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How I Self-Publish with Createspace

Now, there are tons of sites out there that can help you with self-publishing and distribution. Createspace just happens to be the print on demand service I find most helpful for my work, and I’m familiar with it, as it was also what indie publisher BigWorldNetwork used for my previous titles.

Step 1: Write your book

I think we can all agree this is the hardest and yet most obvious part.

Step 2: Edit your book

And I don’t just mean yourself. Everyone needs an outside editor, preferably more than one set of eyes before you’re ready to publish.

Step 3: Typeset

Now we get onto the real advice here, and often this is where people will flounder. I don’t personally typeset my own books, because I have an awesome Creative Director thanks to my time with BigWorldNetwork (and my husband helps as well, since he’s learned his fair share of the process).

If you are not so lucky as to have someone knowledgeable with the world of widows and orphans to typeset for you, there are many resources out there to help you learn how to properly format a professional looking book, but let me recommend the following title from my fellow BWN author, Heather Justesen, POD Like a Pro.

Step 4: Cover art

This isn’t as simple as just having an awesome front cover image and title text (unless you’re planning to only publish as an eBook) but the entire book jacket, which is its own monster. Createspace has a handy template people can use, or once again, you might have an outside resource building your cover. Even so, you’ll likely need to give them dimensions to work off of, so starting with a recognized template is often best.

Of course there is so much to be said about finding the right artwork, the right font, the right look and feel, but that’s for another blog post.

Step 5: Prepare your proof

And now the real meat of this post. Createspace makes this process rather easy, though there are several options you’ll need to consider as you go through the process. Here’s what I did.

If you don’t care that Createspace is listed as the publisher, you can use their free ISBN number, or pay $10 for a custom one, but with those options you can never take it to another printer without getting a new ISBN later. The third option is to get a more official ISBN at someplace like this that can be used universally and is usually around $100.

Now for sizing. The default tends to be 6 x 9, though my books are 5.5 x 8.5. This is something for you and your designer to decide, and can sometimes be affected by page number to get the best look and bang for your buck, as size of the book can affect pricing.

Interior pages are usually white, but there is the option for cream interiors that sometimes works better for some styles, usually depending on your cover art and genre.

You’ll of course need a copyright page in your interior, which you can find examples of many places online, but the important thing is to list your ISBN numbers and the copyright date.

Bleed for the interior refers to how far the pages go to the edge. You’d think you’d always want the second option, which keeps a consistent border, but there are times when you might want to have pages go all the way to the end, like if you include an image of the cover inside for a fun black and white effect.

Upload your print ready cover as a pdf of the entire book jacket, and your pdf interior. You’ll next need to add Tax information to get paid when you make a sale, but you don’t need any special business requirements for this, just your personal information is fine.

Once your book is reviewed by Createspace and approved, be sure to order a proof copy before you make it live, to ensure everything prints the way you want. Holding it in your hands is important, as well as giving everything a final once over to be sure nothing is out of place.

Step 6: Make it live

From here follow the distribution options as you please and make your book live. You’ll have to decide on your category and key words to improve search options, so consider this carefully, and look at other books like yours to gauge what makes sense. Different distribution options will give you more to fill out, and with Createspace you have the option to automatically be up on every international Amazon site, which to be honest, is often where most people will find your book.

Depending on what you choose will affect your options for pricing, so consider what other paperbacks go for in your market and genre, and choose wisely. It can be disheartening to see how much you actually make off of a paperback compared to what people pay, but that’s part of the reality of publishing. eBook sales are entirely different.

Createspace allows you to directly publish to Amazon as an eBook, but consider creating an epub or mobi format and upload that version directly to Amazon instead, as those file types are specific to eBooks and create a much more readable experience. You might think the paperback is where it’s at, but you’ll find over time that you make the most sales and therefore the most money from eBooks, so make sure the experience is worthwhile for readers.

Once your book is live, the real fun begins (and actually should start before it’s live to prepare you for launching your title) but that’s another blog post as well. In the meantime, happy writing, and get pumped for the upcoming release of my next book, Life as a Teenage Vampire, coming in October!

You can see it on Goodreads early here.

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