Formatting for CreateSpace—Part 2: Cover Creation, Book Distribution and Pricing

And on to cover creation. Firstly, some general notes:

  • Once you are happy with the content, make sure your cover is ready for upload. This may be difficult to do, if you don’t know the cover size for the template you’ve chosen, so be prepared to make adjustments the first time, and then write down the sizes of covers you are going to format for on a regular basis. If you hire out for your covers you will need to be able to provide these details to your cover creator.
  • I tend to create the design in GIMP, and then use the base cover I’ve created when creating the front cover for the CreateSpace version. You might use a professional cover designer or some other means to create your cover.

Some CreateSpace specific notes:

  • I use the CreateSpace cover generator and this means I cannot have colour to the very edges as the cover generator registers these colours and warns me that I could lose cover content. There is a shaded area in the cover generator that indicates where cover content could be lost, and it is important that no coloured portion of your cover extends into this zone. It does not seem to matter if you don’t mind losing the coloured background, the generator will not let it pass if it can detect it.
  • Note also, that this restriction only applies to the right-hand, top and bottom edges of the cover, so you can off-centre you design to the left, but need to allow even spacing at the top and bottom of the cover.
  • When the cover is ready, go back to CreateSpace.
  • Find the title in your list of titles and click on it.
  • On the title’s Project Homepage, select the ‘Cover’ link in the ‘Setup’ box to get to the ‘Cover’ page.
  • On the ‘Cover’ page, check the finish you want for your book cover, and click on the button for the finish you prefer.
  • You can either upload a print-ready PDF cover, use the CreateSpace Professional Cover Design services, or Build you Cover Online. I use the last option. If you are also taking this avenue, the following might be of interest. If you don’t, then you might want to skip down to the end of the cover design phase in these notes.
  • If you select ‘Build Your Cover Online’, then click on the ‘Launch Cover Creator’ button  to start the process.
  • There are a number of designs that allow you to upload a fully formatted cover, but I use a design that lets me just upload the image for the front cover, and keeps the back cover plain with space for a blurb. Once you have selected your cover, click on it, and then click ‘Ok’.
  • The best way to create your cover, is to work your way through the tasks listed on the left-hand side. When you have completed each task, click the ‘Next’ button. Tasks are as follows:
  • Theme: I tend to leave this alone, and just click ‘Next’;
  • Title: Adjust the title as necessary, then click ‘Next’;
  • Authors: I usually have to alter the author name to include my initial. You do this in the text box provided, and then click ‘Apply’. When you have completed this stage, click ‘Next’.
  • Front Cover Image: Click on the ‘Upload’ button, navigate to the picture file you created earlier, and then upload it. When the upload is complete, check to make sure you have no cover matter extending into the banded area that borders three sides of the cover. This is the time to make corrections. If you do need to correct your cover image, do so in the program in which you created it, click on ‘Clear’ in the ‘Front Cover Image’ task area, and then re-upload the image. Once you are happy with your cover image, click on ‘Next’.
  • Author Photo: You can upload an author image for your back cover. As I don’t want to do this, I just untick the ‘Visible’ box and then click ‘Next’.
  • Back Cover Text: I have a text document with the formatted Back Cover Text I want to use. When I reach this stage, I copy that text, and then click on the ‘Select All’ button in the ‘Back Cover Text’ task area. Once the text is selected, I paste in the text I copied earlier, and then click ‘Apply’. When the text has been loaded into the box on the cover page, I click ‘Next’.
  • Background Color: Because I use a black border for my CreateSpace covers, I change the background colour for the cover. To do this, I click on the box in the ‘Background Color’ task and then select black. Once the cover has changed to black, I click ‘Next’.
  • Font Color: I don’t usually change the font colour offered, but the option is there. Simply select the color you prefer for your font, and then click ‘Next’.
  • Once you are happy with how your cover looks, click ‘Next’. This takes you back to the ‘Cover’ page. Select the ‘Complete Cover’ button in the ‘Build Your Cover Online’ box, and wait for the ‘Upload Complete’ status to load. Once that has happened, click ‘Save’, and then ‘Continue’ once the ‘Cover’ page has reloaded.
  • This will take you to the ‘Complete Setup’ page, which will reflect that you have completed the cover and your internal content uploads. If you are happy with the data summarised here, click on the ‘Submit Files for Review’ button.
  • A pop-up box will inform you that your files are being reviewed and you will be taken to the ‘Channels’ page for Distribution. Click on the ‘Continue’ button in the pop-up box to be allowed to select your Channels.
  • There is a ‘What’s This?’ link you can click on to investigate what each distribution channel is about. You can select or de-select the channels you would like. There is one link that requires you to have completed the Description section. If you completed that page earlier, you won’t have to click on the ‘Description’ link in the ‘Distribute’ drop down on the left. If you haven’t, and you decide you need that channel of distribution, you will need to go to the ‘Description’ section and then come back to this page.
  • Once you have chosen your distribution channels, click on the ‘Save and Continue’ button.
  • This will take you to the pricing page. There are a number of blogs on how to price and the importance of pricing. If you have used the expanded distribution channel, Dean Wesley Smith has written a couple of very interesting articles on pricing that could be helpful. You can find them typing in ‘pricing’ in the search button on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog and reading the results. You could also do the same search on Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s blog. Both are writing industry veterans whose advice is worth listening to. I advise a minimum of $2.00 as a margin for Expanded Distribution.
  • To calculate the price, type in a price in the ‘USD’ box under ‘List Price’, and then hit calculate. (It will not work if you just hit ‘Enter’.) Work through the prices until you hit the price that’s right for you—and, hopefully, your readers.
  • Once you are happy with your pricing, click on the ‘Save and Continue’.
  • This will take you to another ‘Cover’ page, where you can confirm your cover finish. Once you have selected the cover finish you want, click on the ‘Save & Continue’ button.
  • This will take you to the ‘Description’ page. If you have completed this and are happy with it, click on ‘Save & Continue’. Otherwise, fill the boxes on the page as required.
  • You will be offered the option of publishing on Kindle—just as soon as your files have finished the review process. At this stage, I usually return to the Member Dashboard to work on my next project while the files are under review.

We’ll look at what happens after the review in my next Formatting post.


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