preparing your createspace book

Okay sorry for the delay, but as I stated before you must prep your book and have several people read it before switching into publisher mode.

So, I have formatted my book for a paperback. This is the first of three versions of the book that we will be making.

I feel some people want real paper books, some want kindle versions and some people are e-book readers. It’s not that hard to make all three, and its good practice for my upcoming the book; “Get Published Today!”

Of course you could easily skip the ebook and the paperback version and just do a Kindle. That way it is available on Amazon and certainly easier, as you don’t have to design the back cover. It’s your book. It’s your choice.

As for front matter. Some people prefer to simply include their title, a copyright page, then head into the book. Other authors prefer to have that a complete list of front matter (Table of Contents, dedication page, acknowledgements, etc.) again it is your choice.

Okay, you should have a book formatted correctly in in word and a cover.
If you need help with either of these chores there are help pages on CreateSpace that have templates for books as well as cover design.
And if you do not feel you have the skills to format the cover, CreateSpace has a cover creator that you can customize.

Okay here we go.

The Paperback
Log in or create an account on

You do this at the left hand side of the screen.
Now you will select “book” from the menu just above the book example and to the right.

A pulldown menu will appear. Chose the first selection; “Publish a trade paperback”

Now fill in the information concerning your book: title, it is a paperback
Next, select the guided step-by-step process.

Fill in the next form with information about your book. This is your real or pen name, what you want the world to know. A series would be if the book was to be one of many titles.

On all of these fill-in-the-blanks there is a “what’s this” section that explains more details.

As you can see you do not need to put in the publication date. CreateSpace will take care of that

Once you have your title information, you go to the ISBN page.
I have my own ISBN’s but you should read the differences. My lazy take on it was that if a best seller came along, I could get a new version with a better (more than free) ISBN.

Next the interior.

This is a little more complicated and I will get into it on the next blog. I use the common 6×9 format and I will tell you the settings I use for my paperbacks.

Remember, at this point you should have a typo free manuscript that has been read by several people who are not reading it and stroking your ego, but seriously copy editing it.

photos will be in the kindle and paperback versions.

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Overview of creating a paperback on CreateSpace

This is a walk through of a CreateSpace Paperback book.

Sign into or create an account on

On the left “My Account” under “Member Dashboard” click on “Add New Title”
This will bring you to a new page
1. Name of project – Create an interesting title
2. Chose paperback
3. Chose a setup process
If you know what you’re doing, choose expert. We will go through the guided process
Select “Guided”

Title Information:
Make sure your title is what you really want
Subtitle – you need one of these, even if it is “A Novel”, or it could be “Murder on an Alaskan Cruise” or “A Sicilian Cookbook”
You would be the primary author. You could use a pen name.
If you have a series (like my 3by3 Writing Method) of books check the box that says “This book is part of a series”
There are instructions about this under each question in blue saying “What’s this?”
The publication date is when you publish… you can’t pick a date in the future. The site will fill this in, but if you are republishing the book you put the original date in here.
Now we move onto the ISBN page.
The inexpensive way to go is get a free CreateSpace ISBN however this immediately identifies you with CreateSpace. If you are setting up a publishing company you might want to contact RR Bowker and buy your own set of ISBNs
The middle option of custom Universal ISBN is limited. Clicking on the choice explains this option, but you cannot sell to Libraries or Academic Institutions. Of course you can always sell to anyone you want to buy purchasing the book and shipping it to your customers.
It is highly suggested you read about ISBNs before making your choice.
I have bought my own ISBNs for my publishing company.
Next is the interior of the book.
I suggest cream and a “Most Popular Trim Size.” Unless you are publishing an oversized children’s book, stick with the norm.
I am going to include the link to my template for a book again.

However I suggest reading this whole post as there are templates mentioned below that might suit your particular format.

I suggest formatting your book using MSword but “save as” a PDF for an upload file.
I do all this work myself but you can see at the bottom of this page you can get help for a reasonable price.
I use a blank template that I downloaded into Photoshop. That way I have control of the entire front, back and spine.
CreateSpace has a cover creator that allows you to use their designs with your modifications.
You write your information, upload photos and your publishing experience is simplified.
On the left side of the page are set up instructions, how to make a cover and how to make an interior PDF
There are templates available on these pages also.
On the left side how to create the interior of a book are several MSword templates. They are great!

In reality, if you spent a day, you could get your book totally uploaded on CreateSpace. Of course you would have to write all the support material (front matter, book, dedication, front and back cover material beforehand.
But this site is easy to use and if you use their templates, you could be published in no time

Next we will go through the details of making the interior of the book.

