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Self-Publishing Using Amazon's CreateSpace

Updated on July 6, 2016

Self Publishing Anyone?

When someone says that they are a freelance writer, and that they are working towards publishing a book, what does that tell you? Most people know that I write, but most people have not gone too far into what I do beyond hubpages. I have been with hubpages for less time than my writing blog-- which I am pleased to say will be up and running for three years in July. I also self-publish books.

This blog has been around to the point that many have suggested that I go and self-publish my blog as a book. I suppose I could do that one day, but I can say this I have had many and varied adventures in the publishing industry. Some are rather, sad and some are rather funny.

In fact, I have self-published a book, it is no longer available, and I've recently gone back and read it... as some person who would like to think I am a writer wants me to self-publish it again. Still in my self-publishing adventures, I am going to give a few pointers.

This can be you one self-publishing
This can be you one self-publishing
but it is better to have a plan.
but it is better to have a plan.

A File? What The Heck?

When one wants to self-publish my one suggestion is go out and buy several hundred file folders. Yes, several hundred, that or lose your mind trying to find a new print out for your soon to be self-published book.

Have files of places you have contact for publishing your book. have files for your edits, and have files for brain storms you have at 3 in the morning. (note: self-published books are best done if you write during the day, better still in the morning.)

The reason I have files is that otherwise I could argue I have binders full of edits and information. I try to edit my chapters beforehand. I also have an editor to do this, and they are very good at what they do, they allow me to improve my writing.

I would say that files are also good for organization, and I have found this has helped me in my goal to self-publish another book this year. My editor must love me-- or at least might think I am organized.

It has made a huge time saving difference as I label my file according to date so it look something like this: MMDDYYY.  This is a simple way to know which edits I have done recently, or which plans I will follow.  The one with the most recent date is looked at.

What About Making Money By Publishing a Book?

Don't be fooled into "marketing." The biggest mistake I made was spending a lot on marketing a poorly written book. Okay, it was paid for, but the point is that most people would have sooner read something better than that! (I mentioned a person's name five or six times... in one paragraph.) They did pay good money for a book which most of our budget was spent on creating bookmarks, and posters and postcards.

This is fun, but does not help the process of publishing a book. The key to note was we got an "editor" who worked for free and who pretty much used a spell check. The point is that without a good editor you will find yourself not only getting bad reviews but less sales.

Fortunately I refused to go to a vanity press (think AthourHouse or IUniverse), but I did use a local printer for purposes of binding the book. These days I use CreateSpace, but still this is all a learning curve.

Personally, this time around I am working with a professional editor, and paying money for them to make my book better, and helping me learn from my mistakes. Publishing a book is easy but I would say I am prouder of this book because of my choice to spend my money on an editor. My editor is key to publishing more books and seeing more success.

As for marketing, well it is needed, but I have found that I can print out some pretty good bookmarks and posters myself for less expense. The key to this self-publishing adventure is that I know what works in terms of marketing and that really means having a great book with a decant cover. Most of this new book is non-fiction so a cover can be put together on the computer and downloaded from there.

Help From Friends.. And Other Adventures

I love my friends, I love my family. There is one thing I do not love: their help. I mean of course you need readers, but for heavens sake do not go with a family member. I faced that challenge.

In fact it was while writing this book I found out that my mother, my mother!, of all people had wanted to write when she was younger. This explained a lot of her very critical eyes. She was almost toxic. I have learned to listen to somethings she says, but I also have learned that it is perhaps best not to show her my writing until I am done and my editor has edited my work.

As for my friends, they are either too busy to read and offer suggestions in a reasonable time frame, or they are writing book of their own. This means that really I am self-publishing my work.

As for my ISBN, for some of my work, and I use CreateSpace, I use their ISBN and for other I use my own. This is important in some ways, but not as important as other things in my mind. I live in Canada so to get an ISBN you have to jump trough more "hoops" to get a prefix, and a number, but in the end it is worth it.

My friends are in debate of Kindle or paper-bound, and if I listened to too much of that, I would never get my book published! In my mindI would say that you will need to have both options and not only one. Some people love reading their e-books, whereas others are die hard paper-bound books.

Self-Publish?

Will You Consider Self-Publishing a Book?

See results

Self-Publishing Debate

So would i only self-publish books? Should you self-publish a book?

I don't know I am not one to say I will traditionally publish or self-publish- or at least only use one to publish a book. I think I will try to do both in the end, I believe I do have a long writing career ahead of me. It is important to at least try do both things. I also believe that self-publishing does have a place in this world.

If you have a niche market, where you might not see many sales, then having a self-published book might be the way to go, you can get more people reading it and more people wanting to read it than making money much later with the traditionally publishing means-- if they take that book at all.

