Answers: Q&A for Self-Publishing Platforms

PlatformsSo, a couple-few questions arose in response to the How Not to Get Overwhelmed: Picking Your Publishing Platforms.


I didn’t want to skim on the answers so figured I’d do a Q&A post in response to the various comments and questions.


How do you use the Createspace interior template?

The interior templates on Createspace are useful if you know which size you would like.

  • For instance, I use 5.25″ x  8″ for my paperbacks.
  • I download the guided/Formatted Template as opposed to the Basic because it makes it possible for me to reverse-engineer the varied nuances of proper book formatting.
  • By using the formatted template, I was able to learn how to leave the first page of every chapter blank of a header and remove page numbers from the front matter of the book.
    • Both of these things are important to accomplish a professionally styled book.
  • It also gives you a good idea about appropriate font size and spacing.
    • For me, I use size 10 Palantino Linotype with a 1.15 spacing between lines.

You mentioned maybe posting some walk-throughs. I’d love a walk-through of IngramSpark.

Yes, yes I did! And so I will put together something helpful, but this will take some extra time that I don’t have at this moment, so I’ll figure out the easiest way to do that and give you a walk-through of both IngramSpark and Createspace . . . probably Smashwords too.

You mentioned Lightning Source [LSI] might prove better than [Ingram Spark] IS. In what ways is LSI better than IS?

There’s debate about the two. They are actually the same company, but Lightning Source’s (LSI) focus is on publishers (including indie) who have ten or more books to sell, but they do accept authors/publishers with less. They encourage new authors/small publishers with less than ten books to use Ingram Spark (IS) which is supposedly a stream-lined, less complicated platform to use.

I’ve not used LSI. My research tells me that LSI gives you more freedoms on the percentage discounts you and the booksellers get from their orders. It’s flexible, but not necessarily better. IS gives you a few options, but they primarily focus on the one that is a median, acceptable option for book buyers to engage in purchasing. It’s a risk for the book buyer and they want high returns on their investments.

But in order to clarify discounts I think it would be easier to direct you to this great article on SelfPublishingAdvice.org, Alliance of Independent Authors’ blog:

Ingram Spark vs. Createspace for Self-Publishing Print Books.

Go read that and the whole discount thing will make a lot more sense.

I believe there is little to no difference in the quality of books produced between LSI and IS since I’m pretty sure they are printed on the same machines just under a different umbrella/platform. At this point I’m going to ask anyone who’s got experience with LSI directly to please tell us about your experience!

In the comments section of the How to Not Get Overwhelmed: Pub Platforms post, Allie Potts made a great point, and I wanted to share her comment with you here.

Allie P. said:

I’ve used Lulu so can add a little there. Overall, I found their printed color quality to be superior to Createspace and you can go smaller than 6×9 by selecting pocketbook trim size. However, where they are, in my opinion, inferior to Createspace is the proofing process. The only way to approve Lulu proof is to order a physical book. In addition to turn over time, shipping charges also apply. While I strongly recommend that anyone considering self-publishing see their book in physically in print prior to pressing that final publish button, the cost of the proofing process can quickly add up in both time and money unless you are absolutely sure that the work you’ve uploaded is typo free and your cover template is exactly as it should be.

Thanks for sharing that with us, Allie.

Also, Helen Jones explained that she’s got experience with KDP Select, and I bet she wouldn’t mind if you wanted to ask her some specific questions about how the program works.

In the next few weeks . . . or a month-ish . . . I’ll try to put together some helpful and easy-to-follow tutorials that walk through the steps of setting up a book on Createspace, Ingram Spark, and Smashwords. It should be fun!


15 thoughts on “Answers: Q&A for Self-Publishing Platforms

      1. Hahaha, double hockey sticks breaks loose, lol. 😀
        This is unrelated, but I’m trying to figure out what resolution a 5.5 x 8 book cover should be for print. What resolution are your cover book images? I know it should be 300dpi, but I don’t know the dimensions to use. Like 1600 x 2400 or higher?

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Is The Beauty Thief paperback 5.5 x 8? I noticed on the Amazon info section it said it was 5.2 x 8. But I don’t know if 5.2 vs 5.5 would make a difference or not in the quality?
            Thank you for the link. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Does the smaller 5.25 get your book in more stores, you think? I’ve read that some places only take books that are certain sizes, and quite a few traditional published books use that 5.25 size, so I’m wondering… 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  1. Yeah, easy to let your head get spun. I found the best way not to get overwhelmed was tackle things piece by piece (e.g. cover design, then ISBNs, then distribution options…). Also, the CreateSpace discussion group is very helpful. Thanks Rachel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great that you do break it up into pieces, and it’s funny that you mention it because this is a q&a raised by just one of a whole series we are making that does exactly that! 🙂 We’re looking at information about indie publishing piece by piece. Platforms was the sixth article in the series. We’ve covered beta readers, editors/editing, cover design, bio & back cover, copyright, and self-pub platforms. I’m going to break this one down into smaller pieces still before we move on to ISBNs, though I might need to cover them in the midst. 🙂 Createspace’s forums are a treasure trove! Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

      Like

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