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a different post

I am working on the next post which will detail the POD process. While you’re waiting for me to finish, you might want to take a look at the first few pages of my newest book; Killer Performance

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The three venues for free self-publishing an overview

Here is an overview of the three choices of free self-publishing avenues that we will be detailing over the next month. There are other companies that will publish your book and you will get similar results. These companies offer more hand-holding and advice, yet they do charge money for this support.
My goal here to get you into print for free. I will be leaving some of the details out of this blog, as this is the basis of my next book.
However, I figured this process out, so can too.
For those who want a step-by-step detailed explanation, the complete how-to book will be available in early 2014.
We will be working on three separate versions of your self-published book. The first and most difficult will be the POD or Print-on-Demand version.
This is essentially a paperback book stored in a computer, but the book is manufactured as orders come in. You can also order copies for yourself. You will have to pay for the books you order at a reduced price, but the preparation of the paperback is free, so is the listing on Amazon.
I chose Amazon’s CreateSpace because it is free and is relatively easy to use.
If you want to go to the website and bang around, create an account before I get into he details, you can go to
If you want more hand-holding, just google Print-on-Demand, POD or self-publishing and you will find several companies.
There will be some technical expertise needed to publish your book, but that is expected. If you do not want to do anything but publish your words without a cover you could go to the eBook section as that is exactly what the third selection of this discourse will be. We
Then what we will do is take your book, cut off the back of your cover and create a Kindle version. The great thing about the Kindle version is that it can be downloaded and read on phones, PCs, Apple computers and, of course a Kindle.
This website
Then we will take the same files you used for the kindle and create another book using a different website. This one is going to be an eBook using Smashwords –

Now as promised, here is the link to a template to a book in MS word.

You should open it and take a good look, save a copy and see how you can use it. If you have specific questions about the file make a comment on the blog.

I am making this template available to you for a short period of time. Take advantage of it.

If you like the first few pages you could buy my book “Holly Would, But Stacy Won’t” on amazon or

Coming up creating your POD book and getting it ready for publishing.

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Self-publishing your book versions

We are moving into self-publishing.
Even if you land an agent, you may put this publishing aside and work with your agent to prepare your book for presentation to publishers. Do not lose this work because in the maze of publishing your book may not be bought. In this case you can restart your self-publishing journey.
We will be discussing three versions of your book that you will publish –
Your paperback book to be sold online (most bookstores will not carry self-published books)
A Kindle version (this will have the interior of your book modified for downloading)
An eBook that will be a text only version of the book published through Smashwords.
Each of these versions will have different prices but your book will be available in many forms across several platforms.
When a writer moves into the seat of the publisher, there are more details to work out.
The words of the book’s story now have equal weight to the cover, blurbs, front matter and formatting.
At this point you must be very careful. Resist the temptation to rewrite or revise the book. The main concern is to prepare the book.
There are a series of chores to do (details will be in the book) but here is the list not in order of priority, but in order of front to back.
These can all be done by the author if you have a working knowledge of Photoshop and Microsoft Word.
If you do not have the ability to design a cover, there are programs that will design the cover for you. We will discuss these later.
The alternative is to hire someone to make the cover for you. You could hire a professional, or perhaps an art or college student. The process is not that hard if you are clear on your plan and do not make constant changes.
1. Cover
a. Font
b. Picture/graphic
i. Sometimes images from the book
ii. Sometimes a generic image like a romantic pose or the Eiffel tower
c. Design
d. Spine information and design
2. First page
a. Try to get prepublication reviews from influential or well-known personalities
b. Place short quotes on the first page
3. Title page designed
4. Copyright page (can be copied and then modified from a similar book)
5. Author page – this is an optional page that lists the author’s other publications
6. Dedication page – a short paragraph dedicating the book to an individual
7. Acknowledgement page – here you thank you mom, your readers, your family and your copy editor.
8. Table of contents – your chapters listed with page numbers
9. About the author – a paragraph or two that describes your real job and a brief description of your life.
10. Back page
a. Image or design
b. Back page two paragraphs to entice the reader to buy the book similar to your pitch
We will go into the details of these pages in future blogs
Remember, your job is to prepare your book for publishing.
If you decide to rewrite the text, take a week or two and dedicate that time to the rewrite, then you’ll have to make sure the revision has been copy edited again. You do not want mistakes or typos in your book.
In the next installment of this blog there will be a template to format your book, with text boxes that contain advice. You should delete the text boxes if you are using that template for you book.
Be forewarned that this link will only work for a short time. This is a bonus for my readers. The link will disappear shortly and be reposted elsewhere when these posts will be included in the upcoming 3by3 book.

