A Step-by-Step Guide to Book Publishing with Createspace

by Joel Friedlander on March 14, 2014 · 81 comments

Post image for A Step-by-Step Guide to Book Publishing with Createspace

By Lyn Horner

Many aspects of the self-publishing process can be intimidating and confusing, especially the first time you do them. This article, written by Lyn Horner, guides us step-by-step through the process of publishing a book with Createspace. You might want to bookmark this page for future reference if you plan to publish with Createspace.


Have you dreamed of seeing your ebook in print? Have you thought of using CreateSpace, Amazon’s print on demand service, to make your dream come true but fear it’s too technical for you? Not true! I’ve converted four books to POD with CreateSpace, and I’m so tech-challenged that my computer geek son dreads my phone calls begging for help.

**Although I have permission from Createspace to use these images, this article is in no way sponsored or endorsed by CreateSpace and its affiliates.

Signing up with CreateSpace is easy. Go to their website https://www.createspace.com/ and open an account. You’ll receive a member ID number and dashboard. Your dashboard will look something like this, minus my blacked out information.

  1. Click the blue Add New Title button. This takes you to the Start Your New Project page.
     
    1Member Dashboardx530
  2.  

  3. On the Start Your New Project page, fill in the name of your book, the type of project and choose a setup method.
     
    2Start Your New Projectx530

    There are two choices:

    • Guided: A step-by-step process with directions along the way. (I always choose this because I’d never remember the steps.)
    • Expert: A streamlined single-page experience for those familiar with the process.

    Click the Get Started button by your choice and move on to the next step.

  4.  

  5. Title Information page: Fill in your book title, subtitle (if applicable), author name, contributors, series name and number (if applicable) and other details.
     
    3Title Informationx530

    Note: If you leave Publication Date blank, the date your book publishes on Createspace will be added. If you published the book previously, on Kindle for instance or with a traditional publisher, you can fill in the original pub date if you wish.

    Click Save & Continue.

  6.  

  7. ISBN: CreateSpace says, “An ISBN (number) is required to publish and distribute a book.” They offer four options. One is free.
     
    4ISBNx530

    Note: Compare the options carefully because once you make your choice it cannot be changed.Choose and click Continue.

  8.  

  9. Interior:
     
    5Interiorx530

    Choose from:

    • black & white or color
    • paper color (white or cream)
    • trim size (size of your book). The most popular trim size is 6” x 9” – trade paperback size. Createspace does not offer standard paperback size.

    Then comes the “fun” part, uploading your book!

    You can either hire a Createspace professional to do it for you, with prices starting at $349, or you can do it yourself.

    Do it yourself methods:

    • Upload your work as a print-ready .pdf, .doc, .docx, or .rtf file.
    • Download a Word® Template, either a blank template or a formatted template with sample content designed for the trim size you choose. I use the formatted 6” x 9” template.

     
    Formatted Template
     
    The thumbnails on the left show how a Createspace formatted template is set up. Each pair of pages represents the front and back sides of one printed page. The left page of each pair would actually be the right hand page in a book, while the right one would be on the left (backside of right page.)

    The midline in each pair represents the outside edge of the page; the left and right borders are the edge of the page that would be bound, forming the book’s spine. Because more space is necessary on the bound edge, the text must be offset closer to the outside edge (the center line of each pair.) See this spacing difference in the illustration above.

    There is a table of contents included in the formatted template. If you don’t want one in your book, simply delete that pair of pages. You can also delete the dedication and acknowledgements pages if you wish, or you can add pages to the front matter, such as a list of your published books and/or “Praise for” pages with short review excerpts. I place this type of material before the title page as do traditional publishers.

    TIP: Use section breaks between the elements of your front matter to maintain proper spacing. This also allows you to add page numbers when you come to the body of your story. If you want page numbers in the front matter, use Roman numerals.

    Add alternating headers, placing your book title on the right hand pages and your author name on the left.

    Regarding font styles, the CreateSpace conversion program doesn’t recognize all fonts, so it’s best to stick to standard ones unless you want to have problems.

    I use Times New Roman 12 point for body text, varying sizes for chapter headings and in the front matter. Bold and italics are okay. Be careful to check your font for headers. I got in trouble once when an odd font snuck by me in a header. The Createspace program didn’t like it!

    After you upload your formatted manuscript and it goes through the Createspace automated print check, view your book page by page using the Interior Reviewer.

    If Createspace catches formatting errors, you will need to fix them and re-upload. This can be time consuming, but you want your baby to look good, right? In case you can’t figure out the glitch, email or call CreateSpace Support. Their people helped me through a couple roadblocks when I set up my first book for print.

  10.  

