Friday, 20 September 2013

What does a Createspace book look like? Part 2

I have an extremely popular blog that gets a lot of hits every day about what a Createspace book looks like. Even nearly a year and a half on I get emails from people about it, but its starting to look a bit dated now, so I thought I'd give an update, as my books really don't look like that anymore.

The book featured on my original blog here was done at a cost of $120 (for the rights to use the photo, but everything was my own work. Interestingly enough, the books you will see in the pictures below, whole taking longer to produce, actually cost a little less. The benefits of experience ....


Here's my stack of paperbacks which I bought for some Goodreads giveaways. The covers for both books were done by Su Halfwerk at Novel Prevue and cost $60 each for the ebook covers and the paperback covers together. I have worked with Su several times now and would thoroughly recommend her. She is very reasonably priced, fast, and loves the challenge of wading through my endless requests to get the cover I want. Each cover she does for me is better than the last and I look forward to working with her again in the future.



You can see from my careful thumb placement the width of the spine, 1.8cm to be precise. Head of Words is 96,000 words and this paperback edition came to 308 pages. With these dimensions I am about to sell it for $7.99 and make roughly a dollar profit. 



This is the front. I used Createspace's standard 6 x 9 inch format. I've experimented with different sizes but the price is calculated on page length regardless of height so obviously the less pages there are the cheaper you can price it and/or the more profit you can make. My book The Tube Riders, for example, is 600 pages long, and priced at $17.99. I make about 20 cents profit so its hardly worth thinking about.


This is inside the front cover. For these two books I upgraded on the formatting and hired Suzie O'Connell from Welman Creek Books, who was recommended by a friend. For $50 she added some interesting detail to the chapter headings and the front inside cover, taking the original design of the outer cover and using the same style. I was very pleased and now it looks really professional. Createspace's in-house charges are very expensive but with a little shopping around you get get a really good deal. I don't sell many paperbacks but they're now in place hopefully forever.



Some of the internal detail that Suzie did for me, including interesting chapter headings and dropped capitals at the start of the first line.


Here's a little of the inside of The Man Who Built the World, with some little graphics and the header at the top. For these books the font is Garamond size 11. In my previous post I was using Times New Roman, which I have since discovered is designed for newspaper columns. Apparently two of the most popular fonts to use for books are Garamond and Baskerville. I actually found that with a long book, Garamond came in at quite a bit shorter than Times New Roman. The Tube Riders shrank from 624 pages to 584, meaning, of course, that I could lower the price a little.

Anyway, I hope these pictures are helpful. As always, any comments or questions are welcome. If you want to make sure you get my future blogs then please sign up for the mailing list on the top right.

Chris Ward
20th September 2013

19 comments:

  1. Thank you! I am considering self publication for a couple books and was quite pleased to find a blog, your blog, with details! I am wondering if you have any experience with creating an e-book first and then going to print? Best regards, and thanks again.

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    1. Hi Nancy, thanks for your comment. Yeah, I always do the ebook first. I sell perhaps one paperback for every 50 ebooks, plus the profit is much lower because of the print-on-demand costs. So for me, paperbacks always come second. However, I believe it is important to have as many formats available as possible because ebooks are still only an emerging market. In general though, I'm not one of these people who carries a box of them to every social event. I have one copy of each for myself and any other copies I get are for giveaways on sites like Goodreads.

      Setting up a paperback requires a slightly different formatting process, but while it's possible to learn all these things these days I'm very much in the camp of delegating tasks. My long term aim is to do this for a career so I want to spend most of my free time writing, therefore where possible I farm out tasks such as covers and formatting to outside people. It pays to shop around though - some services are ridiculously expensive and I've come across a lot of people set up as proofreaders/editors/formatters whom really aren't worth wasting an email on. In a lot of cases my cat could do a better job. I always go on personal recommendations and won't recommend anyone unless they've done a service for me that I was happy with.

      Good luck with it and if you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask.

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  2. They look neat, though I'm still surprised you can sell it for $7.99 and make a profit. I do like the extra little flourishes you've thrown in for the chapter titles, I've been thinking of experimenting with that but haven't found anything that really fits my stories yet.

