This may be a long review, but it’s thorough. If you have any questions or anything you have something you would like to see in this review, please leave them in the comment section for me to answer. I will reply to the best of my ability.
Here are a few things to know while reading this review…
Word Count Total: approx. 39,100 words (about 9,000 words more than George Orwell’s Animal Farm)
Format Specifics: Original
Font: Times New Roman
Format Specifics: Large Print Edition
Font: Sans Serif
The books have a black and white interior, no pictures, and were printed on white paper. The other option for paper color/type was cream, but I chose white instead.
Here we go…
On your member dashboard of Createspace.com, there is an option to order copies or order a proof copy. After clicking it, you can order any number of copies from all of your approved books. As the author, you can buy them for less than half or barely over half of the bare minimal sale price. For example, the original was set to sell for $7.00, but I only had to pay $3.05 for each copy. they have a cost estimation calculator in the book section that helps you see what your final price will be. The calculator came out accurate for my estimation.
With each book and the cost of shipping and handling, the total came out to $35.98.
I like the fact you could go back and change parts of your order–I originally put in a few too many and I was able to go back and take that off. After I saved that information, it made the corrections without me having to do anything over again.
I didn’t set a priority, so I paid the normal shipping and handling fee of $7.13 for 4 normal and 3 large print.
They explained the process of tracking your order in the order confirmation email sent:
You can view your order details, check on the status of your order, and track your order by following the directions below:
1. Log in to your Member Account using your e-mail address and password
2. From your Member Dashboard, click “View My Purchases” located in the left navigation column
3. To track a package, click on the tracking number once the order is shipped and you will be redirected to the USPS, UPS, or DHL website tracking pages
The red box highlights where I can check on the status. I personally found this more convenient than Amazon. Then again, a lot of amazon products had to be picked up first and then shipped–the books I ordered were produced and then shipped, which made my perchance less likely to arrive late.
I placed the order the 11, it shipped mid-afternoon on the 14, and arrived on the 18th, even though it said it would be here by the 25th. I’m happy it arrived early, but I wasn’t planning on that.
It arrived in a cardboard box that was taped shut securely. Thin sheets of brown, cardboard-material paper covered and lined each stack. They were stacked based on size with a folded slip of cardboard in between them to make them fit better. These aren’t all of the books in the photo, I had already given then to their loving owners by the time I had the chance to take photos.
The covers are different aside from the note that one is a Large Print Edition. This is on my part–upon designing the covers, I didn’t make them the same. This is not a mistake on CreateSpace’s part, just a difference. I originally wanted them to be one shade of gray like the Large Print Edition was, but I didn’t switch the colors back. Then again, it would be easier to distinguish the two from each other if they have a color difference. I have one person who wants one of each and I plan on giving a set of one of each to another to another friend. They will be able to see upfront which copy is which and whom is taking home which copy, so it isn’t a mistake.
As you can see, it portrayed to be a lot lighter. I did design this with my Mac’s light settings all the way up to be as bright as it can go, but maybe that was a mistake, making me think that the darker shade was fine.
This is an easy fix though— CreateSpace gave the option to have different colors for the text, but it’s only one color for all of the text on the cover. I am currently waiting for the reapproval of my book and redoing most of the steps to publish this thing, but at least this time it’ll all be easier to read.
This is a learning experience. It showed me what limits I have for designing my next book’s cover. That being said, printing it out on a regular printer should be fine for an accurate example of color contrast. Once I get my vampire novel ready, I’ll offer photos of that one too to compare and contrast an MSPaint cover versus a CreateSpace cover and see if making your own is any more accurate. This portion of the review is flexible, but the Vampire cover is still a ways to wait, so these will have to do for now, sorry.
Other than the colors, the printing quality is great. I only found one tiny drop of dried clue on the cover of a large print copy, but that was easy to peel off and I haven’t seen any issues otherwise. The paper used for the cover seems a little thin, but that’s a personal opinion.
The cover isn’t a solid image. The leaves are cut off on the spine, anticipating that it’ll be lined up properly. I have seen others advise not to do this with CreateSpace, that the cover should be one image with no cut-off for the spine and covers. This would be to allow more room for errors instead of risking a tacky, unprofessional print job we’ve all seen at some point in our lives where the spine’s image and the covers’ images aren’t aligned and fall into each other. I don’t know about you, but that really annoys me.
Even though the single-image cover was advised, I obviously didn’t take it and the cover for my next novel isn’t going to follow the one-image rule either. Like I said, the darkness of the gray in comparison to what I saw online is the only real flaw, but it’s one on my part. The cover printed just fine.
