Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on self-publishing a collection of my stories on Createspace, and I wanted to write a bit about the process. But first, a little context.
Overview of Createspace
Createspace is a publishing platform for books, CDs, and videos. Owned by Amazon, Createspace is a fairly user-friendly platform where you can create an entire book (paperback and/or Kindle) for free, and then sell that book on Amazon for a price of your choosing with Createspace taking a percentage of the sales. Two quick notes here. One, there is an option on Createspace called Expanded Distribution, and that service will allow you to widen your book’s distribution, but the service is not free. Two, Createspace does take a percentage of every book you sell; however, I’ve had two different small publishers for my previous books, and the royalty rate on Createspace is much better than either of those publishers. Plus, with Createspace, you have the added benefit of setting the price. There is a royalty calculator you use when determining what you want to sell your book for. Click here for a better explanation on royalty calculations.
Formatting your Manuscript
The first step in the process is writing a great book. I just wanted to lead with that, even though it makes the title of this post false. So, to correct myself, formatting your manuscript is actually step two in the process. And, like most things on Createspace, it’s pretty easy. Basically, you have two options:
- Option #1: Set up your manuscript according to very precise but not difficult specifications. You can click here and follow these step-by-step instructions on how to make sure Createspace will accept the Microsoft Word or PDF file that you upload. (Note: Word docs and PDFs are the only files Createspace will take.) I read through this article, and it looks simple enough. You just have to set the margins and insert page numbers in a specific way. . .stuff like that. Definitely helpful information. Too bad I didn’t find it until after I’d already chosen. . .
- Option #2: Just upload your manuscript as is, and let Createspace reject it. When they do, they give you a numbered list of corrections to make, you download the new file, make the corrections, and then resubmit. Only problem with this option: you will need to make the corrections and visually inspect every page of the manuscript. Tedious, but again, not difficult. All told, it took me about thirty minutes to make the necessary corrections.
After your manuscript is formatted, you just need to submit a file for official review. Createspace will then review it, approve it, and then you move on to the next step in the publishing process, which, for me anyway, was creating a book cover. More on that later. . .
Tips for Formatting your Manuscript
- If your manuscript is double-spaced (2 on the spacing tab), change it to 1.5. I submitted a double-spaced manuscript, and this ran the page count up to 310. When I changed it to 1.5, the page count dropped to 237. Why does this matter? I think (don’t quote me on this), but I think the more pages your book has the more you have to sell it for to make more royalties. Me, I just didn’t like how few words were on each page in the double-spaced format. Looked like a Large Print book.
- Make sure each chapter starts on a new page. Not only does it look cleaner and help readers distinguish between one section of the book from another, it also helps avoid formatting issues, which can be a nightmare.
Next time, I’ll write about creating a book cover. Spoiler alert: it’s not as difficult as you might think.