Seven things I learned from writing and publishing my memoir (Bonus - Self-Publishing on CreateSpace)

This week was the Queensland Writers Festival and as my tiny contribution, I wrote a post a day in a series called seven things I learned from writing and publishing my memoir. This is a bonus post.

Bonus; Self-Publishing on CreateSpace 

I am a huge fan of CreateSpace. Whether you sell hundreds of books, or just print a few for family members the prices are very good especially for a black and white print paperback book.

This post gets quite technical but it will be really helpful if you want to publish yourself. And if it all gets too hard, (especially the formatting or cover designing) you can pay for CreateSpace to do both and bypass the technical stuff.

If you want to give it a try, here are some tips.

1.       CreateSpace is for printing and publishing your book but you can go there before you finish your book and use their preview service. This will let you put up a sample of your book and get feedback from other authors. You can even put up several samples and test book titles or different formats.
2.      Before you start, you will need your completed and formatted manuscript (preferably in PDF form) your ISBN number (if you are using your own) and graphics for your cover. You need to put everything in your file before you can set up your book. You can pay someone to format your book, use a CreateSpace template or do it yourself. (ISBN information is below)
3.      Following their process is quite simple if you have your book file, ISBN, and graphics. I choose a blank book cover as I design my own but you can insert your own graphic into one of their templates quite easily.
4.      Choose your own name as publisher or a business name if you prefer. You can also leave this field empty. Do not put CreateSpace here as they do not want their name anywhere in the interior file. Note; if you do not fill in these fields, you will not be able to fill them out later. You will have time to make corrections, changes, etc. until you hit the publish button at the bottom of the screen
5.      Double check everything before publishing. CreateSpace has a clever review option that lets you see each page as it will print. Use it now to save time later. If there are any errors go back to the formatting, make corrections, and insert a new file before you order a proof.
6.      Order a proof and check it. Books are cheap but because I live in Australia, postage is the biggest cost. It also takes a while since it comes from America. I think it still works out cheaper than most local printers and I love that I can order just one or two.
7.      Choose marketing options and set up your CS store. Add a banner, change the font colours and background colours if you want,
8.      Add content to your page

ISBN’s and bar codes

9.      CreateSpace can supply a free ISBN but I recommend that you buy your own ISBN & bar code. You will then hold the rights and can market your book anywhere. Bookstores will only stock your book if it has your own ISBN.  You can also use another publisher or can sell it to be translated in another country. Without your own ISBN you are stuck with Amazon on-line sales only
10.   Apply for an ISBN from Bowker. In Australia you can get them from
11.    Ten ISBN numbers cost much less than buying one at a time. If you know you will be writing more than one book, the supplier will keep them for you and send them to you as you need them.
12.   You do not need to pay for a barcode as CS will print it when you give them the number  Note; You cannot have two different ISBN in the same book (i.e. you cannot have your own and a free one from CreateSpace)

If you have an Australian ISBN, then when your book is printed you will need to send a physical copy of your book to;

Legal Deposit Unit
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600
Note; this is a legal requirement

If you want more information on formatting your book for CreateSpace, there is plenty on the site. It is not as hard as the above makes it sound and there are options all along the way for paying someone else to do things if you get stuck.  

I do have some more information about the formatting I used, so if you want a copy, just email me.

I have really enjoyed putting together this week’s series of things I learned from writing my memoir. I hope you have enjoyed it too.

Good luck with your writing.


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