How to Publish on Create Space

I often get questions about the exact Create Space procedure, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to post it for everyone.This is going to look like a long post because I am using screen captures. Also of note, this si current as of this posting. Create Space may upgrade in the future and the upgrade may look different. However, it should function primarily the same.

First, if you haven’t got one already, you’ll need an account at Create Space – – I’m going to assume that you have one and are pretty much ready to upload.

Log in and go to your member dashboard. You’ll see a big happy button that says “Add New Title”

A new page will display where you enter your project name and choose what kind of product it is (paperback). You can also choose what setup you want. For this article I’ve used the Guided Process. Now click “Get Started”

On the next page you’ll want to enter your title information. This is pretty self-explanatory and includes title, author, contributors, subtitle, volume number and a place to enter your book’s description. If you don’t have one yet, then don’t worry, you can enter it on a later screen. When you’re done, hit save and continue (save will save your progress where you are, while save & continue moves you to the next step)

On the next screen you will enter your physical properties, including interior type, paper color and trim size. For the interior: there’s a huge difference between the price of a color page vs the price of a black and white page, so unless your book needs color (ie. an illustrated bonk) you’ll want black and white. There is also a small price difference between cream and white paper (with cream the more expensive) but it’s nominal and basically  a matter of taste. The Trim size is the physical size of your book, aka what it is “trimmed to”. Your choice should be influenced by a number of things (including what size your manuscript is formatted for!).

On the next screen you will choose your ISBN option. I just choose the Free CS Assigned ISBN (this makes Create Space the “publisher” – you still keep all rights), but you can also choose a custom ISBN for $10 (where your own imprint is the publisher), a custom universal ISBN for $99 (Your imprint is the publisher and your distribution/publishing options are left open) or provide your own (aka one you have purchased through Bowker)

details on the free ISBN- click to enlarge

Depending on your choice, on the next page you will be given your ISBN and ISBN 13 – write these down! You will need to put them on the copyright page of your manuscript. If someone else is formatting your book for you, you will want to do this before they’ve finished. If you’re doing it yourself and the book is ready to go, then open your file and plug in your ISBN number now. Save and PDF it.

Now we’re ready to upload the interior files of your book – aka the book itself. On the next screen choose whether you want to pay 300$ to have Create Space format it for you, or whether you have one from another source. (I do my own, so I chose the second option)

The box will expand and you will see some input fields. Use the friendly Browse button to locate the PDF of your book interior. Yes, it must be a PDF. No other format is accepted. There are also bleed options. As you can see by the illustrations, if the bleed ends off the page that means your content stretches all the way to the edge, while ending before means it doesn’t. For a regular novel choose “Ends Before”. Press Save and Continue.

an “Uploading” box should pop up. If it doesn’t, try pressing Save and Continue again. (of note – if you get an error message about your trim size formatting then it means your pages are not formatted for the trim size you selected. This is very important, so make sure your page size is set to the same as your trim size.)

With the interior upload, it’s time for the cover. You have three choices: 1- Use their “cover creator” to assemble your cover online (this is actually a pretty powerful tool for simple cover designs and easy to use), 2-pay 300$ for CS to design you a cover (holy cats! I need to charge more!) or Upload your own ready-made PDF wrap around. (if you don’t know, a wraparound cover looks like this)

Make your choice and click save and Continue. If, like me, you’re uploading a print ready file you will get the same “uploading” box again. (of note, if you get an error message that your cover does not fit your book, then it means that a) your trim sizes don’t agree – ie. the cover is for a 6×9 book and your interior files are for a 5×8 – or the spine width is not correct)

On the next screen you will want to review the file names to make sure that you’ve uploaded the right files. And then it’s time to submit your files for review!

You’ll get another pop up. Click continue to finish filling out your sale information

Remember I said you can enter the description later? This is later. (you can do this in another sitting if you need to by accessing your project on your dashboard). There is a 4000 character limit on your description, so choose your words carefully. Here you will also enter your books language, the country of publication, and some search keywords to help people find your book (for instance I use vampire, vampire war, vampire romance, paranormal, action). Check the “adult content” box if applicable.

You must also choose your category – or genre – whether you like their choices or not. (I don’t. I feel they’re missing several options). Use the choose button to get a drop down box. As you choose categories new boxes will pop up along the side to help you fine tune your selection.

