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Self-Publishing for Profit: How To Use CreateSpace


Not sure where to start with CreateSpace? This quick guide will get you headed down the right track toward self-publishing your own book, whether it's in paperback or e-book form.
An open book with a blue background.

When it comes to self-publishing, there's about a zillion ways to get a book out there. (Give or take -- I'm a writer, not a math buff.) Print on demand, or POD, is a popular option because unlike the self-publishing methods from a decade ago, you don't have to buy a thousand books at a time and hope to sell them out of the back of your trunk. Arguably, the most popular POD option is the Amazon-owned company, CreateSpace.

CreateSpace is a popular venue among indie authors because there's no upfront fees. When you sell a book, CreateSpace gets a small portion of that and you get the rest. How much the “rest” is depends on how you price your book. The CreateSpace platform allows authors the freedom to choose their own price, cover and a variety of other options. Books published through CreateSpace are available for purchase on Amazon, as well as several other places. While you can choose to use the editing or design services for a fee, you can get started for free. Here's how:

1. Create An Account

Head to www.createspace.com and click on Sign Up. You'll be taken to a page to create a new account. Fill in all the blanks with your information and click Create My Account.

2. Add Your Project

Once you are signed in with your new account, you'll be taken to the member dashboard. Click on Add New Title to get started on your project. Name the project and what type of project you are doing. (If you aren't sure yet, it's OK -- you can change the name later.) Then, if this is your first time publishing with CreateSpace, choose the guided setup option.

3. Fill Out the Details

Now that you've officially started a project, start adding in details. The first screen will ask for details like the author's name and the language of the book.

4. Determine If You Would Like to Use a CreateSpace-supplied ISBN

The ISBN number is used to identify a specific book. CreateSpace offers four options for ISBNs. The first is free, but CreateSpace will be listed as the publisher. For some authors that's a non-issue, but some also like to make their work appear so professional that readers are surprised to hear it is independently published. With CreateSpace listed as the publisher, readers will know it's an indie book. You can create your own publishing company (after all, that's what self-publishing is) and list the name you choose for your company for $10, but it can't be sold everywhere. For more distribution options, you can select the $100 option. The fourth option is to purchase your own from Bowker (www.myidentifiers.com). If you plan to publish several books, you can get 10 ISBNs from Bowker for $250, making them just $25 for each title with universal distributing options.

5. Design and Upload Your Interior

After the ISBN setup, you'll start working on the interior of the book. The simplest way to get started is to choose a book size (on the top right of the screen) and below that click to download a Word template. This template has the appropriate page sizes for printing. Copy and paste your text into the template and start formatting it the way you want it to look. Look at a printed book as an example and don't forget to add copyright information, a title page and an "About The Author" section. For consistency, create custom formats for regular body text and chapter headings using the Styles and Formatting feature in your word processor. Once you are happy with the way the book looks (and it has been edited by a professional), save it as a PDF and upload it to CreateSpace.

6. Upload a Cover

On the next page, you'll either upload a cover or use the CreateSpace tool to design your own. If you don't have any experience with graphic design, hiring a professional is a good investment. If you'd like to build your own cover, CreateSpace offers instructions for doing so. Just click on “Build Your Cover Online.”

7. Submit Your Project for Review

On the next screen, you'll see a summary of everything you've done so far, and then be prompted to submit it for review. If you're happy with everything so far, go ahead and submit it for review. The CreateSpace team will make sure that everything you've sent will print properly.

8. Review Your Project

About 24 hours or so after submitting your project for review, you'll receive an email saying you can now preview your book. You can preview the book in one of two ways: online or in print. Check the online version first to see if everything is formatted correctly, but then it's always a good idea to order at least one printed copy to review. You'll pay for the printed copy, but it's usually only a few dollars, depending on the length of the book, and it is well worth it.

9. Choose Your Distribution Options

Once you have reviewed the book and are happy with the way it looks, the next set of screens on the CreateSpace website allows you to choose what channels or stores you would like the book to be available on, what price you will charge and what your online listing will say (the description of your book). The final option here will send the file directly to Kindle Direct Publishing. If you'd like to publish on Kindle, using that option will save you some time with the setup there.

10. Publish!

Once you have everything set up, you'll click to publish and your title will appear on Amazon within a few days. While you may feel like it's a good time to take a break, now is where the tough work begins: marketing your book. CreateSpace will track your sales and direct deposit any royalties. To set up the direct deposit information, click on My Account on the top toolbar and then Account Settings.

Using CreateSpace is a straightforward method for self-publishing your book in paperback form. If you have questions, don't hesitate to reach out to the CreateSpace team by clicking Contact Us on the very bottom of their website.

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