My Experience Self-Publishing With Createspace

Hey there.

In the past few weeks I’ve gotten all of two questions about why I chose to self-publish The Knot with Createspace. I’ve decided to ignore the evidence and am just assuming that everyone else is also wondering, but is too afraid to ask. Or they can’t remember the  name of this blog to ask me. So below I’m going to outline the experience of publishing a book with Createspace, which is pretty painless–if you can write the book first.

Why I decided to use Createspace

Way back when (read: a few years ago), I wrote a book, just for the thrill of it. In my opinion, that’s the best reason to write.  I write because it’s fun.

But it’s not always easy. It’s a ton of work. Maybe you don’t even care about exploring traditional publishing routes. I never really did, besides the occasional daydream. But maybe you’ve decided it would be nice to have someone actually read your book. That’s how I felt.

I had a blog that people actually read, and I considered releasing my book for free as a download. My main reason for not doing it was simply because I wanted to feel the book in my own hands. I didn’t care how ugly or low quality, I just wanted to see the object. I was right to do it. The first time I saw the book, I was happy as can be, even though I knew only a handful of strange people (looking at you!) would ever read it.

I published that book with Createspace because:

  • I had finished the hard part, writing the book, but my flighty nature meant I wasn’t about to jump into an exhaustive study of self-publishing opportunities. CS was the first thing I saw when I started looking. It looked good enough.
  • Friends that I trusted also recommended the service to me
  • Friends spoke less-ravingly about other services, but like I said, I have no personal experience with anything else
  • The price was right–more on that in a second

So here is the actual process.

Getting started

First, write a book.

Then,

I went to CS and registered my account. This was pretty simple–email and username.  I chose the author’s option because I had written a book, not composed an album of music.  Then I was delivered unto the setup options.

Editing

I would spend some serious time revising your manuscript. You could also pay someone to edit for you. I didn’t, but I had also spent several years writing The Knot. I felt confident that I had caught all of my grammatical errors and when I read through the book after receiving my copy, I was happy about the work I had done. Also–the book still had some errors. I had gone blind to my own work.

This is how self-publishing works. The manuscript you submit is the one that will be published, exactly as is. Nobody is going to be your safety net. It’s on you. You could be a very sad sally if you your book and discover that you had spent 800 pages writing “their” when you meant “there.”

Formatting that sucker

After logging into your new account, you’ll be taken to a page where you select how information about your book will be displayed: title, associated keywords for findability (not a word), your biography, etc.

Createspace requires two file types: your interior files (the text inside the book) and the cover file.

You will have to convert both into PDF documents before uploading them. Specifications are given with regards to the format of your text and the book’s cover. If you do not format them correctly your manuscript will be rejected with a quickness after you try to upload. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but is more irritating than many things. (Yes, I screwed up more than once).

If you are a graphic designer or know a Photoshop wiz, you can design your own cover. I am not and did not, so I used Createspace’s template designer. I wound up with a very ugly cover. I did not know this at the time because I am not aesthetically inclined, but readers clued me in. I still really don’t care about how the book looks, but I have also purchased a lot of ugly books, so what do I know? When I publish another book, I’ll probably get a decent cover designed for me.

After the formatting is done, upload your files and trudge forward.

Entering sales information

How much is your book going to cost? You’ll have to decide.  CS will give you a few details about their suggested price, based on page count, the type of book you are publishing, and the formatting specs you chose.

You get to set the list price. CS will give you a minimum price that covers the cost of actually producing and shipping your book. You get to set the price above the minimum so that you can make a profit, and not just make Amazon fatter.

This is not very complicated. I was a little intimidated by the screens that were jumping up at me, but CS is well-designed and user friendly. In the end my book wound up selling for just over $21.00

Submitting your book, order a copy

Once you have jumped through all of these hoops and escaped unscathed, it is time to submit your manuscript. This is simple: press the “submit” button once you have uploaded your files and been the sales screens that I have talked about so far.

Someone at Createspace will check your manuscript to make sure that it meets all of their formatting requirements. I repeat–they will not correct anything for you, they will only check that your files and margins and such meet the physical publishing parameters.

Less than 48 hours later, an email informed me that my manuscript was approved. This is the fun part. You are then required to purchase a review, or “proof” copy. All that means is that mail a copy of your book so that you can look through it and confirm that it has turned out exactly as you had hoped. Or good enough.

Once you get that book, read through it, and are read to go, you log back into your account and press the approve button. Congratulations! You now have a book that people can buy through am Amazon store.

Knowing what I know, would I do it again?

Not only would I do it again, I will be doing it again. Create Space publishing is a terrific service. In case you’re wondering about my sales, they are terrible. Is there a word for worse than terrible? They may even be that word. But I’ve got my book. I did something that a lot of people talk about, but few accomplish. I wrote a book. Started, finished, and in some hands.

And I’ve got a copy! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.

And of course, I have heard that there is a big oaf selling signed copies of The Knot. His name is Josh, but some say that he is actually related to bigfoot and goes by a Yeti name that cannot by pronounced by human tongues.

If you’d like a signed copy (with free shipping in the US, up to $10 free shipping international), please contact me, including “signed copy of The Knot” in the subject line and I’ll tell you how I’ll get the book to you.

And if you’d like to know more about how I came to write the book and why it’s important to me, read this.

thanks!

Josh