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Using CreateSpace and Amazon For the Self-Publisher

Updated on May 4, 2016
My Published Book
My Published Book

Why I Self-Published My Book

The journey to becoming a published author is not an easy one, and this is my publishing experience. After a bit of time processing what it took for my self-published book to have the success I hoped for, I decided to write on my own experience-- I used the CreateSpace (parent company is Amazon) company and have had success in the niche market I wrote in. The route I decided upon is not for every writer, but it works well for my first self-published book.

I decided to write a book on the Transylvanian Saxons of Romania in 2008, it is a niche market and a Second World War history book. At this point I did not understand how much work would be required for me to start, to edit and to go through the rather long re-writing process it took. The one thing I was sure of was that there would be a lot of work which would have to be done to make it a success. It is a smaller market, but it still has a following which improved my chances to self-publish successfully than with a fiction book.

My book was published in November of 2011. What with writing and editing, and designing this book took about 3 years for “In Search of the Lost Ones” to see a listing on amazon.com, and other amazon websites. It is a self-published book which is in a niche market and is based upon events of the Eastern Front.

There are many reasons why you can and should self-publish a book, my own story is based upon my writing and knowing what, and where I would best find success with my book.

Would I Self-Publish Again?

Based upon my experience I would self-publish again. I did my research and choose CreateSpace for printing and distribution of In Search of the Lost Ones. There are two reasons for this: One, that while it is a small market most of the people who are interested live in the United States and it is more convenient for them to buy it on amazon.com. Two, because I could use my own ISBN, and I felt that this allowed me to have more say in the process and to allow for changes later on in the process of publishing.

There are a few things which I would change with what I did in terms of publishing my book. I would be more aware of promotion in terms of pre-motion. In this case, I looked over many of my hubs, and found that what I spent time working on did not accurately reflect what my book is about. It is also is a reflection on my own writing. People see my hubs and can make judgements of my writing based on my hubs.

This means that while my hubs are "good"—they are not great. This made me go back and edit many of my hubs to improve their format and the way they were presented to my readers. As I did this process of editing, this lead to my questioning my original version of my book.

I realized that while I had used an editor for my writing, I had not used a copy editor, one who would go and ask questions about the general content. Once I did this, most people who pre-read the book, found it much easier to read.

Once I began questioning my book, I began to really look at the market for my soon to be published (or so I thought!) book.

What are the Benefits to Self-Publishing?

I did research on the market of my book. Most books which are published about the specific people of Transylvania I was writing on were self-published, and most of these authors freely admitted to me that they really didn't make money on this.

I also knew that it was a bit bigger a market than just that niche market: I was writing on the Transylvanian Saxons men's experiences of the Second World War. Most of these men are now either deceased or are very old. Yet, because it was about the Second World War, a history subject which most people would find interesting I knew that people who were interested in the Second World War would possibly be interested in this book.

Still, I understood that this is not a big market, and from the literary agents I spoke with, it would be a harder sell for most traditional publishers. I then focused on researching who I could contact to print my book. I looked at Lulu but also at CreateSpace, and I decided upon CreateSpace since it offered more things for a smaller fee. However, it is up to you to do all the work.

What this meant in real terms is that I had to use an editor-- several in fact and pay them, and also work with a cover creator and a designer. This also worked well as during this time, there was a small hiccup in the online world, so it was best to focus on writing, editing and publishing this book.

That final edit went from March of 2011 until October of 2011. I re-sent in many proof because my editor or I would find errors. Although this cost money to re-send a proof, this was the best money spent.

Self-Publishing: Pros and Cons

Now that my book is published here are some self-publishing pros and cons which any writer must know.

Pro: this is a great way to go if you have a small market you are focusing on or if you understand that really, your book needs to be out at a critical time.

Con: You might thing that your book is great. (When it really is not.) This being the case, do not simply go and get any editor. You might not like what they have to say but a truly good editor will not "let you off easy." Most online editors do a good job at seeing your spelling and grammar mistakes, however to publish something you will also need a content editor.

Pro: Self-publishing is faster, and if you choose your company correctly. A vanity press which charges you thousands of dollars to publish your book might seem faster, but you lose a lot of choice with what they have to offer.

Con: It is all up to you. You have to go out and find an editor, buy an ISBN, a cover designer, and create a marketing plan. It is also up to you to spend time learning about the self-publishing process. If you are unwilling to do this, then you might find that self-publishing is not for you.

Pro: It is your book, and if you understand how much time and energy you will need to devote to your writing, editing and publishing, you will find that most independent publishers are happy with the publishing process.

Con: If you don't read the contracts that some self-publishing company offer you, you might find out that you will be paying for a lot more than you think, or a lot less than you want. A good example is that many vanity presses have a contract for what can be refunded when, such as you can get editing done, but if you start the process all of your money is non-refundable, even if the writing was not edited.

