Publishing your work as a Paperback - a complete guide

There are lots of reasons for this, including getting copies as presents for friends and relations if you can't be bothered to buy them something else they don't want and will never use. You can also sit in bookshops selling and signing, and send copies off to publishers and agents in the hope they will notice, and finally, visiting your local library and persuading them to take your book as part of their stock. You can't do any of this with electric versions. Once it's on your bookshelf, you'll feel achieved, you can impress your visitors and will feel obliged to write more!

Publishing on CreateSpace is not that difficult if you follow the process, and is free as long as you do the formatting and everything yourself. As requested by fellow Incas, here is a step by step guide to getting your hands on that real book you have written. There are links to screen-shots at each stage, but I've not included them in the text because the page is long enough already! Feel free to print the page out to work through the process. Don't be afraid; it really is well guided and easy once you've overcome the fright!

  • Sign in to, Sign-in screen or create a new account as required. New sign-in form
  • This takes you to the Member’s Dashboard. Select Add New Title. To add a new title on your dashboard
  • Type in the name of your book, select Paperback and Get Started on the Guided process. Getting started on guided process
  • Add in the details as prompted - you don’t need to fill in everything - note the status details at the left hand side; you can see your progress here. Save and Continue. Initial book details
  • Choose the free assigned ISBN - this is great because it saves you having to register elsewhere and pay up to $250 for the privilege. Choose to assign a free ISBN
  • Once you have both of the ISBNs, you can now add into the title pages of your book - you don’t need to include these on your back cover, because CS do this automatically. Note how the status at the left is progressing - you can see any problems at a glance because you won’t have green ticks all the way down when you have finished the process. Select Continue. Assigned ISBN details Back to top of page
  • At the Interior screen, leave at the defaults - 6 x 9 is a size CS seem to prefer, and the Inca templates are built round this. You have the option to download the current CS template in any other size you prefer. Change interior and paper colour if you want. Interior selection page
  • At the bottom of this page you will find a number of options. If you select the PDF Submission Guidelines, you will be linked to help for creating the interior. If you have chosen anything but 6 x 9, there are Word templates for different sizes. You must use those, otherwise your book will be a mess. Paste your text into them WITHOUT formatting, otherwise your own hotchpotch will over-write the correct format. Guidelines for document formats See the Template and Instructions Page for full details as to how to do this.
  • Now you need to make sure your book file is complete, along with the ISBNs, Author profile, acknowledgements and a corrected index. To get into the best format for CS, you save your file as a PDF. In Microsoft Word, with your manuscript open, select Save As and choose PDF. Saving your file as a PDF
  • Now go along to Upload your book file. You may have to reselect the interior and the paper colour. Browse to your file and leave everything else at default. Loading your manuscript
  • Select Save from further down the page and then sit back and hope the internet doesn’t drop out while you are uploading. Depending on the size of your file, it may take some time. It may also fail the first few times where they blame your internet connection, however note that this upload seems to be highly dependent on browser. I’ve had trouble with Slimbrowser and Firefox, but have succeeded with Internet Explorer and Slimjet. This shot shows the error, Upload errors and a successful loading screen will look like this: Successfull loading indication
  • Note, you can also upload as a doc, docx or even rtf file, but with the PDF upload, you can see exactly how it will look by viewing it with a free PDF reader like Foxit or Adobe
  • Once the upload is complete, the automated print check will run, but you will be given the option of working on your cover while this happens. I would recommend against this. Pop out for a nice cup of tea and come back to see what they have suggested after the print checks. Automatic print checks
  • They will always find at least one issue with the file - don't worry about it, unless the problems are obviously caused by bad formatting. Report on issues with your manuscript
  • Launch Interior Reviewer and then select Get Started Start Interior Reviewer to have a look at what those are. It is at this stage you can see the book exactly how it will be printed. Note that you can ignore things like ‘embedded fonts’ and the number of DPI (dots per inch) on any illustrations. As you flick through, you will be able to see the errors highlighted. Once you’ve checked it (most of the time ignoring issues), click Save and Continue at the bottom of the page. Interior checking example
  • Choose your book cover style - matt or gloss, and then Select to build your cover On-line. Launch Cover Creator. Building your own cover Back to top of page
  • If you want to just be able to upload a cover picture, choose any of the designs listed, but if you already have the picture created and formatted, on page 4 you will find two templates, the Palm and the Pine for separate or combined back and front covers respectively. Selecting the cover templates
  • The following options show me choosing the Pine, because I like a challenge and this is the most complicated of the covers. I am prompted for options for spine etc., and then to upload my full colour image, ideally 12.95 inches wide by 9.5 high and a resolution of 300 DPI. I have had to include the back cover text on the jpeg to upload. Note that I've used the option of title and author on the spine. It's a lot easier than trying to place it correctly yourself. Uploading your cover image
