It’s every author’s dream to hold their book in their hands, right? Well, just like KDP and Smashwords are platforms, CreateSpace is a tool you can use to help put your formatted PDF or .doc into a printed book. It’s kind of our favorite part of the process, you know?
CreateSpace vs. KDP’s New Paperback Program
Recently, KDP offered a new system whereby authors can turn their Kindle book into a paperback through KDP. They’ve continued to add features, such as offering printed proofs for authors, but still lack some of the better features of CreateSpace. Over time, this tool will replace CS and continue the consolidation of Amazon’s publishing platforms into a single entity.
For now, we’ll focus on CreateSpace and revisit Kindle’s paperback publishing when it becomes a robust tool.
CreateSpace is one of the few platforms that isn’t integrated with your Amazon single-sign on, so you’ll have to create a new account. Once you’re there, you’ll be taken to your dashboard. For first-time publishers, and for folks who like to see the process in a step-by-step fashion, we recommend doing the guided process.
Keep in mind that CreateSpace doesn’t support preorders, so don’t press that “Approve” button until you’re ready.
In order to publish, you’ll need the following:
- Manuscript in .pdf (sized correctly, more on that below) or .doc (free-flowing)
- Wraparound Cover in the right size
- ISBN: We’ll have a discussion on ISBNs in a few weeks, as there’s pros and cons to using CreateSpace’s free ISBNs versus buying your own
- Various other metadata like the BISAC code and Description
Formatting Your Book
Much like KDP and Smashwords have guidelines for uploading files, CreateSpace also has formatting requirements. The easiest solution is, of course, uploading a .Doc Word document and using the autoformatter. You can find more information here.
However, we prefer to have a little more control over what is uploaded, so we create a .PDF file and upload that. In this case, we have to make sure we have the right document size on the PDF (so 6×9 or 5×8). We’re the world’s biggest Scrivener fan, for drafting and also for formatting, so we’ve set up a template for each size, and use that for easy exporting. We can also format for you, if you just don’t want to fool with it.
Getting Your Cover Right
While we’re always proponents of DIY, when it comes to covers, this is one area where, like plumbing, unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, hire a professional. Your cover is your first impression. Along those same lines, your graphic designer will be able to calculate the width and sizing of your wrap-around cover. For our money, we use Ingram’s calculator, but we’ll talk about that next week.
ISBNs: Buy Your Own or No?
We’ll go into more depth about this in a few weeks. Bottom line: If you’re using a CreateSpace-provided ISBN, your book will not be available for purchase by mortar stores (for the most part). So if you think you’ll primarily be selling books on Amazon or at small bookstores that will allow you to bring your own stock, save some cash by using CreateSpace’s ISBN. If you’ve got aspirations of big signings at Barnes and Noble, then you might be better off buying your own.
But if you bring your own, CreateSpace won’t allow expanded distribution, so you might want to look into augmenting with IngramSpark.
How We Proof
For our own books, we use a hybrid approach between CreateSpace and IngramSpark, and have our own ISBNs. We use CreateSpace to create our proofs for final QA checks, then upload the finished manuscript to IngramSpark and make it available for preorder, then, on publication day, return to CreateSpace to approve the final draft. Purchases direct on Amazon go to the CreateSpace dash, purchases everywhere else go to Ingram. Our books also can be bought and stocked in bookstores, should they be requested.
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