Pro: There is only one you, but you can learn the value of teamwork. You will also learn how to market and gain a better idea of how to sell your next book. You will have to pay some money for editing or even book design but it is up to you what you want to spend your money on.

While I self-published my book, I wondered if I would do this again....
While I self-published my book, I wondered if I would do this again....
While I would like to make money, this book heleped me become a better writer.
While I would like to make money, this book heleped me become a better writer.

What Would You Do?

Would You Self-Publish Your Book

See results

The Moral to Self-Publishing: Final Notes

By going into this journey of doing the process it takes to write a book, I have learned a lot. I think my biggest point was that I cannot simply assume people will go out and buy a book simply because they know how much effort was put into the process.

There is a fine line between what you can potentially earn with a book and what you actually earn. It is one thing to think that you understand the "self-publishing law of averages" but it is an entirely different thing to see it in action. Many people were happy that I had published but this was generally with friends and family.

This especially true in the format I choose to publish in. Yes, people might be excited about the book, but it does not mean that they will spend the money online to buy the book, or even review a book for you. This is the critical thing for success: You spending time, and talking about your book, and getting people to go to amazon.com and see if they will buy a book.

I have learned that this is a long process, and if you believe that your book is in a niche market, as I found mine to be in, then it is important that you make plans to market that book well, getting people to buy online, especially family and friends is critical. I also learned one very important phrase "no my book is not free."

When I started on this journey I learned about what it takes to be a better writer, but also what it takes to encourage people to purchase a book. It's not easy, but I will do this journey again.

Comments

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    • roob profile image

      Ruby 16 months ago from United States

      Not to be a beep but you spelt you in your headline or whatever as yoou. If that was on purpose my bad, but just wanted you to know as you seem like a legit hubber and people might pass it up on a search engine because of that. Have a good one.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 20 months ago from Canada

      I personally suggest CreateSpace, as opposed to AuthorHouse, which has a poor reputation. That being said all self-publishing companies have drawbacks to them.

    • profile image

      Nora 20 months ago

      Which is best? Createspace or authorhouse?

    • profile image

      Nora 2 years ago

      Excellent take on createspace. Have you used a lot of services?

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 2 years ago from Earth

      Wow, even though I'd considered writing a book just for the writing part of it, I can only imagine the other side of marketing and selling book and how difficult that would be. Good luck to you!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

      You did such a good job present the case for and against self-publishing. So much to think about that I don't believe people always realize how much goes into to this. Appreciate this information.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Rebecca, Even though I've been through this already, having published three books, I never tire of learning what others have experienced with self-publishing. Your extensive list of pros and cons is very interesting and useful for people who are considering going this route.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      Patkay-- you can choose not to, but they will do withholding tax on your royalties, or there is a form they provide which will allow you to request a means for getting all your royalties but that does take a bit of time, it's found in the FAQs on CreateSpace

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Rebecca E. The only problem I have encoutered is for filling the Tax & Business Information especially when you are not a US citizen. Any idea how to go about it?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      tlpoague-- yes I have published an e-book -- which is the e-book version of the one which I published through CreateSpace. So I feel pretty confident in recommending e-books on Kindle as I've had some success with it.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from USA

      I remember reading your hub before, but can't remember if I had commented on it at the time. Over the last four years, I have looked at many offers of publishing/self publishing. I was never sure which way I wanted to go since there are so many scamming companies out there. One question I want to ask is...have you done an e-book and would you recommend it? I still haven't made a decision yet, but feel I am getting closer. You have made some terrific points here that I will be sure to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      DDE-- I will go over and take a look.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      alekhouse-- It took about a month of learning, the program is pretty easy now-- but for the first time, it was a bit more of waiting and learning-- For the cover art, that took about a day-- some say it only takes them about 5 minutes with the cover creator, uploading the content was easy-- you download your pdf file or word file (if you want them to create the interior) getting help was less than 5 minutes from the time I would email to have them call me (except on weekends!) feedback is more in the book preview area, and that is from other authors/publishers, and that is as much or as little as you want. Hope that is what you were looking for...

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Rebecca E. I have many kindle books on all amazon stores please read on my profile page to know more if you are still interested

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 4 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      In ref to: "Rebecca, not counting the time it took to edit your book, how much time so you estimate it took to get your book ready for publishing?"