So do traditional publishers. That being said, if you look around, there are more bankruptcies there, and there is more of a chance that it will take a long time to get things done with a traditional publisher. It is not a free place anymore, as many authors have said that they are paying out of pocket for certain items (a hotel room or food on a book tour or an extra editor.)

Self-publishing and traditional publishing are not so different when a writer thinks about it. An author needs to be actively involved in the process for both types or their book will fail. Having learned a few lessons, I know that it does mean you spend you money wisely. It is after all an adventure.

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    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 2 years ago from Canada

      if you are willing to do a lot of background work then, yes it is.

    • profile image

      Nic 2 years ago

      How many times have you published with createspace? Is it worth it?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 2 years ago from Canada

      It's something to think about, especially if it's a market where you know you won't sell a lot of books.

    • jcsteele profile image

      Jelena 2 years ago from Florida

      Very good information since i'd like to publish a book in the future. I am still not sure whether i'd like to self-publish it but i am defiantly considering it.

    • marieryan profile image

      Marie Ryan 2 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      I'm just a "wanna be" at the moment but this article has given me a little more motivation to keep writing in the hope of self-publishing in the future!

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 2 years ago from Canada

      Yes, yes and yes, I agree with you 100% you really have to show up on the radar as a self-published author.

    • deathwalk60 profile image

      Larry Sells 2 years ago from Decorah, IA

      I'm an indie. I publish my books through Lulu and CreateSpace. I tried traditional publishing and didn't make any money. As an indie publisher, I make more money and am having more fun. I believe I need more than two sets of eyes to edit my books, I need to market my books, and sell my books at conferences, and local bookstores through book signings.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 3 years ago from Canada

      Glenn-- yes it is my own, and a friend of mine, as in Canada you do need a publishing name, but the ISBNs are "free" (you have to send in copies of your book ext.) however it's the paperwork which is a nightmare... so two of us it is.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I related to the way you described self-publishing because I went through similar things. I had many file folders keeping hand written notes over several years. So it was a pleasure seeing that you did the same thing. I had published two books with Lulu and more recently I used CreateSpace for another, which I also put on Kindle. I liked how CreateSpace made the transition to Kindle a lot easier. I see you have your book on Kindle too.

      I as actually thinking of unpublishing one of my books on Lulu and redoing it with CreateSpace. I got much better support from them, they always replied to my emails and they even helped correct a mistake in an Amazon listing. Lulu never cared about mistakes they made.

      The part where you talked about hiring an editor is something I truly agree with. Even though I used spell check with MS Word, I still have errors. Many friends found mistakes in my preliminary manuscripts, and I am grateful for that. But unfortunately two final typos were found after publication.

      I didn't know getting an ISBN number in Canada is not easy. But that's what I like about CreateSpace, they make it easy.

      I noticed your book is published by "for Love of Books" - is that your own Rebecca? I'm thinking that was the one you did with your own ISBN.

      Best of luck with the sales of your book.

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 4 years ago from Australia

      So close to finishing my last edit on my first novel that I can now think more realistically about how and where I want to publish.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences there is nothing better than advice from someone who has been there first

      Thank you!!

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      Viva Jones-- Thanks for commenting, and it is a process. Some, like myself, find it easier to self-publish only because of a niche market.

    • Viva Jones profile image

      Viva Jones 4 years ago from UK

      Congrats on your publishing ventures - I've been published by mainstream publishers and I've self-published e-books. I can't say I've made much money with the latter, but the nice thing is knowing they're out there for ever, they're not about to go out of print or get remaindered. Who knows, by the time I'm 80 I might be doing quite nicely thank you!!

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      DDE-- you are welcome thanks for your comment.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I have a few self-published kindle ebook and doing well so far , thanks for this information, you have made good points here.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      My book is non-fiction in history and yes, I do earn some income from it, not much but it is enough.

    • profile image

      Jay 4 years ago

      is your book fiction or non fiction and do you make money with it?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      vox vocis-- ohh! I'd love to see that novel... but so true about publishing.

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 4 years ago

      I dared to write a novel, too. Of course, I'd like to get it published, but that seems like winning the lottery. Self-publishing sometimes seems like the only option.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

      Mekenzie-- took a long time, but I am happy to have a published book out there, and it's even on amazon... so i can't complain.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 4 years ago from Michigan

      Rebecca, I just learned through this hub that you are a published author - that's great! You have a way with words that is both engaging and unique. I have never heard of Create Space but now that I know, I think I will check it out.

      Great and helpful article for all writers,

      Thanks!

      Mekenzie

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      myawn-- it is fun and a challenge and something I would recommend looking long and hard into.

    • myawn profile image

      myawn 5 years ago from Florida

      These are good tips for publishing a book. I want to do this one day. I will look at createspace.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      pearlmacb-- yes CreateSpace is a good place to begin, after all the next one which many refer to is Lighting Source but you're better off knowing what should and should not be done by a writer to be accepted-- also I beleive that you have to be a small format publisherto print with them.

