Publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing and Createspace.

In the past few years, we have seen a revolution in the publishing industry. For the longest time, to become a published author you needed to spend countless hours submitting manuscripts to the various publishing houses throughout the country. If you were lucky, after a few years one of the gatekeepers of published content would grudgingly publish your book. Decisions were made not on the quality of the book or how intriguing the manuscript but on the size of the profit margin the publishing house expected from the manuscript.

But not today. Due to the technological revolution, anyone can have their work published. E-books are on their way to replacing the budget paperbacks that were often found in grocery stores and supermarkets. Likewise, the advent of print on demand (POD) publishing has allowed individuals to publish novels and nonfiction books that the big boys of publishing wouldn't touch. While some argue this has allowed some absolute trash to be published (and I have seen some real garbage out there), I like the idea that the reader gets to decide what is a good or bad novel, not some third party.

In this article, I will talk about my experience publishing my novel Escape to Freedom. I published the novel in both e-book and paperback form. The e-book was published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), while the paperback was published through CreateSpace. Both of these companies essentially allowed me to publish my book free of cost, save for the cost of editing, cover design, and marketing.

First thing that I will like to point out when self-publishing novel is that you will do all the work yourself. Now, that may mean you sub out some of the work to experts, or that may mean you do every single thing yourself (something that I do not recommend). In either case, it is important to remember that in self-publishing, if something goes wrong it is all on you.

I'm not going to talk about the process of writing the novel; that is another story on another subject for another time. But I would like to speak briefly about editing. Many people believe that they can self edit. Even more believe that their buddy who is a high school English teacher can do the editing. Let me be quite frank; both of these are absolute no-nos. You need someone who is a professional editor, which will cost you money. There are lots of freelance editors out there, some are extremely expensive some not so. If you have other friends who are authors, I would suggest talking to them about who they would recommend. Odesk and Elance are also good places to look for editors; in fact the editors that I have used in the past were both originally hired through Odesk. Just be careful when you're on these websites, as you will find bad editors as well as good.

I took a two-pronged approach to editing my book. I first started by collecting a group of beta readers. This was a group of twelve people who had agreed to read my book and give me their opinions. Each individual was given half the novel, (either the front or back half) and asked to have this return to me within two weeks with notes and comments. What I was looking for was not a search for spelling and grammar mistakes but content. Did the story flow well? Was there anything that did not make sense? Were the characters believable? What could be done to improve the story? As payment, I gave each of the beta readers a signed copy of the paperback on publication.

After making the changes that the beta readers had suggested, the manuscript went to my editor. After reviewing and implementing changes the editor had suggested, I was finally ready to publish the novel.

I started by publishing my book on Kindle. The process was to fairly easy. Go to the Kindle Direct Publishing website, sign in using your Amazon.com login and password (or create a new one), and upload your files. KDP recommends uploading HTML, .doc, or .docx files for the best conversion. I uploaded my files as HTML, and the process went smoothly, with no conversion errors . After uploading the text file, upload your cover image. From this point on, simply fill out the questions asked by KDP (title, DRM rights, author name, book price and so forth). When finished, simply press the "save and publish" button, and within 24 hours your work will go live on Amazon.com.

Publishing my paperback with CreateSpace was far more frustrating and time-consuming than publishing to KDP. To be really honest, the reason for the frustration was mostly my fault. I insisted on doing all the formatting myself, not realizing how time-consuming the process could be. I had to rework the margins several times, add blank pages so my chapters would always begin on the right-hand side, and adjust the gutter settings (the gutter is the extra margin added to the side of the page that will be bound). I would like to add that CreateSpace offers a service that will do this formatting for you. Hindsight being 20/20, I will use the service on my next novel.

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The frustrating part was that anytime you made any adjustment you had to go through the entire manuscript again to make sure the changes did not upset the setting somewhere else. For example, I added drop caps to the beginning of each of my chapters (if you are unfamiliar with drop caps, this is when you begin each chapter with an oversized letter). The extra size of the drop caps lengthened my chapters, so I had to go through and add blank pages to force chapter beginnings to the right hand side. These extra pages lengthened my document, which meant my gutter had to be adjusted. After adjusting my gutter, I had chapters which were now longer in pages, so some of my blank pages needed to be removed, and some added in other places. As you may have guessed, this caused another chain reaction of checks that had made, which caused more changes, which caused more checks ... I think you get the idea.

For their part, the CreateSpace website is very easy to use. After setting up an account, simply follow the instructions. After uploading both your cover and your manuscript you will have the option of viewing an online proof or having a printed proof mailed to you. Even though the printed proof is fairly expensive, I highly recommend getting the printed proof and going over it meticulously. In my case, it took three proofs before I got the book right. After you approve the proof, your novel will appear on Amazon.com within the next 48 hours. If you have selected for your novel to be distributed to other booksellers it will be an additional 4-6 weeks before it is available on these other networks.

