The Ultimate Guide to Easy Peasy Createspace formatting   1 comment

I understand how doing the Createspace Tango can drive some people crazy, and recently I figured out how to do it quite easily and why not share that information with the world?

There is only ONE major issue that I believe causes all the “Createspace chaos” when authors want to format their books for printing.

The main thing is, they don’t treat their Createspace book like a new book.

What do I mean by that? Basically most people write their books in A4 (8.5 x 11 ) size, not (5.0X 8.06 or whatever lovely assortment of paper back sizes there are out there). Uploading your book to Amazon is pretty painless these days since there is no more need to fiddle with HTML, unless you are a coding ninja and want ridiculous effects, videos and cool stuff like that in your book. For us regular folk, as you know, Createspace has more technical requirements, which can leave us pulling out our hair at four in the morning bemoaning the day we ever decided to be an “indie author”.

Hold your breath, not to worry.

RULE NUMBER 1 – your paperback is essentially a new book.

The Createspace book is a “new” book that you might have to format again. When I say format, I’m talking stuff like Chapter headings and how you want the inside to look. (I personally call formatting “Happy text tweaking”). Sometimes if you copy and paste an 8.5 X 11 manuscript into a 5.5 X 8.5 template, some stuff will change, or get a little warped which is normal.

So if you spent a godawful amount of time formatting your KINDLE book to look a certain way, then wonder it looks all weird in Createspace is because they aren’t the same. With me so far? So then people start doing their research and develop high blood pressure worrying about  “margins”, “PDF dpi”, scary numbers that end in decimal places and even creepier things called “the gutter”.

Again, not to worry.

The only thing you need to be concerned with is ONE THING:

Does my document meet the submission requirements?

Or in simpler terms does it fit properly on the page? Boom. That’s it.

A lot of people don’t know that Createspace provides pre-formatted templates (for free) that allow people to instantly meet these submission guidelines without the aforementioned hair pulling and subsequent early morning screaming. They make it hard to find on the website (naturally of course because they provide * ahem* “many services” to help you get your book off the ground). I’m not knocking them, but you can format your book by yourself, easily and have it meet submission guidelines sooner than you can read a Sidney Sheldon novel.

So when you are going to make your new book size, remember it’s like doing another book SO….

1. Go here:

2. Then pick the size you want your book to be (note, if you buy an ISBN for the hardcopy your book size will be locked to the size selection, so choose carefully).

3. Download the Microsoft word document for your book size.

4. Copy your entire novel into this new document. Hold the brakes! This is where people usually go crazy because the text might have changed significantly when they copied it into the template. Sometimes things change, and sometimes they don’t. So take a quick scan through and see how the text looks, and make whatever adjustments you need to. Remember it’s a “new” novel, so you might have to reformat some stuff, but as soon as you pasted it into the template, it fits EXACTLY into Createspace’s submission guidelines. Meaning, even if your text looks crappy at the moment, it would print properly on the page. So if your document looks a little odd, take some time and fix up the text because you won’t need to worry about page margins since they are set in the document. Meaning it will print properly on the pages of your soon to be paperback book.

5. Upload your new book document to Createspace and Preview (I’m assuming you already have cool stuff like a book cover and a description already done)

6. After the book uploads, you will receive an e-mail that gives you an option to view your file, then check “Interior review”. You shouldn’t have any error messages because…. It’s a createspace made document! Ain’t life grand? 🙂

So again, immediately after reformatting (if your document requires it) you have a document that fits PERFECTLY into the Createspace submission guidelines. So the only real “work” after that is to figure out how you want your text to look for a book that size. So take a paperback that has a formatting look that you like which is the EXACT SIZE of the book you want to print, and see how the text looks and also how they did their chapter headings. Once you get a feel of how your book will most likely look, order a proof. Based on this guide the proof should look okay. If you want to increase the font size, and make other changes that is up to you. But if you do it this way, you will have no problems. You don’t have to worry about margins, “the gutter”, “mirroring” or any of that madness since the settings are already in the Microsoft Word document.

Also if it helps, popular fiction fonts are: Garamond, Bookman Old Style and Minion.

I mention this because Times New Roman and American Typewriter might look okay read on a Kindle, but if you want a quality look to your printed book, go with the masses. For my book Sex, Drugs and Jerk Chicken I’m on the Garamond bandwagon. If that doesn’t inspire you to change your font, the epic bestseller Eat, Pray, Love is printed in Garamond. When I did a very rushed print of my book (before understanding the process) I got an “okay” print but the font was a little small, and my book came out to 188 pages. After using a template, updating the font and doing my “happy text tweaking” the book went to 288 pages with properly sized text. So not only did I get a bigger book, but a better looking book. After I get my first proof, I can check to see if I like the feel of it, or if I want to make any adjustments. Whatever action I take from here, I have no worries, simply because I know it will always print properly on the pages. I hope this helps someone out there to make it happen!



One response to “The Ultimate Guide to Easy Peasy Createspace formatting

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  1. I also agree that Garamond is good to the eye. You can also upload your book in PDF format.

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