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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to tackle CreateSpace this weekend. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most annoying) how much of a trial am I in for?

And how long does it take to get a book done, available, and linked to your book's Kindle page?

 

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Createspace is a great platform, a real breeze to use: 1. Formatting a print book yourself for the first time? Not so easy: 7.

I actually don't remember how long it took for my paperback to show up on Amazon. A couple days? It linked automatically to the Kindle edition, but something I think you have to go into Author Central and link them yourself. I've heard people talking about doing that, at any rate.
 

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Creating the cover to the correct format/size so everything fit properly was the hardest part.  Overall it was quite easy I'd say 4 out of 10.

When I did this I noticed I ended up with 2 records in Amazon, one for ebook one for print.  I sent Amazon an email and asked them to link them together for me, and they did it almost instantly, very easy.  

I'm guessing you'll end up with two records as well, just sent them a note and they will link them together.

Good luck, it's worth the hassle in the end.
 

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If this is your first time formatting anything for print, substitute "the next week or so" for "this weekend".

The difficulty of your trial depends on how detail-oriented you are, how familiar you are with desktop publishing, and how much booze you have at hand, really.

Once you've produced and upload everything, it'll take a day or so for them to review and approve it, then you have to review and approve a proof. If you do an e-proof, this can take very little time; if you want a paper proof, expect to wait a week or so for it. Once you've approved the proof, it should be on Amazon in about a week, barring any sort of mysterious gremlins.
 

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Pay someone.  If you want page numbers and alternating headers and chapters that start on right hand pages and the occassional blank page where needed (which should be sans page number too), pay someone.

 

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One more thing I remembered, when u set up the "Gutter" parameters, if it comes out exactly the opposite of what you would expect, insert one blank page after your title page, and that should fix it.  

I spent a couple of hours banging my head on my desk on that one, but it felt so good when I stopped.
 

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I did my first CS book almost a year ago, and I'm doing a second one right now. If I (a tech neophyte) can do it without throwing something out a window, you can too. It helps to have as many decisions made as possible before starting (book size, cream vs. white pages, font choice & size, etc.). I'm currently taking a break from getting my document in the template, which I recommend using as it's quite helpful. Also, since I already have a book that's been through it, I'm using that document as another guideline for things like spacing (how many spaces before chapter heading, etc.).

And one big difference between e-book and paper book: justification. Paperbacks in Createspace will have to be fully justified.

On your annoyance scale of 1-10, I think you should only register a 2 or 3. Again, if I can do it...... Anyway, good luck! ;)

Oh, I forgot the most important part.... when you're finished and think you got it done, don't forget to order a proof before going "live." THAT is the real test. I admit there were one or two glitches that I had to fix after my proof, but it was nothing major.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Anybody want to give me some recommendations for things I'll have absolutely no idea about? Paper color, gutters, margins, book size, etc?
 

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philstern said:
Anybody want to give me some recommendations for things I'll have absolutely no idea about? Paper color, gutters, margins, book size, etc?
I chose cream for my first book, and must admit I wasn't thrilled when I first saw it. But the white seems so... stark. I'm going with cream again, although I wish it were a little lighter cream. My book size is 5.25x8, which seems pretty standard. It's sort of what used to be called "trade paperback" in the old days. And if you use the CreateSpace template, you shouldn't have to worry about the gutter, as that's taken into account in the template. At least, that was my experience.
 

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The first one took me hours.  I think I might have cried. But once I figured it out, it was easy to do the rest of them.  Good luck!
 

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Jena H said:
My book size is 5.25x8, which seems pretty standard. It's sort of what used to be called "trade paperback" in the old days.
This is the standard YA trade paperback, which is a bit smaller than the standard adult trade paperbacks for whatever reason. But if you write YA, 5.25x8 seems the way to go.

Lots of indies seem to like 6x9 because you can keep page count (and thus cost) down, but I find it a bit too big for my taste. It's much more difficult to fit a 6x9 paperback in a purse than a 5.25x8 size. (Although both are bigger than mass market.)

