Continued Frustrations in Publishing are an Integral Part of My Life Now

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I would very much like to learn how to format and publish my own manuscripts.  I would take a class on how to do this effectively if I thought I could learn it, because depending on someone else to get things right is a terrible frustration for a writer.

As many of you know, I enlisted the services of CreateSpace to accomplish the design of my paperback.  When I sent my manuscript off to my independent publisher for the eversion, he had it published in three days. The only problem that we encountered was that the TOC did not function.  This, we determined, was due to a translation error.  He works on a Mac and I work on a PC.  We removed the apostrophes from the chapter headings and, voila! The problem was solved.

I have been working with CreateSpace since June 6th on this paperback.  Again, I sent in the manuscript from my PC and it was no different from the MS I had sent to my independent publisher.  I had some final edits and a revision that needed to be accomplished, so I made those and sent them the changes on the service file that they required.

I paid extra to have them help design the paperback. There have been ongoing problems with font, front matter, images, handwritten letter size, paragraph spacing, page headers, chapter headers, page numbering, semi colons added to the TOC and other things I DID NOT ask for….I could continue the list, but I fail to see a point.  Suffice it to say, things have not gone well.

Finally, after four or five rounds of proofs, all of which have taken seven to fourteen days to accomplish, I thought we finally had everything good to go and was looking forward to seeing the (hopefully) final proof.

Yesterday, I received this.  For some reason unknown to mankind (or womankind), CreateSpace personnel decided to use lowercase letters in my TOC.  Why would they do that?

Also, there were four places where there was a gaping space between paragraphs.  Again, why?

I know that these things may sound trivial to you, but they are not understandable to me.  I have had to pay them an additional $135.00 to correct errors which should not have been errors in the first place.  I could have ignored them and said, “Whatever, just publish the damned thing!”, and pressed the approve button.  But why should I?  Why should I expect less than perfect satisfaction on a product purchased.  And when these are corrected , are new problems going to appear again?

You would think that they would want to have the best reputation possible with as much competition as is building in the market.  I truly appreciate that they provide a service for something that I don’t feel I could have accomplished alone.  I would just like for it to be the premium service that I paid for.

I hope my readers know that I am genuinely thinking of them as I go about insisting on a quality product.  I am proud to be an Indie author.  I am proud to be able to be in control of producing a quality product.  CreateSpace, of all people, should understand that.  Don’t they want to make Amazon proud?

Am I just being overly sensitive and expecting too much?

41 thoughts on “Continued Frustrations in Publishing are an Integral Part of My Life Now

    • Thank you. The confusing thing to me is why we correct errors, and then new errors just suddenly appear out of nowhere. Are they just looking to see how much money they can make off of me?

  1. Oh, how frustrating. I don’t have an answer for you because I haven’t done the process myself, but I can only imagine your irritation and frustration. This is my fear should I ever attempt to tackle independent publishing. For now I’m going to continue trying the traditional route.

    • I had heard such wonderful things about CreateSpace, so I thought they would do me proud, but it seems that they do fine for people who already have their books formatted and ready to go, but their designing teams leave a lot to be desired. The process of communicating via email sucks. It takes days for them to even respond and I have tried going through Customer Service to speak with a Team Manager, but they won’t let you do that.

        • I feel that so strongly. There have been so many times since June when I have thought, “If I could just speak with someone to clarify.” Like when I asked for a linear simple fleuron between chapter scenes and they sent me this huge round highly embossed fleuron…and that was another two weeks to correct it and then I had to upload images of example fleurons to show them what I was looking for (another two weeks). There is only so much you can convey in writing. If they had allowed me to upload fleuron examples in the first place…it would not have taken so long, but they waited to allow that until we were both frustrated and had been back and forth about it for a month.

  2. I use CreateSpace, but I don’t pay them for setup. I do it all myself. Do you send them the manuscript in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word? And do they have editing capabilities? I do my own editing.

