Paperback Writer – Making Books

While thousands of Indie authors get published via the eBook route, thousands more are venturing into the world of paperbacks. Over recent months I’ve been seeing more and more blog posts about one of the popular options – Createspace – so I thought it was time I found out a bit more…How the World Turns and other stories COVER 4 150x

Createspace is an Amazon company, so I was a little bit wary, not wanting to be persuaded to go down the ‘exclusivity’ route, but to my surprise that wasn’t an issue (as it can be with their ebooks). I already have a few ebooks on Amazon, although Smashwords is still the top favourite in terms of listing my complete bibliography (due to being able to list books as ‘free’ for as long as I like).

I began looking at Createspace with a view to knocking out a paperback copy of one of my shorter books – ‘How the World Turns (and Other Stories)’. My initial explorations proved two of my main anxieties to be groundless:

How much is it going to cost me?

Will it be time-consuming and/or technically difficult?

So the cost question is probably the one I was most fearful of, but Createspace use a model that relies on my new pet phrase – ‘Print On Demand’. This means that there’s no cost to the author at all (unless you choose one of their design options). Once you’ve formatted your book files, sorted out a cover, checked the proofs, completed distribution, pricing and other relevant info, the book is then made available on Amazon (Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, Createspace eStore etc) so it only remains for customers to order your book. At that point, the book will be printed and shipped. Easy-peasy.

As to the degree of technical difficulty, I suppose that rather depends on how well you know your way around a keyboard, and how familiar (or comfortable) you are using image software, PDF’s and the like, though you’ll only need to go down that route if you’re designing your own cover. (There are several options for adding your book’s cover, such as paying the design team, uploading a front/back PDF from your own design, or using Createspace’s software to do it yourself).

In terms of the content of your book, the process is similar to formatting for ebooks, though as physical books do have to fit a specific size, there are issues around margins, blank space and font size that are maybe a little more important to get right than with ebooks. There can also be problems with certain fonts if they aren’t embedded in the original document.

When you’ve done everything else, it just remains to agree the proofs. You can do this online, though they recommend you order an actual printed proof to be sure. This is especially important if there are concerns about printing on the spine of the book, if you’re unsure about glossy or matte for the cover, or if images/text have been reduced to fit.

No doubt the cost to readers, as with ebooks, will always be an issue – none of us want to price ourselves out of the market, but finding that perfect price vs royalties figure is never going to be straightforward.

Generally, though, I’m pretty impressed. Indie authors rock!

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