Monday, 15 April 2013

How To Publish a Paperback Using Createspace

With the e-book market booming, many self-publishers are inevitably faced with the question of whether or not to invest in a paperback.

If you're new to the publishing game, it's understandable why you might be apprehensive: it's far more likely that readers will pay for your $0.99 e-book compared to your $9.50 paperback, especially if you've yet to establish yourself.

However, there are many good reasons to have a paperback available, even if they might not sell as well as your e-books. Here are a few:

- 80% of all books sold are paperbacks.

- Readers like deals. If they see you have a $9.50 paperback available and a $0.99 e-book, they might be more inclined to buy your e-book based on that huge discount.

- They're cheaper than you think.

- They're EASY to produce, so you have no excuse!

This past February I took the plunge and published my first paperback, and Createspace made it so easy and streamlined that I cannot recommend it enough!

This post will go through the basic process of using Createspace to publish your own paperback.

Let's get to it, shall we?

1) First, go to the Createspace website and register an account. It's as easy as it sounds.

2) Once you've made an account and logged in, Createspace will ask you what you want to publish, select book, and fill in the title information. This part is really straight forward, so I won't go into detail. Just follow the instructions.

3) Next, you'll be asked about an ISBN:

I selected the Free Createspace Assigned ISBN. As the name implies, it's free, and Createspace assigns it for you, so it doesn't involve any work on your end. HOWEVER, there is a catch: this ISBN is only valid through Amazon and Createspace channels. That means if you wish to sell your paperback elsewhere (in stores, Barnes & Noble, etc.) you will need to purchase your own ISBN and select the second option.

4) Next, you'll be asked to format the interior of your book:

Select Black & White (unless your book requires color, in which case, it will be more expensive to produce).

For Page Color, I selected White. Some people prefer Cream, but this is a more expensive option, and I really don't think it's worth it, in my opinion.

Next, choose a trim size. I selected the default 6" X 9". Createspace recommends this size as it is the most popular, but by all means, select whatever size you prefer. Next, click to download a Word Template. I recommend downloading a formatted template and replacing all the words with your book's text.  Keep the text and formatting exactly as is to avoid any possible formatting issues when it comes time to proofread your book. That means keeping the font at Garamond 11. This worked perfectly for me and when I ordered the proof, no changes were required.

Once you've placed all your text into the formatted file, and re-read it a healthy number of times, upload it.

5) The only tricky part of this whole process is designing your cover. Createspace provides three options: 1) Build your cover using the Cover Creator, 2) Professional Cover Design, and 3) Upload a Print-Ready PDF Cover. Avoid Option 2), since Createspace charges the ridiculous fee of $399, and, assuming you've already published an e-book, you probably already have a cover designed.

Option 3) is more complicated than it sounds because it requires you to not only have your cover in PDF format, but to also format the spine and back cover, and these require exact measurements. I chose Option 1) which is by far the easiest method (if you follow these instructions). Launch the Cover Creator and you'll be provided with a bunch of possible templates:

Go to page 5 of 5 and select "The Spruce 6 X 9 Spineless". This template makes things easy because all you need to do is upload your cover image and input the back cover text (If you want your back cover to have an image as well, then select "The Palm 6 X 9 Spineless" or "The Pine 6 X 9 Spineless"  on page 4 of 5).

Keep in mind that your cover image should have a size of 6.25" X 9.5" and that no text should appear within 0.5" of the outer edges. The resolution should be at least 300 DPI. If you need to tweak your cover image to meet these configurations, I recommend using an image editor such as GIMP.

6) Once your cover is ready, all that's left to do is Complete Setup. Here, you can review everything you've submitted and confirm its quality. Once confirmed, Createspace will get back to you within a day to let you know your proof is ready to order. But before you order your proof, go over your book one more time with the virtual previewer. If everything is perfect, go ahead and order. If you've followed these instructions to a tee, this should be the only stage in which you are required to pay a fee. But don't worry, it's very cheap. In my case, it only came to $11.63, and it would have been even cheaper had I not required shipping to Canada.

7) Once you receive your proof in the mail, go over it with a fine tooth comb. If everything is satisfactory, approve your book for distribution. Within 5-7 business days, your book will be available on the Amazon website. As long as the title is the same as the original e-book title, it should appear for sale on the same page as your e-book.

It's really that simple, folks!


  1. This was a Wonderfully detailed and informative post about how to publish through Createspace. Thanks for the article!

  2. No problem, Karen. Glad you found it helpful.

  3. This post was really helpful!I plan to publish with createspace in august so i found this really informative

  4. I am having a terrible problem getting my book's 6.25 x 9.5 Photoshop-created cover displaying correctly in the Spruce Createspace template. Either the text or image, or both, overlap the edges. Why is this problem recurring?