12 December 2011

CreateSpace Part 2

When making decisions about the layout of the print copy, I looked through books I own and checked how each was laid out, taking note of the things that were the same or similar, and the differences.
Some, but by no means all, of my books start their chapters on the right-hand page.  Some start chapters on the next page, and just one or two leave a space and begin the next chapter/section further down the same page. 
Most of my sections are short, and so I decided to start new sections on the next page. 
I already had my copyright information from the Smashwords and Kindle front matter, and again checked through some books to see how the opening pages were laid out.  While basically the same, there were a few minor differences in the order - some had reviews, some had author biographies.  
I uploaded the interior (content) file.  Up to this point it hadn't been too difficult, and happy that I was now just minutes away from finishing I started on the cover.
How wrong you can be!  While it wasn't terrible this part did give me more headaches than anything else.  You basically have two options at this point.  Use the CreateSpace cover creator, or do it yourself.  I'd had a cover created,  but it was literally the front cover used on the Amazon and Smashwords sites.  The original was the correct size for a print copy and I'd reduced the size for the ebooks.  The cover also contained my name and the book title - obviously.
The Cover Creator wizard doesn't give you a lot of options.  It has a set of templates, and once you've selected a template you're taken to the main screen with some options for changes.  There aren't many things you can change, and information such as author name and book title are pulled from the information you've already input into your project file.  I looked through several of the templates, but could not find one that didn't have the author and book title, which meant that information was appearing twice.  No doubt someone will tell me there is a template without this, but I couldn't find it!  In addition you can't change the font type, size, or alignment other than choosing another template.  Okay, change of plan.
I went back to the main site and downloaded a 'do-it-yourself' template.  These are based on the trim size of your book so you need to know how big your book is going to be before finalising your cover.  The zip file I downloaded contained a .png file and a .pdf.  I opened the .png file in PhotoShop so I could add my front cover image, and create the back cover blurb and the title/author info on the spine.  The file has guidelines showing where the trim edge is, plus a pink/red area, which is the bleed area.  There is also an area on the back cover you need to leave blank for the barcode to be inserted by CreateSpace.
I'm not the whizziest person in the world with PhotoShop, and I could have asked Bev who designed my cover to do it for me, but it was the weekend and I was determined everything was going to be uploaded before Monday arrived.
This slowed me down somewhat, but undeterred, well okay, a little deterred, I muttered under my breath, and got the cover file uploaded.  Eventually!!
Before I ordered my proof copy I upgraded to the ProPlan.  This gives you wider distribution channels, but it also means any copies you buy yourself are cheaper, and when you consider the copies you'll need for marketing, giving to family and friends, and selling at workshops this can add up.
I had an email from CreateSpace within 24 hrs advising my interior file had gone through the automated checks. 
The next step is to order your proof copy.  I did this as soon as I'd received the email from CreateSpace, and less than 12 hours later I had another email advising my order had shipped.  Given that this was a Sunday I was impressed - maybe I'm just easily impressed.  My proof copy arrived in about 8 days - again impressed!  I hadn't chosen one of the more expensive shipping options, it is close to Christmas, and I do live at the bottom of the world. 
As I said in the last post, there is nothing quite like holding a print copy of your own book.  All of that work, worry, heartache and effort in a physical form - it's special.

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