      I was referring to all the work you did before that: learning their program, working on the cover and the interior, uploading your content, getting help and feedback, etc.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      alekhouse-- I sent in the final proof and the turn around was about 2 weeks. It was on amazon.com within three weeks of my accepting the final proof (they send you a paperback copy to make sure it's okay-- that took ME a week to look over)

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 4 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Rebecca, not counting the time it took to edit your book, how much time so you estimate it took to get your book ready for publishing at CreateSpace?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      alekhouse-- I found Createspace is a good company, in fact I found that they offer templates for all your writing, and you will simply send it to them in a word format should you choose. As a break down, I went with a cover creator, and that was free, and I used Createspace to put together a nicely formatted interior for around $150. As for editing, this is something that you can do yourself, or pay for it, but you will need to chose. ( I hired an editor, and it was the best $1000 I spent) so in this regard, paying for it helps, but some of the things are easy, and Createspace shows you how to do it in a video.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 4 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Hi Rececca, Thanks for bringing up the self-pub issue and sharing your experiences. I have a finished book which I am trying to publish traditionally. It's only been a few months since I started the process, but it's taking a lot of work to scope out agents, adjust my queries, and continually have to send out my MS, pages, and proposal, etc.

      I've started a new book and just want to get the first one out there. So, am thinking of self-publishing it. I'm grappling with whether I should use CreateSpace or Abbott Press. I'd like to go with CreateSpace but am afraid it will take up too much of my time (I have a small bus. I run on my own to make a living and don't have a lot of extra time.) Abbott Press will take over some of the tasks but each task they assume will be another cost to me. Are there many costs involved in using CreateSpace?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      theherbivorehippi-- it was a great learning experience, one which i will do again when I am ready to publish my next book.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 4 years ago from Holly, MI

      This is definitely information I can use in the future! I've been looking at CreateSpace; I found this review at a great time! Thanks!

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      DDE-- which books have you published? Love to know!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I have self-published my as well with createspace and have many kindle publications on Amazon.com I have researched many sites but decided to self-publish for me it was and still is the best option

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      RedElf-- I think you'll have a book published soon-- you've always written such interesting things, keep on going, createspace worked for me and I have In Search of the Lost Ones out which is the best thing to say-- my book is published! Hope you'll be able to say that soon.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      An interesting article, as always - thanks for the info. I, too, am working on a book. Well, I have 4 started and two in research stage. It's always helpful to read others experience, and reasons to go with what type of publisher.

    • Lydia Jones profile image

      Lydia Jones 5 years ago from U.K.

      Interesting hub. Great info. Thanks.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Kimberlylyrics-- all the best with your novels, I hope they will see a lot of success, in fact based on your writing I am sure they will.

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 5 years ago

      I'm with Website, really appreciate this hub.

      Just published 2 and made more in 2 weeks that 2 years here. But I do not expect to retire from writing, Money is not my incentive. Juggling 2 more novels

      Thanks for this hub Rebecca,

      Kimberly

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      KoffeeKlacht Gals-- I will admit that self-publishing a book is a bit more of a challenge but again, after I've done it and seen success and have more ideas how to market, the pros outweight the cons.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Rebecca, I can see that self-publishing would be a tremendous amount of work but I do see your point about doing it again. I would also like to have the control of what is happening with my own book. It all sounds very challenging but it sounds worth it. Iappreciate you writing this hub and listing the pros and cons are clearly as you did. Up, interesting and useful. As always a terrific job.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      James- I do have a Kindle edition for In Search of The Lost Ones, but I'll have to go into detail about it someother time.

    • profile image

      James 5 years ago

      I might have missed it but did you also put your book out in a kindle edition?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Nell-- I will never give my experience up for anything, and I am still learning, but on to the next one!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I have read this before, but came back to get it into perspective again, it sounds like hard work, but if you are writing about something that you really feel then its all worth while, saying that you have to be so dedicated, so well done! nell

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Cari Jean-- it's a joy and challenge but when your self-publish with CreateSapce it was made somewhat easirer to get on amazon, and then on to other sites-- including the .ca and .co.uk sites.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Neil-- I plan on writing a hub in March about the last three months to give an idea to others about what they can expect.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 5 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      It's always great to hear about the experiences of others - esp. when it is something you are thinking about doing yourself. Thanks so much for sharing. It is really valuable information.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      fantastic food for thought for anyone writing a book.... I appreciate you sharing your experience and resulting issues both good and bad. Well done!

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      James-- CreateSpace is good, but you will need your own ISBN to make it really good for you. I am pleased with the result and In Search of The Lost Ones is selling well.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for this useful and needful article. I am working on several books about completely different subjects and I am strongly leaning towards CreateSpace. I am glad to hear that your experience has been a positive one. I appreciate you sharing this information with us.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      In Search Of the Lost ones is out, and I am so excited, but it is both rewarding and challenging-- to say the least!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Wow, what an undertaking. Two of my friends are self-published authors. In both cases they found it to be very gratifying as well as a huge challenge.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Deepak-- you are welcome I hope you will publish soon.

    • DeepakTutlani profile image

      DeepakTutlani 5 years ago from Jaipur

      Fantastic story....you motivated me!!!

