decide everything--list price, discount to the trade--and their per book price to you is competitive with places like CreateSpace (it beats, hands down, the Cafe Press's and Lulu's of the world). Aside from everything else, once you approve the proof from LSI, your book is in Ingram's catalogue (Ingram is the largest book wholesaler in the world I believe) and is listed within a week or two not only on amazon but Barnes and Nobles, Books-A-Million, and others as well. Automatically.

So, do you use InDesign to typeset your books? What do you use for cover design?

If I can be of any help at all, email me.


message 4: by Kevin (last edited Jan 18, 2009 07:55AM) (new)

Kevin | 109 comments I know what an ISBN is. However, ISBN doesn't guarantee you can order your book through any outlet. ISBN is simply an international registry.

I can't tell you how many times I walk into Borders or Barnes and Nobel and they are unable to order any book for which I have an ISBN.

Amazon.com has almost exclusive rights with CreateSpace.com. Very few people using CreateSpace are actually able to get their books listed in either Borders or Barnes and Nobel, regardless of their ISBN. That makes the ISBN virtually useless.

I did decide to just go through it with createspace.com, however, if I don't recoup my losses with CreateSpace.com I will never again use them.

Lightning Source is ridiculously overpriced. It's cheaper to go through lulu if you can believe that.

message 5: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments Well, I have to disagree with you, Kevin, on Lulu versus Lightning Source. Yes, Lulu has no upfront fees but you pay a hidden cost for them every time you sell a book. In fact, for their $149 publishing package, they print your books through Lightning Source so they can get your books into the databases of places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc and say they did.

CreateSpace is owned by Amazon. The only distribution they have is to Amazon, versus Lightning Source who, through Ingram (their parent company) distributes the data for your book to lots of places other than Amazon, like Barnes and Nobles, etc., to the UK and elsewhere in the world. The reason no one can order your book using the ISBN outside of Amazon is that the data is not being distributed outside of Amazon by CreateSpace or whatever POD printer you used previously. BookSurge, owned by Amazon, prints all of CreateSpace's books. Google BookSurge warnings some time. And also be aware that BookSurge doesn't have any distribution comparable to Lightning Source/Ingram either--they only distribute to Amazon. Just as an aside, Lulu sometimes uses Colorcentric to print their books as well. They have no in-house printing facility.

Now, if you want, compare the Lulu per book price to you on a 300 page paperback 6 X 9 for which I am charged through Lightning Source only $4.80-$5.40, depending on if the order's for me or direct to a retailer. You'll see that Lulu's price to you, the publisher/author, is much higher. I know because I did all this research into prices and quality and distribution, etc. and so forth, before I signed up with Lightning Source. The list price I set is naturally much higher, but comparable to other books in the same genre. In order to offer a discount to the trade, give Lulu their percentage and still turn a profit, the list price on a Lulu book more often than not must be set too high to compete.

It's only cheaper to go through Lulu if you don't plan to sell enough books to recoup your set-up fees through Lightning Source. Publishers use Lulu for galleys or advance copies, but that usually amounts to less than 25 copies. Above that, you're losing money on every sale. This has been thoroughly researched by the independent publishers I hang out with.


message 6: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments Lightning Source quoted me a $250 *.pdf setup/translation fee for my 400 page sci-fi novel. It pushed the expense of my sci-fi novel well over a $10 base cost per book, not including the ISBN setup fee (of which I forgot what they quoted). Lulu is $8.50.

What I remember is prior to Cafepress.com's price increase, Lightning Source had a higher cost.

I have since found a Chinese printing press which is cheaper than everyone, but it requires me to lay down 7 grand for a large print job and I have to register my own ISBN. If I were planning on doing large print jobs I'd go with them.

message 7: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments So, you had a book that you wanted them to translate? Then yes, it was probably cost prohibitive. Their flat fee on books ready to go, cover and book block in the required .pdfs, is only $75.00. I've published five through them now, for myself and other authors, working on a sixth, seventh and eighth at present. Lightning Source doesn't offer an ISBN setup fee. They don't offer ISBNs at all.

For your book in paperback at 6 x 9, 400 pages, their cost per book is $6.10 for retailer direct orders and 6.90 to you.



message 8: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments M.L. no

They call it *.pdf translation setup fee.

It's not an actual translation. They were trying to charge me for submitting my book in *.pdf format. When I asked them about other formats, they said they have a fee for all formats.

It is a hidden fee. In otherwords, no matter how I submit my book, they charge me a minimum of $250

message 9: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments I don't know who you're talking to over there at LSI, but they have a flat set up fee of 37.50 for the cover and 37.50 for the book block, which adds up to 75.00 dollars. It used to be higher, closer to one hundred dollars, but they went to the flat fee pricing some time ago.

They also prefer that you submit both book block and cover files in .pdf to a certain standard X:1a 2001 something like that, but the requirements for submitting as well as the fees are available at their website www.lightningsource.com

Again, I don't know who you were talking to but that $250 whatever fee is not something I'm familiar with at all...I just published a paperback version of a hardcover by author Stirling Davenport called The Nightwing's Quest at Christmas time. Cost me 75.00 plus 12.00 catalogue fee and I did spring for a proof ($30.00) just to be sure I'd done everything right.

Do you have an account there? If not, you need to think of a name for your publishing company before you set up your account. But that's the easy part. A block of ten ISBNs will run you a little over $250 dollars. Oh, wait--you might've been talking to Bowker, the ISBN provider in the US. Or Lightning Source may have given you some information on Bowker and getting your own ISBNs. But no way LSI charges $250 dollars to set-up and print your book.


message 10: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments It was about 8 months ago that I spoke with someone, and they quoted me $250 for using *.pdf files with a higher fee for microsoft word files. That's when I hung up on them.

message 11: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments Well, I would check out LSI's website at the link I provided. All the info is there.


message 12: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments kk tyvm maybe they changed since ^_^

message 13: by M.C. (new)

M.C. | 3 comments Mari, extreme patience and unflagging kindness beams through your help to this extremely irritated chap. Kudos!!!

message 14: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Bushman | 144 comments Well, thanks so much, M.c.!!!


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