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Thursday, April 2, 2015

On 2:22 PM by Rachel Preston Prinz in
Learning all the ins and outs of self-publishing a book, especially an over-sized full color book like Hacking the Earthship, is such a crazy adventure. I spent the better part of a year researching self-publishing so I could try and make all the best choices in regard to printing and distribution.

Evidently I still had some things to learn. 

When I sent the first proofs out to print on my 42nd birthday in February, I had decided that the best course would be to publish in 5 formats so we could reach the broadest audience possible. I made a Smashwords edition so that I could submit the various formats of e-books to the chains in one fell swoop. I was going to do an epub edition with Bookbaby so I could reach more stores abroad, but they only do paid plans now and it's not likely it would ever make the $200 to justify the investment so I dropped that idea. I made a pdf edition that's the real book (not the ebook) so people can have a digital copy onsite during their build. After all the research I had done, I was sure that having a dual-print-version at both CreateSpace and Ingram, with two separate ISBNs (for tracking), was the right move. All the successful self-publishers were doing it, and the pricepoint of their standard paperback 6x9 inch books was about the same on both platforms. So, I did my main print through Ingram Spark because they are one of the largest publishers in the world and people trust their high quality. They also have access to libraries and many small mom-and-pop stores that will not deal with Amazon. It cost me about $150 to upload, code, proof, and change the files. Then I made a CreateSpace/Amazon edition so I could always have books in stock on Amazon and enjoy a better, faster worldwide distribution. That was "free" to upload. But then I discovered that version was going to cost buyers an additional $10 for their base but slightly higher grade paper. Which gave me pause, but I decided to go ahead with it for the sake of access.

Until I got to thinking about it. I totally stressed myself out for 5 days while I wondering why my gut was NOT OKAY with that decision. I couldn't figure out why. Then, I got the CS proofs in and realized that edition is not as good of a product. Then came the dealbreaker: the base price for the printed book was 2.5 times what Ingram's was. FOR THE SAME BOOK! So if I buy my own book from CS, I pay 2.5 times what I do when I buy it from Ingram?! I will have to do that regularly to have enough copies for bookstore signings, for consignments to mom-and-pop bookstores, for friends who want a copy, and for people who want signed editions. Paying 2.5 times the price for my own book is just not smart business. And I cannot seem to find out why there is such a big difference, excepting that CS uses 60 lb paper instead of 50 lb paper. But REALLY?

So... today, despite the fact that the book is selling, I decided to something I may well regret.
I removed the $50 CreateSpace version of the book on Amazon. I just think that pricepoint is absurd, especially when I get $1.70 a book from them and I get $4.00 a book from Ingram, who priced it at $40. I'm not out to make money on this but maybe someday paying off what cash I put into it would be nice. 

Self-publishing is insane.
And only for the most diligent do-it-yourselfers.
Would I do it again? Not from scratch. It's too painful and the lessons are too frustrating.
I'm really hoping I didn't throw the baby out with the bathwater on this one.
*crossing fingers*

buy the book here.