##Please note: this post is pretty old and the pictures are out of date. I've just added a new post here with some pictures of my current paperbacks and the updated formatting. It would be useful to read both posts and compare the differences.##
I was very pleased to come home from work yesterday (April 19th) to find that my author's proof copy of The Tube Riders had finally arrived. The estimated arrival date was Sunday 15th, so it was four days late. However, as I live in Japan and was ordering it through Createspace in America I expected it to be delayed, and four days is not so bad.
Apart from a couple of dents on the front from transportation it looked wonderful. I was expecting it to be a little more flimsy like a regular paperback but quality of the binding is more akin to a textbook and could take a bit of a beating.
Inside the book the paper and text were exceptional quality. For the formatting I used a downloadable template from the Createspace website but the text, headers, footers etc, were all done by myself using a simple Word document. I was very impressed. I don't know exactly what grade of paper was used but it was just as good as anything in any hardback books I have, with a slightly grainy texture rather than gloss.
Here's a more close up look at the text. I used Times New Roman size 12. I was wondering whether to use a slightly smaller text for the final version as on some lines the justification has spaced the words out a little much, particularly between sentences. Also, the longer the book is, the higher the production costs, however while I could make the text a lot smaller, and drop the header and footer to make it perhaps 40 pages shorter, I think it would make it an inferior product and probably paying that extra dollar is worth it.
The cover image was purchased from an artist I found on deviantart.com for a very reasonable fee (for non-exclusive rights) but the cover design is a Createspace template. There is a system where you can pay them to design a specific cover for you, or you can upload your own, but I think mine looks really nice with the deep red of the train on the black background. Obviously you could change the background and text colours if you wanted to, however you couldn't change the size or the font of the text, only whether it was in capitals or not. I think there were about 15 different templates you could chose from, but I liked this one the best.
Here's a shot of the spine. I had no options on text size, only colour and capitals/non-capitals. It wasn't even generated until after the upload of the text. I would have liked it to be a little bigger and I think its slightly off-centre but I think in general it looks okay.
Here's the back cover. Again, I had the choice of colour and style (and size this time) although not font. The ISBN is given to you by Createspace. Some templates had an option for an author photo on the back, but not this one, and I didn't really want one anyway.
Due to the nature of it being print-on-demand (POD) the production costs are higher and therefore my retail price will reflect that. I think the minimum I can charge to even make a small profit is $13.99 but to be honest, the quality of the book is exceptional and I wouldn't shirk at paying that for a regular trade paperback of this size and quality anyway. However, author copies are cheaper at just over $7 (of course pricing depends on the size and length of your book) so it would be possible to buy them in batches and sell them privately.
Based on what I've received I would not hesitate to recommend Createspace (an Amazon subsidiary), although the only downside is that it the only Amazon it is available through is the USA version. However, UK customers could buy it direct from Createspace (as I did, even though I live in Japan), which I would actually prefer because my profit margin is higher, however it probably wouldn't affect the book's ranking on Amazon.
Overall, I was delighted to receive a copy of my book in print. I have to admit I shed a tear when I opened it. I'm not actually expecting to sell many copies, particularly when the ebook is currently only priced $2.99, but I think its important to have a version available, plus it means I am able to submit it as a review copy to magazines, as well as do reader giveaways, etc. The only downside is that I live in Japan so shipping costs are high. I paid for express delivery which was just over $12 (for a single copy) but it still took 19 days. Obviously the more you buy the cheaper it gets, and if you're buying from inside America it would be a lot cheaper anyway.