So will I use CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing again? Absolutely! For starters, no other publisher can match the prices. My Kindle book was essentially free to publish; CreateSpace costs me about $90 in proofs. And no other print on demand publisher can match CreateSpace's pricing for authors; authors pay printing cost plus shipping cost for their copies. This means the paperbacks I sell myself yield a profit margin of approximately 400% and are still below Amazon.com's price.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Have you published with either KDP or CreateSpace? If so, please comment on your experience! Also, I am currently working on articles that explain how to do the formatting for both KDP and CreateSpace, so keep your eyes open for them. Have a great day!


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Comments 26 comments

KrisL profile image

KrisL 3 years ago from S. Florida

Interesting and useful story. Good luck on selling plenty of books!

Voted "useful" and shared.


nybride710 profile image

nybride710 3 years ago from Minnesota

Hi, I just wrote an article on this topic yesterday. I am about halfway through the process of publishing my first book with Create Space. I just returned the edited version. I'm anxious for the final product and am glad to hear that you had a good experience there.


AJReissig profile image

AJReissig 3 years ago from New Richmond, Ohio Author

While the formatting was frustrating and time consuming, I would highly recommend them. If anyone has any questions about the process, feel free to drop me a line; freedomredux@gmail.com. I am currently writing the next book in my series (Birth of he Republic), and I will use KDP/CreateSpace again.


Joanne M Olivieri 3 years ago

I can relate. I published all four of my books with Createspace and did the word formatting and editing myself and you are right in that any change will affect the formatting. For some reason I had most of my problems formatting the table of contents. On my last book it was so annoying that I didn't even include one :) On my first book I had to order many proofs before I got it right but the pricing with them, especially if you do it all yourself is great. I only opted for the books to be sold on CreateSpace and Amazon so all of that was free. If I were to publish another book, I would absolutely go through them again. I wish you all the best with your book and thanks for posting this hub.


nybride710 profile image

nybride710 3 years ago from Minnesota

I didn't even attempt to do formatting myself. I know my frustration level for that kind of stuff and it's not very high. They've done a great job so far.


LeTotten profile image

LeTotten 3 years ago

Thank you for the information. I am in the process of writing my first book and I think KDP and createspace are the way to go.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

I've published ebooks on Amazon, hardback and paperback on Lulu. Both had frustrating elements that basicly reflected my inexperience. Ebooks are much more forgiving of layout mistakes than printed. Getting your pages in the right order, figuring out page numbers, and getting the right font size all take some trial and error. These services let you download proofs - do it - don't assume they are looking out for you. Every screwed up copy you buy is money in their pocket. The one thing about doing it yourself is the learning process. Eventually, you won't have to pay someone else to do this for you. Having a beta group give you feedback is brilliant.


AJReissig profile image

AJReissig 3 years ago from New Richmond, Ohio Author

The beta group was a good idea. Since publishing my first novel, I have joined an online critique group, which has improved my writing considerably. I only now wish I could go back and rewrite that first novel!


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago

This is a fantastic hub and well worth the read. I learned some things from it about Kindle and createspace. I belong to a professional quality organization and they basically gave me suggestions on my auditing book with the potential of publishing it. The feedback was terrific and I made the changes they suggested most were minor and some required removing some information to provide a better read.

My book on Integrity I did the editing myself and from the feedback I have received through book reviews I did a great job. Granted edition your own work is not for everyone but in some cases it is the best idea. Often times suggestions may not be keeping with the approach on the book andwhen someone is making suggestions you need to make sure the suggestions fit the purpose of the book and are logical.

I voted up, awesome tweeted and pinned this hub.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

I've published 5 books on Amazon Createspace and Kindle Direct. Overall, the experience was positive with, as you've noted, some issues with formatting. Used the MS Word templates (surprisingly using MS Word 1997-2003), but you need to watch the page numbers, headers, etc. What I really like is that now you can publish to both Createspace and KDP at the same time. Great hub! BTW, I'm also going to be doing a hub on my experience with Createspace/KDP and self publishing soon. So stay tuned.


AJReissig profile image

AJReissig 3 years ago from New Richmond, Ohio Author

You can do that, but I like to format my ebooks diffently than my paperback. I move most of the fron matter to the end of the novel on my ebooks, leaving just the title page and table of contents before the start of the novel. The reason is so that someone who downloads the preview can get right to the novel without thumbing through half a dozen pages. It's the same reason you want to start a novel with an intense scene... you grab the person's attention, and they feel they have to buy the book.