  11. Cover:
    1. Choose a finish for your book cover, either matte or glossy. This is new. Until recently, all covers were glossy.
    2. Next, choose how to submit your book cover. There are three methods:
      • Build Your Cover Online with Cover Creator, a free Createspace tool to design your book covers. (See #7 below)
      • Professional Cover Design, starting at $399.
      • Upload a Print-Ready PDF Cover: Createspace provides detailed instructions for this method.
  12.  

  13. Using Cover Creator: Choose from several pages of pre-made Createspace cover designs (below on left) or design your own cover using a blank template (on right.)

    Cover Creatorx530

    This is the template I use.

    1. First, design the front cover (I do this offline) making sure your image has a DPI of at least 300. Anything less than that will be rejected by the Createspace program.
    2. After the front cover successfully loads, design the back cover. Include:
      • a short, catchy blurb
      • short review excerpts
      • an author photo if you wish

      Look at the back of paperback books for ideas, and be careful to leave space for the barcode and trimming, as per Createspace instructions.

    3. Lastly, set up the spine.
  14.  

  15. Complete Setup: Review your project setup. If everything looks okay, submit your files for review. You can go back and make changes if you need to. When ready, submit for review.
  16.  

  17. Review: The CreateSpace automated review program makes sure your work passes muster for “manufacturing and cataloging”. If it does, you will be asked if you want to order a proof copy (at cost) for your final approval. I always do this because there could still be issues that need correcting. When you are satisfied, give Createspace the go-ahead to publish your print book.Note: Do the following while waiting for the automated review to be completed (it may take several hours or longer).
  18.  

  19. Distribution Channels: Choose distribution channels. Expanded Distribution used to cost $25 but is now FREE!
  20.  

  21. Pricing: Set a price for your book. Use the built in calculator to determine what the royalties will be. Keep in mind that distributors usually discount the book price and Amazon will match the discounted price. If you set your price too low, you proceeds will suffer when the book is discounted. Of course you don’t want to price your book so high that it scares off readers.
  22.  

  23. Description: Provide a description for your sales page. Assign a BISAC Category; add your author bio; set language, country of publication; choose search keywords; check for adult content if applicable and if you want large print.

 
In conclusion, take your time, follow directions on the site and, if you ever get stuck, contact Createspace support. Their people are courteous and helpful.
 
Have you published with Createspace? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Lyn Horner x125Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and several very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. This hobby grew into a love of research and the crafting of passionate love stories based on that research. Lyn’s Texas Devlins trilogy blends authentic Old West settings, steamy romance and a glimmer of the mysterious. This series has earned Lyn several awards, including two Reviewers Choice Awards from the Paranormal Romance Guild. Her most recent release, Dearest Irish, has been nominated for a Readers’ Choice Award on BigAl’s Books and Pals.

Photo: bigstockphoto.com

book design

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    { 79 comments… read them below or add one }

    LockMarie May 24, 2015 at 9:20 am

    I LOVE CREATESPACE. Thanks to them, since August of 2013 I have been able to publish over 13 books.. IT’S AN AWESOME FEELING AND ACCOMPLISHMENT.. I think you did an amazing thing by writing this information. There are a lot of writers afraid to start because they don’t know how. Create space makes it that much easier, just yesterday I was able to finish and get approved 3 books. It’s a very helpful and easy to use company and I love it..

    Reply

    John April 13, 2015 at 4:02 am

    What is the difference between Create Space and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing?

    I downloaded the Create Space book template, but will it work on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing?

    Thanks

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 13, 2015 at 11:28 am

    John, CreateSpace (owned by Amazon) is a provider of print on demand paperback books.

    Kinde Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s portal for authors to publish ebooks.

    Reply

    Craig April 1, 2015 at 5:04 am

    I’ve moved all my books from my traditional publisher (Barnes & Noble) to Create Space. It’s great. I was wondering if you know if there’s a way to change the way the publisher is shown on the sales pages. For example it says:

    Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

    I would like to put my own Publishing imprint name there instead. Can this be done?

    Reply

    Will Gibson April 1, 2015 at 8:58 am

    You must have used ISBNs supplied by CreateSpace to get this designation as publisher.

    By buying and supplying your own numbers, any imprint name you wish may then be used. It can only be changed by ‘canceling or retiring’ those books and starting new projects. This would also require you to close all distribution channels on the old books.

    Reply

    Clodagh Phelan March 23, 2015 at 4:37 am

    I could do with some help, please, if possible. I downloaded the CS Template for a 5 x 8 book (my book has less than 300 pages). However when I try to post my manuscript into it, the typeface changes to Book Antigua and some indents disappear and often the text divides so it is on two pages instead of flowing properly on one and then the next. I have tried to fix this but even if adjust to Times New Roman on the Template, each new paste changes it back to Book Antigua. Also the gutters & Margins don’t look right, even though I am pasting onto a template. I’d be grateful for any advice. Should I strip out the formatting on the original and then reformat the Template? Thanks. I’m a bit at my wits end.

