My tips for publishing on Createspace

As a budding Kindle author, if your book starts to have some success you will probably find yourself thinking about getting into print. There are a variety of services out there that offer pretty much similar deals, but I went with Createspace as they are an Amazon company and they offered the easiest solution to getting paper versions linked on my kindle pages.

createspace version of The Complete What Ukulele Players Really Want To Know

The process is pretty straightforward, and you shouldn't be put off. That said, there are some things to note, so thought I would share my tips from having put four books through them.

1. Start with your manuscript in a suitable word processor. The upload Createspace prefers is a PDF file, and you can save to that format easily in Word.  You will, however, want to consider some different formatting to your kindle books. Firstly, work out what book size you are going to print on Createspace - they have lots of options, and all of mine are in the smallest size as this allows the cheapest price to be offered to the customer. Now set your manuscript document to the same paper size! Also, unlike Kindle, you will probably want to add page numbers, and make them more professional by starting them on page one of your book, not the intro blurb. Another top tip before uploading - think about how the document is going to look in print. You really don't want chapters starting on the left hand page, so work out how it will look and add blank pages if necessary to ensure all chapters start on the proper facing page!

2. More on paper sizes - bigger means more expensive, but also can throw up other issues. The bigger the book, the fewer the pages. End up with your book too thin and not only will it look and feel like a magazine, but the spine will be too thin to put a title on! I would stick to the first couple of sizes.

3. The upload system is a breeze. Don't worry about the ISBN - take the one they offer you. So long as your only other books are ebooks, it is valid to have a separate ISBN for a paper format. Just upload your PDF saved at the right size and you are good to go. You get similar options as with Kindle publishing to add some blurb, categories, keywords etc.

4. You can use your own cover if you wish, so long as it is set up with back, spine and front (ie you will need to expand your Kindle cover which is, obviously, only a front cover. Actually though, I think their cover designer is great, easy to use and gives good results. I used it on all my books. Bear in mind that once you have published your book, changing the cover is much more of a process than with Kindle as you will have to go through the whole review and proofing (see below) all over again.

5. The standard service puts the books available to buy both from Createspace and Amazon, but you can opt for a premium service for $25. I would urge you to consider this. It only amounts to a few book sales, but gets your book in a much wider range of shops and libraries - in fact I am finding new stockists of my book all the time. The royalties are lower for these sales, but it's better than no sales! I made back the $25 very quickly on all my books.

6. Pricing is an area I can't really advise you on, it's a personal thing. That said - do experiment. Remember that the paper version is always going to be more costly than the Kindle and the Createspace service sets a minimum you can charge. Don't choose this one as you will get no royalties!  Mine are roughly double the cost of the Kindle equivalents.

7. Once the book is with them, and all your boxes are ticked, there is a further step to take - you need to review your proof. A while back, this meant you had to order a paper proof copy of the book to check and then go online to give them the OK to publish it. I did this with my first two books. Today, they offer you the ability to do an online proof with a virtual book. I would now actually do this as a matter of course because I know the quality of the finished product is great, and the online proofer works. Do not skimp on this step - check every page, make sure no text is in the gutter, that your page numbers work etc. When you are happy, accept the proof and there you go - within days it will be up on Amazon!

8. In time, Amazon will link your paper book with your Kindle versions on their site. You can speed this up by adding your paper books to your Author Central profile, or speed it up even more by emailing CS at Amazon and asking them to do it. Make sure this happens, as this then shows all the formats available on one book listing rather than having multiples floating around on Amazon.

9. As the author, you also have the right to buy copies of your own books at cost price (which is really quite cheap) - enabling you to sell them privately, give away copies as prizes or tout them at local bookshops - worth thinking about.

10. Sit back and wait - with some success your royalties will start flowing!

I really like the service, and have had no issues with it at all. It's not complicated (I had my last book formatted and up on Createspace in less than an hour) and well worth it for widening your works distribution.

Give it a go!

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