The next screen will be about sales channels and setting your price. You can see that there is a minimum price that must be used for each channel. For instance, I must price this book at $7.02 or higher to publish it. If I want to sell it through my CS e-store I have to charge $8.78 and, if I want it to appear on Amazon, it has to be priced at $11.70.  If you opt for the $39 “upgrade” you can price your book cheaper – but there’s a catch (besides the 39$). If you want to take advantage of those extended distribution packages (libraries, bookstores, etc) you have to jack the price up, again. However, if you pay for the upgrade but don’t choose the other distribution options,  there is a price decrease to sell on Amazon and the e-store. Is it worth it? I’ve upgraded one book, but not the other. I don’t think it’s made any difference and, as far as I know, I have sold zero through those extended channels. You may have different luck, though.

Once you set your price high enough, the CreateSpace Store and Amazon Select button will turn blue. Click them both. Under CS e-store, choose the correct Sales Region (probably US and International). Then choose “save” to turn that annoying “awaiting information” into a green checkmark (It will say pending if your book is not yet published). (Of note – this is also where you will want to go to customize your estore, such as changing colors, wallpaper and banners on your store front. If you don’t know what I mean then take a look here and you can see where I’ve customized it. When you click the customize estore link you’ll get a new page. No need to worry about that now, though.)

Now, there’s nothing to do but sit back and wait. It can take CS up to 48 hours to review your book and send you an email.

We’re going to fast forward the universe and assume that all your files were perfect and needed no corrections. Yay! Now it’s time to order your proof!

Log in to Create Space and go to your dashboard. Next to your project’s name it will say “Awaiting proof order”. Click the title of your project to go to a new screen.

This is your projects page. You can see the book cover, your description, etc. You’ll also see a row of semi-bizarre “folders” – this is where you need to look. Each “folder” is a “section” of the process: Set up (Title information, ISBN, Interior and cover files, etc), Review (Order & review Proof), Distribution and Sales and Marketing. The green check marks next to an item indicates that those steps have been completed, while a red minus sign means you need to complete a step. A yellow triangle means it requires your attention and, in this case, it’s “order proof” that requires our attention. So, click on Order Proof.

Yay! Our files are printable! You may, or may not, have the option to skip a printable proof. If you have not published the book before, then I recommend getting a proof. If you have and are simply updating a file (such as fixing typos), then you may be confident enough to skip it.  This is my first shot at Ties of Blood, so I ordered a proof.  (you’ll also note that you can change your files here, but then they will go back for review and you will need to wait for them to be approved, again. This is the case any time you change your files.)

Now we will be whisked away to our shopping cart! Check to make sure you’re only ordering one proof copy and that nothing else is in your cart (unless you want it there.) Then head to shipping.

As you can see, there is a big difference in shipping price. In this instance, the standard shipping is $3.59, while the next step up is $11.18 – almost $7 more for a five day difference, and $1598 for the “fastest”.  I placed my order on August 18th and went with the cheap shipping. My order shipped the next day and I got the proof on the 22nd of August. However, I ordered a proof last October and it took about eight or nine days to get it, using the cheap shipping, so times vary.

Review all of your information on the final screen and place your order. You have to wait 12 – 24 hours before you can then log in and approve your proof, though I recommend actually waiting to get it and reviewing it.  Once you’ve approved it, log back into your CS dashboard and in that bizarre row of folders choose “Review Proof” and then – approve it!

Be sure to finish filling out anything you slipped before, such as product description, sales channels, and customizing your estore.

And that’s it! Congratulations!

How was your CreateSpace experience? Did you find it easy to navigate, or was it confusing? What advice do you have for others publishing through CreateSpace?

42 thoughts on “How to Publish on Create Space

  1. Lauralynn Elliott September 2, 2011 / 1:47 pm

    I found the CreateSpace site very easy to use. The hardest part is actually formatting the book for print. Darn those page numbers! LOL. The one way formatting for print is better than formatting for ebooks, though, is that you know exactly what it’s going to look like because CreateSpace prints your file exactly like you send it.

    I would recommend CreateSpace for anyone wanting to self publish their novels. I’ve done two with them so far, one for me and one for a friend of mine. Very good experience.

    • Joleene Naylor September 2, 2011 / 6:08 pm

      Thanks for the input! Yeah, I know what you mean! I have learned a LOT about how to use word while trying to format, LOL!

