Posts Tagged ‘Mill City Press’

Now that I have completed the CreateSpace process for my new YA novel, The Anorexic Experiment, and have received my first few shipments of books from them, I want to provide a review to help those who may be considering CreateSpace to self-publish their own book(s). This blog post is going to be significantly longer than many of my other posts, so settle in. 🙂

Overall, my experience with CreateSpace has been a positive one. The most exciting part of the self-publishing experience this time has been the price–I only spent about $135 for the whole process. Technically, you can use CreateSpace to publish for free, but I wanted to buy an ISBN for the paperback version ($99), and I purchased two proof copies (with rush shipping), so the total came to approximately $135. This cost includes both paperback and eBook versions. In contrast, my self-publishing experience with Mill City Press for my first novel, Illegally Innocent, cost almost $2500 for both paperback and eBook formats. Plus, I pay nearly $260 per year to keep Illegally Innocent listed for sale on Amazon, the iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble’s website. It appears there won’t be any yearly renewal fee with CreateSpace, but I don’t know for sure yet.

Depending on your own speed and skill with using CreateSpace’s process, you can crank out a book and have it up for sale on Amazon in a few days. With Mill City Press, it can take a few months before your book is available to buy. I also feel like I have more control over The Anorexic Experiment than Illegally Innocent as far as changing the price and updating files in an efficient manner if I want to do so.

CreateSpace has been pleasantly speedy with shipping books to me. All three of the shipments I have purchased so far have arrived in eight days or less (one of those times was even over the Fourth of July, and the books still arrived within six days from the date of order).

With CreateSpace, you publish the paperback version of your book in CreateSpace, but you publish the Kindle version through Kindle Direct Publishing (both owned by Amazon). Mill City Press turned my eBook not only into files for Kindle, but also for iBooks and Nook. With CreateSpace/Kindle Direct Publishing, if I want to make my eBook available in formats other than Kindle, I have to do that work myself. I chose to go with the KDP Select program, which allows you to earn higher royalties and means that I am making my eBook exclusive to Kindle for 90 days at a time. In a few months I might opt out of the program and develop a Nook version–I am still deciding.

Both CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing provide access to helpful sales reports that get updated every day. I particularly enjoy this feature, as Mill City Press provides just monthly sales reports for paperbacks and quarterly reports for eBooks.

Now for a few cons…formatting the interior pages of your manuscript and creating the cover can be a nightmare on CreateSpace. Mill City Press took care of both of those things for me with Illegally Innocent, and I didn’t realize just how many little details you have to watch to make sure your book turns out the way you want it to be. I formatted in Microsoft Word, and even though I have a ton of experience using Word and would have previously considered myself “proficient” in it, I learned even more about it while formatting this book. Even though I tried to do the best I could with the interior formatting of The Anorexic Experiment, I know Illegally Innocent looks better. If it is your first time using CreateSpace, DO NOT attempt to format your book without using their suggested template. I tried to do it on my own at first, thinking it seemed like a pain to copy and paste all of my manuscript into their template. Big mistake. I wasted many hours trying to format it and kept running into problems. Once I started using CreateSpace’s template, the process became much easier. It still took a decent amount of time, but I did not get nearly as frustrated as I had when I tried to do it without the template.

My husband, Mike, designed the cover of The Anorexic Experiment for me and did a great job. Unfortunately, though, we found out that CreateSpace’s print quality is not quite what we were hoping for. The cover image looked fantastic on Mike’s computer, and we thought it was within CreateSpace’s guidelines, but we ran into problems with pixelation and images that were slightly blurry. Overall, the print quality of both the cover and the interior is just not quite up to par with what Mill City Press produced for me. Both of my books use black as the main color on the back cover, and if you compare the two, the black on Illegally Innocent is much more vibrant and seems to be more of a “true” shade of black than that on The Anorexic Experiment. CreateSpace also seems not to be as careful when cutting pages–in one of the copies I received, the pages were incredibly crooked. Although all of the text was present and readable, if you flipped through and compared placement of headings, the book was definitely put together at an odd angle.

Overall, the problems I have experienced with CreateSpace have not been serious enough to prevent me from using their services again. I do think Mill City Press produces a slightly more professional-looking book, but it took a long time to earn back my money on that first book. I am glad I chose Mill City Press for Illegally Innocent and still recommend them if you do not feel comfortable trying to format your manuscript and create a cover on your own. Self-publishing a book for the first time can be overwhelming with figuring out how to market it, let alone trying to learn how to format, create your cover, and navigate other publishing issues. If you do not feel you are particularly computer-savvy, or do not have someone in your household who is, then I would recommend picking Mill City Press or a similar company in which they do most of the work for you. Honestly, if Mike had not taken on the responsibility of creating my cover, I don’t know if I would have chosen to use CreateSpace because I feel extremely uncomfortable with the idea of making a cover. You can hire people through CreateSpace or freelancers to help you with the tasks that you don’t want to do yourself, but if you’re picking CreateSpace to save money, any tasks that you hire out to other people can really start to rack up your costs.