    Reply

    Will Gibson March 23, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Although, some of Joel’s readers could probably answer this question, the best spot as I mentioned to Billy is to post this question directly to the CreateSpace Community on the CS website (community).

    Just join the forum (easy and no commitments) and ask the question. This should be done in ‘Formatting’ within the sub-category ‘Book Interior File Formatting.’ Even CS and their reps, who don’t have the time and possibly knowledge, say to use the forum for answering technical questions.

    The experienced self-publishers at CreateSpace (writers, editors, book designers, formatters, and publishers) are extremely knowledgeable and very willing to help others professionally publish their books. There are a core of long time Members and new ones who can help you over the hump.

    Reply

    Clodagh Phelan March 24, 2015 at 4:36 am

    Thanks Will. I did try to go on the forum but found it very frustrating as it is not easy to see how to post on an existing thread. The words they use are not clear. However, I did finally figure it out. Thanks for the advice. BTW that’s the biggest problem I always have when trying to do techy things. I am a writer & copywriter and find that the instructions for such things as formatting are not clear as they do not use simple, logical words and steps.
    I appreciate your help.

    Reply

    Scott Allen Taylor March 23, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Yes, the templates are a total mess, and do not match the finished product: The don’t match your file, then their template doesn’t match their finished product. Just a mess…and the only way around it is to hire someone to fix it. It’s just not the product/service they advertise. Too bad.

    Reply

    Clodagh Phelan March 24, 2015 at 4:41 am

    No way can I hire someone to fix it. Affording stuff is relative – I can’t afford even the cheapest option at the moment. If I could I would never attempt it myself. Joel’s templates look wonderful. One day …Thanks for your remarks about the templates.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 23, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Will has given you some great direction, Clodagh. I would just mention as another possibility having a look at the templates I’ve designed for Microsoft Word that work beautifully at CreateSpace. You can see them all here: Book Templates for Indie Authors.

    Reply

    Scott Allen Taylor March 23, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Joel,

    Your templates look good (thanks). If I have already published with Createspace, how would you recommend going about re-publishing using your templates?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 23, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Scott, you would have to format the book again using the new template, then upload it as a corrected file (no charge from CS) to CreateSpace.

    Reply

    Clodagh Phelan March 24, 2015 at 4:37 am

    thanks Joel. I will take a look.

    Reply

    Clodagh Phelan March 24, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Thanks. As I said in an earlier post … one day when I can afford it I will. I know $69 sounds very little but it’s relative. However, having seen the templates I’m very impressed so will almost certainly get Spark, if not this time then for my next book as that has still to be published both in Kindle and CS. Thanks.

    Reply

    Will Gibson March 23, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Clodagh, I remember now that the technical members in the forum who post regularly always preface their comments about CS Templates with advice not to use them. As Scott found out and Joel pointed out, their templates are disappointing and there are better ones out there.

    Two or three regular posters on CreateSpace have also devised their own templates instead and offer them to other Members to use. So, I would guess, that using CS’s templates is probably your problem. For all other things technical, the Community forum is a good place to visit.

    Reply

    Clodagh Phelan March 24, 2015 at 4:43 am

    I’ll have another look, but I do find the forums complicated to follow. Thanks for your reply.

    Reply

    EJ Santos March 22, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Hello Everyone,

    Thank you all for the conversations. This is great information.
    After reading so many great comments and contributions I wanted to share one of the tools I’ve used in publishing my first book, which will be going live in June 2015.

    For those of you like me who are great writers but don’t have the patience or time to format everything for your e-book or print on demand books, I recommend you hire a professional. I have had GREAT success finding freelancers on Elance.com at VERY reasonable prices. Everything from technical editing, to formatting and cover design.

    Having my book formatted for e-book and create space cost me $69 and saved me hours of time and frustration and allowed me to do what I love best, the writing. ;)

    Just a suggestion for anyone looking for partners in self publishing.

    Reply

    Scott Allen Taylor March 22, 2015 at 10:33 am

    The frustrating part…is with a company service like Amazon and Createspace, that you would have to hire someone to do formatting in the first place. That’s NOT a great testimony.

    I found the templates did not match the finished product. After tweaking things over a hundred times, I settled on a less than perfect layout, just because they have the largest distribution network. But that hasn’t proved out either.

    Reply

    Clodagh Phelan March 24, 2015 at 4:44 am

    Thanks. As I said in an earlier post … one day when I can afford it I will. I know $69 sounds very little but it’s relative.

    Reply

    billywalsh March 17, 2015 at 6:36 am

    hi im hoping someone can help me. iv created a childrens picture book with bookwright (via blurb). i not have a pdf version of the book and tried to upload it to createspace for printing. however i get this message “The interior file does not meet our submission requirements for the reason(s) listed below. Please make any necessary adjustments to your interior file and upload it again by logging in to createspace.com.

