Monday, April 16, 2012

My Tips for Using CreateSpace

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine had some ups and downs. The Blog Ring of Power is on hiatus again this week, so I have some free time for another topic.

As I posted on Friday, I promised to talk about using CreateSpace today. As with Smashwords, Amazon, and PubIt!, you need to set up an account first before you can add projects, or books. Paper books are more complicated to produce and publish than e-books; you have to go through several steps before you even get to the review stage.

Some of the hardest decisions involve what type of IBSN you want to use for your book (this link helps you weigh the pros and cons of obtaining your IBSN from various sources. I used one from CreateSpace because it was free and allowed me the most options for distribution), what size you want your book to be, and how to lay out the interior. CreateSpace does provide templates for layout, but when I tried to use one, it seemed to introduce more problems than it solved. It was easier to follow this guide and do everything manually. (Here I was grateful I had a relatively short book.) The hardest part of interior formatting was getting the headers right and suppressing them on the first pages of the book. I did have to remove my author photo (the resolution wasn't high enough for good printing) and fix a problem with embedded fonts before my uploaded file was approved. For some reason, even when I converted my Word file into a PDF according to the directions, the fonts (and these were common fonts) didn't embed correctly. I finally solved the problem by uploading the Word file and letting CreateSpace do the conversion.

My cover artist was able to add the spine and back to my existing e-book cover for a reasonable fee. CreateSpace now provides online digital proofing, so that made the review process easier. Even so, I decided to order a physical copy before approving the book for distribution. CreateSpace distributes to its online store and to Amazon for free; I paid $25 for expanded distribution, which includes bookstores and libraries. (Admittedly, the chances of a bookstore or a library ordering my book are small, but with so many changes in the publishing industry happening, that may change. I didn't want to limit my options.) I think the expanded distribution affected the minimum pricing I could set for the book. My royalties are highest for books ordered directly through CreateSpace, followed by Amazon. The royalties for expanded distribution are extremely small in comparison to the other two outlets, enough to make me reconsider my decision for my next paper book. I should probably keep the same distribution for this series at least.

Anyway, despite the complicated process, it was thrilling to hold the paper version of my book, and it allows me to reach a larger share of my target audience. I'm going to try to set up a giveaway on Goodreads; if it works, I'll announce it here.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the process.

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