How to publish your book on CreateSpace

How do I publish my book on CreateSpace?” I get asked this question a lot so I’m writing the info here so that it’s hopefully helpful to lots of people.

Before I answer the question, let me just say that CreateSpace is not the only place to publish your book but in my experience it’s the best place to do so right now. Although CreateSpace isn’t perfect, nothing is and the benefits outweigh the challenges (in my opinion).

Before CreateSpace was even an option, I was thinking about publishing through Lulu.com but CreateSpace provides easier access to Amazon, which is a buyer’s marketplace and THE place to go when you want to sell your book.

So, assuming that you want to publish on CreateSpace instead of anywhere else, this blog post is for you.

I’m also going to assume that your book is written. You can do step 1 (below) without having written the book but I think you should write your book first. It’s the hardest part. That’s all I’m going to say about book writing — anything else is outside of the scope of this blog post.

HOW TO PUBLISH YOUR BOOK ON CREATESPACE

Go to http://www.createspace.com and sign up for a free account. Your Amazon account won’t work there; you’ll need to create a new one.

Once signed in, click Add New Title and you’ll basically work your way through CreateSpace’s following workflow to publish your book:

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So let’s look at the first one (on the left)…

CREATE

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Ignore this step. Well, you can do it if you want but it doesn’t really directly contribute to the publishing of your book. I’m sure it’s helpful but I’ve never done it.

SETUP

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In this step, you’ll add the basic info for your book. You can change up the title and author name as you refine those. Note: The title and author name need to exactly match the book cover! (Your subtitle does not need to appear on the cover).

You can also choose from a variety of methods of obtaining your ISBN but the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way is just to get CreateSpace to issue you one.

You can do a lot of the work ahead of time, even advancing to some of the later workflow steps, but it’s still in this Setup step when you upload your book’s content (in the Interior step) and design your cover.

When you click on the Interior link, you can download a pre-formatted Microsoft Word template that you should copy and paste your book into. The template is very convenient to set up but I’ve noticed one frustrating problem: It’s a GIGANTIC filesize and can be a resource hog and is really inconvenient to email when you’re collaborating. So I suggest to people that they create their down document to write their book, and then, when they’re ready to publish, convert it.

Once formatted, I also suggest that you convert it to PDF and then upload the PDF version. You can upload the Word version (and I have for some books) but I’ve found that CreateSpace sometimes makes slight formatting adjustments and they messed up my Word version of the document. But if I upload a PDF that problem (of course) doesn’t exist.

When you upload your book, CreateSpace will automatically scan your book and let you know if it detects any problems and you can always upload other versions if you make corrections.

Also in the Setup step is creating the cover. Amazon has their own cover creator which is okay but not great. I used it for my Sales Funnel Bible book because I was fine with the simple cover but it’s not a great cover. You can get one designed by a designer (note: The cover has some very exacting standards when it comes to the size of the spine so make sure you know exactly how many pages are in your book before you get your cover created!)

When you’ve uploaded a version of the interior that you’re happy with, and when you’ve created the cover, then you complete the set-up.

CreateSpace will check your file — I think by a human. (They say it usually takes less than 24 hours and indeed they are pretty quick… I think 18 hours is the most I’ve had to wait).

After they check your file then you’re ready to move on to the next step…

REVIEW

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In this section you can get a printed copy shipped to yourself or you can review the book digitally. If this is your very first published book, I recommend shipping yourself a copy. It doesn’t cost much and it’s really informative to see it in print. I made a lot of changes once I’d seen my physical copy. I made the changes and had the option to ship myself another copy (although my subsequent reviews have all been digital). I also love how fast CreateSpace is at sending out review copies. Seriously, it’s amazingly fast.

You can continue through the following sections (below) while you review your book. But once you’ve reviewed your book and are happy with it, then you go back to CreateSpace and click on Proof Your Book (see below) and you’ll have a chance to review it again or approve it.

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You can continue with the following steps before, during, and after you review and approve your book.

DISTRIBUTE

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You can set a lot of this stuff up while you are waiting for your book to be reviewed or a review copy shipped to you.

Channels are the places that CreateSpace will sell your books. They have 3 default channels: Amazon, Amazon Europe, and CreateSpace estore. I sell books through the first two but I suspect the third one is kind of a filler channel; I don’t make sales through here nor do I ever point someone to this channel.

They have 3 other channels you can select for something called “Expanded distribution” and they include bookstores, libraries and academic institutions, and CreateSpace direct. Again, I’ve sold books through the first two and the last one seems kind of pointless to me.

A note about distribution to Canada: As a Canadian, I have a lot of Canadian friends and family and clients (but mostly friends and family!) who want to buy the book from Amazon.ca. And after publishing my book on CreateSpace I tried to figure out how to get it distributed to Amazon.ca. I did some research and basically discovered that Amazon.com and Amazon.ca operate very differently and publishing from CreateSpace will automatically publish to Amazon.com but not necessary to Amazon.ca. There isn’t really a way to easily get your books to Amazon.ca, you just have to hope that it happens. (Well, I guess there is a workaround: If you become your own book distributor but this requires you to get the books printed from CreateSpace and sent to you and then you send them out — not a very efficient or cost-effective process, in my opinion). That said, my wife and I have both published booked on CreateSpace and they appeared on Amazon.ca in under a month. So either they are not automatically pushing over everyone’s books or they somehow determine that ours are to be sold in Canada.

Next is price. Price is pretty straightforward. You need to set the price for your book. This is the hardest part because — hey — you want to make some money on your book but you also want it to be affordable for people to buy. Fortunately, you can change this easily (the price isn’t printed on your book cover unless you put it there). I do a lot of writing and thinking about price and pricing strategies on this blog so you might want to do some reading about that here, although this is generic (for any product or service) and not specific to book publishing.

Amazon sets a minimum price you HAVE to sell your book at (and I presume they’re building in some basic printing costs as well as profit into that price). This is the retail price you’re setting — you can buy your own books at a lower cost (I believe it’s Amazon’s minimum, although I might be wrong).

Cover Finish is a funny step because all you do is select whether you want glossy or matte, although I’m not sure why you don’t do that in the cover step during set-up. (shrug)

Description is where you write the book’s description and your author bio, as well as select some other sorting/finding tools like the BISAC code (you can only choose one) and search keywords for the book.

Publish on Kindle is an optional step. If you choose to publish on Kindle, your CreateSpace ID won’t work. You’ll need to sign in at kdp.amazon.com with your Amazon ID and you can connect those two accounts here. They will try to convert your book for your although you might want to re-upload your own version with some adjustments (which is what I had to do because their conversion looked weird).

SALES AND MARKETING

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I never use this tab. Partly because the Sales Tracking can be done on the page you get to when you first sign in, and partly because Marketing Resources is okay but not as robust as one might like, while Get Ideas has some potential but it links you to the CreateSpace Community forums.

YOU’RE DONE!

Just follow through step-by-step and you’re done. Your book publishes on Amazon! Of course there are more steps in the follow-up to market your book and make sales, plus (depending on where you live) there might be some payment/taxation information you’ll need to share with Amazon but that’s all outside of the scope of this post.

Follow these steps and publish that book!

Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and he's a real estate investor and a copywriter for real estate investors.