Self Publishing with CreateSpace

So I am currently going through the process of self-publishing my novella The Maladroit on CreateSpace and I thought I would talk about it in today’s Resources for Authors post.

The first thing they will ask you to do is sign up. This part is free. Next I clicked the “Add new title” link under “My Projects.”

The first thing they have you add is your Title Information, next they move onto the ISBN. They work directly with Bowker which is the official source for ISBN’s in the U.S. I’m not sure what the process would be like in other countries so if you’ve had experience with CreateSpace and getting an ISBN in another country please jot down your experience in the comments section below.

According to the Bowker Website:

“An ISBN uniquely identifies your book, and facilitates the sale of your book to bookstores (physical and digital) and libraries. Using ISBNs allows you to better manage your book’s metadata, and ensure maximum discoverability of your book. Your book is listed in Bowker Books in Print®, which is used by all the major search engines and most bookstores and libraries.”

So once I obtained my ISBN the next two steps that I am currently working on are formatting the inside of my book and uploading a cover for my book.

Book Interior

Here you can choose whether you want the interior just “black and white” or if you’d like “full color.” I don’t have any pictures and I don’t need my words in any particular color so I choose black and white. You can also choose whether you would like your page color to be “white” or “cream.” (If you choose to do “full color” then you won’t have a page color option, you will automatically get white pages.)

Then you need to choose your “trim size.” This refers how big your pages will be. Many trade paperbacks are 6″X9″ and according to CreateSpace this option has the “widest distribution options” so I chose that one. There are a number of other sizes available you can look through, other industry standard sizes in a pop-up box they provide.

Once I chose my trim size I downloaded their formatted template that is set up for the trim size I chose. There’s also a blank template if you’d prefer that.

Then I got busy formatting my manuscript to fit the template. I added my title page information, my dedication page, my table of contents, etc. The formatted template shows you examples of each of these things if you’re looking for some help. The one thing I’d like to talk to you specifically about is the headers.

I consider myself pretty proficient in Microsoft Word but I had the hardest time figuring out how to change the headers on just one page in the middle of my MS. I already knew how to do a different first page and different odd and even pages, but changing just one page header in the middle of a document, I had no clue. After doing a little searching on the internet and some trial and error, I finally figured it out.

Quick background note, most books have the author’s name on the even pages (you don’t start numbering pages until the first chapter starts) and the book title on the odd pages. Or some books have the book title on the even pages and the chapter title on the odd. So it’s good to set up your headers to do this so you don’t have to manually do it on each page. The formatted template already does this for you, all you have to do is edit one odd and one even and it inserts it into the rest of the book.

The first page of each chapter however, does not have a header. Now if you don’t delete anything, then the formatting will be in there for you, it takes the header out for every first page of each chapter. But if you do much editing, there’s a good chance you’re going to delete the formatting and you won’t even realize it until after it’s done.

It’s like a page break, where you do the hard return (“control enter”), if your one chapter ends at the bottom of a page and you do a page break it will start your next chapter at the top of the next page like it’s supposed to. And if you add a bit more to the previous chapter, that page break will automatically move your next chapter to start on a new page. Whereas if you just do a regular return (just hit “enter” and don’t hit “control” as well) and you add more to your previous chapter, your next chapter will follow right after it instead of on a new page like it’s supposed to.

You can’t see whether it’s a page break or just a return (unless you have the formatting visible but who does that?) you just know what it is by where the next chapter starts. The “section breaks” are the same way so you’re likely to erase them without realizing it. If you accidently (or purposely) erase it, it’s easy to fix once you know how. Which is what I’m going to tell you right now! Lucky you!

Go to the “page layout” tab which is generally a few tabs over from your “home” tab. Under here you’ll see a drop down button for “breaks.” On my version of MS Word it’s just to the right of the page orientation and adding columns on the top left in the “page setup” box. Click on the drop down menu and select “next page” under “section breaks” at the end of your chapter. Do this instead of doing the hard return (“control enter”). This will put your new chapter on the next page and will remove the header from your first page of your new chapter. You can do this whenever you want to remove the header. And Bob’s your uncle!

Once you get your book into the right format, go through at least one more time and just look at the visual placement of the words on each page and make sure they look right and that they’re consistent. You can even do one last spell check just to be on the safe side, especially since you probably added stuff for your title and dedication and what not.

There is also a link that will estimate your manufacturing costs if you’d like to see that.

When you’re ready you can submit it. CreateSpace accepts .pdf, .doc, .docx and .rtf

If you are looking for a more involved interior and/or you’d like design help, they do offer assistance but it starts at $199 and I’m not sure what that would include but if it starts at $199 I’m guessing the extras will cost you a pretty penny.

Book Cover

You can choose whether you would like your cover to be “matte” or “glossy.”

They offer you the option of using their “Cover Creator” to upload your own pictures and crop them to fit your trim size yourself, or you can hire one of their designers to work with you to design a cover. This service starts at $399 if you’re interested. You can also upload your own PDF file if it is print-ready.

That’s where I’m at with my first CreateSpace publication. I will post a part two to this series once I get these two things uploaded and discuss my next steps so stay tuned.

You can also see our other Resources for Authors to see a list of the other articles we have here on The Writing Piazza.

Until we meet again.

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