That was fast.

A Createspace update:

I ordered a proof copy of Castle Falcon yesterday (May 25).  This is one method of checking your work, and recommended.  It’s really the only way to spot issues like cover alignment, large enough gutters for the binding, and whether or not the book manufacture is any good.

The e-mail confirmation of the order came in yesterday (May 25) at 2:33 PM.

I found the e-mail confirmation of the shipping of my order on my e-mail this morning, dated May 25, 6:41 PM.

How do they print a book that fast?  Even a softcover?

Createspace

Createspace is basically Amazon’s hard copy publishing system.

The interface is pretty easy, same as with Kindle. Upload a PDF of your inside material, and an image file of your cover. I used the “full cover image” method, same as for Lulu. Createspace has some decent tools to create “off the shelf” covers using themes, but these won’t be as good (in my opinion).

Createspace assigns an ISBN to your work, and will automatically generate and place the barcode on your cover artwork for you.

The publishing interface is a lot more elaborate than Amazon’s Kindle interface, but very easy to navigate.  Their online preview system is very good, showing exactly how your book would be laid out, cover and all.  You also have the option of ordering a physical proof copy for about ten bucks.  The publishing process is set up on a chart with green checks showing what’s done, and you can skip around or go back if you need to make changes.  I found I had to make a lot of changes as I spotted formatting issues.

The bad news is that Createspace doesn’t have any other options besides softcover (essentially a large paperback.)  It’s one reason I stuck to Lulu for hard cover versions.  Maybe this will change.

As with Lulu, there are prices to set, and distribution choices to make.  Three of the distribution choices (Amazon, Amazon Europe, and Createspace Store) are free.  An expanded distribution option costs $25, and I’m still figuring out exactly what that means.

I’ve set up the book and am ordering a proof copy, but haven’t decided to pull the trigger on full publishing for this method yet.

Self-publishing fun

I’ve been fooling around with various self-publishing methods for a while now. I learned the ins and outs of Lulu while making gift books for my family, and frankly, that taught me ninety percent of what I needed to know for other methods, like Kindle or Createspace.

Formatting is always the prime issue. I compose my manuscripts in Microsoft Word, but methods of converting Word to workable text for publishing aren’t the best. For a real professional job, you need a real publishing program. I was fortunate that Adobe Indesign was part of the Adobe suite I had purchased some time ago (mostly, I use Photoshop and Acrobat in my regular work).

Indesign allows you to lay out the book as it will appear, with good tools for adjusting text for appearance, although the interface is more difficult in some ways than Word and it took a lot of learning. Fortunately, I don’t have to learn all of it, just what I needed to make a simple all-text black-and-white book.

Once you have that Indesign document, you can output PDF files that are accepted nicely by either Lulu or Createspace (the same file, actually). The Kindle plug-in I mentioned in an earlier post does fine for Kindle (.mobi) files that import quickly into Amazon’s publishing program.

The covers I did myself (the one seen in earlier posts was for Kindle). For the Lulu books I designed artwork for the “one-piece” option, that basically wraps a single cover image (text and all) around the entire book (even further if you’re using dust jacket layouts).

Next post: Taking those old Lulu gift books into the public space.

A quick P.S.:

Don’t go running out and trying this stuff with your favorite unpublished manuscript until I get to the end of this series. There’s things you need to know.