    • pearlmacb profile image

      pearlmacb 5 years ago from Switzerland

      Great hub. Thanx for sharing your personal experiences in this matter. Im currently self-publishing with createspace, currently going well, i like that i have control over the format, design etc. And with social media you have a better chance of your book going viral, appose to traditional marketing. I wish you all the best with your future writing project adventures!!:)

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      James-- send me a line when ti comes out, I'd love to read it.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for this excellent and needful article. I hope to have my first book done by Labor Day. I appreciate the useful information you provided here.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      davidseeger-- yes I fund a lot of info about them which was why i decided to publish with them, another thign to know is that they allow for your own ISBN and give you numbers of the main library distributors to contact.

    • davidseeger profile image

      davidseeger 6 years ago from Bethany, OK

      Thanks for the info. I'm working on my first book. I'm probably about halfway into it. Your comments about Createspace are esspecially helpful.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      stars-- you are welcome... thanks

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      A wonderful helpful hub, and you shared so much. God Bless You Dear Heart.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      James-- I would suggest that you decide based upon what you need if you are not comfortable with pdfs ect or the formating of an interior ect you should consider them, hwowever this is a pseronal choice.

    • profile image

      James 6 years ago

      would you use some of the "publishing solutions" offered by createspace or would you not?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Jo-- it is a bit confusing, but the cover degin is found very simply, as for the interior, I've found it on both their blogs and on other sites. Most do get their own ISBNs as well, and that comes with a fee (depends on where you live) but for the most part I did mine simply and quickly.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 6 years ago

      oh I see. I may go over there when I am ready. I have an account with them. I am a little worried that they will want me to purchase something. Their system is kind of difficult to understand. Sometimes I need step by step instructions. and other times, I get it the first time around. Thanks for the info..:-)

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Jo-- most editors want to be paid upfront, and there are many who can be found ont eh internet. As for xcreatespace, you don't have to buy anything other than a proof if you know how to put your designs on a pdf file. My cost? $16.79 plus $39 for the proplan (the $16.79 was for the cost of sending me a physical proof plus shipping) what you are looking at was having someone design your interiror and your cover, which you can do by yourself. They even give you the templates.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 6 years ago

      My question is how to find an editor that will edit your work and once it is out there selling like hot cakes, then, you can offer a percentage to them. I have written a book and currently on my second. I use the spell check. However, sometimes I have difficult time with the proper sentence structure. Anyway, where could one go to see about an editor who would be willing to edit and then get paid? and secondly, I looked into create space, and I think their prices are way too expensive for my budget. would you have any other ideas?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Abie Taylor-- go on self-publish, but know the challenges.

    • Abie Taylor profile image

      Abie Taylor 6 years ago from Wakefield, United Kingdom

      Great hub i think I'll self publish it with your help x :)

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      htodd-- you are welcome

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the nice hub

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Fsally-- no agents there, but you do have to pay money out of your own pocket.

    • FSally profile image

      FSally 6 years ago

      Rebecca,

      Thank you so much for the valuable information - I will keep them in mind as I write my own as well. I also do not have the time to contact agents which has dampened my plans to get published but I will try eventually I guess as time permits. Thank you!

      Sally

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Cari-- I prefer CreateSpace simply because it has the option of getting help whereas LightingSource it really is for the "expert"

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Thanks for this info. I am in the same boat as a few others who have made comments. I have written a novel but am not sure whether to go the self-publishing route or traditional. I'm going to check out CreateSpace as I have never heard of that before.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      case1worker-- see I don't just write about money! ha ha, no I enjoy every moment of every day, and I'm enjoying this adventure.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      wow! a women of many talents

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      yes, this is so true, and with Kindle it seems to be the way to go. I believe that I can use my Kindle on a nook book ( or was it the other way around?) so there you go.)

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I share your feelings as I have also self-published a couple of books. I also agree with you about Kindle. It never hurts to have your book available in more than one form. The amazing thing is that we make more residuals from Kindle sales even at a lower price, because there are no print costs involved.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Radical Rog-- i would never suggest a company such as Xlibris or AuthorHouse or Iuniverse to anyone!

      Great suggestions there.

    • Radical Rog profile image

      Peter Rogers 6 years ago from Plymouth

      After working for years as a publisher's agent I now write. I have also self-published, but I would never use one of these 'we will publish your book' companies. Here's a tip. Buy a desk top publishing program and learn how to use it. It doesn't have to be something expensive like Adobe or Quark. Serif's Page Plus is within everyones budget and will also output PDF which you then take to your local printer. As for the ISBN number. Simply contact the ISBN Agency, type that into your search engine. They'll give you all the help you need.