    The interior doesn’t have sufficient outside margins for printing which could result in content being trimmed when printed. The outside, top, and bottom margin requirements are 0.25″ for non bleed interiors or 0.375″ for bleed interiors. To access our specifications, please see: https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/InteriorPDF.jsp “. i am new to createspace. what can i do to get around this? thanks in advance.

    Reply

    Will Gibson March 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Billy, this type of question can be easily answered (or already has been) in the CreateSpace Community forum over the years. First, search the forum for the appropriate topic and if you don’t find the answer simply just ask the Community.

    Barbara, Joel and I talked about this in the March 17-18, 2014, thread comments.

    Reply

    Barbara March 3, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Good Morning,

    I am in the final process of self-publishing my first book. Your article really helped my come to a decision about selecting Createspace expanded distribution. Thank you.

    Can you shed insights on my final decision of should I put a price on the barcode of my book. Some say the book looks more professional, others say it may cause problems if you want to change the price of the book and many say wholesalers and large bookstores will not purchase the book if it doesn’t have a price on the barcode. Can you advise?

    Reply

    joe p January 16, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Are there any options for the cover material or is it all one weight and stock? I would love to use a brown stock with more tooth for my book cover.

    Reply

    Will Gibson January 16, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    CreateSpace has only one weight/stock for their covers. No options.

    I no longer print through CS mainly because of, to me, their poor quality covers. This topic is discussed often in the CreateSpace Community. A fair percentage of their authors are disappointed when receiving their first proofs because of the stiff, shiny, and ‘boardy’ covers that are very prone to curling. Their propensity for delaminating is also a major concern.

    They recently introduced a matte option from gloss and it looks better.

    Reply

    Angela Burrowes January 14, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Are you able to publish hard cover books via CreateSpace? What about unique books, like inspirational journals, that may contain mostly blank pages? Do these types of books also require an ISBN?

    Reply

    Will Gibson January 14, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Angela, CS does not offer hard cover books. Other self-publishing companies like BookBaby and Ingram Spark do. BookBaby offers quality hard covers with very short run capabilities (as few as 100 books for good pricing) but not distribution. Your best bet for hardcovers with distribution is Ingram Spark. And, of course, there is always offset options for author’s copies. All books require an ISBN.

    Clodagh, Joel and others will know more about Scrivener than I do. I didn’t use it, but many authors on the CreateSpace forum recommend it. I think it’s probably become the most popular format for self-publishers in the last few years. Since you haven’t pushed the ‘publish’ button yet at CS, you can simply cancel the original ‘book’ and start a new project. By doing this, you can then supply your own ISBN next time.

    Reply

    Clodagh Phelan January 5, 2015 at 6:18 am

    All the comments and advice here are very helpful. I have just published on Kindle, which was technically challenging. The more so because their ‘previewer’ function kept showing up errors that were not in fact there.

    I am somewhat daunted by having to do it again for Create Space. Two questions.
    1. Someone on a Goodread forum recommended Scrivener for formatting as being much easier. I’d be happy to hear your comments.
    2. I registered with Create Space about two years ago but haven’t yet published or uploaded. My big problem is this – I think I registered a Create Space ISBN. Is it true I can’t change it? According to the advice here it isn’t a good idea.
    Thanks in advance. Clodagh.

    Reply

    kope January 2, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    VERY NICE!
    LOVING THE HELPFUL AND INFORMATIVE INFORMATION GIVEN <3

    Reply

    Scott Allen Taylor November 18, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I was going to go with Create Space, but found their templates don’t match the finished digital reviewer, making it impossible to proceed to publish. Makes you wonder how they ever publish ANYTHING. Looking for better ideas if you have any.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 19, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Scott, we have thousands of authors using our pre-designed book templates to print at CreateSpace. If you want to have a look, here’s the link:

    Book Templates for Microsoft Word.

    Reply

    Scott Allen Taylor November 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Joel, the templates are the problem…using them (in my experience) produced a different result in the digital reviewer, one that did not match what I did in the template. I ended up editing one line at a time to adjust things through 192 pages, only to settle for the best of the worst. If the template and the reviewer actually matched up…that would be great, but they didn’t. How do the “thousands” deal with this short coming?

    Reply

    pd workman November 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I have never had a problem with the Createspace cover templates. I haven’t used their interior templates and have certainly never had to edit line-by-line to get the interior to look like my file.

    I haven’t tried Joel’s templates, but they are certainly nice-looking!

    Reply

    P.D. Workman November 20, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I always use the digital proofer. I do eventually order a physical proof as well, but only after I can’t find any more issues using the digital proofer.

    Will Gibson November 20, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Scott, those that work with CreateSpace on a regular basis simply ignore the digital reviewer, the Interior Reviewer (IR).

