Publishing a book is an exciting endeavor, and Amazon’s platform allows authors to self-publish paperbacks, e-books, and audiobooks. I’ve outlined the steps below, and you can watch my video tutorials as well. CreateSpace no longer offers editing and proofreading services in which case I recommend Scribendi.
How to Self-Publish on CreateSpace Step-By-Step
Start on the Member Dashboard and click “Add New Title.” Complete the following pages:
- New project setup
- Title information
- Complete setup
- Distribute tab
New Project Setup
- Type the name of your project, for example, your book’s working or final title. You can change your title at any time before you submit your manuscript and cover for review.
- Choose the paperback option.
- Choose a setup process. Although I’ve published several books, I still choose the guided option for step-by-step instructions.
- Add your title and subtitle. Tip: By adding your subtitle in the subtitle space, you don’t need to add a colon (:).
- Add your name and surname. A prefix, middle name, and suffix are optional.
- Add contributor details, for example, the illustrator of your images. Before adding a contributor, you might want to discuss it with him or her. Also, confirm your revenue share or royalty obligations, for instance, the illustrator will receive a zero percent royalty.
- Check “This book is part of a series.”
- Type the edition number.
- Select the language.
Unless you backdate your book, your publication date is the day you approve your book for publishing. You can approve your book after CreateSpace has given you the green light, which takes two to four business days. Unlike Kindle Direct Publishing, readers cannot pre-order your book. The publication date cannot be changed after you submit your book for sale.
An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier. Most authors, including me, choose to get a free ISBN from CreateSpace. Alternatively, you can purchase an ISBN from Bowker. Pricing starts at $125 for an ISBN. I don’t see any advantages to buying an ISBN unless you want to register yourself as a publisher.
Interior settings default to black and white, white paper, and a 6″ x 9″ trim size, which are industries standards. Unless you have specific needs, these selections will suffice.
Upload your book in pdf, doc, docx, or rtf to preview it. If you need help with formatting your interior, you can hire a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork. Many freelancers format books to meet CreateSpace and Kindle requirements. On Fiverr, freelancer rates start at five dollars.
Bleed refers to how images are positioned within your book. If you don’t want a margin around the outside edge of each page with an image, you must format your images with extra variance and select a bleed option. The default selection, i.e., ends before the edge of the page, is what I choose.
- Click save, and in a few seconds, you can review your book’s interior.
- Click launch interior reviewer. I usually get the same three issues regarding image quality, embedded fonts, and removal of non-printable markup. These issues don’t impact the readability of my nonfiction books, but whatever problems are highlighted, you should understand their consequences. Also, before and after you approve your book for sale, you can order a physical proof for inspection.
- Review each page of your book by clicking on the arrow tab. When you’re done, click save and continue at the bottom of the screen.
- Click on “ignore issues and continue” to proceed. Alternatively, re-upload your manuscript to repeat this step.
- Choose matte or glossy and upload a print-ready cover in PDF format.
- Customers do judge books by their covers, so it’s an excellent idea to design a cover yourself or hire a freelancer. A budget of $100 is reasonable. The build your online cover option will yield a generic, below average cover for your book.
The cover activity can be a little tricky. I recommend using a template.
How to Use Your Template
- Open the PDF or PNG file for the paperback book cover template in your image editing software, for example, Adobe Illustrator.
- Create a new layer in your image editing software. This layer will serve as the design layer.
- Design your cover in the design layer, using the template PDF or PNG file as the guide layer. The artwork should extend to the outside edge of the template’s pink zone to ensure a white border will not exist within the printed work. Do not move the guide layer, as it is correctly aligned for printing specifications.
- Ensure text and images that are intended to be read do not appear in the pink zones of the template.
- The barcode area is indicated in yellow on the template. Do not place important images or text intending to be read in the barcode location. CreateSpace recommends filling this area with your background color or design.
- Once your design is complete, you will need to turn off the guide layer so that it is not printed on your final product or rejected during the review process. If you are unable to turn off the guide layer, then you will need to format the artwork so that it completely covers the guide layer.
- Flatten all layers, save the file as a press quality PDF, and upload the file through your CreateSpace account.
Check your information and submit your files for review. The CreateSpace team will review and approve/decline your book in two to four business days.
- Channels: Select the appropriate channels. I select all the channels to increase my sales potential.
- Pricing: Set your list price and calculate your royalties for each sales channel and manufacturing location.
- Cover finish: a duplicate of matte and glossy options.
- Input your description. I recommend copying and pasting your description from a word document application like MS Word. Click on “use limited HTML” for style and format options.
- Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) categories are used by the book-selling industry to help identify and group books by their subject matter. Choose the BISAC category that best fits your book. Lookup BISAC codes here.
- Search keywords: add up to five keywords or book titles, maximum 25 characters each, that relate to your book. This is where it helps to understand search engine optimization. Tip: enter words and titles that people might associate with your book, but don’t add categories. For example, for my book Investing Is Easy, I chose a “value investing,” “investing 101,” and so on.
- The remaining options are self-explanatory. I omit my author biography and add one on Amazon Author Central.
- I publish on Kindle separately through Kindle Direct Publishing, but the choice is yours. Learn how to self-publish on Kindle.
- Increase your sales by publishing an e-book and audiobook. Customers like to have options and may want to listen to your book.
- I prefer to publish my hard copies through CreateSpace, but KDP does offer the ability. One advantage of publishing your paperback through KDP is that you get to add more keywords. KDP: seven keywords at 50 characters each. CreateSpace: five keywords at 25 characters each.
- If you publish your book in multiple formats, for example, paperback, e-book, and audiobook, they should automatically link together on one sales page. If they don’t within a week or two, contact Amazon support to have them linked.
- You can create an author profile on Amazon Author Central. An author profile will enable you to add your titles to a central page, which will show up in search engine results. Once your author profile is created, Amazon will not remove it upon your request.