Monday, August 10, 2015

Self-Publishing Woes VS WOWS! = Go with Local Business Owners!

Writing children's books is a life-long dream for me, so
 I've been SO FRUSTRATED with Lulu Publishing and Createspace, where plenty of people are employed to pleasantly B.S. all sorts of promises, but in the end, you to do the majority of the work.  Createspace doesn't charge you, but Lulu cost me over $1300 to make an unusably poor-quality paperback.  Luckily, the eBook is OK, but that's a hefty chunk of change to produce it.
The paperback will probably never be circulated, because Lulu charges too much 
for each book they print (ON TOP of the $1300+) and I don't know if I can find anyone to help me fix what they should've gotten right the first time around.  

The problem is, both these companies farm out the actual printing work, 
so those you work with never see the final product.  No one's accountable--if there's 
a problem it's up to you, the customer, to figure out how to reformat and resubmit 
what you thought was a print-ready file the first time around, because they told you it was. 

For someone like me, reformatting and resubmitting presents an impossible barrier.   
I love to draw, paint, write, sing and create, 
but haven't a clue when it comes to all things technical.  
When a sales rep. tells me the file is ready, I expect a quality product to result.  
When that doesn't happen, the next person I talk to has no idea who I talked to before 
or what was said, yet somehow, the poor quality issue is always my fault.
This blog entry is being created to warn other would-be self-publishers 
away from companies like Lulu Publishing, and lend cautionary advice about
Amazon's Createspace.  The latter DOES offer a great deal, and as long as the interior of your 
book is black and white, it should turn out OK---it should--I'm not saying it will, but at least, if it doesn't, what you've lost is time, not large amounts of cash.  You can lose BOTH with Lulu.

On the other hand, there are unsung heroes out there, working their hearts out, just like you are.  
Here are some I've most recently discovered.

Located in Logan, Utah at 110 West 1200 South, is a gem of a business that I discovered from a flyer in my mailbox.  They do just about everything I need to have done, and because it's a local business, I speak face-to-face with the person responsible for my end product.  What a pleasure it is to communicate, and I don't pay out until I've approved a physical proof of what I'll be having printed.  Missy Tiatia, at Watkins, not only listened, she offered real solutions at very reasonable rates to help me produce the books, cards, etc. which I've been creating at home for years.  

To go the extra mile, she offered to trim off the superfluous 1/4" white border at the top of every page which Createspace keeps creating in my Twinkle and Luna books.  
For less than 10 cents a book to expertly trim that unsightly misplaced border, 
NOW I have a product I'm ready to market!  
She assures me they can keep doing that until if/when Createspace problems ever get resolved.  Within the next week I'll have my Etsy store ready to go and each book will be available with 
an ACC Audio & Lullaby CD included in the back.
I believe I've already raved about Full Fidelity's Steve Phillips, at 4914 State St. in SLC.  It's tucked behind another store, so you have to know who you're looking for.  But everyone who uses Full Fidelity knows what they're there for: exceptional recording quality at an unbelievably
reasonable rate.  No one trying to market their art and music has money to throw away; 
Steve knows that and accommodates us--dreamers like me.   I cannot say enough good about Steve's recording studio.  He's an artist and a pro.
Working with Raland at Rose Pedal Records was another unexpectedly satisfying foray into self-publishing, since he is also a perfectionist and artist.  It's another impossible to find place, so call ahead if you want to stop by, and believe me, it's worth the hunt because the shop's a real treasure.  It's located behind what looks like an abandoned building, 
but is actually a real Fire Station, at 6500 South 1300 East, SLC.  
Oh, and the main number is 801-274-9953, but I've always called 801-506-0060.  Raland picks up and happily (seriously, the guy's never ruffled) gives you directions on how to find them.  
He worked with the jpeg images I brought in to design a CD face that totally coordinates with the cover.  It was magical!  When he printed off the first one, I got teary...the CD looks PERFECT!  
Thanks to his buddy over at Full Fidelity, it also sounds pretty darn good too!  Hopefully, by next week, I'll be ready with my own Etsy store, so there's one place to go for 
everything, and I can guarantee the quality, having winnowed out what's not.

If you'd like to schedule an interactive musical presentation, 
any Friday or Saturday beginning in mid-September,
please email:


  1. What an education, and not without its pitfalls--but what wonderful things you've produced! I love your creativity . . . Congratulations!

  2. I'm SO excited for you, Joanna!!! This all looks great :)