  2. Judy Croome September 2, 2011 / 3:53 pm

    Joleene, this is a well set out post – very clear and easily understandable. Can I please pick your brains on one problem about font size that has caused me innumerable headaches?

    I chose the 6 x 9 trim size, and my original word doc was Times Roman 12, then I converted it to the PDF, uploaded it. But in teh file reveiw email I got the following message:

    The interior file submitted was too large to fit the selected trim size; therefore, we have adjusted the file to ensure that no live elements are cut during the manufacture process. This adjustment may have impacted the font and/or margin size. We recommend reviewing a proof copy of your book and adjusting the native file if any changes are desired. You may wish to use our interior templates for standard trim sizes that are available for black & white books without bleed. You can find these templates here:

    So I copied my original MS Word doc into the CS basic template for a 6 x 9, all was okay and I went ahead and ordered a print proof copy.

    When I got my printed proof sample the font was smaller, but readable (it looks like TR10). However, some readers have complained about the font size and I found 1 typo. Being a nitpicker of note, I thought I’d change it – so I started the whole process again and got the same message. I’m waiting for the new print proof copy (which was supposed to arrive on Monday last, but I’m still waiting despite the ridiculous cost of expedited shipping I paid!)

    My question is: how on earth do I keep the 6 x 9 trim size, use the basic CS template for 6 x 9 and make sure the font size remains at TR12?

    I haven’t seen the new copy yet – I’m stressing like mad about it as my book has been off the shelves for nearly 10 days now and no sign of my proof arriving yet, so I made the decision to go ahead, but what’s worrying me is that the first proof was actually 154 pages, the product details now up on Amazon for the new proof I okayed this afternoon (sight unseen because of the postal delays) says 140 pages. Does this mean my font will be even smaller?

    Your help much appreciated

    Judy, South Africa


    • Ruth Ann Nordin September 2, 2011 / 5:09 pm

      I had problems with TR12 when I tried it, but my binding size was 5.5 X 8.5. I changed my font to Garamond 12 and it worked better. I don’t know if that would make a difference in a 6 X 9, though. I’m interested in what Joleene has to say since she’s an expert in this area.

      • Lauralynn Elliott September 2, 2011 / 5:25 pm

        I used TR12 with a 5.5 x 8.5 with no problems whatsoever. I wonder what the difference is?

        • Ruth Ann Nordin September 2, 2011 / 6:54 pm

          Hmm… Maybe I did something wrong when I formatted the paper size. At least we know the font and size isn’t a problem. 🙂

          • Judy Croome September 3, 2011 / 9:16 am

            Ruth & Lauralynn: thanks for the tips. Garamond is a nice font, so it’s worth a try.

            Judy, South Africa

    • Joleene Naylor September 2, 2011 / 6:08 pm

      When you print to PDF from word did you make sure that the paper size is set to 6×9 in the printer settings? – I did this once myself and ended up with an 8×11 document.

      Hope this helps 🙂

      • Judy Croome September 3, 2011 / 9:14 am

        Joleene, I just saved the ms word doc as a PDF file. Is that the problem, am I supposed to do something different (print to PDF – never done that but off to look at it now.)

        Thanks for the help! 🙂

        Judy, South Africa

      • Judy Croome September 8, 2011 / 7:32 am

        JOLEENE!! You’re a genius!! It worked! That’s exactly what I was doing wrong! I fixed it and now I know my font is right because of the page count (225 instead of 169 or 140 as it was in my first and second attempts) :):) Thanks again – so much easier when someone helps!

        Judy, South Africa

        • Joleene Naylor September 13, 2011 / 1:34 am

          You;re very welcome! Always happy to help 😀

  3. Ruth Ann Nordin September 2, 2011 / 5:08 pm

    Thanks for this awesome post! I’m putting it in the Publishing Basics page. I appreciate the time and work that went into this. 😀

    • Joleene Naylor September 2, 2011 / 6:09 pm

      Thanks! Been working on this off and on for a few days now, LOL! I was going to wait until I approved my proof to get that screen too, but heck, it;s a button. i think people can manage that with out a screen cap 😉

      • Cathy Jo September 5, 2011 / 10:31 pm

        Joleene, thank you for that great post on using CS!! It’s just what I’ve been looking for! I used another company for my first book ( and they submitted my book files to The problem with that is, I can’t keep track of how many books are selling through Amazon or the other online bookstores, because I don’t have accounts with those stores.I want to submit my files myself to CS so that I can keep track of everything, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to since they already have the files from the printer that I used. Does anyone have any experience in that area.

