My Experience with CreateSpace

Hello! So, as usual, I got distracted by something shiny instead of getting the post done like I said I would.  But, it was something that will help me with this post…so it’s all good, right?

Sales on my book are going pretty well.  Just as a reminder you can buy hard copies at my CreateSpace webstore and on Amazon.  If Kindle is more your thing, my book is available on Amazon Kindle (as well as various other devices).  I am looking into publishing on Nook as well.

Before I get into the meat of this post, I had a random idea for a fanart contest (open to my deviantART followers, my WordPress followers, and the fans on facebook).  The top two entries, decided by me and some non-participating friends, would receive a FREE SIGNED COPY of the book.  Does that sound fun?  I will give descriptions of characters if need be.

Getting Started

Just like with Kindle Direct Publishing, a friend of mine asked for a bit of a tutorial on my experiences with CreateSpace.  So CreateSpace is an Amazon company, so like the KDP program, it was quite user friendly.  It even has a guided set-up process.There are four sections in a Project Homepage: Set up, Review, Distribute, and Sales and Marketing.  A lot of this is pretty self explanatory.  The title information is where you input the title, who wrote it, subtitle…all that fun stuff.  Really simple.  The next part assigns the book an ISBN.  There are a few options here – CreateSpace can make one for you, you can get a custom one for $10, you can get a custom Universal ISBN for $99, or you can provide your own purchased ISBN.  I went with the totally free option.

Interior

Here’s where it gets a little more interesting.  Interior.  This is where you ultimately decide how large your book is and where you upload your file for review.  There are many different trim sizes.  They suggest 6″x9″.  I picked 5.08″x7.81″, which is an industry standard.  What size is entirely on how big you want the book to be.  You also choose if you want your book to be black and white or full color.  Or if you want it printed on white or cream paper.  Once you have chosen what size trim you would like, you can download a template of that size so you may format your book for review.

Then you upload your book – this takes a few minutes.  The accepted file formats are .pdf, .doc, .docx, and .rtf.  Ideally, by this point you have already formatted your book.  Since I have this maddening tendency to not to do things in the ideal manner, mine was not correctly formatted when I uploaded my book.  Thankfully, there is the interior reviewer.  This allows you to do a minor proof.  Check to see if you like the font. If the indentations look good. Page numbers.  The like.  If you haven’t already formatted your book, the interior reviewer will yell at you – it will also give you the option to download the file IN THE TRIM SIZE YOU WANT.  I did that.  Then I re-uploaded the file for review.

Cover

This is where I ended up with the vast majority of my issues.  But we’ll get to those in a minute.  There are three options for the cover.  Build your own cover online, pay A LOT of money for a professional cover, or upload your own cover.  I went with the final option.  I already had commissioned cover art, so all I had to do was format it into a wonderful .pdf.  Reminder: when you choose this option you have to format the spine and the back cover as well.

Most of my issues stemmed from me not realizing that Illustrator was being stupid (so thus, I was being stupid).  At first I was just downloading a template from the website.  I had to google search it, but I found a part of CreateSpace that made templates for your book cover.  I ended up doing this A LOT.  A good five-ten times.  Three of those times were after I had published the book.  So the first 8 copies of my book have some errors on the cover – but that’ll just make them super rare and expensive when I’m big and famous.

ANYWAY.  I contacted their help service.  They gave me the exact measurements that the .pdf needed to be.  I made a document that exact size and all turned out awesome.  Problem solved.  So, moral of the story: create a document at the exact size.

Then you move on to the complete setup portion.  This is pretty self explanatory.  Once you feel as though everything is ready, hit the review button.  This will submit your files for review.  This takes up to 48 hours.

Proofing Your Book

Once the files have gone through review, you should proof your book.  CreateSpace even reminds you of this.  It will give you two options.  Digital Proofer or ordering a proof copy of your book.  I highly recommend ordering a proof copy.  This way you can mark where you need to make corrections.  Also, it is really, really cool to be able to hold your book.  Seriously.

Conclusion

Everything else is really simple.  Distribution channels, pricing, publishing on Kindle.  Most of this is free – except for expanded distribution.  That costs $25.

Overall, I really like CreateSpace.  I made some pretty nasty mistakes…but I’ve learned from them and they were more MY fault than the services’ fault.  I would recommend the service wholeheartedly.

Has anyone else used CreateSpace?  What did you think of it?

~LL Lemke

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3 thoughts on “My Experience with CreateSpace

  1. “They gave me the exact measurements that the .pdf needed to be. I made a document that exact size and all turned out awesome.”

    So what is the exact measurements of the .pdf, for the standard size you ordered.

    • That entirely depends on what size you make your novel. For the size I got (5.06 x 7.81) they provided this information: “The total width of your cover file should be 12.903992” and the total height should be 8.06”. The spine width should be 0.553992”. Please ensure that no text or live graphics fall closer than .375” to the outside edges.”

      It wasn’t exact on the spine because those are some really strange numbers to work with and I’m not amazing in Illustrator, but it worked out well enough.

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