    • I sent them the original MS in word doc. I do my edits myself. Sometimes when I have revised or edited it has created formatting problems. Some of the issues, though, like the TOC, the fleurons, the chapter headings and front matter design, I just don’t understand. All of my editing has to be done on their service file that they send, so nothing should change from the previous service file, but with every exchange something has changed.

  3. Actually I understand you so well. I’m always dissatisfied with someone else’s work and tend to do everything myself. But then I’m often dissatisfied with my own crappy work.

    But when I pay some professional for professional work, I would expect flawless results as well.

    • Exactly. I paid the big money to get the designing done by them…not simply the printing….and on top of that nearly $400. I have sent them another $135., I could have a new washing machine by now. It should also be perfect. I know people who have paid independent publishers thousands, but I wasn’t about to go there. I thought CreateSpace could do this.

  4. I used a BookDesignTemplates.com, template, plugged in my novel, and except for some frustrations–since I changed the template on my own, leading to a few pagination problems–the Word document translated well into finished product for print. Only errors were my own on a few double spaces between words. Total cost, including an eBook template, $47. And Tracy gave great support by email when I had a couple of problems.

    The eBook was a different matter. I had used Word imperfectly and tabbed in every paragraph when writing the book. Then I went through and changed every paragraph by hand using the spacebar. Another big mistake. Finally, I figured out how to use the presets in the Word program, and went through paragraph by paragraph to change to auto tab. I believe I only missed one, and it stands out like crazy on the Kindle version, but I’m waiting for a moment’s break to upload once again.

    Warning: if you use DropBox, watch out or it will change every version of our manuscript, even on a USB drive.

    You can bet I know what to avoid in the next book!

    • Yeah! I think it is a learning curve for all of us. I am using Scrivener now and it will make your book in mobi. epub, pdf, word doc and docx, so many different ways. I am hoping I can’ get a better handle on things next time. Scrivener will also remove double spaces with the touch of a button. Great for me, who learned typing by double spacing every new sentence.

  5. I hear your frustration. I have been in a similar situation although not with Createspace, I have yet to cross that bridge. When you put your work in the hands of someone else it is very hard. They are trying to interpret what you want and invariably it doesn’t work out. I found it really hard not being in control of the whole process but like you, I lacked the skills to do it all myself. I have now wrested the control back (at a cost) and having bought Scrivener, am hoping that I can do all of my own file conversion eventually. Even for Createspace. No, you are not being too picky. You stick to your guns and I really hope that this resolves itself for you soon. 🙂

    • Thanks. I had heard great things about them also, and I think they still are great if you are doing a simple upload and print, but not so great if you are going the whole book design way. The only reason I bought the design package was because I had some handwritten letters in a different font and wanted to make sure that all came out okay. Don’t know if it was worth it all….next time, if I have letters , I might just italicize and indent, and skip the whole change up of fonts….what a nightmare. And I am not even certain if readers are really going to recognize that I went the extra mile for that.

  6. I don’t think you’re being overly sensitive at all. You should have it your way. It is your novel after all. When the professor pubs music books, though, there’s always something that isn’t quite right. So, it must be the way of the business.

  7. CS does have a satisfaction guarantee right on their homepage. You might check it out and ask them about it. I haven’t used their services, but they’re very good about honoring their guarantee on proofs and book orders, in my experience.

    • So what would they do? Give me my unpublished book back and a refund? I want the book published. I just want it done right. I think seven months is too long to take to get it right. Here is what happened today. The CS rep told me this morning that I should be getting an email sometime today letting me know if there would be any further charges for corrections. “CORRECTIONS?”, I say. So I wait all day and at 4:45 pm I called them about the email that I never got. I am told. “Oh no, you won’t have any additional charges (well that was a welcomed relief all things considered), but an email will come to you within the next hour letting you know when to expect your NEXT proof.” It did…another 7 days. Go figure.

      • CS doesn’t “know” that you won’t ask for a refund and your book back. (Some authors have done that though, I do know that.) Given that, they could potentially compromise by refunding the most recent charges.

        Amazon is strongly oriented around customer service, and in many ways CS is, too. Except regarding their services. I’ve heard a few others complain about delays and additional charges. You’d think they’d like to develop a good reputation regarding their services, and therefore try to satisfy you (at least not frustrate you) as a customer.

