Using Createspace to Make Paperbacks for Free

All of the first four novels of the series The Fair and Fey are now available in paperback:

Maginaugh,   Maahilund, Arthannegh, and Avalon.

maginaugh-cover-blog maahilund-cover-final3-blog arthannegh-cover-blog the-elves-of-avalon-cover-4-blog

I have always been leery of vanity publishing companies (you pay them to print your books). Recently I learned of Createspace and gave it a try. Here’s how it works. You go to Createspace.com and become a member. You submit your book in the same format (an MS Word document) you would submit it to Smashwords or Amazon KDP. You will be asked to make decisions about how you want the paperbacks to be made, e.g. size, cover image, back cover text, and then you click to proof it. During this stage you can set the price. Createspace has a minimum price that you’re allowed to sell it  for and you can see what your royalty will be depending on how much above the minimum price you set the price for your book.

Printing is an expensive process and Createspace is out to make a profit. I was shocked at first to find out how much more my novels would cost in paperback compared to the prices I charge for an Ebook. Customers of my paperbacks will be those who insist on the feel of paper and the smell of printers ink as part of the joy of reading. I know people who are like this and I didn’t want to exclude them from having a copies of my books.

The size of your paperback will make a big difference to the minimum price mandated by Createspace. I had to play around with this to get a reasonable price. My first try was 5″ by 8″ and the minimum price Createspace wanted was $35.00! Eeek! I experimented. I tried 6″ by 9″ but it was still too expensive. I finally settled on a size approximately 7″ by 9.6″, bigger than I would have liked but with an acceptable minimum price. I made my price higher by only 10%.

After you’re satisfied with the setup of the book, you submit it for Createspace review. They don’t vette it anywhere near as thoroughly as Smashwords does or even as thoroughly as Amazon. I did get pesky errors though, even though the MS Word file had already passed Smashwords and Amazon review and had been published as an Ebook in all electronic formats. All the Createspace errors had to do with printing. The peskiest one had to do with gutter size, which varies with the dimensions of the paperback and the number of pages. My latest novel, The Elves of Avalon, was 404 pages at the 7″ by 9.6″ size! If you’re writing shorter stuff, e.g., 20,000 word romance or erotica shorts, expect that your minimum cost will be much less and you will be  able to sell your books at $2.95 and make a bigger royalty than I’m making on my 300,000+ word epics.

The Createspace review takes a couple of days. Then you fix the errors and submit your book for review again. Another couple of days and, if your Createspace review is error-free, you can click to distribute it. Createspace is an affiliate of Amazon so, unfortunately, your book will only be sold on Amazon. That didn’t bother me too much because I think 80% of all sales of books are on Amazon these days anyway. Barnes and Noble is almost dead. I love Smashwords for the technical support they give me in the Ebook publishing process but they don’t sell paperbacks at all. Book stores are a dying breed and they don’t handle new authors anyway. So I’m happy to have my paperbacks on Amazon now and the whole process didn’t cost me a penny.

I hope those of you who are also authors found this information helpful and that the rest of you (readers) found it interesting.

 

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