The smaller font size and the wider margins make all the difference in the “feel” of the text on the page. Bookman Old Style still has that open, hot-lead, typeset look in 11pt, and the extra white space to top and side actually make the smaller font look less cramped. It’s readable, it feels good in the hand, and it passes all my criteria for a quality product.
Free of charge, CreateSpace provided (as would Lulu) an ISBN number for my book. This ISBN has CreateSpace as the publisher of record (not me, not my “brand”). For $10, CreateSpace will create an ISBN in which I am the publisher (Lulu charges a whopping $99 for this service). I opted not to choose this option; no reader cares who the publisher is, anymore.
Also free (and also like Lulu), CreateSpace provides distribution of my book via Amazon (and affiliates) and via the CreateSpace eStore. For $25, CreateSpace will expand this distribution to booksellers, bookstores, online retailers, and academic/library institutions (Lulu charges $75 for this service). I opted for this expanded distribution; I want my books to be available to libraries and to other retailers.
In total, my cost to bring The Year the Cloud Fell from computer to market (including 2 proofs, one quick-shipped) was about $50, and the next one will be cheaper. That’s a steal.
The book is already available from the CreateSpace estore. I was able to make basic customization of this page, and add a link to a storefront (I chose this blog as the target). It will be available via Amazon within days, but the expanded distribution is much slower, and takes weeks. This is standard and to be expected.
Overall, my experience with CreateSpace has been easy and very satisfactory. I haven’t released a Kindle version yet (I’ll do that sometime next year), but even that process is much easier via CreateSpace than the arcane process Lulu demands.
The Fly in the Ointment: The only “complaint” I have is with the cover, and I put “complaint’ in quotes because this is going to be true of any print-on-demand publisher. It’s just something you need to be aware of, if you’re designing your own cover.
The CreateSpace cover design process is easy, and the wraparound cover looks great. But when you design your cover, make sure you allow sufficient room on the spine for “drift.” That is, the cover will “drift” to one side or the other by about 1/32″ and this is most critical along the spine, where real estate is at a premium. So don’t make your logo or your spine title so large that it fills the whole spine, or it might wrap around to the front or back if the cover “drifts” a little on assembly.
It’s a small nit to pick, and as I said, it will be true of any publisher (even in The Machine).
One title down. Four titles to go…