To 6×9 or not to 6×9…

…that is the question.

It was either that for a title or:


Have patience with me while I back up a little. I have always used Createspace for my print books. It was easy enough to learn their formatting & I was happy with the price and product.

I received an order of various books for my last signing and was really disappointed in the color on my covers. Maybe I am more critical (because – y’know, we are the most judgmental of ourselves…and) because I worked for a printing company. It really doesn’t take a graphics professional to see that ALL the covers had way too much yellow. It didn’t matter so much on my middle grade books since they are cartoons. I noticed on Come and Talk to Me, but it was still passable enough that I didn’t want to complain. My Baby, Just Say Yes ones were terrible. The cover is majority “faces” and those faces looked jaundiced.


Createspace is usually top-notch for customer service. They did spend several e-mails back & forth with me regarding this, and even had me send a copy to them (on their dime) since I didn’t feel the pictures I sent though e-mail did the terrible color justice. However, the final answer was “it is within our print parameters.”

I learned that because they are so busy, they now job out to new companies to fill orders. That explained how I had received a box prior to this that was 2Xs too big for the order and no packing. They always used to be great about shipping. They were speedy to replace the whole order so again, top-notch service.


BUUUTTTTTT…the were done addressing the fact that the covers were garbage to me. They said several times “it is within our print parameters.” And added “If you order them again, they can come that way and would not be replaced. The color ‘is within our print parameters.'” When I asked if others were complaining, they said “Maybe only 3% – that’s not enough to think this is a problem.” I asked a few friends & found out they saw and did the same as me. “Yeah, I noticed they are way more yellow than my last few batches, but not so bad that I wanted to complain.” I asked them to complain, in hopes maybe something would be done. I hate killing a tree as much as the next guy (probably more), and wasting money (definitely more) but I had to throw these copies out. I couldn’t sell them like that.

Knowing the printing process & how this is such an easy fix, I was beyond disappointed. Needless to say – I was sick. (as well as poor Steve and Laura! – My peeps on my cover in case you haven’t read that one 😉 )

Soooooo….here’s what I found, tried, and cried over, trying to get this remedied. I’m dropping this on my “TIPS” page on my blog for anyone that wants to look into printing options.

Lulu: I ended up using them to see what would happen. Learning their set-up was a little different, but in 2 proofs I had a book I could sell. The colors are back where they are supposed to be. The base price is more expensive, but it was no books or not make as much. No brainer. (They do run sales so I will keep an eye out for that!)

Ingram Spark: This is where I’d love to be. Book store distribution. BUUUUTTTT…$49 set-up per title. And I read that you will never get it right and to just “suck it up, Buttercup” and pay them another $10 to do it. Before I could even start, I had to quit. They required a pdf file that WASN’T made from Word. It seemed like a whole new can of beans and I didn’t want to go there (or buy another program just to do this.)

I have a local book store in my town. Whoo hoo, right? Wrong. She doesn’t want my books unless she can buy them from Baker & Taylor. Mine is not to question why. For me, it seems it would be easier to take them on consignment and tell the author to pick them up if they don’t sell. You’d be out nothing. The Baker & Taylor route – the store has to buy them then if they decide to return them, they rip off the cover (gasp) and return that for a refund & throw out the book. Then I get to pay for them. What a deal! NOT! This is the fear of a lot of authors. That’s the fact, Jack.

bill murray

Back to Lulu. I thought I found a way around this. Because they aren’t Createspace (*cough*Amazon*cough*) you get distribution. BUUUUTTTTT…you have to go 6×9. I hate 6×9 with a passion. What difference does an 1/2 inch make? A $hit-ton. To me anyway.

BUU…ok, I’ll stop that. Today I gave it a whirl. I took a few hours & re-formatted a copy & cover to 6×9. I get to the final steps and I see that $14.13 is the minimum I can set the price at. I make a big fat ZERO on sales at that price. Cue deflated hopes and dreams of distribution.


I could do all the work, but why? Who would go to B&N to pay $14.99 for a book that they could get for $9.99 at Amazon with free shipping?  Another sad day to see how much Amazon is ruling every aspect of publishing.

In hindsight, I knew there was something about Lulu that niggled at me. My first publisher went though Lulu with Dustin Time. I was sad that  my books were $15.95 and wondered who the hell would pay for that. I thought it was the publisher just tacking on their share. Maybe so to some extent, but I guess the price was not completely their fault.

I had wanted to give it a shot. Really give it a shot and see if I’d gain sales from different channels. I already limit my distribution at Amazon because that’s the price point I want to keep.

Well. Bloody. Hell.

Back to the drawing board. I’ll have to continue with Createspace for books for my signings, with the exception of Baby, Just Say Yes.

If this was about money, I wouldn’t be a writer now, would I? I just found out that since I drop all my books at Smashwords so people can load any format they need, I am on some “library” now that  is a lot like Netflix. For $7.99 you can read all you want. I’m sure I make a whopping 2¢ on each book. Maybe. Why people bother with pirate sites and the risk of a virus is beyond me. It’s legal to make sure a writer makes nothing.

Sorry this got so windy. I’m sure I’ll be back with another rendition of “As the Stomach Turns” when I get another bright idea about another print platform. I have more time than money, right?

Happy Reading! (On your e-reader!!!)





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