I chose to publish the paperback version of my book with CreateSpace, and it’s gone well. I described the first stages in an earlier entry, and now we’re moving forward. There are many articles and material on the technical specs of CreateSpace, and almost all of them will be more informative than mine, so I’m just going to give you the highlights of my learning curve.
Here are some tips that can save you time and money:
1) Be sure to match the paper size to your trim before creating the pdf of the manuscript that you plan to upload to CreateSpace. If you’re new to self-publishing, this sentence probably just raised a lot of questions and you’re probably wondering what the hell it means.
Let’s start with “trim” which simply means the dimensions of the front of your book. Look here:
Wikipedia – Book Trim
CreateSpace – Trim Size & Page Count
I learned this part the hard way and it ate up a lot of time. Match the paper size with your trim before uploading the pdf file. If you don’t, the CreateSpace cyber-elves with adapt and re-scale it for you, and it can get a little wanky. Basically, if the trim of your book is 5 x 8, be sure you make that’s what you choose for the paper size of your file before you creating the pdf of your manuscript.
2) Be sure that your book cover fits your book properly. Every time you change something in your manuscript; font, font size, anything…it will change the page count of your book. This, in turn, changes the size that the spine of your book cover needs to be. Once the spine shifts, the front and back of your book cover shift as well.
If the page count changes by a large enough margin, your cover will need to be adjusted because the images and text on your cover will move, and this is annoying as hell. So every time I made adjustments that changed the page count by a noticeable degree, I needed young Huntley the graphic designer to adjust the spine size to conform to the new book length. My page count varied from 20 to 50 pages as we evolved from version to improved version, so each time, Huntley needed to work his magic, which slows down the process of getting your book on the market. It’s time well spent to get it right, but still, it can be frustrating. Huntley explained to me that it’s not a straightforward maneuver. While re-sizing the spine, the proportions of the book cover get weird due to inches being a random measurement without a basis in ten, so there were issues to figure out on his end too. I don’t understand the equation precisely, which is why I found an art director to handle it.
3) Don’t forget your copyright page. Assuming you have a copyright, which you should because your book needs a copyright, you need to create a copyright page. (If you don’t have a copyright, email me and I’ll explain, because that is an entirely separate matter.) At first, I made the mistake of assuming that the CreateSpace software automatically adds a copyright page and you simply fill in the pertinent details, but this is not the case. You need to manually create a copyright page in your manuscript.
There are many things that CreateSpace does for you, but this is not one of them. As I navigated the CreateSpace maze, I was expecting to find some template for the copyright page, but that never happened, and I forgot about it, until I looked at my digital proofs and realized that there was no copyright page, which also contains your ISBN number. Basically, you need to manually type the copyright page onto your manuscript before saving as a pdf because the CreateSpace pixies don’t do it for you. Lesson learned.
Okay, so…now your trim size and paper size are in sync. Your copyright page is in place, with your imprint listed on it. Soon, you’ll create a pdf of your manuscript, and you’re that much closer to holding your paperback in your hand and gazing upon it admiringly.
NEXT UP: ISBNs and uploading your cover and getting this bad boy all together…