That's sweet that it got you a little teary. :-) I felt the same way!ReplyDelete
It is beautiful!! What a great cover.ReplyDelete
Looks great. I was also happy with my books. I thought they did a great job. Good luck with your sales :)ReplyDelete
This is very informative. Thanks for sharing. Good luck with sales,too. It looks like a quality product made with some know-how and care.ReplyDelete
Thanks, I think its really worth the money, personally. I'm not sure if a mass market paperback size is cheaper or not, but this size has always been my favorite anyway.Delete
This was one of the best blog posts anywhere. Your clear and complete set of photos will be a big help to anyone who is wondering what you get for the money, which, compared to an e-book, seems like a lot. I hope that you leave this post up. I will be linking to it repeatedly.ReplyDelete
Thanks, I'm glad you found it useful. I'm very surprised by its popularity; I had no idea that Kindleboards in particular had so much traffic.Delete
I definitely felt that the end product is worth the retail price. Personally I'm going to cut my profit margin as low as possible because I think offering the paperback version is more of a service than anything, and that the majority of sales will come through ebooks.
This looks great! I'm getting a proof of my book and I'm so excited. I hope mine looks half as nice as yours (ideally just as nice!)ReplyDelete
Thanks! They really are lovely. I just wish someone would buy it....!Delete
Have you compared with Lulu.com? My publisher uses them and there is complete control of the whole cover.ReplyDelete
No, I just went straight with Createspace. They allow you to upload your own cover if you have one. I just only had a picture so I used one of their templates.ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting this. I am about to start getting some of my stuff published in paperback through Createspace and was wondering what it was really like. I had a really bad experience in the past with LuLu's quality even after doing a ton of format revisions so this does put my mind at ease.ReplyDelete
Glad you found this useful. The only thing I didn't like was the high cost - while still not bad, I was hoping to price it under ten dollars, but I'd be making a loss if I did so. From poking around (and experimenting with the size of a second book I'm soon to publish) I discovered that the size of the book has no effect on the price, only the number of pages, and obviously, the less the better. This proof was about $7, while my next book only runs to 275 pages, which is about $4 for an author's copy.Delete
Thanks for this post! I've been selling ebooks at 2.99 as well, but have been contemplating adding in print. I really wanted to make sure the quality was good with CreateSpace before proceeding. Your book looks great. Thanks again,ReplyDelete
Glad you found it useful! I think its nice to have a paperback available. I actually sold one last week :-)Delete
Yeah, I think that will be fun to have copies to actually give (well, SELL!) to people and be able to sign them and whatnot. My friend was bummed that I couldn't sign my ebook for her, LOL. Maybe I can get her to pony up for a print copy too! :)Delete
Jackie did you ever hear about Kindlegraph?ReplyDelete
You are now able to receive Kindlegraph requests from your readers and sign your ebooks for them. You'll receive an email everyday that you have waiting requests. Go to: http://www.kindlegraph.com/requests
You can also start an author page there and list all your books.
And Chris, thanks for all this great information and pictures. Your book looks great. I have been contemplating doing one of mine in createspace for over a year now, in fact I even started the process once but got to the measurement parts and wasn't sure how to proceed so I gave it up for then. It looks daunting to me but I want to try again as I agree having the option for a print book is nice. Even just yesterday I had a request for a print book and the person seemed disappointed that I only have e books. It would also be nice to hold your book in your hands. You must have been thrilled. I would be. It's like holding your baby for the first time, hee hee.
I was wondering if you knew of any blogs that have done a step by step on createspace procedure. It would be quite helpful for someone like me who is intimidated to start. Good luck in your book sales!
Hi Carol, thanks for posting. I totally agree about having a paperback, that's what makes it real for me. I've recently changed the cover but haven't seen the new version yet. I think the big difference will be with the spine. Createspace's in-house cover only had one font size for the spine and with a book as thick as mine it looked a little puny.Delete
As for blogs about the process, sorry I don't know of any, however I found it pretty straight forward. I just downloaded the template, copied my file over and then when it was how I wanted it I saved as a PDF so that it wouldn't move about and uploaded that. However, if my book takes off (the ebook got to No.1 in free sci-fi this weekend during a free promo, and is still in the top ten!) I might get a proper formatter to try to squish up the text a little bit because at 600 pages the printing costs are pretty high. I don't know how to do it but I'm pretty sure it could be squeezed up to about 450 pages by someone who knows what they're doing.