Whoa! You made it to the bottom of this post. 🙂 If you have any questions about my CreateSpace experience, please post them in the comments. If you’d like to read my review of Mill City Press from a few years ago, click here: https://thehealthybacon.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/illegally-innocent-ebook-and-a-review-of-mill-city-press/.

If you’d like to read the first two chapters of either of my novels, click here for Illegally Innocent: http://angelabaconbooks.com/illegally-innocent/ and here for The Anorexic Experiment: http://angelabaconbooks.com/anorexic-experiment/.

Have you self-published a book? If so, through which company did you self-publish? I’d like to post some reviews of self-publishing companies on my blog to help everyone out there who is in the process of picking a company for his or her book. Let’s help other writers avoid the scammers and have an enjoyable self-publishing experience! Personally, I’ve only self-published through Mill City Press, so I’m curious what everyone has to say about other companies. Even if you also chose Mill City Press, go ahead and send me a review. Please send any reviews of self-publishing companies (positive or negative) to angela@angelabaconbooks.com. Please also send me the title of your book and your website (if you have a website), and I will post those things along with your review to help you advertise your book! Here’s an example of a review of Mill City Press that I wrote a few months ago if you’d like an idea to get you started: https://thehealthybacon.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/illegally-innocent-ebook-and-a-review-of-mill-city-press/. Please do not include foul language in your review. If I feel that the content of your review is inappropriate, I will not post it.

Writing Challenge Update #1: I completed my five hours of writing the first week of 2014 but have completely failed at the challenge this week. I have all kinds of excuses I could give, but I won’t post them, haha. This next week, which begins today (Wednesday), I am going to try to write ten hours to catch up. We’ll see how this goes. 🙂 If you’re doing your own writing challenge, how has it been going for you? If you haven’t started a writing challenge for this year, start one now!

I am SOOOOOOOO excited to share that Illegally Innocent is now available to purchase as an eBook! It is just $2.99 and can be purchased in both the Amazon Kindle store and the Barnes and Noble Nook store. It’s coming soon to the iBookstore as well (Mill City Press has submitted it to the iBookstore, and now it is up to the iBookstore to actually post its availability)! Now that I have completed most of the tasks involved with my book at Mill City Press, I thought it would be good to post a review of Mill City Press to try to help out those of you who are in the middle of trying to pick a self-publishing company.

First of all, when picking any self-publishing company, you should not only look at the information on the self-publishing company’s website, but I’d also recommend doing a Google search to see what other people are saying about that company. Try to find blogs and discussion forums in which people post their opinions on that particular company. In the case of Mill City Press, before I’d ever signed a contract with them, I did come across some poor reviews of their company (not a lot, but a handful of them), and those definitely factored into whether or not I was going to choose Mill City. I’m so happy to be able to assure you that I did not have any of the bad experiences that I read about online! Here’s how the self-publishing process works with Mill City: There are several steps to the publishing process, and you receive one or more steps in your Mill City Press “Author Dashboard” at a time. Examples of steps are things like a questionnaire about what you want your cover to look like, a sample chapter of your print book to see if the format is how you want it to be, etc. In their self-publishing contract, Mill City outlines in detail the number of business days it will take them to get back with the author in between steps. They ALWAYS posted the next step in the amount of time they’d told me, or sometimes they posted the next step even quicker than what they’d originally told me. Whenever I emailed them to ask a question (which wasn’t often, because they cover their bases so well that there aren’t many questions to ask!), they always responded promptly and politely.

There was only ONE time that I hit a snag with Mill City Press (and I hesitate to even post this issue, because it was not a big deal to me…however, I want to provide a completely honest review), and that involved one of their publicists. I did not sign up for any of Mill City’s marketing packages, but something they included with my contract was one free phone call with a publicist. I signed the contract for Mill City Press in February 2012, and their publicist (who I’m just going to call John Doe, because I’m certainly not out to slander him) emailed me at the end of June 2012 to see if I would prefer to have that phone call or just exchange a few emails instead. I emailed him back the next day, expressing my preference for email rather than a phone call. Since I was not counting on Mill City Press to do my marketing and advertising anyway, I was already working on several marketing ideas (with some help from family and friends) that I could do with a limited budget. Several weeks passed, and I did NOT hear back from John Doe. I thought about trying to contact him again, but like I said earlier, I was busy putting my own marketing ideas into action; in addition, Mike and I got engaged in the middle of August 2012, and so I had wedding planning on top of book marketing. 🙂 About a week into September 2012, John Doe emailed me back and apologized that he had taken so long to get back to me–he said my June reply to his email had gotten filtered and did not end up in his email inbox until just that week. When I saw his email, I considered responding but was busy with a lot of other things at the time, and I ended up never responding to his email again. John Doe, if you’re reading this blog post, I want you to know that I was not angry, just busy.  🙂 Anyway, that was the ONLY time that anyone from Mill City Press took a ridiculously long time to respond back to me, and there was a good reason for it (the filter), so I certainly don’t count that against them.

