Monday, July 22, 2013

Createspace--A Lesson in Humility

I've been putting up my backlist books for Kindle and Nook so when I decided to make my APRIL KIHLSTROM'S BOOK IN A WEEK WORKBOOK available through Createspace, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I mean, how hard could it be?

First I reformatted the workbook for print. Time consuming but not difficult--or so I thought. And I had a cover I loved plus lots of quotes for the back cover. Piece of cake. I signed up, went through the steps and sat back to wait for my book to appear in print. And got a profound lesson in humility. (Hey! I see you laughing out there--cut it out!)

What I learned:

1) Everything takes longer with Createspace.

2) They have amazing people who can fix some cover mistakes--up to a point.

3) Covers--unless one uses one of their templates--have to be uploaded as a pdf file.

4) Microsoft Word created pdf files have too low a resolution for covers.

5) Turns out my photo software program GIMP can save in pdf format. Woohoo!

6) If one uses something like photoshop or GIMP it's essential one pays attention precisely to their instructions because their staff can't fix things if one doesn't leave room for a barcode.

7) Even trying to calculate exactly the sizes, margins, etc. they asked for, it's possible to screw it up.

8) Did I mention their people are amazing at fixing things if one enough is close to what they need? (One should not depend on that, however, and it has to be "close enough.")

9) (Okay, I can hear the laughter starting already....) Print books need page numbers. Seriously, I know it sounds dumb, but I forgot that. I'd been putting up so many of my back books for Kindle and Nook that I FORGOT TO PUT IN PAGE NUMBERS for the print version! Mind you, I had a Table of Contents that listed page numbers--I just hadn't remembered to put them on every page.

10) Adding page numbers can change the layout of the pages.

11) If you have a Table of contents, it's really important to double check that when the file is uploaded, the page numbers in the Table of Contents match the actual page numbers for each section. Sometimes in the uploading things change.

12) (More laughter coming, I can just tell....) Text in a print book is right justified on the pages inside the book. I know, I know--but I really didn't think of it until my third attempt to get things right!

13) Once the cover is finally accepted and I had the interior text and layout the way I wanted and page numbers correct, I approved the book and it went "live" on Createspace and I got a message that within 5 to 7 days, the book would be live on Amazon. Fortunately, Sheri Cobb South clued me in that it might happen much faster. It did--in a matter of hours. Woohoo!!!

14) I still have no idea how soon it might be available other places besides Amazon. (It's now been just under a week.)  Update: As of today, the workbook is also available at Barnes and Noble (at least online)!

In other words, this was a lesson in humility for me--and a chance to learn a whole new way of doing things. Having now learned these things, I'm seriously considering making some of my older Regencies available in paperback, through Createspace, as well as for Kindle and Nook.

I hope my experience saves you some trouble and time if you are planning to use Createspace to publish. And hey, look at it this way, odds are you won't make as many mistakes as I did with my initial efforts!

Oh, and if you're curious about APRIL KIHLSTROM'S BOOK IN A WEEK WORKBOOK, you can find it here in on Amazon in paperback.