      Oh yes, edit, get it right, identify your market but honestly, it is a relatively straight forward process and the money you save by doing it yourself can be used to advertise and promote your book.

      P.S. I'm posting hubs on self-publishing.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      prairieprincess-- I am enjoying every moment, and yes files, keep them or if you don't have them buy them!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      Rebecca, it's great to hear about how you have stepped out, and taken risks in the publishing world, learned from your mistakes, and kept going. THAT is inspirational! Great hub!

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Christine P Ann-- there are a fwe things which make royalites a bit confusing, for one if you are not a US citizen, you can have withholding tax, the next is tax itself, but then royalties are complex at the best of time, from the places where they are sold ect... my best wishes on your book.

    • Christine P Ann profile image

      Christine P Ann 6 years ago from Australia

      I have a book I am still in the process of writing and have been looking at publishing options. So your hub has been very helpful. It is a bit confusing understanding the royalties side of things, seems there isn't a lot of money to be made, however I think it would still be really nice to see it in print and hang the moola!!

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      hello hello-- happy to help out.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you, Rebecca, for a great lesson.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      cumulonimbus-- it is a good idea and something that you can try with little cost, in fact create space has a feew templates and most people can put something like it together.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      drbj-- yes maybe I should!

    • Cumulonimbus profile image

      Cumulonimbus 6 years ago from Buffalo,NY

      great idea! I never even though of self-publishing before. I'll have to check out createspace.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      With all the knowledge you have gained, Becca - much of it the hard way by experience - about self publishing, you ought to write a book about self-publishing a book. Is that an idea?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Jean-- I think we all do that, which I why I enjoy the art of having an editor, but again I would nto use places such as Xlibris or AuthorHouse, too many things have been said. As for Xlibris, their highest priced package was about 14,000 CAN... without much editing, but tons of marketing... hmm, edits or marketing?

      For me ti's easy, edits.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Christine-- oh great, yes there is something to be said about publishing a book. I personally think Create Space is great for that.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Violet Sun-- oh great! you must send me the title i am sooo buying that book.

      See, fun with editing. My editor "lives" for my edits. Ha ha, it is nto easy to edit, which is why I suggest a professional editor.

    • profile image

      Jean Bakula 6 years ago

      Rebecca,

      Thanks for the warning about the other publishers. I've been on two good sites, Preditors and Editors, and Absolute Write who wanna be authors frequently update. My stuff is about the tarot, some poems, and some that I now know is emotive prose from reading stuff on HP. I probably will end up self publishing too.

      VioletSun, my son writes too, and we proofread each other's stuff. If you don't see it as an error the first time, your mind already makes the correction and you won't "see" it as wrong anymore. I still find typos too.

    • ChristineVianello profile image

      ChristineVianello 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Great hub! I am in the process of publishing my own book. I have sent so many quary letters with no success. But, it's ok, I am going to self-publish.

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Rebecca, glad you wrote this, as I am self publishing my book which are short spiritual thoughts. One would think it would be a breeze to write with perfection, but, after reading it 100 times, there were gramatical errors and the occasional typo I did not pick up, but my s/o did. I will not publish until my book is edited professionaly.

      Quite a few self published have become best sellers, or have been picked up by major publishing companies, so its encouraging. :)

      Voted up!

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Jean-- AuithorHouse, and IUniverse and Xlibris I beleive are all under the same self-publishing parent compnay and I would say at this point using Lulu or Create Space is a better idea.

      gotta love 3am don't we?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      timntim9-- wow that is awesome, come back and tell me the titles.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 6 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks for the advice. I am also trying to get a book published. I keep notes, but it's been a big learning curve. I also heard awful things about Author House. I was inexperienced to send out whole manuscripts and spent and fortune in ink and paper. Now I'm making another list of possible publishers, and using a query letter with a description of the book this time. And yes, I get those "brilliant" flashes of inspiration at 3AM as well!

    • profile image

      tlmntim9 6 years ago

      Thanks for the insight. I am a LuLu and Createspace user. never sold a single copy yet am ready to publish my 8th and ninth work, if I ever get the time.

      Tim W

      tlmntim9

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Jandee-- I have no trouble with my mother otherwise, but it was a rather unpleasent surprise to find her so nit-picky about details.... and you know how well I edit (ha ha)

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 6 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      Very interesting! My Daughter just gives me a certain glance when I mention writing etc. English Literature Teacher amongst other things is what she is ! So I clam up ! Fed up of being 'humoured'! Yes, family are worst!

      Enjoyed this Rebecca.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Pamela-- thanks, I enjoyed writing it, it brings a msile to my face.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      This is an interesting article about publishing your book as people seem to be using many different ways to publish these days. I appreciate the information in this hub.

    CreateSpace


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