Thursday, September 20, 2012

All I Know About CreateSpace...So Far

Whew!  I finally got my book set up to publish on CreateSpace today.  Finally!!!  So far this is what has happened (and what I've learned):

  • This is the easiest self publishing process I've ever seen (it's actually the only self publishing process I've ever seen but it is so super easy that I was really surprised).
  • I wrote my book over the past few months.  It took a ton of research.  Thank God for Google.
  • I then signed into CreateSpace and was able to choose the finished size of the book I wanted (it will be a travel guidebook so I wanted the shape to be conducive to travelers) along with the already formatted template which saved me from trying to figure out margins and all that stuff.
  • I cut and paste my manuscript into the formatted template.  Then had to reformat it (twice) so that it looked right.  
  • I then proofread the book.  Twice.  I have the sinking feeling that I still missed things and I really should have had someone else proofread it but I was in a hurry to get it done and didn't want to pressure anyone to quickly proofread the book.
  • Fortunately I did the index in an Excel file as I was writing the book.  Having to index after the fact would have taken forever.  I did have to go back through and proofread the index as well as tweak it so it would fit within the margins of the template. 
  • I then uploaded my 5x8 templated manuscript into the 5x8 book format and was promptly told that my margins were wrong (I believe it was because the book was so big--350 pages--that it needed more margin on the bound edge).
  • After stressing about having to change the margins and reformat the book again, I decided to change the size of the book to 5.5 x 8.5 which seems to have worked!
  • CreateSpace does not like my Chrome Browser so I had to do all of this on my old laptop which still has the IE browser on it.
  • Next I had to create the cover of the book.  Fortunately CreateSpace has a cover creator feature which allows us non artistic types to create an OK cover for the book.  The cover I made is nice enough but not amazing (the cover creator feature doesn't allow a lot of design changes but I was a bit freaked out over making and uploading my own cover in Publisher because I am seriously not good at visual design stuff).
  • I then set the price for the book.  I checked Amazon for similar books and set the price at $12.95 which is about what similar books cost but because the book is so big I will only make about $2 in royalties for each book.  Lesson learned.
  • I declined the feature which allows the book to be sold through expanded distribution channels such as through Barnes and Noble and to wholesalers that sell to libraries and independent book stores.  The cost was $25 for this feature (everything else so far to this point is free) but since the book is of such limited interest--you have to be in Washington State for the book to be useful--I kind of reasoned that selling it just through Amazon would be fine (I may be wrong).
  • I next need to get the book set up for Kindle which was a task I have no energy to do today so I will work on that tomorrow.
  • Now I am waiting for an email which says the book is ready to go so that I can give it a final preview before I send off to have an official printed copy of the book made (an ARC, advanced reader copy) in order to do the final final run through before I officially put it up on Amazon.
I can totally see why it would be nice to have an agent and a publisher so that people who know what they are doing could do all of these things that I have no idea about but it is a good learning experience.  I actually don't think this book will be anywhere near a best seller--it is very location specific and I have no idea if people will think the book is interesting or useful but just getting a book bound and printed with my name on it will be a huge accomplishment.
Next step--publicity!  Again, I have no idea how to do this  :I


  1. Just one thing to watch out for. Megan's book (listed on Amazon) suddenly got a "look inside" feature and it shows a whopping 50 pages. She was freaking out. I told her to contact the publisher, but she hasn't done so yet. Also her royalty page only shows 5 sales but she's sure it's more, so I dunno how to check on that. Meantime, she just purchased 50 books (at her low price) and she plans to sell (and sign) them at a discounted price at a local craft fair. She's also going to do the same at an anime convention in January. At this point, she's more interested in getting people to read her book and getting her name out there than she is in making money. Good luck with your book. Let us know when the first copy arrives!

  2. congrats on doing it yourself. You'll have to tell us more about it, when its all finished.


  3. Maybe the Chambers of Commerce/Tourist Bureaus for your targeted area would be interested in helping get the word out since it could increase tourism?

  4. Thanks Lorraine, I was so inspired by your daughter that it actually gave me the final push to get this project finished!
    Gill, I will post the Amazon listing as soon as it's up (I don't want to jinx it until it is actually complete!).
    Thanks all for your support!