Good luck with it!
Maybe you could try using a slightly smaller font. I use Garmond 11 because I read it was the most popular If you used ten maybe it would make a difference.ReplyDelete
I have just tonight approved my first book Angel's Blessing. I am wondering how to get to the createspace bookstore to see if it's up yet. I read that it takes 5 to 7 days to appear on Amazon.com.
I also found it easy to do the whole process. Of course my first took a lot longer as I had stuff I had to figure out in the formatting department. But the second went much faster. I am now waiting for a print proof copy of that one which is a sequel called Angel's Retreat. I have already started on a third book which is way larger than the first two. I sure is the shipping and handling that costs the most to order. My first book was 2.53 for the proof but once the shipping and handling were added it ended up being about 9.85.
I also used a template then added my word document. I uploaded the word document as I was working in the simple form where you can do that. I also used the createcover template. I chose Birch first for the proof but changed it for the final copy. I am hoping to use Hickory for the larger book but have to see if it has a spine that will add the title and name first. All in all a very good experience. Like you I am not expecting many print sales considering my e book version is 2.99. But I agree it is good to have a print copy available. I hope you have been picking up some print sales since last writing here. Good luck to you and thanks again for an informative view of how you did it all.
Hi Carol, thanks for your message.ReplyDelete
I've come a long way since I first had this book done. I now use pt 11 Times New Roman and I also edit out the second space between sentences (two spaces is an old habit) which makes the text look tighter when justified. I now use a cover designer too. The same person did both Tube Riders and my second book The Man Who Built the World (the ebook covers are in the margin to the right while the paperback ones are on a blog post somewhere). She's very cheap and very good, so if you want her email let me know. I liked the Createspace cover for my first paperback but the second one didn't work so well so I decided to upgrade. The biggest difference is in the spine - the Createspace ones have tiny lettering in the spine and it is hard to read on a thick book.
I agree that high pricing is a problem. My second book is only 82k though, which means I can price it at $9.99 and actually make a dollar or so. Even at $14.99 for Tube Riders I'm only making .26c a copy. It's a service more than anything.
Good luck with your books, I wish you lots of success!
Which CreateSpace option is best to use if you have your own illustrations? I'm trying to produce a children's book. Thanks. LisaReplyDelete
To be honest as I only write fiction without illustrations I don't know. For complex formatting I'd strongly suggest paying someone to format it for you to ensure there are no errors. However, Createspace's in-house formatting options are a bit pricey so if you have a hunt around on the net you can probably find someone who could do it a lot cheaper.
Chris, I really appreciate your information, as I'm just making a big decision . . ..ReplyDelete
I haven't read everything here yet, but I will before I decide. Trying to sort through the comments online is difficult, since people put more emphasis on the things that interest them most, pro or con.
Thanks again for the pictures. Your book looks great.
Hi Beverly, glad you found it useful. I've changed a lot since then - for example, I now use my own covers that I commission from a designer, because Createspace has a limited number of templates and fonts, plus I use smaller fonts for the content. If you need any more information let me know. I did find Createspace pretty user friendly though, and the best thing is that it doesn't have to cost anything.Delete
Really interesting post, I'm currently struggling with createspace myself and the whole price thing is driving my crazy, it does seem a little pricey for amazon in my humble opinion, your book looks amazing though! Love the cover!ReplyDelete
Hey Tony, do you mean the price you have to set it at? How long is your book? Unfortunately it's done by number of pages, regardless of height etc. This book Tube Riders is like 624 pages (on the new edition) so with it priced at $14.99 I only make about 0.30c. My other book is about half the length and I can have it at $9.99 and still make a couple of bucks. I actually pulled out of the expanded distribution thing because it forced me to price my books too high (I think I had to have them at $18.99 just to make a profit), and as I didn't expect to sell many unless I became super famous I didn't think it was worth it.Delete
The cover was actually one of the Createspace templates with my own picture. These days I get custom covers done by a designer so I can have the back/spine as I want them. The Createspace ones have really small spine lettering, for example.