    It is usually not accurate, and most of the Members on CS, I think, basically just skip this step and go on to order a proof.

    Reply

    Scott Allen Taylor November 20, 2014 at 9:16 am

    OMG, wow…really?!

    If I did that, I would be up to over a hundred proofs of gobbledygook, i.e. the end of on chapter on the same page as the next, etc.

    The problem seems to be, that even though you can manipulate things in the templates, you don’t know what it will actually be until you have seen a proof, whether digital or hard-copy. WHY DON’T THEY JUST FIX THAT??? It’s Amazon, for crying out loud…not some little backwater incompetent!!!

    Joel Friedlander November 20, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Scott, as others here have mentioned, I personally don’t use the previewer at all, and much prefer the PDF proof that CreateSpace generates. This is more accurate to how the book will print, and I’ve never had their PDF differ in any significant way from the PDF that I uploaded to them.

    Reply

    Scott Allen Taylor November 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Wow! So the successful have abandon all but the PDF proof…guess I should too. That’s pretty sad, but thanks for the help!

    Gopi November 16, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    this may be the simple doubt.but, pls tell me can i publish the book in createspace for free….

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 19, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Gopi, there’s no charge to publish at CreateSpace, but you will have to pay for any books you order for your own use.

    Reply

    Silvia October 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Hello again. I have another question, and I do not want to proceed until I find out an answer. I hope someone can help. If I get an ISBN number from CS, does that restrict in any way where I can sell my books, and who can sell them? That is. Can a local bookstore buy 10 copies from Amazon and sell them at their shop. Thank you.

    Reply

    Silvia October 21, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Thank you for the article and all the helpful comments. I live in the U.S but my book is written in Spanish and, definitely, for a market in Spain. My question is this: Can I use the platform from the US and still have the books sent (in paper) to Spain for the same price, or will it be more expensive because it´s international shipping? That is: Will the books be printed in this continent or in Europe?
    Thanks.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander November 19, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Silvia, I would direct that question to the helpful support people at CreateSpace.

    Reply

    Silvia November 20, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Thank you for your answer. I will do so.

    Reply

    Robert Beyer October 16, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    My book came with no page numbers do I have to insert them myself. Thank you

    Reply

    Jodie Andrefski October 16, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Yes, you do. (I wondered the same thing at first) I just inserted them in headers, with placement on the left for even numbers and on the right for odd. That way, your page one (which would fall on the right…)has it in the upper right corner and so on. I also made my numbers smaller font size than the rest of the text, but that was just personal preference. Best of luck!

    Reply

    Jodie Andrefski October 2, 2014 at 1:10 am

    This may be a silly question, but does CS number the pages of your book or do you have to do it in the word document you upload to them? (And if we DO have to do it ourselves, does it go in the page header or does that put it outside CS print range?) Thanks so much for any help!!

    Jodie

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander October 2, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Jodie, you might want to check out the Word templates here that make this process a whole lot easier and more predictable:

    Book Templates for Microsoft Word

    Reply

    Jodie Andrefski October 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks Joel, I’ve already formatted mine, and it passed and looks fine in review…I just wasn’t sure if I need to add the page numbers or if CreateSpace automatically does this upon printing, and I can’t find an answer anywhere to this question. I don’t want to have the pages not numbered at all, nor numbered twice. Thanks!

    Reply

    Gloria Silk September 9, 2014 at 5:07 am

    Hi Joel, thank you so much for Lyn’s great article. I’ve been trying to find out the simple answer to this question – which I can’t seem to find on Createspace: How long does the process of the upload of the interior take? Is it several hours, or is it longer, because they say nothing about it being ready for review. Thank you again, I’m an avid fan of your site and its content.

    Reply

    pd workman July 31, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I’ve had very few problems using Createspace. I think it’s a great service and will continue to use it for my books until I run into problems!

    Of course, shipping to Canada can be sort of fun. I don’t like to pay the extra $$$ for expedited shipping, but I will on a proof that I need to turn around quickly. Since Createspace does not charge GST to Canadian authors, a box of books can end up taking quite a while to cross the border while duty/GST/brokerage charges are incurred. The charges are due COD, and yes, UPS wants cash, not plastic. And they don’t make change.

    By law, we are supposed to send hard copies to Canadian Archives within 10 days of publication, but I don’t usually even have hard copies until two to three weeks after publication. Obviously, the law was written with traditional publishing in mind, where the publisher receives their initial shipment before the book is released to the public. So far, Archives haven’t complained, but I do try to get them out as quickly as possible. I don’t know if anyone has similar issues in the US or other countries.

    But on the whole, I like Createspace, and the process of publishing to paperback is pretty simple!

