Picture Book Publishing – IngramSpark or Create Space: Quality Comparison

Before I launch into my next comparison between CreateSpace and IngramSpark, let me show you a short video of the day I received the first proof of my debut picture book, Tercules, in the mail (from CS). The “funny story” I refer to in the video is the one I share in my last post.

I FINALLY received the paperback version of Tercules from Ingram. Ironically, it beat the journal that I published half a month earlier, which still hasn’t arrived. Neither has the hardback format of Tercules. My previous post discusses all about that.

Interestingly, there were things I liked better about the CreateSpace printing of my book, and things I liked better about Ingram’s. After the disappointment I’ve experienced with Ingram, my expectations were low.

While pictures won’t do the images justice, let me show a few to show the differences.

The cover:

The CS print is on the left, Ingram on the right. Aside from the spine being on the front cover (which was my bad…) the differences are interesting. The CS cover is more vibrant. The colors are brighter. The Ingram cover, however, shows the leaves in the background a little better. Also, as noted by another reviewer of Ingram vs. CreateSpace, I did notice that the CS cover is more apt to collect finger prints and minor scratches. Even after being handled a bit, the fingerprints aren’t very noticeable on the Ingram version. At the end of the day, I think I’d still go with CS’s cover.

Here’s a close up of the two:


So while Ingram had a darker, less bright cover, the interior was bright and colorful. CreateSpace had a darker image… which was fine until I saw how nice and bright Ingram’s was. I also pulled up the images sent to me directly from my illustrator, Megan Frank, to see which matched her art the closest. While neither perfectly match her work, Ingram’s is the closest.

Because I’d honestly rather not work with Ingram, I emailed CreateSpace to see what they could do about this. This is their answer (which I appreciated):

Hello Marcy,

Greetings from CreateSpace.

One of the most difficult aspects of desktop publishing is color matching–properly converting the RGB colors into CMYK colors so that what gets printed looks the same as what appears on the monitor or the same as another printed copy.

Unfortunately, we do not currently offer color management for books, and cannot guarantee that the printed book’s color will appear the same as another copy.

Each computer screen and printer has the potential to display and print differently than the printers we use for our print-on-demand process. For this reason we cannot offer an alternative other than adjusting your file accordingly.

You may want to make the images a shade lighter within your native files and resubmitting the files in order for you to check what the proof copy will look like.

If you are not satisfied with the color that is printed, you may need to adjust the colors in your file until you find the correct shade when the book is printed.

I understand that this might not be the response you were hoping for and I truly wish that I would have been able to accommodate your request, unfortunately this is a matter beyond our control.

I appreciate your understanding in this regard Marcy.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns. We’ll do our best to aid you.

Thank you for reaching out to us. Have a good day.

Aren’t they lovely people? I got this personal email one day after I asked the question. If I were an illustrator, I would know how to do what they said, and I’d go in and do it and try again. Since I’m not (and don’t want to hassle my sweet illustrator again), I’m going to leave it.

About Author Images:

It’s not as easy to tell by this image (sorry) but strangely enough, the About the Author image looks pixilated on the Ingram print, while clear and crisp on the CS print. Maybe the brightness of their print had this affect on the author image… I’m not sure. But I don’t love that it looks that way on Ingram’s print. Strange considering how well the rest of the interior looked.

Ingram: Top CS: Bottom

Really, at the end of it all, either one would do perfectly well. Because I have seen them together, I’m going with the Ingram printing. However, I’m pretty sure for my next picture book (due in February!) that I’ll go with CreateSpace and just let my illustrator know to lighten the art a bit so it’s not so dark. But actually, my next book has lots of light, bright colors so it may not matter as much.

I hope this is helpful! I have a hard time finding much information on self publishing picture books. I’m happy to share my journey!

My next post in the series will look at hiring an illustrator. See you then!


Using Time Like {Dad}

I sit staring at this screen.

This is my allotted time for writing… and I have nothing to say.

Or too much to say…

Whichever it is… I’m still only staring.

So I looked over at my dad and said, “What should I write about today.”

Without a blink, he said “Time.”


A million thoughts race through my head.

How much I have.

How little I have.

How poorly or well I spend it.

Quality versus quantity.

How Jesus spent his time. (Here’s a neat article that I won’t re-write)

How precious it can be… and how painful.

How time can be wasted or full lived.

Cut off or endured.

The clock ticks above me… tick, tick, tick.

I can be in this moment… and not.

Living in the future of to-dos or in the past of too-bads.

Ultimately, what I know, is that the time I am given is limited. I can squander it on my own fascinations or use it for greater causes and purposes than I can even imagine having a stake in.

Like sitting on the floor, playing a game with my small ones.

Or having a conversation about life with my older ones.

Listening to my husband unload his day so he can breather easier, shoulders lighter.