Thank you for all this information, I just looked at create space yesterday and was really torn about it being an authentic place to start the process of publishing my book. With all the information here, I cant wait to get started!.
No worries, glad you found it useful. I really need to update this post, as I've changed my own paperbacks a lot since this one. However, Createspace is a remarkably easy (and free) tool to use once you've got the hang of it.Delete
I have a question, I am confused about the copyright page, can you tell me what is the basic format? and would I list myself as the publisher or Createspace.
What I did was copy one from a bestseller on my shelf. For the book you see above, I also added a private "don't try this at home" disclaimer because it centres around a dangerous kind of sport. As for publisher, don't put Createspace - I did once and they emailed me to say they were removing it. You can list yourself or make up a publisher name - I use AMMFA Publishing, which is an abbreviation of my blog title and I use the same one for my pen names. It's not necessary though, but with the continued stigma towards self-publishing I prefer not to have my own name listed as a publisher on Amazon. It's a personal choice, though.Delete
Hi... um I was wondering, can a minor let say 17 going 18 years of age access this createspace... I'm kinda still a student and I was really impressed with what I saw on your post... do you recommend this site for me? I'm kinda scared to just sign up to things like this... :D thank you if you'd ever answer.ReplyDelete
You're good once you're 18, but I think under 18 you'll need to do it through a parent/guardian account.Delete
As for would I recommend it ... sure. You can create a book completely free, and while I would prefer copies to be lower priced I think that you really can't beat the service.
Good luck with it!
I am currently putting the finishing touches online to my CreateSpace project. After I receive the author's proof, I can still make changes to the interior, cover, etc. correct?
Hey Kevin, yes you can no problems. Even after you've clicked publish you can go back in and amend stuff. You just have to go through the review process again and it comes off sale while you're doing that. I've done it dozens of times!Delete
This is a very helpful post! Thanks for sharing your Creatspace experience with us all. Your book looks great ( especially the newer ones with the custom covers ). What is your Tube Riders series about?Just a few questions...what were your upfront costs? ( Did you have to pay for the ISBN number? )and do they allow you to upload PDFs for interior text? I'm asking this because I was thinking about using a old custom font for the text.ReplyDelete
This all sounds great and I can't wait to get started too! By the way, how have your sales been?
A fabulous post. After a few months with my e-book out there, I've decided to go to a print version with CreateSpace. Have cruised around their site and find the whole process daunting/technical. Hope once I get going, that all will become clearer, especially as to what I can put on the back cover, plus all the decisions about margins, etc. But your visuals, with their accompanying commentary make everything just a little less scary. I'll let you know how it goes, but meanwhile, thanks for sharing your experience and best of luck with your sales! (And that goes for all of us!)ReplyDelete
No worries, glad you found the post useful! It's a bit out of date, but the process is still the same.Delete
A quick question--did you justify your PDF file before submitting your book to CreateSpace? (Sorry if this seems like a ridiculous question).ReplyDelete
Yes, you have to get your Word document exactly as you want it, then save it as a PDF and upload it. I outsource to a formatter now (costs about $50 per book) so let me know if you'd like further details.Delete
Thanks, Chris. Sure, if you've got a formatter you recommend, that would help. (The one who designed my cover and formatted my e-book changes $100 for print to Createspace.Delete
This site is run by a friend of mine and she does a really good job at really good prices. Tell her I sent you and ask to see a couple of samples of her work. Please note that the pictures in this blog are not her work, they're my own attempt. I really need to update this blog because my books look much, much nicer now!Delete
Chris, thanks for your generous sharing of your experience and learnings along the way. I'm on the verge of doing CreateSpace, and your account helps take some of the anxiety out of beginning the process. I just downloaded Going Underground (great cover, by the way!) as I couldn't resist having read the excerpt on Look Inside. Very cool space you are writing about.ReplyDelete
Anyway, I could see from the copyright page, also nicely designed from a functional pov, that you bought an image from pond5. How did that work with having a cover designed, and how do you then provide that cover to CreateSpace?