    Reply

    Roger W. Buenger March 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Great information provided here! Thank you to all. This is exactly what I need right now. I am currently in the process of self-publishing my first book (historical fiction) and have been struggling with deciding on which way to go as far as a printer. Has anyone here ever used CS to publish in paperback and someone else for hardcover? It’s my understanding that CS doesn’t do hardcover, is this right? As this is my debut book I’d really like to be able to offer both so that I can use the hardcovers for presentation, marketing promotions, etc.

    Thanks again to Joel for the site, Lyn for the article, and Will and everyone else for their input.

    Reply

    Lyn Horner March 18, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Will, I second what Joel said. Your input is invaluable. I had not heard that Lightning Source is better for color works. Good to know.

    Reply

    Lyn Horner March 17, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    JJ, I had no idea color costs so much more, but it makes sense. The color printing process is bound to be more expensive. Darn, and I’ve been planning to convert my photo-illustrated memoir “Six cats In My Kitchen” to print. May need to rethink that. I don’t know if your solution would work. The photos might not look so good in black and white.

    Reply

    Will Gibson March 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    The cost of color production with POD will cause a high retail price for a book. If any images are color, you must pay the ‘color rate’ for each page which is substantially higher than only using black and white. I only submit black and white fiction pages with no images so the print on demand charges for me are very reasonable. Also, it is generally accepted in the Community that CreateSpace does not do a very good job with ‘picture books’ or graphics and images and that Lightning Source is a much better source (pun intended) for these type of books.

    Although there are a few free sites for creating bar codes for one’s book on the web, I have also always paid the $25 fee to Bowker to have them do it for me. And I agree with you, they are better looking and are of a more appropriate size for the back of the book. I think authors should put the retail price in the bar code and print it in USDs on the back of the book. What do you think? It seems to me that it allows for the book to be scanned easily (at indie bookstores, for example) and for the retail price to easily be seen by those potential purchasers holding a physical copy.

    ‘Flattening an image or transparency’ was something that I was unfamiliar with before posting the question to the CreateSpace Community a few years ago when going through the Review process to get an answer.

    https://forums.createspace.com/en/community/message/121572#121572

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Will, and thanks for your generous contributions to the discussion going on here. I think it’s always a good practice to make sure there’s a “human readable” price on the book. However, this makes no difference at retail, nor does the inclusion of your price within the bar code. The point of sale scanner basically grabs the ISBN which is used as a stock-keeping number, and the rest of the information for the title—including the price—is pulled from the retailer’s own database.

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    JJ Bach March 19, 2014 at 6:52 am

    hi Joel
    You’ve done way more with paper than I have so I’ll take your word for it on the differing paper between the two types of books. However, I do have proof copies of both color and the B&W books right here. To my rookie “feel” test, the paper in both the books feels the same and looking at both under the same light they look the same. I can’t tell the difference. But, to me it’s a moot point, because the bottom line is that B&W pictures are nowhere near as pleasant as color pictures. I am left hoping that people will buy the color book for the “birthday present” scenario and hopefully buy the much cheaper B&W version for their everyday scenario.
    I have all the files set to go. I am curious about the difference between the CS way and the LS way, maybe a test of the LS ecosystem is in order here.

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    JJ Bach March 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

    My biggest surprise having just gone through my first POD experience is the cost of color pages. My project was a non-fiction book relying on good color pictures to explain various steps in a process. With 50 images, the color edition of the book is probably too expensive for just about everyone. grrr. My solution was to do a second edition of the exact same book, except that is in Black and White. Far cheaper but not as pleasant to look at and the pics are not as easy to understand. But waaay cheaper. I do wish Amazon would charge color for an image page and b&w for a text only page. But I found my solution to be fairly workable.
    Also, I did a ten block ISBN purchase AND a block of ten barcode images. It may be vanity, but I found the barcode image to be much nicer looking than the white block Amazon does. Plus I can set the price that appears in the bar code.
    Finally, if in Photoshop, remember to flatten your image before you save it as a pdf. Flattening hugely shrinks the size of the image and makes it MUCH easier to comply with CreateSpace cover file size requirements.
    Slainte
    JJB

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    Joel Friedlander March 18, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    JJ keep in mind the paper used on black and white books is not the same as the paper used in color printing. What you suggest is virtually impossible (although it may not be for long!) for today’s printers, and even in offset printing, if you wanted to have some photos in color, every printer would advise inserting them as a separate 16-page signature, printed on a different stock than the rest of the book.

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    Lyn Horner March 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks, Danielle! My hour flew by. It’s Susan Horsnell’s turn now. she’s the Aussie author who organized the anthology.

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    Lyn Horner March 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Great recommendation, Danielle! I’ll check out Joel’s template. Thanks for sharing that with us.

