IngramSpark is a similar business to CreateSpace, except it is not owned by Amazon. They, like Lulu and others, assist you in bringing your self-published ebook or paperback to life.
What's the real kicker?
There is a charge.
Their prices are reasonable.
$25 for an ebook, $49+ for a print book, or $49+ for both digital and print in one bundle.
They promote their combination package as the greatest bargain, which is correct, as you can see from the chart below.
What is the reason for the change?
You may wonder why you would pay for IngramSpark when CreateSpace is available for free.
Many of you have probably heard that Createspace is closing down and will be replaced by KDP Print. If you're interested, David Gaughran has a great article on it that explains how to convert to KDP Print.
I'm not a fan of KDP Print—or, for that matter, Amazon—so I chose IngramSpark.
They had a campaign in July where you could add one of your books for free without having to pay the price.
I decided to take out my paranormal romance, First to Fall, and give it a shot, figuring it was as good a time as any to test out their interface.
And boy, am I glad I did...
I'd want to reiterate that I'm not attempting to discourage anybody from checking out IngramSpark. I know writers who have had positive experiences with them, as well as others who have had negative ones. One such experience was mine.
I struggled for three days to set up First to Fall with IngramSpark and was on the verge of throwing in the towel when I finally gave up.
Let me put it this way: if the print option had cost $49, I would have demanded a refund.
The account's initial setup was very simple, and there were no issues. It was completed in less than 10 minutes, which I thought was fantastic!
Because I reside in Canada, the tax arrangement was also simple.
Do you want to add a title? It's also simple. You'll be there in a few clicks.
The less than ideal
When it comes to setting up your book with IngramSpark, there are five stages to follow, and there are a MILLION things to consider—or so it seems. There isn't a lot of information about what's going on. Yes, there is a reference page on IngramSpark with videos for each stage. Awesome. And I was able to observe them. But I never did with CreateSpace, and I had no trouble setting up my print book. Call me crazy, but I was hoping for a comparable level of smoothness.
The really infuriating
Remember when you set your pricing in CreateSpace and it automatically determines the best rates in GBP and Euro? With IngramSpark, forget about it.
There was no conversion when I was asked to sell my approximately 300-page book at $28 USD. So I had to go online and look out the estimated prices for the Euro, the British pound, the Australian dollar, and the Canadian dollar. CreateSpace, on the other hand, populates everything for you and calculates the royalties. By the end of the first day, I had given up.
On day two, I went back to it and completed the conversions, but I still had no clue what kind of royalty I'd be getting—that was more difficult to figure out.
I made it to the finish, but I'm still not sure where I'm meant to place my PDF so I can see the conversion. If you remember, with CreateSpace, you first put up your book, then speak about price and distribution methods, right?
Instead of asking for it, IngramSpark sent me a message that essentially said, "Oh, wait." You must complete setting up your account before you can upload the files.'
Why wasn't this question asked when I initially created my account? It continues to perplex me!
This is followed by a three-section checklist that seems basic enough at first sight.
Two of those items had an X for me, so I went into one area, filled up my information (about where I want royalties sent), and saved.
Then I realised there was no way to return to the list, so I had to start again, flicking through all of the stages of setting up my book, just to end up with the same error notice.
This time, I went to step three, which, surprise, required a credit card. Because to their promotion, this was meant to be a free setup. Regardless, I included the information...