Great causes.

Causes often categorized under “too slow,” “not productive enough,” or “boring.”

Causes whose own clocks are tick, tick, ticking… limited.

Until I’ve missed it entirely. The season is gone. The games are dusty. The conversations are echoes of the past. Missed moments in the name of multi-tasking efficiency.

The laundry was done, the dishes washed, the carpets cleaned… but hearts neglected.

The quality of a moment lies not in the task or its achievement… but in the lives touched because of how it was spent.

Just ask my dad.

He has never once been too busy to stop and talk.

He’s never brushed me off for some big, important world issue to solve (though there are plenty of them).

He’s never cut me off short to attend a meeting.

Or cancelled an appointment.


Every moment is spent investing, personally, in the lives of others.

Through coaching, advising, supporting, assisting, listening, waiting, teaching, advocating, encouraging… being present.

Because personal life investment can happen anywhere, anytime, regardless of what you’re doing.

Because the task is secondary. It’s the tool. The conduit through which you have access to the lives of others… and can speak life into them.

How confused I get about the purpose of a moment! The purpose of the activity I am part of! That cooking dinner is not just about filling empty tummies… but expressing concern, love, and affection for those in my life who are hungry.

It’s not about the food.

It’s about their hearts.

That in the time I’m given, that they are given, that each moment speaks affirmation.

No matter how mundane the “tool” that’s used.


Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect… Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1 Peter 1: 17-19,22


To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 24 of 31 Days in 2012.

The Longing- A Book Review

I’ve never done a “formal” book review before… and I hesitate to call this one. Regardless, it’s my attempt at honoring the work of another talented author by sharing some of my thoughts and encouragements (to you, my reader) to check it out!

You are called to something so much higher than a good self-esteem. –The Longing

I was so grateful when Joey trusted me with his new “baby” for review! I’ve had it in my possession way too long (the whole busy-mom thing) but at last I have joyfully completed my task!

It is now my deep honor to introduce you to The Longing: Embracing the Deepest Truth of Who You Are

Unless we know whose we really are, we will live like orphans who’ve long given up the dream of ever being chosen, loved, and accepted by another. –The Longing

In The Longing, Joey takes the reader on a journey through many life experiences that just about anyone can relate to- and some that we are glad we can’t relate to yet (Joey- my husband has asked that I not ever need to hand-write my books! HA!) He defines the ache and longing that we all feel or have felt. With tears in our eyes (or hearts) reminiscing our own struggle to belong and know we have value, he guides us to a solution for that emptiness we feel. Through a really good mix of quotes, scripture, and modern day banter Joey makes the Bible truths and principals palatable for the current culture.

Despite what you’ve been told or have experienced, you are not the sum total of your gifts and talents, your strengths and weaknesses, your victories and defeats. You are not your job. You are not your status, your inflated fantasies of greatness or lowest levels of self-hatred. You are not your roles as husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, boss or employee, sinner or saint. You are not your net worth in homes, assets, or possessions. Your net worth is in the invisible, inestimable, immeasurable love of God. –The Longing

The Longing even worked as a read-aloud! Feeling bad that I’d taken so long to read the book, I took it on a long family trip. The hours flew by (thank you God, and thank you Joey) as I read some deep and meaningful reminders of who we are and whose we are. My husband commented on how refreshing it was to hear things he knew in his mind and heart but often get tucked away in the busyness of life. The Longing is a call to slow down, give ourselves permission to embrace the ugly in our lives, find acceptance in spite of it, healing because of it, and freedom to be who we are meant to be.

After creating the world in six days, on the seventh day God rested. When you and I don’t rest, we are one day ahead of God, metaphorically speaking. –The Longing

I have also been reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp – slowly- as I simmer in the truths of my need for a slower-paced life, a quiet heart, and a constant seeking after gratitude. I loved how Joey also touched on the need for living in the moment to truly relish what we’ve been given. I don’t believe in coincidence, so the fact that both books are speaking this message into my life right now comes with a need to heed.

It is in community where we silence all the noise thrown at us throughout the day and affirm our true spiritual identity. In community, our hearts receive the ongoing restoration they so desperately need. –The Longing

I don’t know who you are or what stage of life you are in. But I’m pretty sure that whatever season of life you find yourself in, The Longing is a book that will answer deep questions of your value and gently guide you to a place of confidence and peace- regardless of the circumstances surrounding you.

Ever since we were children, our hearts have longed to belong. This is the longing… We have all longed to be longed for. Our hearts have always wanted to be wanted by others, but what all of us have experienced, in different ways, is rejection. –The Longing

Joey O’Connor  has written 19 books and is currently the Executive Director for The Grove Center for the Arts and Media. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and his website.

You can buy The Longing at Amazon, Barnes n Noble, and Sony’s E-Bookstore.