The website is createspace.com. You’ll need to sign up (it’s free) or sign in. Once you sign in, click on the Books tab and read about Publishing a Trade Paperback. There is plenty of good, clear information. In the Overview, notice in particular the calculators that give you an idea of production and shipping costs. They offer a $39 Pro plan, which reduces the price of the copies you purchase. By all means spend the money if you plan to buy copies for resale, because you’ll quickly recoup the small cost. Then when you’re ready, click on the Create a book tab and follow the instructions. Give your project a name, select Paperback (they don’t do hardcover), and choose the Guided Setup process. You’ll answer a bunch of questions including your book’s description. When you get to the page about ISBNs, you’ll have several options. If all you want to do is publish your book and get on with your life, just take the free one. Free is good.
Your next choice is trim size. The 6 x 9 is very common and is what I’ve used. Notice the link to download a template in Word format, and download the file. It will contain sample content with all the correct margins and other formatting for that size. Chances are, you’ll want a black-and-white interior with white paper, which is an economical option. Cream paper adds to your per-copy cost.
At this point (your editing and proofreading should be complete by now), insert your novel into the template, which is a Microsoft Word document. The margins and other details will be set for you, but you can change any of it. Make sure your fonts and font sizes are consistent, and modify the headers and front matter to suit your needs. CreateSpace has plenty of helpful tips, including a step-by-step formatting guide. Look everything over carefully, but don’t fret too much, because it’s not hard to get back to this point later.
When you’re ready, you can upload the interior file to CreateSpace in Word or PDF format.
Now for the exterior file (cover and spine). You can use one of their preformatted covers, or you can build your own in Photoshop or another graphics application and upload the file in pdf format. This is trickier—not terribly difficult, just fussy. If you don’t want to do it, perhaps you have a friend with graphics skills who can give you a hand. Or ask me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help in putting it together after your artwork is ready.
Skipping ahead a bit, CreateSpace sets a base price—your cost—depending on trim size, paper type, interior ink color, and page count. You may set any sales price you want as long as it’s at least that minimum.
Finally, you’ll be asked to purchase a proof copy of your book. Order it and look it over carefully, because this is your last chance to get it right before you buy a bunch of copies.
This post doesn’t cover every detail, but my point is that you can publish through CreateSpace with reasonable effort and patience. The hardest part for many people will be using Microsoft Word and Photoshop, or whatever graphics program you have. So please ask questions, and I will do my best to answer them.
Please welcome Bob to The Blood-Red Pencil and throw him some questions here.