How To Self-Publish a Book with CreateSpace and Amazon

The topic has come up before about why you want to be seen as the go-to expert in the field that you choose to blog about. When you build up that kind of brand recognition and people not only know who you are, but they feel like you really know your stuff, it can open up a world of opportunity for you. And one facet of building up your reputation as an expert is to have your own published book.

In the past, only a handful of people could really get published, because they would have to go through a traditional publisher and those traditional publishers might not give you the time of day. After all, you’re not an expert yet. These days, it’s far easier to get started with a number of self-publishing platforms and one of the best is CreateSpace. It is technically an Amazon company, but it operates semi-independently. Here is a basic guide to publishing your own book through CreateSpace.

It Starts with the Manuscript

Of course, you can’t publish a book if you don’t actually have the content to go in the book! So, the first thing you’ll need to do is write the book. Don’t worry too much about formatting, images and the rest of that stuff just yet. Just sit down at your computer and start firing away. I personally used Google Docs (Google Drive) for its ease of access and many other authors prefer to use Microsoft Word. It’s up to you, but avoid straying too far away from the norm.

The second hardest part of self-publishing a book (I’ll get to the hardest part in a moment) is the actual writing. I personally wrote every word in my book, Beyond the Margins, while John decided to partner up with Peng Joon to co-author Blogging Secrets. Both of those books were published through CreateSpace. If you feel like you need some help with the writing or editing, hiring a professional freelance writer (like me!) isn’t a bad idea.

Formatted to CreateSpace Standards

Once you’ve finished writing and editing the core manuscript for your book, you’ll need to format it to fit the precise standards outlined by CreateSpace. Remember that CreateSpace does operate somewhat separately from Amazon, so you will need to create a new account with them. Once you do, you can start a book project and go through the wizard for all the components.

createspace-dashboard

Formatting depends on the format and “trim size” of your book. That’s effectively the size of the pages and the size of their borders. You could go through the trouble of figuring out all these formatting standards yourself or you could pay through the nose for an official CreateSpace person to do it.

Myself, I outsourced the formatting duties to the people at Polgarus Studio and was able to get it done affordably and quickly. The turnaround time was only a few days. There are many freelancers and small business that specialize in formatting books; just remember that they don’t proofread them for you!

The Book Cover Design

They say that you should focus on your strengths and outsource the rest. In the case of publishing a book with CreateSpace, that might also involve your cover design. Again, there is a service built into CreateSpace for this purpose, but it can unnecessarily expensive for less than stellar work.

I browsed my way through the various graphic artists on Fiverr to get the cover design done for Beyond the Margins and I’m reasonably satisfied with the results. Again, the cover needs to be formatted to CreateSpace standards. One side note that you should keep in mind is that your book needs to be at least 100 pages if you want to have text in the spine.

Do You Need an ISBN?

If you are only planning on publishing your book solely through CreateSpace and Amazon, then you don’t need to apply and pay for your own ISBN (International Standard Book Number). CreateSpace can provide one for you and it comes at no charge. If you plan on distributing your book on other platforms with other sellers, then you may need to look into getting your own custom ISBN.

All the Little Details

The CreateSpace wizard is very thorough in ensuring that you go through all the little elements needed to self-publish your book. This includes the exact title (and subtitle), the exact name of the primary author (and other contributors), whether this book is part of a series, the publication date, the book description and so on.

createspace-amazon

Once you have these pieces in place, you’re almost ready to have your own book show up on Amazon, just like my book here.

Proofing the Physical Copy

After submitting the cover design and manuscript in PDF format, and after going through the wizard to provide all the details needed (including pricing), you can then proof a digital copy of your book to make sure everything is as it should be. While you can approve it based solely on the digital copy, it is highly recommended that you order a physical copy (or two) to double-check.

You will need to pay for these books, plus shipping. It’s pretty cheap, so don’t worry about the expense. When you receive the books, you go over the proof to make sure everything is right. When you’re absolutely certain, you can hit the publish button on CreateSpace and your book will go live in a few days.

Promoting Your Published Work!

Remember how I said the writing is the second hardest part of self-publishing your own book through CreateSpace? Well, the hardest part is getting the word out, promoting your work, and raking in those sales. To be honest, though, self-publishing a book isn’t about the revenue it generates directly; it’s far more about the branding, bolstering your ability to be seen as the go-to expert. And that’s where you’ll find the real opportunities. Having a physical book just has more impact than saying you have “just” an e-book through your blog.

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22 thoughts on “How To Self-Publish a Book with CreateSpace and Amazon”

  1. Veg Momos says:

    Man! if you had wrote this before may be my book would’ve gotten popular instead of getting me wrecked, Once i tried to publish a book before on amazon but no good happened, however i’m writing a book again so it’ll definitely help me.

    Thanks for posting this

  2. faisal says:

    This seems so easy, who would have thought getting your book up and running would be so easy.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      It helps *a lot* that you can outsource the formatting and cover design. If you’re not already familiar with that sort of stuff, it can be a major headache.

  3. Hi Mike,

    I remember my very first title on Amazon – it wasn’t funny, I tell you. The formatting sucked and when I was through, the eBook was a mess on various devices…times have changed and I have now mastered the fine art of formatting on Amazon (I sometimes wonder why they don’t have tutorials to such effect).

    Createspace? Never tried it. Will check it out though and see if it’s worth my time.

    Do have a great day!

    Always,
    Terungwa

  4. UpMoney says:

    I hope someday I can publish some eBooks on Amazon. Would be great to be able to be on the digital store.

  5. Defence News says:

    Thanks for the information, I am really curious about publishing a book.

  6. sameer says:

    Hie,
    Excellent guide on time. i am going to write book soon and planning to publish on amazon. so thank you for this effort

  7. Mori says:

    John, when you say 100 pages, is there an actual word count or 100 pages in a microsoft word document? If there is a word count, what is it? Thanks

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      The guide was written by me, not by John.

      That aside, I mean an actual 100 pages (50 pages double-sided), so the word count depends on your font, page size, whether you have images, and other formatting concerns. You will be submitting a PDF to CreateSpace, not a Word doc.

  8. Ziminvestors says:

    Thanks JC. You are a star. Am glad I learnt this before my first book is out

  9. Rob Newman says:

    Thanks John,
    I have some ideas for a book in the future. I didn’t know how easy it was to create a book.

    I would be interested in knowing how you promoted your books and what worked best for you and lessons learned.

    Cheers
    Rob

  10. Zac Johnson says:

    Good stuff! I went through this process as well when I launched my book. I think it’s time I do another!

  11. JayT says:

    Great Content, Thanks for recommending Createspace, will look at it now. Just the right time for me as a newbie on amazon kindle. Thanks John.

  12. Tony says:

    Thanks Michael;
    You have inspired me to continue working on a document that’s been sitting on my hard drive for some time.

  13. Jan Koch says:

    Hey Michael,
    I’m currently playing around with the idea of self-publishing a book on WordPress security. Your guide will come in handy pretty soon I guess, thanks!

    Best,
    Jan

  14. Olayinka says:

    Great and awesome post.. I failed in my first launching book on Amazon, but with this piece i hope success is mine.

  15. Gaush Alam says:

    Awesome Post ! Thank You Michael Kwan for this Great Tips.

  16. Tim says:

    Thanks for this. Does it cost money to use Create Space?

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      In a sense, yes, because you have to order review copies and Amazon will take a good cut of the profits. Then there are the costs associated with formatting, design and so on. However, signing up and getting the book published technically don’t cost anything.

  17. Defence News says:

    I have some queries, can anyone help me.

    You can reach me via my site. Defence News

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