I have dozens of questions, but I'll confine myself to those for now. Thanks again for your generosity of spirit. I really appreciate what you've shared.
Hi Michael, thanks for your comment. Going Underground is just a short story I have only available as an ebook. The cover was a stock photo which I bought the rights to for about $10 and then played around with a few effects on a program called Picasa.Delete
For a Createspace paperback, you have two choices really. You either have to provide a print-ready cover or a single image which you upload into their cover creator and then add text from a variety of options. The book in the pictures above was done the latter way. This is completely free, but the options are limited. As I've said in previous replies these pictures are a year out of date and my paperbacks now have covers made by a designer. If you browse a few of my posts you'll find pictures of the print-ready covers for Tube Riders, Head of Words, and Man Who Built the World (as well as the currently unpublished one for Tube Riders: Exile). These were designed for me by an external designer at a cost of $60 each, using manipulated stock art (if you'd like her info give me a shout). These have a front and a back and are just uploaded as they are. While you could literally upload a photograph you took yourself to make a cover, meaning absolutely zero cost, there are only a certain number of options available for fonts and design. The cover in the pictures above looks pretty nice (the image is a picture I bought direct from an artist on deviantart.com) but the spine text, for example, is really thin. That is one thing that made me want to use print-ready covers.
A lot of people I know make their own covers for their paperbacks using programs like Photoshop or Gimp, but I'm pretty computer illiterate and have only cracked ebook covers so far.
Glad you liked the Going Underground cover though!
Chris, liked the story a lot too, like the imaginative space you create. Thanks for your help. Checked out your covers on Amazon. Cool. I assume you worked with indieproud on those. I'll see what I can do on CreateSpace.ReplyDelete
Also listened to bits of the songs on Reverbnation, loved First Incision.
Appreciate your generous help. Sometime maybe I can return the favor.
No worries, Michael, glad to help. Indieproud did the inside formatting on my new versions (not the version in the pictures - I did that). The paperback covers were done by Su Halfwerk at www.novelprevue.com, all the short stories and collections I did myself.Delete
Haha, thanks! My friend wrote First Incision, I'll tell him you liked it. I wrote/sang Breathe and Fall Apart. We had an open air concert today at a mini festival. Went down a storm.
Thanks Chris. You quelled so many of my doubts by explaining the entire process so beautifully. I think i will go ahead with my project.ReplyDelete
Hey Jaspreet, thanks for your message. Glad you found it useful. Be sure to check out my newest blog which is an updated version of this one.Delete
Hi Chris can you post the link to your newest blog here.Delete
Hey Jaspreet. You can find it here - http://self-publishingforbeginners.blogspot.jp/2013/09/what-does-createspace-book-look-like.htmlDelete
I am interest in using creatspace. Thanks for the realistic photos! This has given me valuable information. Plan to go for it! Thanks again!ReplyDelete
Hi there, this post was extremely helpful! Thanks! I was wondering one thing though...is there an option for creating picture books for which I have the illustrations already?ReplyDelete
Hi, Chris! I am contemplating using Createspace, but I am honestly terrified of doing this all by myself. I'm not sure I'm up to the task.ReplyDelete
I was wondering, what were the margins you set on your book and did you continue to use the same ones? Thanks so much. This is a fantastic post!
Hi, the book in the picture is using the downloadable Createspace template. Recently I figured out how to do it myself. I found this blog, which is excellent:Delete
When you view your proof online, you'll see a bunch of dotted lines around the text, and so long as your text is inside these you're good to go. I recently formatted some novellas and I tweaked it a bit because the inside margins were really wide for a book that was just 90 pages.
How big are your indents? I always thought the standard MS Word indents looked too big in print, though yours look less. I go with 0.5cm, which I think is about what standard publishers use.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the post. :-)
As a guide use the ones on this blog -Delete
Then, after you view your digital preview on Createspace, you can tweak them a little bit. Make sure the text is inside the dotted lines!
