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Consult With Fred Gleeck

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One of the MOST ignored products for someone doing information marketing is their book. NOT an ebook. A good, old fashioned, PHYSICAL book! If you want to make the “big bucks” selling info products, don’t ignore this one.

My self published books have been invaluable to my career in this business. They give me credibility and also serve as great GIVE AWAY items to entice people to sign up for my list.

I also carry the physical books around and give them out freely.

I make all of my physical books available for SALE on Amazon. If there is one place you want to make your books available, it’s there! Amazon is synonymous with books. Up until a year or so back, I used to DREAD it when Amazon ordered more books from me.

It would involve me having to go into my garage and grab the books they wanted then find a box to mail them in. I had to pack them “properly” for fear that Amazon would send them back to me. They’ll do that if your books get even slightly damage in shipment. I guess that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want to buy a NEW book and have it look like it was used.

About a year ago, I started using CreateSpace to do short run printing of my books and my Amazon fulfillment.

CreateSpace used to be a company called BookSurge. I got on with them early on. I had known their CEO and it provided a great, personalized service. Since Amazon now owns what used to be BookSurge, I must now report that personalized service is NOT their SPECIALTY these days. More on that later.

Because of the incestuous relationship that exists between Amazon and CreateSpace, things have gotten easier for me. AND for YOU! Whenever Amazon needs books that aren’t in inventory, CreateSpace prints them ON DEMAND. I no longer have to go rummaging in my garage to find the books they want and a box to ship them in.

CreateSpace does it for me.

Before you think this is turning into a PROMOTIONAL blog story about CreateSpace, let me tell you this. I frankly do NOT like these folks. I could give you a bunch of reasons, but here’s a few.

I attempted to buy one of their more expensive packages for a book I was doing. I was EXTREMELY disappointed with their response time and service. Since I do a lot of work in the publishing industry, I suggested someone call me to discuss doing a JV. No call came.

It took me more than 3 months and over 12 attempts to get all of my books up on their system. They make it REALLY difficult to work with them if you aren’t paying for one of their premium services. Naturally, they don’t make as much money in those cases.

In short, quality service is NOT why I would recommend CreateSpace. Don’t forget I TOLD YOU SO at any point in the future.

I WOULD recommend them because they are in bed with the BIG DADDY of book distribution: AMAZON. This is all YOU or I should care about.

I took some VERY detailed notes on a conversation I had with one of their reps recently. Here is how that went.

Fred: Can you tell me, I know that your least expensive packaged is the Author’s Express for $299. If somebody already has a book done and ready to go, and just wants to have you guys put it up on your site, do they have to pay that? Or is there some lesser amount that they can pay?

Rep: Oh no, there’s actually – the services are completely optional and most of our authors don’t even use the services. If you have all of your files formatted correctly and everything, the only thing it will cost you is to order the proof copy of the book. We don’t require any services purchased.

Fred: Okay, again we’re not talking about me specifically, we’re talking about the people who are going to read this article, just to clarify.

Rep: Mm hmm. Yeah and I understand that. In general, if you do not wish to have the services you don’t have to purchase them.

Fred: Okay, so in other words, there’s zero cost what-so-ever to get it up there, as long, if I already have a book done and finished?

Rep: Uh, the only cost would be the cost of the proof copy, which is a base production cost of the book to us. So it depends on the size of the book and everything, but it’s usually not more then about $5.

Fred: Okay, perfect, excellent. So then talk to me – when I get to the Author’s Express level, what do you give me there that I wouldn’t have?

Rep: Mostly that is just for people who are not as technically savvy. Cannot get their files formatted correctly as far as the, I’m sorry the margins and the gutter. Any kind of help they need with that. It’s just to help with formatting the actual files that you already have into a format that our systems except. You know taking care if the bleed issues, anything, any kind of live elements within areas that might be trimmed or anything like that.

Fred: Gotcha. So it’s basically, if I’m not a real technical person I might be able to, I can get everything done by you. Now I can call in, I get phone support as well on that?

