Createspace offers several packages that will help a newby get their book formatted and the cover made. I wanted to stick to my original plan, though, which was to not spend any large amounts of money getting the book in print, so I decided to see if I could do it myself.
First, I asked for the formatting requirements for my project from the Createspace website.
Set margins at
Beyond that, it was up to me. I made the changes and uploaded my newly formatted manuscript.
I downloaded Createspace’s template for the cover. I went through what they had to offer, but I didn’t want to see other books with my cover on them so I asked my daughter, a graphic designer, to make something that would reflect the story. She selected a non-royalty photograph with sunset colors and a cowboy on a horse silhouetted against the sky. Perfect. Then I wrote the blurb and a short biography for the back.
I uploaded the cover file and after receiving approval on it, I ordered my first “proof copy” for $6 plus shipping for a total of around $9.
The cover was outstanding but the interior looked horrible. It was double spaced (just like my document) and had over 400 pages which adds to the cost of each book. There was no header and no page numbers. I always use courier new, 12 point, expanded by at least 1 pt. when I write. It looks horrible in a book.
I took out a traditionally published book to use as a pattern. When I saw that the font used in it was Times New Roman, I changed the font on mine to match and removed the expansion. When I changed the double spacing to single, it cut the number of pages almost in half. I put the title in the header and added page numbers.
I uploaded the changed document and after it was approved, I ordered another proof copy. This one looked somewhat better except that the font in the header didn’t match the text in the story. It was still courier new. so I fixed that. Also, the page numbers on the left hand page were on the inside of the book. The only solution I could figure out was to put the page numbers at the bottom.
I uploaded the changed document again and ordered another proof copy. This one looked exactly the way I wanted it to look, so I gave it to a fellow writer and asked her to read it for mistakes. When I got it back from her, I made the corrections she’d marked, read the story again myself and found some more typos and mistakes. I made all those changes and uploaded a new version, ordered another proof copy.
I finally felt satisfied that the book was as close to flawless as I could get it, so I approved the proof copy and it was published. One of the interesting things about publishing with Createspace is that I can upload a new version even today and whoever buys it tomorrow through the Createspace store will get the new version. It takes a while for the new version to filter out through what they call the expanded distribution channel.
I added a copyright page, some acknowledgements, a quote and a dedication. In all, I went through 6 proof copies.
The book looks good. I understand it still has a couple of typos in it.
I was told at the OWFI Conference in May 2010, that once Createspace assigned the book an ISBN number, the first rights to the book were gone. According to that source, no major publishing company will be interested in it now. It felt awful to hear that. It felt like I’d made the biggest mistake of my life by publishing it myself. Walking back to my room at the Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City, though, I remembered a statement another one of the guest agents had made that day. He’d said that at his firm, they received over 10,000 submissions a month and out of those, they might pick four.
At that point, I realized I had made the decision to self publish and now I had to make that decision right.