Next time I publish a book, I think I'm just going to do it through CreateSpace. Managing two different publishers/distribution channels was too much.
After giving it much thought, and considering the way I engaged in my first effort at self-publishing, I've decided that CreateSpace, with the help of Kindle Direct Publishing, is the way to go. It makes it easy and straightforward. And you don't find yourself trying to manage two different distributors.
I've Given Up on IngramSpark
I know that people have had great success with IngramSpark (owned by Lightning Source). But it was just difficult for me to use. Everything was uploaded fine, and that was easy, but it was hard for me to see my orders for proofs, and each time there was a problem with the interior or the cover, after I had gone through the process of ordering the proof, my order was delayed and I had to fix something.
To me (and maybe I just wasn't looking in the right places) it seemed that the order was canceled altogether. So I'd have an issue fixed, and then order a new proof. I've finally figured out that I have three “pending” orders for proofs. I think I've fixed all the problems (but there's no way to know for sure until I order a new proof because I can't figure out how to move an order from “pending” to “active” or whatever).
Communications with IngramSpark have pretty much amounted to, “we'll take care of it when things are in order.” The whole thing's been a bit frustrating. I was going to use IngramSpark for expanded distribution, but CreateSpace made things so easy, and the print version is already on sale on Amazon, so I just finally said F-it and signed up for expanded distribution with CreateSpace.
Part of the frustration comes in from the fact that requirements for IngramSpark and CreateSpace are a little bit different, so it requires different versions of covers and interior files. Anyway, I don't really have anything against IngramSpark; I just found the whole smoother with CreateSpace.
Why I like CreateSpace
CreateSpace was fast and easy. The preview showed me exactly which items needed to be adjusted for my files and which were ok to let slide. All with a very easy to understand visual. Not only that, but there is an almost-seamless way to publish on Kindle by bringing to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) when you finish setting everything else up.
I, of course, had already uploaded my book to Kindle previously, during some rare downtime at FinCon. So I could skip that step. But if I had wanted to, I could have easily moved right from uploading the print version of my book to the Kindle version of my book.
Dealing with just one publisher/distributor is easier than dealing with two, and CreateSpace sends your book to Amazon — the biggest bookseller there is — fairly quickly. Plus, you can get it up on Kindle. It's true that I'm also selling the PDF version from this site, and I'm offering an affiliate program as well. But if you want to get the book out there, I think CreateSpace is the way to go. Especially if you have limited experience in publishing.
Basically, it boils down to the fact that CreateSpace was simple, one-stop publishing. The expanded distribution network means that you can use it to get into catalogs for stores. And if you want to order your own copies, you order them for very, very cheap and sell them yourself.
Writers have the unprecedented opportunity to get their work out there, thanks to the low barrier to entry offered by print-on-demand services. If you're going that route, and especially if you want your book on Amazon, I recommend CreateSpace. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, and next time, I'll leave IngramSpark out of it.