Rep: Of course. Actually once you purchase services you’re actually in a completely different zone. We’re on the self service side of member services. We offer a little bit of help with the members doing everything themselves. But the services actually get assigned their own publishing consultant. And they can contact their publishing consultant via phone. Once their services are actually started, they get a project team which is a number of people working with them personally that they can talk with a variety of back and forth and get help with what they’re doing.

Fred: Do I even get that project team at the lowest level of $299?

Rep: Generally, yes, they may not be as interactive because it’s more of a, well you already have your files so you just kind of give them to them and we format them correctly. And there is also that of course you can contact them if you have any kind of questions or anything like that. But there is a little bit more – less interactive as far as calling you to get help and all of that.

Fred: Gotcha, so moving up quickly to the Author’s Advantage Program which is $499 I see here, then what do you guys do for that? I guess you help me create the books interior?

Rep: That’s a little bit more, obviously intensive. A lot of times extra fees can apply to that depending on the size of the book and everything. That’s basically if you just have your manuscript, you have say a Microsoft Word document that you’ve typed everything out in, and you want us to completely re-do that, completely set it up. We do the ISBN assignments. We help you out with the cover a little bit more. It’s just a little bit more intensive.

If you have a general idea of what you want your cover to be, but you don’t have any materials for it, we can help you put that together.

Fred: Got it. Now with the ISBN number and that category then, do you own that ISBN or does the author?

Rep: It’s again that’s another thing that you can discuss with them once you get the service. We do offer free ISBNs (04:07) which are our imprint. Obviously we own that, you can’t take that ISBN somewhere if you wish to publish elsewhere. But we do have upgrades where you can purchase at $100 for another completely your own ISBN. You can change the imprint you can take it with you if you decide to go somewhere else. That’s something that you can choose, they just kind of help you out with that decision if you just want to go for free they can do that for you.

Fred: Gotcha. Okay, and then let’s see then the next level up I guess is the Total Design Freedom Standard I guess I see here. Okay, and so on the Author’s Advantage I basically just get to choose from some like, some like clipart or whatever you guys have to use. Is that it for the book?

Rep: Yeah, that one is a little bit more like, okay, you have a general idea what you want, but you’re not sure. This one is like you were talking about as far as interaction with the publishing or publishing consultant and the project teams. They will actually talk with you, throw out some ideas. They’ll put some stuff together for you, let you look at it, decide what you like. Mix and match. They’re a lot more interactive in that cause it’s a lot obviously, a higher cost. It’s a completely unique book cover. It’s not something that’s going to come from a template. It’s going to come from actually a graphic design person that knows what they’re doing and can help you out with all of that.

Fred: And that’s the one that starts at $798, correct?

Rep: It’s $758.

Fred: $758, okay, and then a step up from that is the Total Design Freedom Standard Essentials which gives me in addition to a unique book cover and a custom interior, a couple of other things I see it says you assign the LCCN number and also there’s comprehensive copy editing, correct?

Rep: Yes.

Fred: Okay and is that, the LCCN assignment, again is that something I can do on my own? Or is that something that I have to have done by someone else?

Rep: No you can definitely do that on your own. It’s literally, I’m sure you know, since it’s a Library of Congress control number, you can go through them to purchase it, and obviously associate your title with it. If you have your own LCCN, some people already have obviously if they’ve published elsewhere and are coming to us, they already have an LCCN. They can use that again, they’re free to give that to us and we can help them out with that.

Fred: Gotcha. Now when you talk about comprehensive copy editing on that one, does that mean that by comprehensive, if a book is really in need of work. Some of the people that I know you probably deal with are not particularly good grammatically, and is, how much, what really goes in to that? I want to understand that.

Rep: The comprehensive, it’s you know, we do have different levels of it. The comprehensive goes with improving your grammar situations, spelling, punctuation, consistency within the work. The structure and styling elements, just different things with the tone or how the characterizations are built. They will offer suggestions to you. They basically will go through the entire thing and have little notes on there where you can change it or choose not to, it’s completely up to you.

