Tue 23 December 2014

Amazon’s CreateSpace

Posted by. James Jackson This article was posted in Self Publishing

An Indie Author's Experience of 'Going to Print'

terran chronicles universe blogMany authors want to see their books in print form. This used to mean sitting around and waiting for a publishing company to 'discover' their work. Along comes the digital age and with it, the time of the 'indie author'. Individuals suddenly gain the ability to self-publish their writings, which has seen a measurable drop in print book sales. But the days of books are far from over, and in keeping pace with this ever changing market, Amazon's CreateSpace allows indie authors to self-publish in print.

Firstly though, what is an indie author?

Well definitions vary, depending upon who is asked. Many people assume indie authors are writers who produce poor quality, low priced, stories. This could not be further from the truth. At any point in time, the top 100 spots will be filled with dozens of indie authors. As for quality, it is true that individuals do not have access to the same resources as a publishing company, but that does not stop writers from producing top quality work. Another element to consider are the websites used by these indie authors. I am extremely proud of the amazing site created for me by www.jointplan.co.uk. Many indie authors have amazing websites.

An indie author is an independent who publishes their own work, either electronically, or in print via tools like CreateSpace.

In my efforts to convert my eBooks into the format required for CreateSpace, I ran into a number of interesting issues.

After much research, and debate, I ended up selecting the trim size of 8" x 5" (12.7 x 20.32cm). This seems to be the right size for science fiction novels. This caused an issue with my font size. My eBooks have a default font size of 12, which did not look good in the previews of the print version. I ended up dropping to a font size of 11, and the book suddenly looked great.

When converting the final version, the default PDF caused issues with my logo, which appears three times inside the book. Once the document was converted to PDF/X all was fine again.

The book cover is another area where great care needs to be taken. We had followed the template exactly, too exactly. Once the book's dimensions and page count are entered, a template is downloadable. Thin slices represent where the book's fold lines are. We cropped the binder to the lines exactly, and for anyone else doing this, I would suggest cropping to a mid-point between these thin guides.

Another area to be careful of, is the barcode. Do not, and I repeat, do not purchase the barcode until you are 100% confident all the elements in your book are perfect. Once it is bought, it is final. If the page count, or price, changes, then a new barcode is required. If a new barcode is needed, then the back of the book will change, thus the new cover will have to be uploaded.

Finally, order proofs and review them before going live. Resist the temptation to go live, as this is the absolute last chance to correct any errors. Once people buy 'the book', its words are set in stone. These books could very well be occupying bookshelves in 100 years' time... Now that's food for thought.

Team Terran went through a massive learning curve during this process, which means that the next book will be easier! Right? Well, we will find out soon enough.

Okay, I have a last minute update.
Somehow, during the revision process, I 'released' the print version of 'First Contact'... But, that is not the worst of it. Someone out there has ordered a copy and, if they selected faster shipping, will get theirs before I get mine. Such an irony. As the author, I will not be getting the first copy of my own book. I hope they like it, and it meets, or exceeds, their expectations.

Take it easy mates.

James Jackson