A couple of weeks ago Hilary Custance Green impressed us with her totally independent self-publishing journey. Today Anne Harvey has kindly agreed to share her CreateSpace experience with us.
Anne is the author of A Suitable Young Man.
It’s a nostalgic tale of friendship, family, love, loyalty and loss, set in a Lancashire mill town in the 1950s. One dark December night, Kathy Armstrong is rescued from two thugs by Nick Roberts, whom she’d known as a schoolgirl. But Nick is a Teddy boy, hell-bent on having a good time in the pubs and dance halls of the era. Shortly after, she meets accountant John Talbot at a party and is captivated by his middle-class charm. To the background of the new rock and roll, a mounting crisis over the Suez Canal, family and personal crises, Kathy struggles with a wayward attraction to Nick and her incubating love for John. But which one is ‘The Suitable Young Man?’
I read A Suitable Young Man during its beta phase and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Now, how did Anne get on with CreateSpace?
I published my debut novel ‘A Suitable Young Man’ on Amazon Kindle at the beginning of December but always knew that I wanted to bring it out as a paperback as well. Having only a limited budget, I chose to go with Amazon’s CreateSpace facility.
It looked a pretty scary project to undertake. Then, I learned of a book, ‘Format Your Print Book’ by Tim C Taylor, which promised to guide me through the process. I would recommend purchasing the paperback version for easy referral. The book proved invaluable but even though this was a second edition, certain things had changed which I needed to work my way through.
Although there is a Createspace template available, I didn’t like it because there seemed to be too many spaces between paragraphs which would have amounted to extra pages. Instead, I chose to format the book myself following Tim Taylor’s guidelines. It wasn’t easy but I took it a step at a time. The main thing to remember is to use section breaks instead of page breaks and first line indentation instead of tabs. Fortunately, there is a previewer so that you can check your work at all times. (Tip here: when formatting make use of the ‘print preview’ facility in Windows so that you can see how it’s going to look as a book.) Berni Stevens, who had designed my cover for the ebook, had had experience of formatting a full cover (including spine and back cover) and was a big help, eventually providing me with a print-ready pdf copy to upload.
Once everything is uploaded to your satisfaction, it has to be submitted for review (to ensure that it doesn’t contravene any of their regulations). This usually takes 24 hours after which you are emailed to say you can go ahead and order a proof copy. There’s a drawback here in that the proof copy has to come from the US. While waiting for that, I completed all the pricing and distribution details on my ‘dashboard.’ When working out a sale price, I took into consideration the cost price of author copies plus shipping from the States and added a profit margin onto that. Incidentally, cost of author copies and shipping costs are clearly given and simple to follow.
So, I’ve ordered my proof copy which should be with me some time in January. On receipt of that, I will need to check carefully through, make sure there are no typos or glaring formatting errors. Then, I will be ordering author copies which will take another few weeks to arrive. Because of this, it will be impossible to arrange a book launch in advance, which is a drawback. In the meantime, it will be available as POD for single copies for anyone who wants to purchase it through Amazon UK, no waiting time involved. I hope my experience helps anyone else thinking of trying Createspace.
#1 by susanjanejones on December 31, 2014 - 11:45 am
That’s my kind of book and I know who I want her to choose. Happy new year, Sally.
#2 by Sally Jenkins on December 31, 2014 - 2:43 pm
Happy New Year to you too, Susan.
#3 by Helen Baggott on December 31, 2014 - 6:27 pm
I’m impatiently awaiting the arrival of my CreateSpace proof copy for a non-fiction book. I didn’t have a problem with their template and it looks okay when I view it on their ‘Digital Proofer’ – but I do need to check the paperback version.
You have a lovely cover – beautiful colours that really attract the eye. Hope it does well.
#4 by Sally Jenkins on December 31, 2014 - 7:49 pm
Hi Helen, thanks for adding your experience and I hope that proof copy looks good!
#5 by janicepreston on January 2, 2015 - 3:04 pm
It sounds pretty straightforward. I do admire all these brave people like Anne, and you, Sally, who self-publish. One of these days I intend to join you!
#6 by Sally Jenkins on January 2, 2015 - 8:40 pm
Janice, I’d rather have a ‘proper’ publishing deal like you any day! But Anne has done very well, I agree.
#7 by Linda on January 2, 2015 - 6:06 pm
I’ve only got the kindle software on my desktop computer. It’s fine for reading short stories, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who still prefers real books for full-length novels. Although it’s a lot more work for you, I think you’re doing the right thing by offering readers both options. I really like the cover, good luck with it.
#8 by Sally Jenkins on January 2, 2015 - 8:41 pm
Yes, I think Anne’s done the right thing, too. Lots of people don’t read e-books, for whatever reason.
#9 by Wendy Clarke on January 6, 2015 - 6:12 pm
Your cover is stunning Anne. My story collection Room in Your Heart was published using Createspace but I have to admit my husband did it all for me!
#10 by Sally Jenkins on January 6, 2015 - 8:38 pm
Husbands do have their uses, Wendy! And it’s great that he supports you.