5 More Things You Should Know about Publishing with CreateSpace

In my last post to you about CreateSpace, I covered some things that might take you off guard as an indie author publishing through CreateSpace for the first time, already knowing that I’d have at least one more post for you on this topic. If you have any questions after reading this post, please feel free to get in touch by clicking here or using the contact link above. I’d be more than happy to help.

Create your account. No brainer, I know. But there are some things about this step—such as entering your bank account information so you can actually get paid—that will be a lot less frustrating if you do it in advance, rather than waiting to the last minute. Click this link to get started.

Figure out who’s going to format your book. Getting your book into print through CreateSpace is going to require a PDF file that meets their specifications. If you’re pretty comfortable with Word or Adobe’s InDesign, you should be able to handle this part yourself. If you think it’s more than you can manage for whatever reason, then it’s time to shop around for someone to format it for you. (Might I suggest myself?) While you can pay CreateSpace to perform any of the needed tasks to publish your book, it’s generally going to cost you a lot more than you’d pay by hiring a freelancer.

Figure out what size book trim you’d like. CreateSpace offers a wide variety of trim sizes, which is a major plus. Whatever type of book you want to publish, get your hands on a variety of that type of book at the library or bookstore. Take a measuring tape with you and make notes on the sizes you like best. All of the fiction authors I’ve worked with so far have chosen the 9” x 6” trim size because it’s large enough to hold in the hands easily, but it’s not so big that it’s awkward. God bless you indie authors who keep your readers in mind in every detail!

Get your cover ready. You have quite a few options when it comes to creating a cover for your print book. You can have CreateSpace create one for you (for a fee, of course), upload one of your own, use the cover generator and insert your images into it, or use the cover creator’s templates. I personally recommend having a graphic artist create at least a front cover image for your book (which you can upload using the cover creator). Using the cover creator’s templates will give your book a generic feel—which will not help readers take your book seriously. You can read more about CreateSpace’s cover requirements here.

Get your book blurb ready. Right after they see your spiffy cover, potential readers will either scroll down the page, or flip your book over, to read your blurb. So, if you don’t already have a snazzy attention-grabbing piece of text to hook them, you’ll want to get that done before getting your book uploaded to CreateSpace so you don’t end up putting yourself behind a day or two. If you’re not sure what I mean by “blurb” read this and then this.

That’s it for now, and we didn’t even cover deciding what you want the inside of your book to look like! Soon I’ll be uploading a form that will be geared towards helping my clients decide how they want their book’s innards to appear, but it will be handy for anyone looking to publish through CreateSpace.

Helpful Links:

CreateSpace Templates for Microsoft Word

Formatting your book for Paperback Publication by DL Morrese

How Not to Annoy People on Twitter

Just when I had this Twitter post running around in my head, Tania Dakka shared a link on Facebook for an ebook about all things Twitter: The Digital Writer’s Guide to Twitter (Tweet Better, Grow Faster) by Tracy O’Connor. I’ve been reading it, and so far it’s good stuff for Twitter users new and veteran. As of this writing it’s being offered for free, so grab it while you can.

Also, be sure to check out this post on Twitter trends from Shepherd’s Moon author Stacy Mantle.

More updatedness: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Tribe on Twitter on the Digital Writer blog.

I prefer Facebook over Twitter. I know you don’t care, but I felt that I needed to say that so you understand where the rest of this post is coming from. Full disclosure and all that. I won’t bore you with my list of personal opinions on why I prefer Facebook, but I do want to share some brief thoughts on things that I find annoying about Twitter, or rather some common practices of those who use it, and why you should avoid them if you want people to pay attention to your tweets rather than scroll right on by.

Annoyance #1 – Bad Grammar

Okay, I get that you only have 140 characters and sometimes need to write “u” instead of “you.” But, if every tweet is laden with this sort of shorthand, your followers are going to have a hard time looking past it to see if your tweet is actually interesting to them. Believe me, they want your tweet to interest them, but most don’t have all day to sort through the typos and abbreviations.

Annoyance #2 – Shout Outs, Follow Fridays, etc.

When I first started using Twitter, I noticed a lot of folks would tweet lists of people to follow. Okay, cool. Not a bad idea. If you’re interested enough in that person, then it would be nice to hear about who they recommend you follow. Problem is, if followers have to scroll down two straight pages before getting to something interesting because someone went on a #FF frenzy, they may stop taking your recommendations seriously. Try to give your shout outs a personal touch, and keep them to a minimum.

Annoyance #3 – Tweet Overload

This seems like it would be the easiest thing for people to get. If you tweet more than a couple items one right after the other, you’re hurting your chances that any of them are going to catch someone’s eye. Yes, it’s a good idea to tweet frequently, but space them out, and retweet the things you really want people to see a few hours later. Chances are you’ll reach a different set of followers who weren’t around earlier as well.