Hi Chris, your blog was so helpful to me when I was getting ready to upload my first novel on Createspace. Thank you for posting this information. I am doing both a print and an ebook and YES, there's nothing like holding that book in your hand for the first time. I couldn't believe it, it was better than I expected. Definitely a good quality book. Check out my blog: http://writercooksgreek.blogspot.com/2014/03/archangel-novel-deput.htmlReplyDelete
BTW, I loved Japan when I was there a couple of years ago.
Hi Maria, thanks for your comment. I'm glad you found this post useful, but remember, it's a little out of date! There's a link to the newer version near the top, and I'm constantly striving to improve the internal formatting of my books. Good luck with your book!Delete
Hi, Chris, I came across your blog as I was searching on experiences with CreateSpace. If you don't mind, I would like to ask how CreateSpace was. What I want to know, in detail, is did you use any of the offered options? I know that you can pay them to get full editing service that costs like a hundred dollars... Do you know if it would be worth giving it a shot or will I end up with an editor that disagrees to everything I say or isn't really interested in my writing?ReplyDelete
I also live in Japan and... not forcing any but I also have a blogspot blog if you'd like to take a look.
I don't update very often so I'm not sure if it would be of any interest to you...but anyway. Sorry for the really long comment. And, happy writing! :)
Hey N.J, thanks for your comments. No, I haven't used any of their in-house services. I have an editor, cover designer and a formatter that were all recommended by various friends. I think the Createspace options are way overpriced and you can probably get much better deals if you do it privately. Of course, its all up to you and your budget. Editing can cost anything from $200 to $2000 or more, cover deign from $50 to $1000, and formatting up to $300 or $400. All the guys I use are in the budget range but they do the job I want. If you want any recommendations send me an email at headofwords at mark gmail dot com.Delete
And I checked out your blog, interesting stuff. No way Ron would have survived to the end of any of my books, haha. Whereabouts in Japan are you?
Thank you for the reply! Good grief, getting a book together sure costs more than I expected! For me right now though, I need to at least FINISH something before I even think about self-publishing but I'll keep your email in mind, thanks :)Delete
Haha, in my stories, he just might end up falling in love with someone else ;) I live in Tokyo now, because my university is in Tokyo but my hometown is in Gunma Prefecture. Tokyo's not bad. But you do get tired of the constantly busy city.
I've always seen Tokyo as one of those places like London where I'd absolutely love to live so long as I didn't have to work there! I've always told myself that when I'm rich and famous I'll buy some trendy little flat in central London and then just hang out in markets and stuff. Still working on the rich/famous thing though ....Delete
Books can cost what you want them to cost. You can save money by getting premade covers or learning to make them yourself, while internal formatting is not too difficult to figure out. Just takes a bit of practice. Probably the most important thing is to get at least a proofreader to make sure there are as few typos as possible.
I don't know if you know of Figment but, it's a community writing site and I make covers for people there. I wouldn't call them real covers but I suppose book covers will be no problem for me.Delete
The only problem, I think, is the editing. But when I checked back on CreateSpace, the cost made me have second thoughts... Do you know of any other site like CreateSpace? I have Blurb, but that's a little different. They only print it up for you.
Thanks for the this information I found it extremely helpful! But after reading as many messages as my brain could retain I couldn't find my one answer that I've been looking for so I have decided to ask.
I had my photographer take a photo that could wrap around the whole book. Now I'm wondering if Createspace will allow that to happen. Do you know if they'll accept it?
As a first time author about to release my first book on CS thank you so much for taking the time to show us the ropes.
Thank you for sharing this. I have published for Kindle, and am hoping that in the future I can actually come out with a tangible book.ReplyDelete
Thanks for all this information. it's answered a lot of questions and doubts concerning createspace
Outstanding work. May I ask what font and size you went with?ReplyDelete
What cover template as well? I did not see that one.
Very helpful! Thanks for posting!ReplyDelete