I'd like to take a moment to share with you my experience self-publishing my book through Createspace, which is the publishing arm of Amazon. I can honestly tell you that it was so much easier than I ever thought it would be.
From the get-go, my sales contact, Jenny, was professional and knowledgeable. When she said, "I will call you tomorrow at 2pm your time," by golly she did! I was a little skittish at first and made her go through "what would happen next" several times. I also made her do this again at various stages of the process, because I would forget what she had told me, despite having taken copious scribble notes. She always explained things again, patiently.
I knew up front what services I wanted: Custom interior book design and Custom Illustrated Cover, and Kindle e-book design. The custom illustrated cover was important, because it's a children's book. Createspace offers copy editing services, but I chose not to purchase them because I'd had an agent who had been an editor, and I felt that together, we had really vetted the book. There are also marketing services you can purchase, such as video book trailer, but I had a connection for that on my own.
This is what I ended up purchasing:
Custom interior design
Custom illustrated cover
Library of Congress number
Kindle e-book conversion
The deal came with 50 free copies of the book - a very nice bonus. The Library of Congress number cost $75 and makes your book eligible to be included in the catalog of books from which libraries order. I got the Pro-plan, which only costs a little, but increases your royalties a lot. I honestly can't think of a reason why someone wouldn't opt for the Pro-plan.
I was most nervous about things like uploading my files (would the formatting be all right???). But it turns out that as long as you formatted your document like a normal professional manuscript, there won't be a problem. I actually made one of my Team Members stay on the phone with me when I uploaded the document for the first time! As I said, they were very patient with me. :-)
They commit to turning proofs around in a set period of time and they never failed to do so. The interior was pretty easy, because I wasn't doing anything too fancy inside. Most of my time was spent getting proofs of the illustrated cover and giving feedback. I was SO worried that the illustrator they assigned me wouldn't "get" what I was going for, but she did. When I saw the first drawing, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, because I knew that we were going to be all right. I honestly couldn't be more pleased with that cover, had it been done by Monet or Van Gogh!
You have the ability to submit interior changes without charge, up to a point. It's something like 80 text changes, which at this stage of the game, you would hope you wouldn't have! But I'll tell you, I was surprised at how many little things I did find - maybe 20 or so little things over the course of several proofs. Capitalization, a missing word, missing or unnecessary commas. My errors - not theirs!
Another nice thing is that now the Createspace team will not only create the Kindle e-book file, they will LOAD it up for you, for no extra charge. I was very relieved when they told me this. Apparently a lot of writers are like me, they don't want much to do with HOW those technical things get done...I really like it when people do that kind of stuff FOR me. Just call me Princess Melissa.
This experience was overwhelmingly positive. They were professional, reliable and everything happened as it should, when it should. So, that is the gist of it. If you have questions for me about the experience or specific aspects of it, please ask! I'm happy to share.