    Slightly easier is the Palm, which allows you to upload separate images for front and back. You do have to put your own text on these images, so give the Incas a shout if you need help with that.
  • I’m being warned of a low resolution image - again, unless you really have uploaded a terrible picture, this can be ignored. Click Submit Cover and a preview will be generated. Make any amendments required at this stage and redo the layout until you are happy, repeating the submission each time. Note that my green light isn't so green as the other components, indicating that they are not totally happy with my submission. This is not a problem for a standard size book. Finished cover for submission
  • To complete the cover, choose your finish and select the Complete Cover button. Completing the cover
  • This confirms that the cover creation has been successful. Note the progress at the left is continuing. If you are happy with this, select the Continue button. Cover complete confirmation page
  • At the summary screen, you can go to Submit files for Review. Submit files for review
  • CreateSpace will check them through for formatting and email you within 24 hours. In the meantime, you can complete the marketing and pricing details. Link to pricing details Select Continue
  • You are now in the Distribution section. Note that 3 standard channels are already selected. We also need to include Expanded distribution, so click the Select arrows for each. Don't worry about the final item, Bookstores and Online; this becomes available once the book is submitted, and you can revisit to add it later. Distribution Channels
  • On the Pricing screen you are given minimum prices you can charge for the book. Note that if you select these, your royalty is zero. This is how much Createspace charge for printing your book. The figures will be calculated by using the Save button. Once you are happy, select Save and Continue. Pricing screen
  • Again it takes you back to the cover finish option - Save and Continue here.
  • At the Description page, add content in all available spaces. There is help available for all of these; I find this the most difficult to fill in - you are marketing your book here, and even the biography is important. If you can find someone with a talent for this, please share their details - we all need help. Once completed,Save and Continue. Completed description page
  • This final screen shows you the status of your submission. They are giving you the option to publish to Kindle. It is well worth it because then print and electronic versions are linked in the Store. They have also formatted it for Kindle and you can download a copy of this to check that things like bulleted lists, tables, illustrations etc. are going to look good on other devices. You can now log out and wait for the email to tell you that the book is ready to go to Kindle. Final status page
  • You should get a mail similar to this one if you have followed the formatting guidelines. Letter from Createspace Again, do not worry about the dots per inch.
  • Follow the link to your book, logging in as required. You have the option to order a digital proof. This is tempting, but it takes an age to arrive from the USA and has the word 'Proof' stamped in the back cover. Proof approval page
  • Far quicker and cheaper is to view the digital proof. Select digital proof Select that option and then Get Started. Get started prompt screen
  • You will now be able to see your book exactly how it will be printed. Check it for formatting errors (you shouldn't need to check spelling etc if you have had someone copy-edit it for you). Note that the Catalogue View will enable you to spot any problems with the layout at a glance - especially blanks where a chapter has ended right on the end of the page. Example of the digital proofer
  •  Exit the digital proofer and then click the Approve button or the Change to redo your submission. Submit or redo screen
  • If you choose to Change, you will be sent back to the beginning of the review process. You will now be getting the hang of this, so be not afraid. Warning about restarting the submissions
  • If you choose to Approve then you are taken to the final stage of your submission. Approval confirmation Back to top of page
  • And are given a large encouraging banner - Congratulations! Congratulations, you aren't finished yet banner
  • You close the window and can go back through the sales channels to complete the expanded distribution options for bookstores. Expanded distribution options
  • Eventually, after going round the sales loop again, you will be offered the chance to publish on Kindle. Do it; you've finished all the hard work. Option to publish on Kindle
  • You are warned that your Createspace manuscript was in PDF format. This doesn't sit well with Kindle formatting, so you will eventually upload your original Word document. Kindle does not like PDF files
  • Your publishing rights are then validated to submit your files to Kindle. Verify publishing rights

  • And once you've signed in to KDP, the import takes place. Importing from Createspace to Kindle
  • You are taken to your bookshelf where you will find all your usual prompts and most of what you have entered in the Createspace version. KDP Bookshelf

  • You can fill in or change other details if you like, uploading your document for the interior (Kindle can now accept PDFs). Everything else is the same.

  • Note: ISBN. That you have is for your paperback only. Do not use it for the digital version. Digital works can have their own ISBNs, but Amazon keeps the Kindle book references internal. Do not use paperback ISBN
  • And finally you can congratulate yourself as to how easy the Kindle publishing was. Take a deep breath, click Save and Publish. Now for a stiff drink and a week off writing!
    Save and publish box

Any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us via the website or mail.

Robert Wingfield - June 2017