But yeah, comprehensive is quite thorough as far as that goes.

Fred: Okay. So then now moving up to the next level, which is the advanced, what’s different between the advanced and sort of the standard one? I see in my notes I see there is still a unique book cover, there’s still a custom interior, comprehensive copy editing. The thing that there’s promotional text creation is I think the only difference right?

Rep: Yeah, yeah, pretty much the promotional text, you know we do, we can do fliers, we can do postcards, it’s pretty much just helping you with your backcover and stuff like that. It can include the publicity campaign, like I was saying, bookmarks, fliers, postcards, just different things that you can get the word out on your book. But we also help you with your description. Like the one that is going to show on Amazon.com or on your eStore, the author’s biography, what you’re going to have on your backcover and things like that.

Fred: Gotcha. And then just, then the final one, which is the highest end, the $4999 one, is all of that and I get a…what’s a signature book cover, what does that mean?

Rep: Signature book cover is pretty much like the highest step. We assign you like your own personal graphic artist and you work with them directly and they will actually draw your own images. The one before that I wasn’t clear, what they usually do is take images, they will use multiple images and layer them for you, this one you can actually have the option of having them draw your cover. You know actually, so it is completely unique. No one else is ever going to have that because you had someone physically draw what is on your cover for you.

They’ll also do any kind of layering you want, if you want to get a few different pictures like in the background and stuff, as far as graphic designs on the cover goes. You can do that as well.

Fred: Gotcha. And then the only, the thing that the comprehensive one has also is there’s a video trailer for the book, and let’s see here, I think I took a look at a sample of one of those so I think I know what that means. And there’s press release distribution. Now is this something where you go to an outside service like a PR Web or something like that or what do you do?

Rep: Usually we’ll actually just write out the press release and then email it to whatever media outlets are tailored to your product. And that’s something that can be decided. You definitely can talk with the team about that or your publishing consultant. Generally your publishing consultant is available. If you’re writing a book on a specific subject you don’t want it to go to children’s store or something like that. No one’s going to want to read it if it’s about a war say. So they’ll actually tailor it specifically for where your book will be sold and you know be interested and different things like that.

Fred: Got it so if you’re doing a book like on cooking you don’t send it to business authors or business writers.

Rep: Exactly.

Fred: Got it. So then on the, does this, is there a certain maximum length of words or pages that like one of these bigger packages would allow, like the Total Design Freedom Advance or the Total Design Freedom Marketing Pro, is there a maximum number of pages, I mean you can’t be doing something that’s 1200 pages long I would imagine.

Rep: Usually it’s done within word lengths and everything like that. We do have a maximum page length which is just over 800, I believe it’s 830 or something like that. And that’s just our printing production can’t account for more then that. We’re just on demand so it’s a little bit hard to do books over that size, so that’s just the maximum size that we can do, it’s about 830 pages. And it depends on how many words. Obviously you can change the text size if it is print on demand. What you give us is exactly what we’ll print. If you want it in 16 point font you can do that, if you want it in 12 point font, so that helps with that. So that’s why we do it by words. The words, the cost can change depending on that, obviously since those are the starting prices as far as the editing costs go up and different things like that can change.

Fred: And what’s the average time to get, like for example say I was going to go with one of the bigger packages, how long would I expect this from start to finish to complete, generally, and I know it would depend on the author but, in general how long should I expect it to take?

Rep: It can take, again depending on the word size and everything of the book, if it’s just say on average a 50,000 word book, it’s like up to 3 weeks as far as the editing alone goes. As the various other things take a little bit of time. Various services can go on at the same time obviously. The cover doesn’t depend on if the editing is going on or the interior and everything. But generally a few months if the author stays on top of it. It can take a lot longer, we have members that take up to a year, year and a half to do everything because they keep sending it back and forth. If they want to do everything completely right, but if you kept on the ball with it, and noticed everything, you could have it within a few months.

Fred: Cool, okay, that pretty much does it for me. Thanks very much for your time.

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