I am nearing the end of the process of publishing with Ingram Spark. Their process is slightly different from Amazon CreateSpace. It may be a little less forgiving, but does have a professional feel.
Adding a title is a straightforward process. You will need to provide an ISBN. If you have to stop part way through this four-page process, there is no option to save a draft version, but their system does keep track. It will force you to start again from page 1, but the fields you have already supplied will be pre-filled.
To get a template for your cover, you also need an ISBN. Ingram Spark provides cover templates in PDF or EPS format. Both have your ISBN and barcode included. You do not have to put the barcode where they place it. Just incorporate into your cover art wherever you want – so long as it is on the back cover. One little wrinkle here is that Ingram want the cover in CMYK format. Using the PDF/X-1a:2001 when you save your CMYK file is also necessary.
There is a payment required as part of this process. Ingram Spark charge for adding a title. You will have already been required to set up both payment details (a credit card) and royalty payment details (direct deposit into a UK bank account, in my case).
Once you book is uploaded it will be listed as in a Premedia state. I also noticed that there was no cover shown on the details page at that time. Don’t worry – it will come along eventually. After a day or two, I was asked to check the proof for my book. This consisted of a PDF file to download which contains both the cover and the entire text. You can, after checking that, approve the book for distribution or (as I did) decide to withhold approval until you have seen a physical copy. You can order copies direct from the site, Ingrams have Lightning Source to do their printing, so no waiting long weeks (or spending vast sums) to gets proof from the USA, as you must do on Amazon CreateSpace. Lightning Source print in the UK (as well as the USA, Europe and Australia), so it shouldn’t be along wait.
Once you’re happy with the book, there is a button to approve it on the site.
I have to say at this point that the copies printed at Ingram Spark are nicer than the Amazon ones. The text is slightly smaller (leading to fractionally wider margins, which is nice), but much crisper and blacker than the CreateSpace version. This means, of course, that copies I buy to give away or sell will be from Ingrams.