Changes to Create Space Pro Plan

If you have books enrolled in create Space’s pro plan, you probably got this email a few days ago:

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As a member with Pro Plan, we’re emailing to let you know that Pro Plan is being discontinued  as of January 18, 2012. We’re now offering industry-leading royalties, low costs on copies of your books and improved distribution options to all our members, free of charge.

Here’s how you are impacted:

  • The availability of your title(s) through our free Standard Distribution channels, including Amazon.com and CreateSpace eStore, will remain unchanged.
  • If you purchased Pro Plan for any of your titles, the availability of those titles through Expanded Distribution channels will remain unchanged.  You have the option to change enrollment in Expanded Distribution channels at no charge. To make your selections, go to your Project Homepage, click Channels, select your Expanded Distribution channels, and hit Save.
  • You’ll continue to receive the benefit of improved royalty payouts due to lower unit costs on orders for all your titles.

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What about the expanded distribution? It’s now only 25$ with no impact on your book pricing – except that to qualify for it you ahve to price your book higher. Huh?)

Here’s what I mean. With the new changes, I was able to price Legacy of Ghosts and Ties of blood at $7.99 each, however to keep Shades of Gray available in the “expanded” channels (which as far as I know have sold 0) I have to leave it priced at $10. I will probably take it out of the expanded channels and drop the price.

If you don’t have any pro books, all this means to you is that you can now price your books lower and earn the same royalty – or leave them as are for a higher royalty – and copies you order yourself should be cheaper.

If you don’t have a the pro option on your books, did you notice a significant change in the price options/royalties in your book? If you did have the pro option, what did you think of it? Are the expanded channels worth the cost and the higher price tag on your books?

 

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 – https://www.createspace.com/ – 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?