20 steps to submit your bound book to CreateSpace, updated

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When I wrote How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Published Worldwide in Days, I included a non-techie step-by-step to get your book out through CreateSpace. That’s now a bit out of date.

Yesterday I revisited CreateSpace and submitted How to Create a High School Graduation Book. So I had a double-dipping of the process (it’s in this new book and I actually did it myself yesterday–and it worked!) So let me share it with you in this blog, updated, ready to use:

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Assuming you will be doing the submission process yourself, the following 20 steps will help you get your book accepted by CreateSpace and printed almost free—without having to learn much about publishing or having to pay others a bundle for printing (usually hundreds to thousands of dollars) to get Ben’s big day remembered in print for­ever. The folks at CreateSpace are also friendly and helpful. Just email them if you get lost.

1. Open http://www.createspace.com.

2. The first page says “Publish your words, your way,” then gives you two paths to follow. One, open an account immediately. The other, take a look-see at what CreateSpace offers and what it needs from you.

3. Duh. Do the latter, although how to do that isn’t obvious. There are three choices at the bottom of the same blue box, below a goldenrod item where it says “Start a title for free.” Select “Authors” to enter the world of explanation before you must comply, then find the link “Learn more” above and open it. What appears is an excellent overview of the process.

4. If you want written explanations of the way CreateSpace will work with you to produce your High School Graduation Book, go to any of the items on this Authors page, including Overview, Cover, Interior, Printing Options, Distribution and Royalties, and Buying Copies. Don’t be frightened by the new terminology or the necessary steps needed to get your book accepted—it’s easier than it looks.

5. Some of the things you will discover are that all book covers are printed in full color and can be done free, you can get a free ISBN (you just saved $225), they will handle all of the orders for you, there is no standing inventory (they produce each book as it’s ordered so you needn’t invest in printing a starting stock), the agreement with them is non-exclusive, and you will receive a bit of royalty [about 30%] on every bound book sold.

6. At the Interior page, in the “Free Do-It-Yourself Option,” click Submission Requirements, where you can find the book sizes that CS offers. (You will probably want 6” x 9,” but there are lots of choices. Whichever you select, your cover must be the same size!) Pick a size and you will see a page template link. That’s a blessing. You will simply type your book on that page and the resulting copy will be ready-to-use, properly sized! (That means that the template has the correct margins and layout directions for a header and/or a footer posted.) 

7. If you want to hear a first-rate summary of what you just read, find the Self-Publishing Video Overview, right above “Distribution and Royalties.” Open the link that asks “Why self-publish your book with us?”

8. Convinced? Now it’s time to “Create a New Account.” Find that link in the blue banner near the top of any page. Fill it in, then log in.

9. We’ll look at the details in a moment, but in a nutshell, you must give your new book a title, like “Ben Barker’s High School Graduation Book.” Then you provide the needed materials for six major categories: Title Information, Physical Properties, ISBN, Interior, Cover, and Complete Setup (the last is a checklist of completion of the previous five.)

10. The core of what you send is the Interior (your book’s contents in one file) and the Cover (in another file). Later, you will see these combined into a mock version of the final, printed book. If it’s acceptable, you will order a proof to be printed and mailed to you (in a few days). That will cost about $25. [My blog comment: it cost $8 yesterday because I had it sent the slowest mail, about a week, but overnight or quick mail, $25 is about right.] If that printed book is what you want, you give an OK and the book is ready to be ordered: as Ben’s gift, as many copies as you want for the family, or for anybody in the world who wants to join Ben’s happy throng. 

11. Let’s go back and look at (or complete) the paperwork. The five sections in “Title Setup” don’t require much explanation from me: Title, Author, Description (very important that it be accurate and concise), Contributors (here you might list your helpers, like the proofreader, photographer(s), illustrator or cover designer, etc.), and a Subtitle (if needed).

12. Remember to save each item and page as you complete it—or you’ll have to do it again!

13. “Physical Properties” is where you pick black and white as your book’s interior type, the trim size, and the paper color (white unless there’s a reason to use cream).

14. What is this mysterious ISBN on the next page? It’s an identifying number that all books must have in some format—and it’s to be avoided when possible because its cost is pretty much a rip-off. You are the big winner here because CreateSpace will provide you with a free ISBN! Check that box. (You can find out about copyright here too.)

15. Now comes the big stuff without which Ben has no gift! You must provide the guts (copy, photos, anything inside the cover). Then the cover.

16. You have your entire book stored in two files, one of interior book copy, the other, the cover. Both should be in ready-to-go PDF format. In the “Interior” and “Cover” sections is where you upload each formatted file in its respective box, for submission.

17. Now check the “Complete Setup” to verify that the preceding five sections have been completed. You can’t get to the file review section until this is done and accepted.

18. When you click “Submit for Publishing,” CS will look it over to see that it meets their submission requirements. In the next day or two they will let you know by e-mail whether it’s okay as is or it needs changes. If the latter, they will tell you how to update (change) the files. If it’s ready to go, it’s time to order your proof! Appropriately, you complete the “Order Proof” and “Print Ready” pages.

19. It takes about a week [or faster] to receive your printed proof in the mail. Read it closely, and if it’s acceptable to give to Ben (and share with your family and the world), tell CreateSpace. If not, send back the corrections. Alas, if you return it, you must buy another proof (which really means you must pay the shipping again).

20. Then, as the book is being prepped and the proof is being sent to you, look at the Distributor and the Sales and Marketing Categories. At the outset, I wouldn’t upgrade to the Pro level, but do insert your book’s list price (you set the price and you can change it later), keep the Amazon and eStore sections enabled, mark the e-book boxes at Public and US and international sales, and, for the present, don’t upgrade to EDC.

Whew! This being an author and publisher is hard work. You wonder why 99% of your friends’ kids will graduate without their own personal High School Graduation Book? But you did it! You are a published author and Ben is one of a million with a lifetime memento of a lifetime accomplishment, thanks to you. Whew again! Giant congratulations!

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That’s it. If it helps, great.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

P.S. As usual, you get three free reports if you sign up for my free, monthly newsletter. Or you might check our website at www.gordonburgett.com.

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