My first galley proof has arrived, and you can't imagine how excited I am! The Kindle and Nook versions going live was exciting, and I'm still pumped about that, especially the positive responses I've been getting from friends, and occasional strangers. But this is a book, held in my hands, with the cover I designed (implemented by people more talented than me with graphics, of course), the jacket blurb I wrote, and the about the author section that talks about ME! I'm checking over the proof right now, and so far things are looking great. Quality of the manufacture seems as good (or better) than anything you'll find in your local brick and mortar store, which is definitely pleasing. I've run through all the chapter headings to make sure they're on the right pages, drop caps turned out fine, and formatting looks OK at the beginning of each chapter. Next step is to skim through and make sure the formatting in the rest of the book turned out as well. If I'm satisfied at that point, it's almost time to put it up for sale!
I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about the printing and distribution route I've chosen, and why. I've been moderately tight-lipped about naming the company before seeing the finished product, but since the book is going live soon, I might as well go with it. I decided to use Createspace and Amazon.
This wasn't an easy decision. I've been a fan of lulu.com for printing for quite some time, years in fact, and have referred people to them on more than one occasion. When I finished the first draft of The Door to Canellin, my intent was to only share it with family by printing up a few copies clearly labeled as "draft copy" and "not for resale", "unpublished novel", things like that. These were for Christmas presents to my immediate family only. I used Lulu, as they were the only game in town at the time for inexpensive, short run projects like that. And I will tell you, the quality was excellent. The books feel good in the hand, the cover graphics came out perfectly, and my family was pleased to have a personalized, thoughtful, and creative gift from me. The following Christmas, they got the rough draft of book 2, The Door to Justice, in the exact same form, and everyone was elated.
Naturally, when I began this publishing process, my first thought was Lulu, and their pricing was what influenced my "projected retail price". But then I did some more research, and I found that Createspace not only had many more options available, and much more market penetration, but with their services, I could set my retail price much lower, approaching the average book cost from the major publishers! I was very thorough, and kept trying to find a reason to keep my loyalty to Lulu, but the more I researched, the more it seemed Createspace would give me more options, more distribution outlets, and more potential sales than I could get from Lulu.
I'm still not 100% convinced, we will have to see how everything goes. And I'm certainly not disparaging Lulu! They offer a great service, and I know from experience a great finished product in the books they print. And I'm using them to print my limited edition hardcovers, as there is no hardcover option at Createspace. But now that I've got my first galley proof in hand, I do feel even more strongly that Createspace will be the best distribution outlet for The Door to Canellin.