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what to do waiting for agent response

You’ve sent out your queries waiting to see if you get a few bites. Remember you a competing not only with the 100,000 other writers trying to get representation, but you are competing with the agent’s clients. The writers already signed want the agent to sell their book, not yours.
Instead of pacing the floors waiting for a response, it is time to prepare to get published.
If you are lucky enough to land an agent all this work will not be wasted.
Here is a list of things you will need to accomplish while waiting for responses or working on your pitch if you get rejected.
1. Write your back page book description
a. Three paragraphs similar to your agent pitch to get people to buy your book
b. Make it enticing, don’t give away the ending
2. Write your acknowledgement page
a. Thank your family
b. Friends
c. proof readers
3. Write your one paragraph blurb that you put on the last page of your book
4. Look through some books and see how they start chapters, pick one that you like.
5. Make a list of the four pictures or images that you think would be good for your cover
6. Make a list of your chapter titles
7. Go to a library or bookstore and find a book like yours and copy all the information on the copyright page that you will modify in yours
If you are serious about getting your book into print any way possible, you will have to consider self-publishing. When you start moving toward doing yourself there’s a lot of extra work to do.
In the next blog I am going to explain the details of formatting your book in MS word with headers, front matter (dedication, table of contents, acknowledgment and chapter beginnings).

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google docs revisted

I am taking a short pause here from the agent rant to let you know that google docs has improved.
You can also save files as word files or a pdf.
This improvement could be a challenge to open office as well as Microsoft office.
Certainly this is an affordable (free) alternative when considering collaborative writing…
Check it out on your google drive –
Next post – back to getting your book published.

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The agent search

Our next step is to entice an agent into believing they can sell your book.
Of course you believe your book is worthy, now you have to convince an agent to try and sell it. You need to exhaust all legitimate agent possibilities before you head start the very time-consuming and difficult process of self-publishing (and self-promoting) your book
How do you do this?
You need to find the agents who want your book and that you think will do a good job selling it to publishers.
Patience and perseverance is the key to this game.
Remember, even if you do not find an agent to represent your book, you can be published.
For your information, it took 35 rejections before the author of the best-seller; “The Help” landed an agent ad “50 Shades of Gray” was originally released by an eBook publisher in Australia.
By the way, there is no correlation between “quality writing” and sales.
Here is a quote from Wikipedia regarding “50 Shades of Gray”: Sir Salman Rushdie said about the book: “I’ve never read anything so badly written that got published. It made ‘Twilight’ look like ‘War and Peace.'”
So, keep trying to sell you book, and remember it is people connections that work the best, not blind, random emails. (Hint – go to a writing convention)
You have divided your agents in to best, okay and last (A, B, C) you will start with a few A’s a few B’s and a few C’s.
Go to their websites and examine what that agent specifically wants. You don’t want to send all the A agents your first attempt. If your query or chapters get a poor response, you’ll have to rework your pitch and this way, you’ll still have some A agents left after the revisions.
Create a spread sheet or list of when you sent your query.
You may have to follow up (some agents do not respond) and you don’t want to send to an agent twice
Agents work hard for their clients and you’re not one of them, so be patient, follow their submission guidelines.
Next post… links to websites that display great query letters and what to do while waiting for your responses.

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Preaparing for your agent search

Things you must do before contacting agents.
1. Have a completed manuscript
a. It has been completely read and corrected by a copy editor
b. It is property formatted
i. Double spaced
ii. 1” margins on all sides
iii. Title page with contact information
iv. No extra spaces at the ends of paragraphs
v. 12 point fonts preferably times roman or courier
vi. Each paragraph indented one half inch
vii. Each new chapter with heading one third down the page
viii. Page number, title and your last name top left in the header on each page
2. You know the word count (not the page count) of your book
3. You know the genre (and the minimum word count for your genre)
4. You have written a kick-ass, intriguing, grammatically correct two page summary of the book that includes how it ends.
5. You have written a five paragraph pitch of the book –
a. First paragraph – greeting, your name, book title, genre and word count.
b. Second paragraph the setup of the book
c. Third paragraph the body of the book
d. Fourth paragraph the ending and resolution of the book
e. Fifth paragraph a thank you, hope to hear from you soon
6. Make a list of all agents that sell your genre.
a. You must not send your murder mystery manuscript to a children’s book agent
b. Break your list into 3 sections with the “A” group is the agents you really want
c. “A” agents list, “B” agents list and “C” agents list
7. If at all possible go to a writer’s conference
a. talk to writers
b. take seminars
c. meet a real agent
Once you have accomplished these items, you can move onto the process of contacting agents which we will discuss next.

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here we go

It has been since a few months since my last post.
I have been working with my critique group and just finished the final version of my newest novel “Rick, Renee and The Fat Man”.
What I will be doing now is chronicling the process of searching for a traditional agent, then if that does not pan out, I will be writing about the details of getting this funny story into print: paper back, kindle and ebook.
If you follow along, you’ll get a glimpse at the next book in the 3by3 writing method series – publishing your book.
If the fates are with me and the manuscript is accepted, there the story of “real publishing” that will be posted here.
Some preparation has been done. I subscribed to Writer’s Digest on line and researched agents, then a spread sheet was created with names, websites and agent names.
The book was submitted last night to a very powerful agent.
In an upcoming post I will relate the story of meeting this person and how I came to being invited to send the entire manuscript.
Wish me luck! and follow along.
One way or another “Rick, Renee and the Fat Man” will be in print.

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