    I’ll be on Facebook this afternoon between 3 and 4 central time, hosting the Rawhide ‘n Roses Barn Dance — a launch party for the R&R anthology. I’m giving away a copy of the book and a $10 Amazon gift card to two winners. Come join the fun! http://www.facebook.com/events/1471888149698013/

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    Danielle March 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    You’re welcome. Good luck with your launch party.

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    Danielle March 16, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I used CreateSpace when I self-published my first novel in February. I found it fairly easy to use. I’d already set up a publishing company and purchased a block of 10 ISBNs through Bowker. I did not choose the expanded distribution option for the same reasons others have already mentioned. I used the book cover template provided by CreateSpace and uploaded the cover I created in Adobe Photoshop. I actually enjoyed the process of self-pub with CS and I’m still amazed at how professional the paperback appears. Oh, and I used Joel’s Bomber template for the interior. My book is mystery/suspense. I like how it all turned out and will do it again for the next book.

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    Lyn Horner March 15, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Will, I’m glad you took time to add your two cents (more than a buck’s worth). You gave me food for thought, especially about the ISBN issue and Expanded Distribution. The next time I have a book printed via CS I will probably not go with ED as I’ve done so far.

    Yes, the CreateSpace Community is very helpful. I got some basic questions answered there and keep meaning to go back and ask for marketing advice. That’s my downfall. Doesn’t matter that I win awards if I’m not selling much.

    The first time around with Cover Creator I ran into some problems because I didn’t size my cover image right and had to redo it a time or two. Now I’m used to the requirements so it takes less time. So far I’ve designed and executed my own book covers. However, I’m planning to hire a professional cover artist for my next book because it’s a very specialized talent and takes time I no longer can spend.

    Thanks for stopping by to talk. I enjoy it.

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    Will Gibson March 15, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Michael: From what you described, I would guess that you probably tangled with the Interior Reviewer, too. Two very common rejections of files dealt with saying that CreateSpace is ‘not your publisher’ and that the name Amazon can ‘nowhere be mentioned in the book.’ So, you were probably just getting bounced because of the newness of the system. If it was a few years ago, it did cause a ‘glitch’ in the review procedure for quite some time. After it came out I would have files rejected that had previously flown through Review and then also have to deal with the hassle.

    Like I said, I finally went around it but then CS started altering Members’ files without their approval to ‘correct’ those problems that ‘weren’t really there’ because of the IR. As you can imagine, this caused quite a few comments within the CreateSpace Community of serious self-publishers. But I used them about a year and a half ago for my final editing proofs and had no problem whatsoever moving through File Review even with my still ‘page numbering problem’ that ‘may be there’ or maybe not. But, I would try them again and I think those roadblocks are gone.

    Lyn: Offering a step by step guide to CreateSpace for the readers of Joel’s blog is a great contribution for anyone wanting to self-publish anytime soon. All writers interested in self-publishing should bookmark it and use it in the near future. As Joel has written about in previous posts, there are only two avenues that most self-publishers should probably take, CS and LS. It was because of your ‘Note” in #4 about ISBNs, ‘Compare the options carefully because once you make a choice it cannot be changed’ that I started commenting about ISBNs and started going on about CreateSpace. So, if I have posted for too long, I’ll just blame it on you. But seriously, you delivered a very well presented guide to publishing through CreateSpace. And thanks for letting me throw in my two cents worth, albeit it was done a buck at a time.

    PS Wouldn’t you say that the CreateSpace Community is a great place to start with all your questions about self-publishing? Browse their forum with your question or if you don’t find an answer, just ask. Also, Lyn, what is your experience with Cover Creator? I used a friend who is a graphic designer to produce my cover pdf so I don’t have any experience with it.

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    Ebony McKenna March 15, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks for a great walk-through Lyn,
    I have self-pubbed electronically (using a formatting company) and I am interested in having some books printed. Having a formatting template in the process will also help.

    Thanks for all your time sharing your experiences.

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    Lyn Horner March 15, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    You’re welcome, Ebony. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. The template are a life saver for those of us who aren’t tech experts, me for one.

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    Lana Williams March 15, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Wow, Lyn, thank you so much for this detailed post! I’m bookmarking this page to refer to. I have 4 books that I’ve self-published and have found CreateSpace to be very helpful, although I do outsource the formatting portion. :) Tweeted as well!

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    Lyn Horner March 15, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Thanks, Lana! Glad I could be of help.

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    Lyn Horner March 14, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Will, you should have done this post. You’re obviously much more experienced with CS than I am. Thanks for sharing!

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    Will Gibson March 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Lyn

    I used CreateSpace as the printer for the first edition of my book. And I have followed and participated in their forum since 2009 so I would like to add a few comments about using them. They are a very user friendly site as far as print on demand companies go. And it is very easy to set up accounts and do revisions.