Annoyance #4 – Constant Self-Promotion

Social media is about building relationships. Have you ever tried having a relationship with someone who did very little besides talk about themselves? It’s unbelievably boring and aggravating. Likewise, if most of your posts consist of you marketing your book in various ways, you’ll seem like a marketing robot, and I know that’s not what you want out of this Twitter thing. There’s nothing wrong with promoting your book, but don’t shove it down your followers’ throats, and be sure to retweet things from others each day. Soon they’ll be returning the favor.

Be sure to check out the link above, and tell your friends about it.

A Quick Post About Marketing

I haven’t touched much upon marketing here, but two emails I got today just shouted, “Post about us!”

So here we are.

I’m going to show you both subject lines and explain why they did, or did not, work for me.

First up: “Up to 25% off in patio. Yes way.”

The subject line single-handedly sent this email to the trash bin without being opened – and I really enjoy shopping at this particular store. First I’ll tackle the 25% off. Whoop-de-doo. It’s not even a solid 25%! It’s up to. Besides, this sort of discount generally doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to get a good deal – it just makes me think that they’re bringing it down closer to what the item should actually cost. In my mind, they’re offering me the same junk, just cheaper. I’ll buy my patio furniture when fall comes back. Then I can get stuff I actually like at a really good price.

The insulting icing on the cake for me was the “Yes way.” Like I am just sitting at my computer freaking out over this AMAZING deal.

What this company hoped I would do: “What?! 25% in patio! NO WAY” (Commence spending spree!)

What really happened: “Someone needs to talk to their marketing crew. Seriously.” (Delete.)

Next: “Come back and see us, and get your coupon!”

Now that’s more like it. I like your product enough that I signed up for something on your website. When I haven’t shown up on your site for a couple of months, you send me an email promising a coupon. This email got opened. And then I read that it was a $.50 coupon off any item – not “$.50 off when you buy 9,000!” Hooray! Bonus points for not making me sign in or click yet another link to get to the coupon.

Let’s summarize.

One email told me that I could buy some junk that won’t last 5 years for a reduced rate. Boo!

The other sent me a link to a coupon that I will actually use. Yay!

So how does this relate to you authors out there? If you run promos via email, blog, social media, or any other avenue, treat your readers (and potential readers) with the respect they deserve. If you’re going to offer them something, make it good. Ask yourself, “If I were in the reader’s shoes, would this pique my interest, or would I ignore it?”

The other aspect to this is knowing your audience. I’m sure there are people out there who got excited at the first subject line. Thankfully for that company, their customers are an immensely diverse group. Your audience is not. Keep that in mind, and always remember who you’re writing for.

That is all.

5 Things You Should Know about Publishing with CreateSpace

UPDATE: Just read an excellent post on DL Morrese’s blog about formatting your manuscript for printing on CreateSpace. Check it out here!

In case you’re not aware, CreateSpace is Amazon’s print on demand service. It’s a convenient and affordable way to have your book available in print without a lot of upfront costs. It’s relatively easy to use, but there are things you should be aware of before you publish your book through them.

  • You’ll have to pay for your proof copies. When you get your book all ready to print, CreateSpace will ship a proof copy to you for approval. You’ll have to pay for the copy and the shipping costs. I’ve found that this usually costs less than $10 per proof, but if you end up needing to make changes and order proofs repeatedly, it starts to add up. Take care to go over your first proof carefully.
  • You’ll have to pay shipping when you order copies for your own use. The costs of the books themselves is just a fraction of what others will pay to get a hard copy of your book, but keep in mind that you’ll also have to pay shipping on any copies you  order for your own use (book signings, for sale at local book stores, etc.). If you want more than a handful, your shipping costs could cross the $100 mark. You can get a rough idea of your costs by using their calculator.
  • It’ll cost you $25 to make your book available to other retailers and libraries. It’s not a lot of money, but in order to have your book available to distributors, retailers besides Amazon and your CreateSpace eStore, and libraries, you’ll need to pay a fee of $25 per CreateSpace title. You can read more about it here. (I definitely recommend signing up for Expanded Distribution, by the way.) Also, if you need to change your cover or interior files, you’ll have to pay the $25 fee again.
  • There are two ways for you to receive your royalty payments from CreateSpace. You can receive your royalty payments by check or direct deposit. If you choose to receive a check, you have to accrue a minimum of $28 in earnings, and they charge an $8 fee every time they mail you a check. Alternately, you can choose to have your royalties direct deposited into your bank account. With this option you only need to accrue $20, and there’s no fee.
  • You don’t have to purchase an ISBN. You may be familiar with the fact that getting a book printed at your local (or not-so-local) printer means you have to fork out cash for an ISBN. With CreateSpace, you can choose to have them assign an ISBN. This means that CreateSpace will show up as the publisher on your book’s Amazon listing (see the image below).

Be sure to read over all of the information on the CreateSpace website before you start, and if you have any questions, comment below or use our contact form.

Take a Break

I’m fresh off over a week of vacation. I didn’t even go anywhere – I just stayed in the comfort of my own home with my family and enjoyed some much-needed relaxation. I don’t even think I cooked a meal the entire time. Day after glorious day rolled on.