I've also noticed that Creatspace to kindle covers sometimes look distorted, so you may want to watch out for that.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

I already published books on both Create Space and Lulu. I like Create Space better since they pay more attention to helping customers to be sure things end up without problems.

As for the formatting problems you mentioned, I specified in MS Word that the first page of all sections should start on an odd numbered page. So that way it automatically adds a blank page if necessary. If you add text of change font size which changes the total number of pages, then Word will properly place the first page of each Chapter on the right side. So you don't really need to think about that.

Word also automatically places the correct page numbers in the Table of Contents. But you need to use that feature correctly in order for it to do the work for you. It took me a while to figure that out, but once I did, I used the same formatted document for the second book and it took care of all that for me.

I also have both my books on Kindle. When uploading covers to Kindle you need to use the correct specs to avoid distorted images. It works great when one follows instructions. But I like how KDP alerted me to issues with images in my book... I had to redo some of them to make them appear clear on the Kindle.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

Glenn, agreed, that once you get some of those nasty little quirks worked out in MS Word, it does work well. Also, the auto-generated Table of Contents is VERY important when publishing to Kindle since it will then link to the correct spot.

I'm really liking the Createspace feature that automatically converts the print version to Kindle. Saves a lot of hassle!


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

Heidi, Yes, it made it easier for me too that CreateSpace converted my book to HTML for the Kindle. But I still had to fix a lot of formatting. The most common were images that didn't line up properly with the text the same as they were in the book. So I had to fix the HTML for that. And some tables got messed up. I read in the forum that Kindle does not support tables, although some came out okay. My solution was to make an image of the tables and use that instead. As long as an author verifies that everything came out okay, Kindle is a great platform for publishing. I'm actually very happy with it.


Mary DeKok Blowers 3 years ago

Hi-I have epublished on both Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook format, as well as Lulu.com. All fairly easy. A friend used Createspace and created a beautiful book and said they were easy to work with. Mary http://marydekokblowers.wordpress.com/


Srinivas Garimella 3 years ago

The above mentioned information is highly informative and can help others to come up with problems they face in the media as well... Keep writing such interesting information....


Melody 3 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing your story! You made some things very clear for me, thanks!


Inspired 4 U profile image

Inspired 4 U 2 years ago from Queens, NY

I published two books on CreateSpace, the second being, "How to Self-Publish in Excellence within 10-Days: A step-by-step guide to self-publishing via CreateSpace." I was so impressed with my first book that I committed to do all others for myself and clients using this platform. I also just wrote a hub about my first & second experience.

I used the formatted templates for my manuscripts, preferring to copy & paste from my word doc into the template. Because I use full color screenshots, it seems my kindle conversion didn't fair so well on the 2nd book which is a 8.5 x 11 reference manual. So I am considering paying CreateSpace to convert it for me. I love using CreateSpace & the results it produces, plus expanded distribution is now free. I have already helped 5 clients self-publish and currently have 2 more and will begin doing workshops in the future with my book as required reading.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Be blessed.

Jo Anne Meekins

Inspired 4 U


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

Jo Anne (Inspired 4 U) - see my comment above. I had the same experience with the automatic conversion to Kindle format by CreateSpace. I found it easy to correct the remaining formatting errors in the HTML code. The major work was done.


Inspired 4 U profile image

Inspired 4 U 2 years ago from Queens, NY

Thanks Glenn! I did read your comment and all the others, I'm just not that familiar with using HTML and am not clear on what to do. I will look into it though as I will be helping others and don't want to give potential income away to have someone do it for me when I can learn to do it myself. There must be a YouTube tutorial on the subject. :-)


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

Jo Anne - Since you're in the business it would make sense to include doing this for your clients. Do a Google search for "Learn HTML youtube" and you'll find a lot of helpful videos. HTML is used to create web pages but is also used for Kindle formatting.


Inspired 4 U profile image

Inspired 4 U 2 years ago from Queens, NY

Thank you so much Glenn! I sincerely appreciate your guidance. I'll let you know how it goes after I try it out on my book first. :-)


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

Good luck with it Jo Anne. I know you can do it.


Inspired 4 U profile image

Inspired 4 U 2 years ago from Queens, NY

Thank you and amen. From your mouth to God's ears in Jesus name and so it is! :-)


favored profile image

favored 2 years ago from USA

You really covered this topic well and I like how you used the group of 12 for content review. Great idea that I will keep in mind. Adding this to my stuff to know list :) Pinning it too.


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

Thanks so much for covering this and enlightening us on Kindle Direct Publishing. Best wishes!

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