Monday, October 22, 2012

Going paperback with Createspace

I wasn't sure what to blog about today. I really wanted to blog about Skyfall, because I really love James Bond, and the prospect of a new one had me totally excited, but as it isn't out yet, I haven't much to say about it, so decided to save that for another post.
So instead, I decided to do a little post about getting a paperback out there, because I'm on the final stages of getting my third paperback out, Bound to Love. I reckon many writers are now totally up to speed with how to get a kindle version self published (if not, leave me a comment, and I'll cover the basics in another blog post) but may be wondering about paperback. So here it is!

The interior: The first thing you need to do is decide what size your book is going to be - I go 5 x 8, which is the same size that The Wild Rose Press and Samhain use. Next, you need to look at a book you like, choose a font for your book, and a style for the layout. Make sure you have a copyright page (including a couple of lines where your isbn will go), your dedication, and break pages with page breaks, not loads of returns! Print out a few sample pages to make sure that it looks right. Get a book with the same dimensions, and check to make sure it all looks as good as the pages in the printed book. Add in page numbers, and alternate headings, one with your name, and the facing page with your title. You'll be using facing pages, so you'll have inside and outside margins. Make the inside margins bigger than .75 and the outside margins bigger than .25. I've found that Createspace can be very fiddly about this, so don't make it exactly at this measurement, but add a little extra in there, just to make sure. When it's all hunky dory, save this file as a pdf, and make a note of the number of pages, because you'll need this later. I use Quark Xpress for page layout, but you can use anything.

The cover: The most important thing about the cover is that you need to know the page count first, so that the designer can make the spine the right width. Once you have the interior finished, talk to your cover designer, give her the details, and ask her to use the template that createspace provide. This will make it easier for him/her to get the cover perfect, incorporating bleeds etc.

Get a blurb ready. If you've published for Kindle, use that. Otherwise, write a fab blurb which will compell people to buy your book!

From there, you're ready to go!
In Amazon, scroll down to the bottom and choose 'independently publish with us'. This brings you to a page where you can create a createspace account. You can read more here, and when you're ready, choose 'get started'. You set up a createspace account, and then when you're in there, you choose my account, and start a new project.
Type in your name, choose paperback, and choose the guided option, which will talk you through it.
After choosing what type of paper, size, and black or white for your interior or colour, You'll be asked to upload your contents in pdf, and the program will grind away and check to make sure that the interior fits properly. If it doesn't you can keep going back and re-uploading the pdf file until it does.
Then it's on to the cover, upload the pdf, and once again the program grinds away, making sure that your book cover and contents are right. When it's finished, you have the opportunity to preview the entire thing in Createspace's digital proofer.

Down the right hand side, you can see all the pages in the document, and click on them to make sure that every single page looks good. One thing I always forget, is to check that pages after the end of the document (which in my case contain a list of my other books) don't have page numbers or headers on them...

The other elements that need to be done before you get a book in your hot little hand are setting up a bank account to send the money to, or if you're not in the US, an address to send the cheques. You also have the chance here to go for expanded distribution for $25 dollars. This is worth buying, because it means that your books will be distributed to places other than Amazon, such as Barnes and Noble etc.  Setting the price (Createspace won't allow you to set a price below what it costs them to print it up), and ordering a proof copy. It's always worth ordering a proof copy, because you want to see what the final version looks like printed up before you 'publish' which puts your book into Amazon, ready to sell.

This is just a quick peek at what is required to get your paperback out there on Amazon. Once it's done, you'll be able to order 'author copies' at a discount, which will be useful as giveaways etc. If you want a step by step how to - the best place to go is to Catherine Ryan Howard's website. Her book 'Self Printed' walks you through it, as well as walking through the process of getting a kindle version up there, and is well worth buying!


Karen said...

Really interesting, thank you for that, and good luck with your book :o)

Romy Sommer said...

Thanks so much for paving the way for the rest of us, Sally, and making it so much easier for those of us who might followin your footsteps.

Sally Clements said...

Hi Karen, glad you found it useful, and thank you for the luck!

Romy, xxx

Sutton Fox said...

Very timely information. Just what I needed! Thanks, Sally.

Wishing you much success!

Sally Clements said...

Great! Glad it helped, Sutton!

Sally Clements said...

oh, Sutton, and thank you!