Once I hit what I think was day eight, I found myself thinking about all sorts of business-ish stuff: blog posts, getting some pages written on that book, marketing, etc. And I actually enjoyed thinking about it! My growing “to do” list wasn’t causing me any stress  as it was prior to vacation – I was primed to get back in the chair and get this party started again.

How about you? Are you feeling worn out and raggedy? Is that piece you’ve been working on just not feeling fun anymore like author Tim Baer announced on Twitter recently? You’re not alone, and a break from your WIP may be in order. My first bit of advice to you is to close that .doc file and read on.

Take a vacation. Maybe not a real vacation to Hawaii or even a stay-cation like I recently indulged in – but take a vacation from whatever isn’t going so hot right now. Put it away until you can look at each other again without any resentment or tension. Once the love is flowing again, you’re golden.

Read. It’s easy to get so busy writing that you forget to read. Whether it’s blog posts from your favorite authors, a magazine, or a library find, you should spend a little time each day reading something. Maybe even try branching out to something outside of your normal scope of reading material. About a month ago I read a zombie novel. It creeped me out. It also reminded me how important it is to make sure you have solid, believable characters. I won’t mention names here, but if it wasn’t for believable characters, I wouldn’t have made it all the way through the book because it was a bit predictable.

Write something else. It’s possible that you’re not really “sick” of your current story, but just have something else swirling around in your brain. Take some time to write about that “something else.” Do your best not to pressure yourself into writing anything beautiful or perfect. Just start typing or scribbling and get it out of your head. If you really are having relationship issues with your WIP, writing something different in nature is a good idea too.

How do you handle it when the thought of working on that book (or whatever it might be) becomes a chore? Do you just muddle through or do you do something similar to the above? Share your ideas below!

How Two Anoy You’re Indy Editting Servise Weirdo In Ten Easy Steps – Guest Post by Tim Baer

I only have one “annoyance” to add: Rewriting portions of the manuscript while I’m in mid-edit. Not that the illustrious Tim Baer has ever done such a thing. – Ed.

1)  Tern of spilchuck.

2)  Make sure you mess up you’re homonyms.  You here me?

Three)  Use numbers on one page, then 4 pages later, write them out.

4)  Call your protagonist Jennie for the first half of your manuscript, then Jenny in the second half.

5)  Inconsistently have your characters tell each other, “I could care less.”

6)  Refer to Los Angeles as the “Big Apple.”

7)  Tell your readers that the capitol of Massachusetts is Worcester.

8)  Keep referring to them as your proof readers.

9)  Than do number eight again.

10)  Spell they’re name wrong.  Always.

11)  Send an inquiry email moments after mailing them your manuscript asking if their corrections are done yet.  Do this every 15 minutes for the next three days.

12)  Omit all punctuation after all no one really uses commas and periods these days any more do they its a waste of a keystroke and your time is valuable ainna

13)  Use regional colloquialisms and expect them to Google them.  It is on them, ainna?

13)  Tell them you could do their job since they only got started after reading, “Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies.”

14)  That nuclear-tipped missile you had hurtling down out of the sky towards that unsuspecting town in chapter three? Never reference it again.  When called on it, tell them it’s a cliffhanger for book two.

15)  Selectively edit their blog post and post it up on Facebook.  ‎”My morning so far, besides slurping coffee, checking email, and farting…”  Seriously?  That’s all you’ve done so far today?

16)  Whine when they tell you you’re way over your quota of snarky comments for the coming month and owe them a guest blog post.

17)  Go way beyond the number of items listed in the title.

18)  Sit back and see if they notice there were two line 13s, just because.

I Love My Job

I really do. It’s going to take me some time to get to the point here, so please bear with me and read through till the end. You won’t regret it.

Not only do I get to work from home, but I get to meet and work with all sorts of interesting people. The nature of my job means that I become intimately involved with their writing, and naturally, I get a sense of who they are as a person – what drives them, what they like, and even become privy to such mundane things as hobbies. I get personally attached to each project, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

One of my first clients, Bessie Mac, is a perfect example. When we first met, she was taking care of her disabled mother around the clock, and had been doing so for well over a decade. To say I was inspired by her devotion to her mom wouldn’t quite cut it. On top of that I learned she was very active in animal rescue, fostering dogs who had been given up or thrown away by previous owners. She’d keep them in her home and care for them, doing whatever she could to make them ready for their new “forever homes.”

In 2010, she fostered a particular dog that touched her heart more than any other had. She felt the urge to write about it, even though she’d always been told she could never be a writer.  Despite all of the childhood negativity, Holly’s Story, the first book in the Forever Home Series was born. All of Bessie’s own dogs, including her service dog Danny, are characters in the book. Danny is portrayed as the wise alpha who guides and steers his pack with prudence and discipline as needed, and seems like the kinda “guy” you’d want around if trouble ever showed up.

Danny, in real life, saved Bessie Mac’s life a week ago today.

Watch the video:

She’s been rescuing dogs for years, and now one has rescued her. Good boy, Danny!

Bessie is recovering nicely, and is so encouraged by all of the support she and Danny have been receiving. If you’d like to get in touch with her, you can contact her through her website or find her on Facebook.


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