I like cream paper because I find the white to be really stark and cheap-looking. But be advised that once you've set cream vs. white you can't change that without having the spine redone (since it affects the thickness of the book).

I agree that the first time was a bit of a pain to muddle through (it took a few hours), but once you do it once it's super easy for each new book. It's down to less than an hour for me now, and that includes the proofread.
 

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philstern said:
Anybody want to give me some recommendations for things I'll have absolutely no idea about? Paper color, gutters, margins, book size, etc?
Start reading up on typefaces, leading, and kerning. Get some paperbacks off your shelves and look for the details of how they're laid out. What do you like? What bugs you? Think about how you're going to mark scene breaks. You'll likely need some kind of glyph. The more pages in the book, the more expensive it'll be, so a larger trim size will actually make a cheaper book because you'll fit more words on each page. My book is 99K words. At at 5x8 trim size, it runs to 380 pp. and costs $13.95. (CS won't let me sell it for less than $13.41.) The cream paper is not pale in color; it's a pretty rich cream. CS says it's printing process can be off by up to 1/8", so it's best to have a forgiving cover design -- nothing important too near the edges and a spine that can withstand being printed off-center (don't put a rule between the covers and the spine, for instance). If you use Word, you'll need to master the page numbering process, which is very annoying. There's no way around it, alas. The use of section breaks and the "link to previous" button in the header settings are key to getting the page numbering to work properly.

ETA: My advice would be not to skip the hard-copy page-proof stage. It's amazing how much more you see when you're holding the book in your hands.
 

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I have a different CreateSpace question. I am having my first paperback professionally formatted, but I'm not sure whether to use the provided ISBN (which shows the publisher as CreateSpace) or to pay $10 to show my own publishing "imprint." I understand this can have an effect on distribution. Which is preferable?
 

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Becca Mills said:
Start reading up on typefaces, leading, and kerning. Get some paperbacks off your shelves and look for the details of how they're laid out. What do you like? What bugs you?
I actually went so far as to round up a dozen or so books in the same genres my first two novels were in that I found the design of attractive, and measure them all, to get an idea of what was reasonably "normal". It helped that I happened to have a pica rule laying around. :)

There's a freelance book designer who's done work for various NYC publishers who has (had?) a blog that I found very educational, as well. Sadly, it's been a couple of years and I can't remember the URL anymore. Her name was something like Indira, I think? Maybe someone knows who I'm talking about. One thing I vividly remember her writing about is a strongly-held View about the number of lines a book should have on each page...
 
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4 for me although I haven't finished doing the cover yet (home internet is down so it's going to be a while before that happens...)

Also depends, as many things, on what your standards are.
 

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AndreSanThomas said:
Pay someone. If you want page numbers and alternating headers and chapters that start on right hand pages and the occassional blank page where needed (which should be sans page number too), pay someone.
Createspace has free interior templates in Word format that have alternating author name/book title in the headers and page numbers in the footers. Just decide on a book size (I went with 5.5" x 8.5"), and download the template, then just copy and paste your novel. It's very easy, and my proof looks awesome.
 

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For the most part I think that the hard part is in the formatting of the book, not the Createspace aspect.

You need to make sure that your cover and manuscript fit their guidelines, of course.

You also have to make sure that your manuscript is not ugly. :) (Cover too, I suppose . . .)

My advice is to be patient and take notes when you do it. Helps you later when you go back and do your next book.
 

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Formatting the actual book insides is a breeze for me, and only took me about an hour to do the first time. Didn't use the templates, just followed a guide online for formatting in Word. Then again it'll largely depend on how familiar you are with your version of Word. The only thing I had to brush up on was how to insert section breaks because my page numbers refused to cooperate for a while.

The cover though. Ugh. Cover designer did that for me but it was a really stressful week. Think she had a few meltdowns. Their bleeds did not mesh with my ebook cover and CS kept rejecting it based on size. (They kept saying it wasn't HQ enough, when it was, actually, thanks.) She had the most success using their templates...but even when she used their templates CS kept rejecting the cover on grounds of "you should try using the template."
 
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