How To Self-Publish a Book Using CreateSpace
In this day and age, technology has made so many things more accessible for small businesses and entrepreneurs. One of the services that has surfaced is self publishing, eliminating the need for a major publishing house to accept your work. Another added benefit is if the company provides print to ship services, then there’s no need to invest in inventory. Added bonus is if they handle the shipping as well.
When I decided to publish a book, CreateSpace seemed to have the most seamless and user friendly functionalities in terms of getting my content into a customer’s hand. All I had to do was sign up for a free account, upload my content in the correct format and hit the publish button. They handle the rest…ISBN number, creating the listing on Amazon, and even printing and shipping once a unit has sold. I haven’t had any issues with them, and have had over 300 books purchased and successfully delivered. I’ve listed the steps out from conception to fruition in more detail below:
- Decide what kind of book you want to write. This could be a children’s book, informational/how-to book, cook book, journal! If you can dream it, you can do it! Just remember, the most profitable books are ones that solve problems for people. Whether that be helping them entertain themselves or their children, or navigate a challenge in their life!
- Write a content outline. Regardless of what kind of book you’re creating, I highly recommend writing out an outline first. This will help keep your content focused and structured which will be key when you’re in the throws of writing and need to refocus.
- Write a first draft. This will be, for most, the hardest part. Quality content creation is sometimes difficult for even the most experienced of writers. My best advice is to just keep at it, even when you’re discouraged. A great way to ensure consistency is to schedule time to sit down and write. This was key for me. Even if I didn’t feel like it, I’d force myself to write for at least 15 minutes. Even if I was convinced that garbage would be the end result, I would sit my behind down to try and get something on the page. Surprisingly, more often than not, 15 minutes turned into an hour or two and quality content was the end result. So, moral of the story is that getting going and being consistent are the hardest parts. If you can overcome those obstacles, then you’ll get to your end goal. It’s not complicated, it’s just not easy! You can do it!
- Proof read and finalize your content. Once you finish your first draft, I highly recommend having someone else proofread your book. If you can, consider outsourcing to a professional. I used Fiverr.com for all of the tasks I couldn’t tackle. Proofing was one of them. If you don’t want to pay someone to do this, consider giving it to a friend or family member.
- Decide on a distributor. CreateSpace is the company I used to publish and distribute my book, so for the purposes of this post, I will outline their process. However, there are other companies that offer drop shipping through Amazon as well. Vervante is another popular option, especially if you plan on selling things other than books.
- Sign up or log in! Createspace is free to sign up. However, if you have an Amazon login, you can use that to log in since they are a subsidiary company, which is super convenient.
- Create a title. Once you’re signed up, you can create a title and provide them with what kind of book it will be. Once you do this, it will also assign you an ISBN number.
- Decide on the media specifications. You’ll have to decide what size you want your book to be, as well as what kind of media specs you want to use such as glossy or matte pages, black and white or color, etc. These will all impact the printing cost which will in turn impact your margin and pricing strategy. So take this step seriously. You can however, make changes before you publish. If you’re a first time self-publisher, which I’m assuming you are, I recommend using one of the commonly recommended sizes. This way, you can take advantage of the free templates that are offered… More info on this in step 10!
- Set a price. Once you decide on what dimensions and media specifications you want, you can set a price and see how much profit you’ll make per unit sold. They make this very easy with a box that you fill in a hypothetical price and it gives you all the particulars.
- Format your book. Once you’ve decided on the dimensions of your pages, you can begin to format the interior of your book. For CreateSpace to be able to print your product, the interior needs to be formatted to specific dimensions based on your book’s size. Formatting was one of the steps I outsourced. However, they offer free templates that you can use as well. This would be when you decide where illustrations go, chapter headers, table of contents, etc. It is when you essentially design how your book will look when printed.
- Design a cover. You’ll also need to create a cover for your book! CreateSpace has templates for this as well. When thinking of designs, consider your target audience. A children’s book cover will probably look very different than a cookbook for example. Look at books with similar target audiences. What do they look like? If you’re not particularly adept with graphic design, consider hiring someone. I loved the freelancer that I found on Fiverr.com. He was extremely responsive and flexible with helping me figure out what look I was going for. What took him a few hours to create, would have probably taken me weeks to figure out on my own.
- Once you have the interior formatted, and your cover created, you can finally upload them to the CreateSpace website. Createspace will check everything to make sure they will print correctly and then come back to you for final review to be able to publish. At this point, you’ll be given the option for digital proof review or physical. If you review the digital proof, you’ll be able to publish right then. If you request physical proofs, they obviously take time to be printed and shipped to you. I personally opted for a digital proof and was happy with that choice. However, I also see the value in physically seeing your book and being able to comb through the pages to make sure you feel good about the flow and formatting.
- At the point of publishing, it will also give you the option to publish an e-book. I highly recommend this. It’s only one extra step, and is a great accommodation for those who prefer e-readers, or want an immediate product instead of waiting for a physical book. My e-book accounts for 26% of my book sales!
- Once you give your final approval, that’s it! You sit back and wait for your listing to be uploaded to Amazon! It can take around 24 hours, but mine took approximately 8… not that I was checking incessantly or anything. Everything is print to ship, so no need to buy inventory or ship anything personally. Amazon and Createspace take care of all of this for you!
- Promote your book! I actually recommend that you don’t wait to promote your book until it hits Amazon. Start promoting as soon as you start drafting! It will create a buzz for your product and help hold you accountable to keep writing!
- Collect a paycheck! Amazon will pay you out monthly for your royalties and you can even check your real time book sales in their online portal!
That’s it! The process is fairly simple and straight forward! So go forth and create your content and get your side hustle on, friend! You’ve got this!