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.
- Click the blue Add New Title button. This takes you to the Start Your New Project page.
- On the Start Your New Project page, fill in the name of your book, the type of project and choose a setup method.
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.
- Title Information page: Fill in your book title, subtitle (if applicable), author name, contributors, series name and number (if applicable) and other details.
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.
- ISBN: CreateSpace says, “An ISBN (number) is required to publish and distribute a book.” They offer four options. One is free.
Note: Compare the options carefully because once you make your choice it cannot be changed.Choose and click Continue.
- 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.
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.
- Choose a finish for your book cover, either matte or glossy. This is new. Until recently, all covers were glossy.
- 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.
- 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.)
This is the template I use.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lastly, set up the spine.
- 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.
- 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).
- Distribution Channels: Choose distribution channels. Expanded Distribution used to cost $25 but is now FREE!
- 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.
- 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 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.