        Also, several people have mentioned font problems they were having once they submitted their book file to CS. I have a graphic designer who does the cover and text layout for my books and then saves it as a PDF to submit. I thought that as long as everything was right with the specifications that the company requires then there would be no problems with the interior or cover of the book because all the work would have been done and saved in the PDF.

        Last question: just for kicks, I downloaded the specs for CS for a 5×8 book and cut and pasted my original Word file into it and only the first 3 or 4 pages actually formatted correctly (with 2 pages showing side by side on the screen). The rest of the pages were in print layout view and looked like nothing had been done to them. I made sure I entered the correct sizing in the page layout tab. What did I do wrong?

        Thanks so much for all your help!

        Cathy Jo

        • Ruth Ann Nordin September 10, 2011 / 3:29 pm

          For the 5 X 8 size, I’ve had similar formatting issues with the size on my documents. What I have to do is select all of the book. Then I go and adjust the margins to the size I want my book. For me it’s 5.5 X 8.5, and I set the right and left, top and bottom margins, too, while I’m at it. So I’d select the entire book and then modify the size. I hope that will work for you.

          I don’t know about the other issue though.

  4. bellastreet September 2, 2011 / 7:04 pm

    Using the CreateSpace site is fairly intuitive. Like Lauralynn, it’s the formatting that bites. For the life of me, I cannot seem to figure how to get the page number thing down. I don’t want numbers in my title pages. I want 1 to start on my Chapter One page and go from there. Instead I get a document full of lower case Roman numerals in the footer. I’ve tried the formatted and unformatted templates, I’ve adjusted the title page settings, I’ve read the stuff by that Walton guy on the forums. Still no luck. Any advice?

    • Joleene Naylor September 2, 2011 / 8:17 pm

      I think I need to do a post on how to format for CS! 😉

      Use section breaks (i use the start on next page option) then in headers & footers make sure “Link to Previous” is NOT checked. Empty the headers and footers in the beginning section, then when you get to the first page of the real meat of the book, go to “format page number” and choose to begin at page 1. at the end of the story portion, hit another section break (again make sure NOT to link to previous) and then delete out the headers and footers in the final section (where the bio, etc is at). You can use this method to get chapter names at the top of your pages, too, just create a new section for each chapter and then format the page number to continue from the last section.

      If you want different odd and even pages (like your title on the top of the left page and your name on the right) choose :different odd and even” option, however, you will have to unlink the headers and footers for the odd and the even pages both (I forget and always have to undo!)

      There is also an option to have a different first page header and footer – that way you don;t have them on chapter one – page one – again if you use that you have to unlink it from previous too (so you may have to do that up to three times per section!)

      Hope this helps!

  5. Theresa M Moore September 2, 2011 / 7:47 pm

    I use Palatino Linotype 11, not TR12. It’s the easiest serif font to read. As for formatting with Word, you have to define your footers separately for odd and even pages. Still, on occasion I have seen the even numbered page numbers drop off anyway. Not to worry; most readers are not concerned with page numbers in fiction books. However, If you are publishing nonfiction you have to go back in and correct that.

    Lulu may be the easiest publisher to use but it fails where marketing and selling is concerned. You will have better luck with CreateSpace and the quality is on a par with Lightning Source. As for not selling books even through its expanded distribution program, the economy is so weak that there are no guarantees at all that you will do any better than if you sell the books yourself. I would hold off on spending that $39 until I have sold enough copies through both Amazon and CS to make it a less risky venture. Overall, online sales of printed books have been slipping lately.

    • Joleene Naylor September 2, 2011 / 8:19 pm

      I use Garamond in mine, just because I like it, LOL! Palantino is a nice font 🙂

      Yeah, I think it’s only worth the money for an unestablished author if you’re going to order enough copies yourself to recoup the $39 and then some.

  6. bellastreet September 2, 2011 / 8:23 pm


    That’s a new trick I haven’t tried. THANK YOU! And Theresa, I’ll look into the Paltino Linotype.

    • Joleene Naylor September 2, 2011 / 8:25 pm

      You’re very welcome! Always glad to help 🙂

  7. Elle Strauss September 2, 2011 / 11:16 pm

    This is extremely helpful info–thanks!

