Tag Archives: createspace

How to Publish Via CreateSpace and KDP

I thought I was prepared for the self-publishing process; I’ve read just about everything I could get my hands on about how and why and where, etc. But I still found myself flabbergasted when I actually sat down to do it. While I think Amazon’s process is incredibly easy and user-friendly, it still is a bit opaque until you actually get into the system and start doing it. So I thought I’d lay out the steps I needed to take:

  • Create a login at CreateSpace.com and click “Add New Title.”
  • Fill out a basic form for your book’s title, author information, and edition number.
  • Add an ISBN.
    • You can either buy one from Amazon for fairly cheap, or input one you’ve bought previously. You can buy them directly from Bowker. You need a unique ISBN for every edition of your book.
  • Decide how big your book should be, what size paper you’ll use, the color of the paper, and upload your document.
    • CreateSpace provides a nifty template after you pick a size. If you’re like me, you will not at all be ready for this ahead of time and will spend more than a week carefully reformatting every page of your book.
  • After you’ve picked and uploaded the interior pages, you’ll be prompted to review them digitally, in a little in-browser review panel they’ve made. (I found this useful but not as easy to read as a Word document or print page.)
    • They also offer you the option of letting them complete the layout process, for a fee of about $200. Read the reviews, though; not every author is happy with their results (though others are).
  • Upload your cover art and make some decisions, like matte or glossy texture. If you don’t already have cover art, you’ll need to take their specifications/templates at this point and make one or hire a designer. If you’re not sure about hiring someone, you can use their cover designer, too, which is a neat little tool. (However, in my opinion, those look a little cookie-cutter.)
  • Amazon will review the files to make sure everything meets specifications, and will let you know if there are any problems that can be fixed automatically.
  • Then Amazon will send your compiled book for a quick less-than-24-hour review process, to ensure it doesn’t violate any of their standards.
    • I was seriously anxious during this process, but it’s really quick and painless. I just wanted my book!
  • If you’re satisfied after uploading your cover and interior, Amazon will offer a proof version, both digitally (free) and a print copy. You should absolutely order the print copy; some mistakes just don’t jump out at you until you’re actually looking at a print book. I had reviewed it three different times by different editors, and still found things I wanted to change. Plus you get to see how it’ll really look.
    • The downside is you’ll have to wait about a week for the book to be delivered to you (in the continental U.S., at least), and then will need to take additional time to thoroughly review it. You want to put your best work out there, so take your time!
    • If you want any changes, go back to the interior or cover pages and upload a new file. Go back through all the review steps again, as many times as it takes, until you’re really confident in the result.
  • CreateSpace will ask you if you’re really, really sure that you’re happy with what you’ve put together. You say yes, and then your book can be sold! (In…3-5 business days)
  • Make some marketing decisions. How much will your book cost? How much do you want in royalties? Where will it be sold? Will you enroll in any of their special programs?
    • Make sure you also set up the ways you want to be paid. You can do that under your profile.
  • Write the description that will make people want to buy your book! Pick some categories and search terms to help people find it.

Then CreateSpace will offer to help you publish on Kindle and pass you on to KDP. KDP only had three screens to traverse, but that made it more intimidating to me, not less.

  • Fill out your basic details. No need for an ISBN here; Kindle books don’t need them. Add your description, pick some keywords, decide whether to release now or in the future, upload your cover, upload your book file.
  • Verify you have the rights to sell it and pick where and for how much it will sell.
  • Decide whether you want to enroll in the Kindle Select marketing program, which means you can only sell through Amazon for 90 days.

Undead Rising coverOh, and by the way, Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is now on sale at CreateSpace, Kindle, and Amazon books!

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All Laid Out: You May Need a Designer for Your Book

I’ve just spent an hour adding dropcaps to my book—I may be a little crazy.

Let me explain.

A goodly time ago, I decreed that I was giving up on the agent game and was going to self-publish. (Yep, I wrote that in September.) My first goal was just wildly unrealistic, and then I got paralyzed by life circumstances, fear, and options.

Nevertheless, I got back on track.

Step one was research where, exactly, to self-publish. From what I’ve read, it seems like a multi-pronged approach is the best tactic. Because I’m familiar with the system, I decided to start with Amazon’s CreateSpace, from whence it’s a natural transition to KDP for the epub, and then on to other epublishers (more research needs to be done).

Because my book uses the choose-your-own-adventure model, I felt it was good to have a print copy and a hyperlinked digital version, to catch the types of readers who prefer to flip through pages versus the newer ones who are brave enough to try the same thing on a digital device–no page flip required. But that format also means a lot of work.

I drafted a battleplan:

  • format for print
  • format for online
  • create cover
  • buy ISBN(s)
  • upload to CreateSpace
  • upload to KDP/ebook pub
  • update website
  • buy new business cards

You’ll notice that this battleplan is not ALL the steps to self-publishing, but it IS a lot more steps than I originally thought it would be.

But that first bullet there is why I ended up making dropcaps for an hour. It’s also why I’d encourage other people who are looking to self-publish to go hire a layout designer. Yes, it’s money, but it’s also hard, particularly if you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing.

Luckily, I do have some experience in that direction, but it was still both overwhelming and ridiculously tedious. Some things you have to consider:

  • What typeface will you use? What message does it send the reader?
  • What size will your typeface be? Can readers in your target age group actually read that size print?
    • Is it legible?
  • Where on the page will you start your chapter?
  • What are your margins?
  • Where will you put your page numbers? What will they look like?
  • Do you need dropcaps?
    • Do you know what a dropcap is?
  • How will you manage your widows and orphans?
  • Will you put a blank page between chapters?
  • Are there any weird formatting things you’re going to have to deal with?
  • If you find a small typo while working on one version of your book, how will you ensure that error is fixed everywhere it appears?
    • Suggestion: Keep a master file and make ALL changes there. Then use the master file to create the second and third and fourth, etc., versions. (I had a client who didn’t do this, and it was terrible.)

If you know all that kind of thing and don’t mind, then you may be perfectly fine DIY-ing it. CreateSpace offered a template to help match the book size you select, which was awesome. But if that list up there sounds overwhelming, or if you’d rather not waste a whole day doing that kind of thing, do yourself a big favor and pay an expert.

I particularly like the freelance author site Writer.ly.  (Note: I also sell my editing services there. Look me up sometime!)

Did you hire someone to design the layout of your book? Why or why not?


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