Once I had published my debut novel, Blue Violet, on Kindle, I thought that the bulk of the publishing work was behind me. However, I underestimated two things: the number of people who still prefer print and how long it would take me to get the print version published.
I always planned on publishing a print version of the book. But I wasted precious time making some mistakes along the way. For other first-time self publishing writers out there, as well as for my own memory-refresher when I publish the next book, here are some key points about publishing the print version of the book.
I published the print version through CreateSpace.com which is an “On Demand” printing service affiliated with Amazon. On Demand means that no one carries inventory. They print as each individual order is placed. The cost of that is built into the cost of the book itself.
Here are the main areas that took more time than I anticipated or where I made mistakes…
1. Formatting the Text
After you spend all that time formatting the text for the Kindle version of your book, you get to do it again. This time you have to account for things like the margins where the spine of the book falls. Luckily, the site provides a template for you to use, and they also provide guidelines. The tricky part is that if you make any edits to your book after you’ve formatted you now get to either make those changes to both versions. Or re-format for print yet again. Hopefully you don’t have any changes to make after you format for print.
2. Book Cover
CreateSpace has a great Cover Designer tool. It has a bunch of different layouts that you can then adjust how you want. I already had a cover design that I wanted to use. It took me a full round of printed proof with a generic cover before I figured out that some of the options would work for my already created cover. I used the “Spruce” layout which allowed me to use my custom cover image on the front and then had formatting to choose from for the spine and back cover. Keep in mind that the dimensions for the cover image for print are different than the Kindle cover dimensions. So you’ll need to create a separate version of that image. But it worked great once I figured it all out!
The tool has an online proofing tool which let’s you know if there are major errors or issues with the book layout that you need to fix. Once you are done (or think you are) with all your formatting it takes the CreateSpace folks about a day (a little less most times) to approve the book before you can review the official proof. If you have to make any changes after that it’s easy to make changes to your previous submission, bu they have to review and approve all over again.
I highly suggest you get a printed proof to check out as well. You’ll catch things you might not have. For instance I forgot to update my table of contents page #s for the print version and so it didn’t match the actual page #s. I had to fix that before publishing. It takes about a week to get the printed proof and costs a few bucks.
4. Time to Publish on Amazon
It wasn’t really obvious to me that I had finished all the steps. There’s not a “Publish” button that you click. There’s a great checklist of “To Dos” and once you do approve the final proof and turn all the checks in the list green, you’re done. But it then takes a few days before the link to the book works. It can take 5 to 7 business days before you can search for the book on Amazon and find it. And it can take up to four weeks or so before all of the various features on the Amazon page work. For example, the Look Inside feature. And the system should automatically link the Kindle and Print versions for you, but that may take time.
The link for a print version once it’s working is http://www.amazon.com/dp/XXXXXXXXXX (the 10 digit ISBN #)
A couple of other things to be aware of… The tool assigns an ISBN for you as part of the service. You get to pick your distribution channels (Amazon and CreateSpace are free, some additional channels are for a fee). You set your own pricing by region and it’s very clear what the minimum is and what your royalties will be per book.
Also… you can apparently have CreateSpace create the Kindle version of the book for you. Since I did this in backwards order I’m not sure how well that feature works, but it’s an option to be aware of.
After all of that… for the print book lovers out there… the print version of Blue Violet is now available! You can find it at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1479161942!!!