As you can also see, the spines are different, the Large Print Edition’s being thicker. It’s also a larger book, but it has the exact same content. The pink and white book you see is a Signet Classic’s printing of George Orwell’s Animal farm (this book is my baby). As I said before, my novella is about 9,000 words longer than Animal Farm, as shown here. From what I’ve seen inside this copy of Animal Farm, it does not contain much more than the novella itself, amounting to less than the entire length of Waiting on a Bail, yet the spine are the same width, even while considering the extra inches in the 5X8 size.
This is likely due to the materials used to make my novella. A traditional publisher such as Signet Classics here may use different paper that would make the spine thicker than if it were printed with CreateSpace. This may make a CreateSpace novel or novella seem like the author wrote less, which can affect whether the reader will buy your book or not (I don’t know about you, but I may choose a pocketbook of The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank’s Diary for seven or eight dollars over John Steinback’s Of Mice and Men for fifteen dollars.).
However, this can also mean that the reader may assume a book will be a faster and easier read and pick it up because of that reason, finding it less intimidating to finish, even though it may end up actually being 120,000 words. These reasons may seem silly, but there are many more ridiculous and unusual reasons why someone may or may not buy a book or decide which president candidate to vote for…
I am happy to say that I haven’t found any damage. I am also happy that I did not need to photograph any.
Like I said earlier, there are different fonts and sizes for both books. The smaller is the original/normal version (obviously) while the larger one is the Large Print Edition. I chose the printing size, font size, style and spacing according to publishing standards–times new roman is common and said to be the easiest font to read, set at 11 as a standard size. However, I spaced it to be 1.5 instead of 1.0 because others I have spoken to said that single-spacing makes a novel harder to read. Agreeing with this statement, feeling this way myself, I set it at 1.5 spacing.
(Yes, they’re both open on the same page–changing settings to large print adds a lot of extra pages.)
For the Large print, I also went by what others have said and publishing standards to have the font at 16 (even though people I’ve spoken to or comments I’ve read said they’d rather have 18-20 instead, I may go with that suggestion later, but I would need to research and see why it is 16 instead of 18-20 like I’ve heard so many say). The Sans Serif font is also part of the standard just as setting it to 1.5 spacing or more. Likewise, 6X9in was a standard printing size while 5x9in for the original was the smallest option they had. I wish they had pocket books, but that’s not an option (yet, I can only hope).
Even though the content is the same, the increased font size, change of font style and increase in printing size alter the spine.
There’s something important I need to go over—I have seen reviews that have complained about “PROOF” being written on an extra page in the very back of their books.
There is a reason for this.
As part of the publishing process, you need to review a proof copy. You’re given the option to do a free digital version that has this legendary PROOF page or buy one, have it delivered and go through the same process I am doing here. I personally chose to do the digital version, which is advised against. Anyway, after you check it over, be it using the digital version (it’s not the same as the one checking for errors, so be sure to check the digital version) or buying a hard copy to look over, you then go and approve it. You will be asked if you’re sure, so be sure you’re sure before you officially approve.
This will take away the proof page in every book printed from then on out.
If you order a dozen copies and all of them have the proof page, this is likely why and it’s an easy fix. Do not buy a bunch of books to sell unless it says you can “order copies”, nothing but.
The date October 11, 2013 is the date the order it was put in, suggesting that this specific copy of my novella was printed on the same day.
I said it a few times and I’ll say it again, the lighting of the colors when selecting the books aren’t accurate to the end result. I will also repeat my statement that this is a learning experience for myself and others. Printing the cover off of a normal printer and on printing paper creates a fairly accurate result of what your final product will look like. With that I recommend checking covers that way before finishing off the design.
I didn’t catch this until I was in direct sunlight, but the brown color in certain leaves are pixelated a bit. This is probably my biggest issue aside from the grayscale. I can’t take a clear enough picture to show you, but it’s there. The brown-ish colors in some of the leaves are unattractive and even amateur-looking if you look at them hard enough.
However, here’s my disclaimer—it’s completely possible that this is due to the colors I chose. It is also partially on my part for not taking the time to design a decent cover myself. If I did, then the blame for it would be completely on me instead of only partially. Taking this as a learning experience as well, there isn’t as much shame in making a book cover in Manga Studio Debut 4 and Microsoft Paint as I thought. The sharp pixels can allow for better color blending and may allow better printing results. I plan on designing my future covers around this to make sure it can still look decent.
Otherwise, I see nothing wrong. I would like to see more book sizes—I would like to see a pocket book size option in the future. I personally think it would be a commonly-chosen size that would help the company attract more members and get more sales from the more purse-friendly size option as well as cutting down a little on production cost for authors buying copies.
These copies were for very specific people, one being April as the “poem” indicated. It’s a long and way over-due birthday present, but now that she has a new home after the tragic Colorado Floods, I should be able to get it to her with greater ease than before.
Now I just need to find the right pen and the right words to autograph it with…