Mill City Press’s contract (at the time I signed on with them) states that it takes about half a year to complete the self-publishing process–I think the official statement said 190 business days or something like that. So you may be wondering why my eBook is just now available, since I signed the contract in February 2012. I assure you that was NOT Mill City Press’s fault. I got really busy with book marketing, wedding planning, and other life things, and sometimes it took me a couple of months or more to get back to them on various steps of my book. The print version of Illegally Innocent was completed in 6-7 months, but it has taken me this long to complete the eBook.

The quality of the print version of Illegally Innocent is similar to that of a traditionally-published book. I attended a writer’s conference last fall and one of the editors I met with there confirmed my opinion when she told me that my book did NOT look self-published. On top of this, deliveries of my print books have been faster than expected, so that has been a pleasant surprise.

Will I choose Mill City Press for my second book? Yes and no. In order to publish with Mill City Press, I had to spend around $2500 for both print and eBook versions. When comparing what Mill City offers with what other self-publishing companies offer, that is a fair price, and I do not regret paying it. However, I realize that at this point in time, it might be slightly unrealistic to plan to spend that much on each and every book I hope to publish. Right now, I am planning to publish the sequel to Illegally Innocent through Mill City Press, but I have not signed a contract for that book with them yet, and it will probably be a while before I do. In the meantime, I am working on a different project that I plan to release through a different self-publishing company in just eBook format.

Let me know if you have any questions about Mill City Press–I’d be happy to answer them!

Thank you to Mill City Press for giving me a great self-publishing experience!

In the final version of Illegally Innocent, Grace’s last name is “Hampton.” However, in the original manuscript, her last name was “Hollingsworth.” I changed it because someone (I don’t remember who it was for sure, but I think it was my fiance) thought “Hollingsworth” was a weird last name. I’m glad I changed it.

Illegally Innocent was originally named Smuggling.

As I was doing a few final read-throughs of the manuscript before submitting it to Mill City Press last winter, I realized I had named three different minor characters “Tom” and had to re-name two of them. If you’re writing a book, make sure you check it for repetitive naming!

So far, I have scheduled two speaking events for 2013. The first one is at the Ransom District Library in Plainwell, MI, on Thursday, January 17, at 7:00 p.m. I will be teaching a class called “Why You Should Consider Self-Publishing.” In this class, I will share my self-publishing experience with Mill City Press, outline the pros and cons of several self-publishing companies, and provide marketing ideas for self-published books.

The second event is at the Otsego District Library in Otsego, MI, on Monday, February 18, at 7:00 p.m. I will be teaching the same class–“Why You Should Consider Self-Publishing.” I’d love to see you if you can make it to either one of these classes!

It was great to see everybody who came to the Otsego Library for my book signing a couple of weeks ago and to the Otsego Harding’s this past Saturday for my book signing! Thank you so much for your support!

I am excited to announce that my book is now sold in another location! You can now purchase copies of Illegally Innocent from Booth 126A at the Alamo Depot on West “D” Avenue in Kalamazoo, MI. In addition, over the weekend, Mike helped me re-open the order option on my website, www.angelabaconbooks.com, where you can purchase autographed copies. Thank you to Alamo Depot for allowing me to sell Illegally Innocent at your store and also to Penny at the Otsego Curves, who has let me sell Illegally Innocent at Curves for the past couple of weeks!

My website has been up for about a month now, so I figured it was time to give an update on the progress of Illegally Innocent. The paperback version is almost complete (yay!) and mostly what remains to be finished is the e-book format. I do not have an exact release date to give you, but tentatively Illegally Innocent will be available sometime in September. It will be $13.95 for the paperback version, and I have not yet determined how much the e-book version will cost. I am planning to offer a discount on the paperback version for those who pre-order, though, and that option will be available soon!

So far I am pleased with Mill City Press. I researched long and hard before picking a self-publishing company, and the staff at Mill City Press have proven themselves to be efficient and helpful whenever I have had questions. Once my novel has been out for a couple of months, I will give a more detailed review of my Mill City experience. As of right now though, I can definitely say I would choose Mill City Press again for my next book.

Some things to look for in the next month:

1. The ability to pre-order Illegally Innocent on www.angelabaconbooks.com

2. The book trailer for Illegally Innocent…We’ve had a lot of fun creating the book trailer! Last week we staged a fake protest.  🙂

3.  My first e-newsletter…If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, go to the homepage of www.angelabaconbooks.com and sign up by entering one or both contest drawings and clicking the box to receive my e-news, or by clicking the red and black newsletter bar above the two contests.