by Sylvia Nica, Age 14, USA
If you have been looking to self-publish your novel, you have probably heard of Amazon-owned CreateSpace. While it is is very widely used, there are both pros and cons for the young author looking to self-publish on this platform.
Pros of CreateSpace
One major pro about CreateSpace is that you have your book for sale on Amazon, one of the biggest online retailers in the world. This allows you to have your writing for sale in many different countries and in front of a wide audience. With hundreds of millions of visitors each month, there are many opportunities to attract customers.
Another major pro is the royalties. A traditional publisher often pays only cents per book. However, with CreateSpace you are paid a royalty of 40% on the main Amazon.com listing and a decent percentage when selling on other channels. When you transfer over to Kindle, the rate is even higher with a royalty of up to 75%.
The services CreateSpace offers for making your book are also decent. If you cannot hire a cover artist, the Cover Creator can help you make a reasonably good-looking cover. There are options on many different aspects of book production, such as the size of the book and the colour of the pages. Also, the finished book is shipped directly by CreateSpace to customers on demand, which saves you time. And with a user-based forum, you can easily ask others using this service for help and get a quick response.
Though CreateSpace does print-on-demand, the resulting title is a surprisingly nice, sturdy and well-finished book.
Cons of CreateSpace
Just as with any major self-publishing company, there are cons to this platform. Probably one of the biggest cons to this service is the fact that you have to do everything yourself. This is true with most self-publishing platforms. However, if you are a young author new to this platform, it can be especially confusing. Though CreateSpace does provide editing and marketing services, they are often expensive. It can also take a while to figure out how it all works. It took me several tries to get my own book right, as I was unfamiliar with the terms “trim size” and “marginal formatting” before this experience.
Also, while there are lots of customers on Amazon, there are millions of other self-published books sold by CreateSpace, and there are many more being published each day. It can be nearly impossible to get your book noticed amid other, bigger titles by established authors. For the new, young author, marketing a self-published book can be difficult.
The final con is that, at least for the print book, your control over discounts and promotions is extremely limited. If you decide to set up a CreateSpace e-store you may be able to give certain buyers coupons, but with sales on the regular Amazon page you can do hardly anything. As for Kindle, there are also limitations. The only way you can do promotions and discounts is by enrolling in Kindle Direct Publishing Select, which has its own restrictions.
Tax forms and social security numbers are also occasionally needed, which are items you may not be familiar with.
Though there are pros and cons for CreateSpace, I would recommend it as a self-publishing platform. However, as with anything, it is up to you to further research and decide which service would be right for you if you want to self-publish your work.
Sylvia is a young author who published her own novel, Echoes of the Past, last year with CreateSpace.