    #4 This may be the most important decision one may make about being a self-publisher. To create your own imprint as your ‘validation’ as a publisher and for later projects or just opt for the freebie for that maybe only one book author. Most members don’t use the free ISBN from CreateSpace with several reasons why.

    Buying a block of ISBNs from Bowker does ‘legitimize’ a self-publisher as a ‘publisher’ even though most of us are really only writers who decided to self-publish. A block of ten from Bowker is $250, with a single ISBN selling for $125. So, most authors buy the ten, with one for print, one for ebook, and other uses.

    Owning the rights to your book is paramount and is an easily accomplished task when one self-publishes. Owning your own ISBNs will lead to greater protection of those rights as you move forward as a writer and publisher. CreateSpace does state that only books with CS ISBNs are allowed for their library distribution.

    #9 The addition of the ‘Interior Reviewer’ was only added in the last year or two offering ‘flags for potential problems’ as they rolled it out. Before then if one just submitted their text and cover pdfs exactly as they wanted them, that is what they got back. But things changed with IR so I just began skipping that and it worked.

    Having a script for page numbers (for example) that have sixes above the line and nines below the line, it looks great and is what I wanted. My first three files easily went through Review, that is until Interior Reviewer came along. It tries to ‘solve problems’ that are not really there. So just upload and order a proof.

    #10 Whether EDC is free or $25, one thing I might mention is that most all of CS’s members avoid this distribution channel. Expanded Distribution was a feature also added later added to CreateSpace to provide distribution to books stores like Ingram can. Ironically, Amazon contracts with Lightning Source for this feature.

    Because of that, after LS takes their cut and Amazon takes their cut and publisher has the printing charges subtracted, there isn’t much left for the author. With EDC enabled, a CreateSpace author either has to charge a higher selling price to make any money or has to accept only about a fifty cent royalty per book.

    #11 Lyn said, “If you set your price too low, your proceeds will suffer when the book is discounted.” While Amazon (and any retailer) may discount your book as they wish, Amazon and all retailers pay royalties to the author based on the retail price of the book set by the publisher (you). If the retailer discounts, they lose.

    Thanks, Will

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    Jacquie Biggar March 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Great advice, thanks for walking us through the minefield, so to speak :)
    I’m working up the courage to try self-publishing but, like you, am techno challenged, so this is awesome

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    Lyn Horner March 14, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Jacquie, I’m glad to share what I learned, occasionally the hard way. Best of luck when you get ready to publish. You can do it!

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    Sharla Rae March 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

    This is definitely in my future Lyn. Whether or not I do it myself or not, I think it’s important to “know the process.” Thanks so much!

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    Lyn Horner March 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Sharla, I agree, even if you have the work done for you, it’s good to be familiar with the POD set up process. Thank you for commenting.

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    Lyn Horner March 14, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Hi Celia, I know you can self-publish if you once try it. It can be a bit scary at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not that hard.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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    Celia Yeary March 14, 2014 at 5:48 am

    LYN–I’m impressed with authors such as you who can self-publish. I probably could, but I think I’d be a basket case before I finished. You and others make it sound so easy, but…I have not worked up the courage to tackle it yet–I’m working up to it!
    Your article is excellent! I downloaded the Free copy of the guide. Now I have about a dozen of these guides–I convert them and load them on my old Kindle–when I run out of novels or get tired reading novels in my Kindle Fire, I switch to the old one and once again, read a self-help book. I really appreciate your advice.

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    Michael N. Marcus March 14, 2014 at 2:59 am

    I’ve used Createspace, Lightning Source, KDP and other services for printing and distribution of various books. CreateSpace has been the most annoying.

    One time a hyperactive robo-censor delayed publication of a book about self-publishing because it mentioned CreateSpace parent Amazon.com. I was told: “The interior file submitted for this title contains text referencing Amazon.com. Please remove all text and/or logos which reference Amazon.com.”

    I complained publicly in my blog. I received an apology and my freedom of the press was restored — but time and energy were wasted.

    I later submitted files for another book and the robo-censor said, “PROBLEM: The interior file submitted for this title contains text referencing CreateSpace as the publisher on PDF page 106. Please remove all text and/or logos which reference CreateSpace as the publisher.”

    Nowhere did that page — or any other page in the book — claim that CreateSpace was the publisher. On the contrary, the book bears the name and logo of MY OWN publishing company, Silver Sands Books, and uses an ISBN assigned to Silver Sands Books, not to CreateSpace.

    There was no way to respond to the email I received, and a message I sent from the CreateSpace website to the “Member Support Team” elicited a nonsensical response: “… so that they would be able to do the needful.”

    Ouch.

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    Lyn Horner March 14, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Sorry to hear you had trouble with CreateSpace. I’ve never encountered such problems, but then I have so far published fiction only. However, I do intend to convert a memoir titled Six Cats In My Kitchen to print one of these days.

    Reply

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