    • Joleene Naylor September 13, 2011 / 1:35 am

      You’re welcome, glad it helped 😀

  8. Lissa September 3, 2011 / 10:33 am

    This is a great article. I used CreateSpace for my first novel and it was unbelievably easy. The issue is that I live in the UK and my proof copy took 6-8 weeks to arrive using the cheapest shipping method. I used that time to do some basic marketing and spread the word, and prepare my e-book version.

    • David Knight September 4, 2011 / 2:01 pm

      Good Luck Lissa….just waiting on my first proof too ( first time i have used CS) Write ON! God bless dave AscensionForYou

      • Joleene Naylor September 13, 2011 / 1:36 am

        Oh wow, I never thought about the time difference with being in another country – for the shipping that is.

  9. Judy Croome September 3, 2011 / 10:38 am

    Lissa, living in South Africa I had the same problem of a long delivery wait for the proof copy. This time, as I was only sending in a correction & because I didn’t want my book to be off the Amazon store shelves for too long, I bit the bullet and paid the ridiculously expensive expedited shipping cost – delivery was promised by Monday last, I’m still waiting. I suspect the problem lies with the SA postal services, rather than Amazon, but the difficulties of getting the proof copy to a distant location is an added stress to self-publishing. I’m pleased to see that CreateSpace is beta testing a digital proof copy system – I’ll definitely use that option in future!

    Judy, South Africa

    • David Knight September 4, 2011 / 2:05 pm

      Thanks Judy for your info in the reply to Lissa…. the digital proof is a much better idea and hope they implement it soon! God Bless Dave AscensionForYou

      • Judy Croome September 4, 2011 / 3:50 pm

        David, yes, a digital proof will be so much easier and cheaper! Good luck with your first book! 🙂
        Judy, South Africa

        • Ruth Ann Nordin September 5, 2011 / 7:36 pm

          I’m glad they’re doing that, and I live in the US. 😀

          • Joleene Naylor September 13, 2011 / 1:38 am

            Yeah, I used the no proof option to update Shades of Gray and Legacy of Ghosts, so I was really happy with that and have done the survey after each one to say how much I liked it 🙂

  10. DM September 3, 2011 / 9:20 pm

    You’ve certainly made this easy by the step by step screenshots. Thank you.

  11. David Knight September 4, 2011 / 2:07 pm

    Brill post Jo….alot of time / effort i am sure went in with all the screen shots too. Great comments from people which is kind of a reminder that we all very much appreciate the help that you , Ruth and all at SPAL provide for us. Have a great Sunday! Dave

    • Joleene Naylor September 13, 2011 / 1:39 am

      Thanks, David! I actually thought of you when I first came up with the idea (you can tell how long ago I started thinking about doing the post, huh?)

  12. Juli Hoffman September 6, 2011 / 7:09 pm

    This Is a GREAT post Jo! The screen shots are a BIG help. I’ve learned so much from everyone at SPAL. Thank you! Thank you!!!

    • Judy Croome September 8, 2011 / 7:33 am

      Me to, Juli. It makes the maze less confusing when there are others like Ruth & Joleene to show the way!!

      Judy, South Africa

    • Joleene Naylor September 13, 2011 / 1:40 am

      I’m a big fan of screen shots – I like to see it before I get there so I know what to expect, LOL!

  13. Igor September 19, 2011 / 9:06 am

    Thanks Joleene, for posting this helpful information.
    I have a question regarding the ISBN. Do I understand correctly that once an author apllies for an ISBN from CS, which will then be locked to his title, he can then abort the setup process by simply logging out. This, of course, to hand an external PDF worker the ISBN to insert it into the interior file. And then, for instance, come back a few days later to continue the process further. Or would logging out of the screen disrupt the whole setup phase?
    Thanks kindly for your answer

    • Joleene Naylor October 2, 2011 / 2:11 am

      Sorry for the slow reply – Word press has been having some hiccups!

      yep! You can assign your ISBN and then log out if you want to and when you log back in the project will still be waiting to continue on from where you left it.

  14. authzh January 20, 2013 / 3:27 pm

    Reblogged this on The Avid Reader and commented:
    A simple and straight-forward how-to guide. Wonderful for anyone planning to publish on Amazon’s CreateSpace.

  15. slepsnor January 20, 2013 / 4:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Legends of Windemere and commented:
    This is a very useful guide for any author preparing to start on Kindle. Also, I want to make sure I can get to it when I get onto Kindle.

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