        I’m sorry you had to go through this. I’m a big advocate for CS, in general, so it pains me to hear of problems like this.

        • Thank you! I would pay you money to send them a letter to that effect …LOL…I truly do not understand the sudden appearance of gaps between paragraphs or the decision to print the TOC in lower case letters. I am dumbfounded really I am. I just received a letter from them that there will be no charge for corrections, BUT it will be ANOTHER seven days before I receive my next proof. I would get excited about that…that we are getting a final proof in seven days, but I am scared. Actually I am scared into tears. Really crying real tears, because I am afraid that in seven days some other strange something is going to pop up creating a further delay. I was hoping to have this book in hand by my birthday on Nov. 15th. That’s not going to happen. Now, I am not even sure if we are going to have it ready by the time I do my big promo for Read Tuesday where I planned to debut the paperback and reduce the price of the eversion. What else is there to say? Thank you for your kind words.

  8. Found a duplicate image in my 3rd proof. It is my fault as I uploaded the duplicate and did not catch it. Now must delete/add, another fee and another 2 weeks but I cannot blame createspace. It is frustrating because you get to the end finally and something else pops up. Some say don’t worry about duplicate but I will not let it pass as this is culmination of decades of effort and I want it as perfect as it can be.

    • I am feeling the same way. You have put your heart and soul into getting this right. I am still dumbfounded by having the TOC suddenly appear in lowercase letters and gaps suddenly appear between paragraphs, and they are not charging me to correct these, but there is still the issue of time delays. It will be yet another seven days before I see the next proof, and what surprises might it have for me? I don’t know. It is just hard for me to be happy or excited anymore. When all is said and done, I will probably make a post that reads “BTW, for anyone who might still be interested in my book, the paperback is now available.”

  9. You’re not being unreasonable but I wish I knew why you’re having these issues. I’ve gone through CreateSpace four times now without any problems.

    • There are different parts to the book so it is not a typical layout. I think the worst of it was the handwritten letters. It took them forever to get the fonts right on those in both style and size. Same with the fleurons. They don’t give you a list of fonts and say pick one, you just have to go back and forth with them (in words) until they get it right. The lowercase letters in the TOC confuse me. Somebody would have actually had to spend time changing those, and why? The spaces between paragraphs I don’t understand either. I mean, doesn’t somebody review these things before they are sent out to the customer as proofs? If you took your car in for a tune up, wouldn’t you expect the mechanic to crank it up and check it out before calling you to say it was done? Maybe mine just got submitted to an ameateur team in training.

      • I can see the problem now … the different fonts and things that you’ve included would certainly complicate things. Hope you get it all ironed out soon and get your paperback out.

        • Thanks Mark! I keep saying to myself that it will all be worth it in the long run. I have really had to temper myself to not be so impatient as to screw it all up at this point. I am trying to stay in happy place about the upcoming paperback…today was a bad day. I will never be totally happy with the font on the title page of the book, because when I asked for cursive they gave me something that looked like it was out of a medieval romance. When I asked for something simpler and less ornate, I got something that was bold and boxy. I sent them some sample fonts (after 4 weeks of back and forth with words because they won’t let you upload samples until you have argued with them for that long in dialog) and asked them for something that looks like it was printed in the 1960s. I finally got something acceptable, but it still wasn’t what I desired…not what I had imagined in my mind. I would have loved it if I could have matched the font on the cover image with the style of font on the title page, but that wasn’t possible. C’est la vie!

  10. You are definitely NOT being too picky. There is no reason for them to suddenly and randomly add (or delete things.) I haven’t done any independent publishing, so I can’t give you any advice except to stick to your demands. (Traditional publishing also has its own problems, too. 🙂 Good luck!

    • Thanks. I thought with independent publishing I could maintain some sense of control over how things would be done. And for the most part I have. I am glad I did it, if only for the experience. But I guess, when you have to be dependent on others to get some parts of the process completed, you are bound to lose some of the sense of being in the driver’s seat.

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