    I've actually switched to writing stories in Createspace format and generating the e-book from that, as it's easier than going the other way. In particularly, since I'm working in a word processor rather than proper layout software, I'd load the e-book text into the file and discover the hyphenation was horrible so I'd have to revise some paragraphs to make it readable... then go back and re-edit the e-book.

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  3. Sorry, I think I set them at $8.99 but for some reason Amazon discounted them ... for one book the minimum list price is $7.45 and the other $7.69, so yeah, at $7.99 I would still make a small profit. I sell hardly any paperbacks though, so they're really just there as a service. If any of my books took off I would probably raise the price a dollar or two.

    That's pretty interesting about converting the paperback into an ebook. I always see the option but as I usually do my ebooks months before I get around to doing the paperbacks I've never used it. I have two books coming out hopefully before Xmas which will complete a three book series, so for those plus a refresh of volume one I've commissioned a formatter to do both. I'm basically a computer illiterate and its far easier to pay someone else to do them for me than spend hours trying to do it myself.

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    1. I have wondered whether doing it myself made sense compared to paying someone to do it; at some point, you're making more money from spending that time writing than you save from spending it formatting, so when and if I reach that I'll probably start farming the work out.

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  4. Hello Chris, thanks for this post and Edward's interesting point about starting with CS to go to Kindle afterwards.
    I think you'll find your link to "Indie Proud" is wrong - it gets us to a music site. I googled Suzie and the name of her company and did find her (though her site had moved to be "Wellman Creek Books".
    In peace, Eric.

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    1. Hey Eric, thanks for your comment, glad you found it useful. Suzie has changed the name of her company now so thanks for letting me know. I've updated the link now.

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  5. Hi Chris, I am about to begin creating a book of my watercolor travel sketches so I am looking for examples of books with pictures in them. Create Space looks like the best choice for me, I would just like to see some layout ideas and thoughts on print quality from people creating books of artwork or photography. Your blog is very helpful and I thank you for it, but I would love some suggestions about where to find Create Space users that have produced books similar to what I plan to do. Sandy

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    1. Hi Sandy, thanks for your comment. I don't know of any I'm afraid, but if I hear of anyone doing anything similar I'll let you know.

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  6. What are the dimensions of The Man Who Built the World?

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    1. 6 inches by 9. It's the standard size for Createspace.

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  7. Hi Chris, I have just done a crash course in Self-Publishing by reading your wonderful blog! It's very kind of you to share your experiences and advice. Your books look wonderful. I am wondering about rights. Do you retain the rights to your book when you use Createspace, Amazon kindle or Smashwords? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Meredith, glad you found the blog useful. Basically, the rights are always yours. Those sites are just distributors for your work and as such take a cut for their efforts, but they have no rights to your work and you can publish/unpublish if/when you chose. That's one of the great things about being in indie publishing - you are in command of every part of the process. Each distributor will assign your book an ISBN or an ASIN, but these are just cataloguing numbers. You can't use them elsewhere, but they don't infringe on your book rights.

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  8. Hello,

    Thank you for posting this and putting my mind at ease about how a Createspace cover might look like in person :)

    As you're now experienced in the formatting (and I'm a complete baby), I want to ask you something.
    Did you have problems when editing it in the Microsoft word template, downloaded from CS? I'm not sure I'll word this right, but I'm in the middle of editing now, and on some pages, the text gets cut in half and continues on the next page, leaving the previous page half blank. Backspaces and enters are no use, it all gets ruined. And I've been using Word since 1995, and while I am aware that sometimes it acts like a spawn of Satan, I really don't know how to handle this.

    Thank you in advance,
    J.

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  9. Thanks for this post. I'm about to try and create a title on Createspace so this has been illuminating.

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  10. Chris, what country are they printed in? Thanks!

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  11. I attended a seminar that said we should pay for our own ISBNs and not use the free one offered through Create Space. What is your opinion about this? I am about to publish my first book with a partner. I appreciate your sharing your experiences. L

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    1. Hi L, I've always just used the one Createspace assigns. I've never seen any reason not to. I know some people buy them in batches, but to be honest I sell so few paperbacks (typically less than 10 a month) that it's not something I'm happy about paying out for.

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  12. Chris, Thank you for this. It is very helpful. I started out with Balboa Press and had a bad experience. I am now considering Create Space or Lulu, the second post of your books look great. The larger wording on the spine looks great. I also like the additional graphics and lettering on your chapters. Very Nice!

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