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Sue Adams-- thus far I've sold about 60 paperbacks-- which isn't bad since that was in November that In search of The Lost ones Was published. I didn't want to add the book to the list of books I have-- maybe I should?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      htodd-- thank for stopping by which part did you like?

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando 5 years ago from Andalusia

      Hi Rebecca, It would be interesting to know how many copies you have sold so far, if that's not a secret.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      This is really great story..I enjoyed reading this

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      ytsenoh-- what is your book's title? I would love to know, I think now I've done the process, I will most likely go with Lighting Source. CreateSpace does a good job printing as well and I am happy with in search of the lost ones in paperback.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Rebecca, interesting hub. I used createspace when I self-published in 2010 and was happy with it for my first time. I would choose another source for my second book because I like trying other options. I think self-publishing is becoming more and more popular. I also think createspace did a great job with the printing. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      one2get2no-- you'll have to send me the info when it is published love to read it.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      PatKay-- I went with 10 different publishers, now note 5 were befpore my major revamp so I have no doubt as to why the manuscript was rejected, but the next five were after, and the last one sent the extra bit of advice-- market.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      teaches-- it's only amazon.com, but really I think if I get a book designer, and receive approval i would work with Lighting source next time. Keep on writing and you will be published soon.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Pamela99-- I'm not saying it is the only choice but if you spend some time studying the market then it is a choice. I did sned it to some traditional publsihers, and one of tehm sent a letter rejecting in on the basis of a small market size, so I really had to look into what was best for this book.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      drbj-- yes i have an e-book version as well. Right now I am working on the paperbacks, and making notes for a hub where I can disect the two of them, both formats have beneifits though.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      adrienne-- I have heard of AuthoruHouse, and decided against it, mostly because I did have an ISBN, and I did know a few people who could help with the designing of the interior of the book. What is drawing you to AuthourHouse? (I've also heard of Iuniverse and Xlibris-- I believe they are part of the same parent company)

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 5 years ago from Olney

      Thank you Rebecca..I have a book in process and shall take some of thoughts on board...:)

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks for sharing. I also have a fiction novel I want to publish. Though I have sent it to a traditional publisher for review, if it is rejected then, I will opt for self publishing.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experience and success in self-publishing. Congratulations on your book listing with Amazong. I appreciate advice on book publishing and will keep this in my library for future reference. Voted up!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      I have been working on a book and not sure about self publishing but found your hub very interesting and helpful. Good luck with your sales.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, becca, for relating your journey and experience self-publishing your book. You know I will get and read it. More and more I am finding that writers are self-publishing rather than going the traditional publishing route. And many of them are printing ebooks. Did you consider an ebook version, too? Just wonderin'. The best of luck, m'dear, with your book.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 5 years ago from Atlanta

      Hi Rebecca, I have published parts of the book here on hubpages (Pains of Love)there are several sections printed here. I have received some interesting feedback regarding the writing. As for which company I am taking a close look at it would be Author House, not sure if you have heard of this particular company or not.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      adrienne-- which company are you thinking of going with? I chose CreateSpace because I was unsure about how well I could work the Adobe formats on lightning Source, so I think I'll be considering them next go around, still it's not a bad company if you are just starting out. What is your book going to be called?

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 5 years ago from Atlanta

      Rebecca very interesting article. Well I do plan to publish, but I do not think createspace works for me. I really appreciate your sharing the experience of what you when through on your self-publishing journey. I voted up, interesting, and useful.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Suzie-- You are welcome, I am happy to tell you what i've done, and it is in a couple of formats, of which I'll be explaining at some point soon. When I have better numbers.

    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 5 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      Thanks for sharing your experiences! :)

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Violet Sun-- let me know when ti is, and I'll get it!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 5 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Rebecca, The title of my book is "Beyond Inspiration". It's a compilation of affirmative prayers, positive affirmations and short spiritual musings. It's not yet published, but very soon, it will be. :)

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Violet Sun-- You'll have to give me the title, I'd love to read it, I am sure it is good. I think I'll need to look into Norlu for design, much thanks for the suggestion-- the content editor was a godsend-- but my book was also history, so having someone who knew history was also a must....

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      Website Examiner-- I figured as much, it is important to share what we've done, wow I am honoured for the inclusion! aweome!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 5 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Rebecca, I just finished editing my inspirational book, and hired professional editing services, and though they are not copy editors, he did question the content of several paragraphs and made suggestions as to the changes that were needed for more clarity. I also used CreateSpace but since I am not a graphics designer, I used the self-publishing services of Norlu.com who uses Create Space and designs the layout and book cover. They are cheap and have done a beautiful design for my inspirational book.

      Thanks for sharing your expertise! For my next book, I will hire both a proofreader and content editor.

    • profile image

      Website Examiner 5 years ago

      I appreciate this hub. As you may have guessed, I cannot get tired of hearing different perspectives on publishing and self-publishing. I will include your book in my online directory.

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