The pros and cons of self-publishing on: Kindle, Amazon (CreateSpace) and Blurb

I have just uploaded my new novel to Amazon and Blurb, as well as having it available on Kindle as an e-book. Each of these publishing platforms require different formats and respond differently. So which is best? Well, the overused phrase ‘swings and roundabouts’ comes to mind.

Let us look first at Kindle. I would recommend downloading their free guides on how to publish on Kindle – they are quite well-explained and easy to follow. You need to have the book saved as a Word document and, if you want readers to be able to navigate through the book properly you have to ensure you create an e-book friendly Table of Contents. You do this in Word and the Kindle guides explain how to do it clearly. You can then upload it to Kindle and either publish or set it up for pre-order with a release date, as long as it is more or less completed. You can also use their software to create a cover. Here is a thumbnail version:

Pic of Kindle cover

If you want to make it available on Amazon in a print version, one advantage is that, providing your title, author name, description, etc are the same, Amazon will automatically link it with the Kindle version. However, a major disadvantage is that if you have to make any corrections you have to go through their review process all over again which takes 24 hours. Also, if you are in the UK and you want a proof copy, it takes weeks to arrive as it’s sent from America. There is an online proof reader, but it isn’t as good as having the book in your hand. CreateSpace also has templates for you to design a cover, but it would be better if it could align with Kindle, so the covers can be the same as, unless you have a complete cover PDF to upload, it turns out differently. This is my uploaded finished version.

CreateSpace cover

So, what about Blurb?  My first book was available on Blurb and there are again advantages and disadvantages to it. In my opinion, the print quality is much better in Blurb as you can use font templates which mean you can have attractive chapter end  icons and titles which have nice little twiddly bits around them. However the down side is that their software (Bookwright) is very laborious to use and even crashed on me just as I had completed the book, which meant I lost several days’ work. Also, if you have to make changes, you get assigned a new ISBN number each time, which seems rather over the top to me. You can design a cover, but have little choice of layout, although I like them as you can use the templates to make the background something other than plain white.

Pic of Blurb cover

You can also use the backgrounds inside for your title pages, etc. I found the page numbering to be fiddly and non-intuitive, although I also had trouble with CreateSpace for this. If you want to be sent a proof from Blurb it is much quicker than CreateSpace. You can save the work in Word, although they recommend installing each chapter separately. Uploading the final book to the website for publishing takes AGES! My latest work which is about 421 pages took THREE HOURS, whereas CreateSpace  only takes a few minutes (but then you have the 24 hour wait for approval and the weeks to get a proof!).

So, in the end, I have published my latest novel on all three. I tend to order from Blurb in batches to get a discount and save on postage and then I sell them personally, whereas for those living outside the UK, ordering on Amazon would probably be more cost-effective.

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8 thoughts on “The pros and cons of self-publishing on: Kindle, Amazon (CreateSpace) and Blurb

  1. Joanne, this is invaluable information for a newbie like me, and so good to have for when I’ll be navigating all this in a few months. Thanks for sharing! By the way, I have heard about that ISBN requirement and agree, it **is** a bit over the top.

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  2. I’ve not used blurb but will definitely have a look as getting bulk orders from Createspace takes so long when you are in the UK. I am really surprised that being an Amazon company they haven’t diversified it for overseas authors. What makes it more surprising is that they must be supplying UK paperback sales from either the UK or Europe anyway

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  3. I forgot to add that you can also simultaneously create and publish softbacks, hardbacks (image wrap and dust jacket versions) on Blurb, where you can only do softbacks on CreateSpace. You can also create an e-book version, but I don’t know how easy that is to publish on Kindle, etc. CreateSpace also allow you to make an automatic Kindle version but, again, I haven’t used that so I can’t recommend or advise against. Can anyone else who has used this option comment?

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    • I published my last book in Creatspace first and let them upload the Kindle version, which worked fine. The advantage is that you can create a cover using the Creatspace tool which is copied exactly in the Kindle version. There is a time element to this, as you have pointed out, but unless you are writing something in response to a topical event, to take advantage of a particular date (an historical anniversary perhaps) this is not a problem. I write as the most impatient bloke on the planet.

      Liked by 1 person

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