The (Not Horribly Long) Road to Self-Publishing

publishDear Reader,

Forgive me as I dip into a moment of self-advertisement. Last April, I released my book Glass People with Amazon and CreateSpace. The process strayed from my expectations of publishing in that I wasn’t dead by the time I finished. Dead tired perhaps, but my heart was still beating. And the most exhausting part was editing the book. Once I finished with that, publishing came easy.

Self-publishing, that is. I started out going to and then to Create Space. Create Space is a part of and lets you publish your own work, whether it be text or media. I went with text. In the CreateSpace publishing process, there are four major components: Create, Setup, Review, and Distribute.

Create: This is the part where you create your work. Technically, this was the longest part of the process, since it took a little over three years. Once your work is finished to your satisfaction, you can upload it. Since my file was text, I used doc. format. There are several sizes that you can choose from. I used 6 X 9.

Setup: In this section, you enter title information (what it’s called, what edition it is, date of publication), ISBN (you will be assigned one for free if you do not already have one), interior (for me, the text between the front and back cover), and cover (you can upload your own or use the free CreateSpace Cover Creator, which was what I used). Once these are all finished, you submit your files for review. The contents of your book are locked until the review is complete. For me, this took about twelve hours.

Review: Once the initial review is complete, CreateSpace allows you to proof your book. You can either purchase a hardcopy or view a digital edition. For the first edition, I did both. This is an important part of the process, since you are viewing how your book will look when it is released. I suggest going page by page. If you see something that needs to be changed, you must go back to your original file, make the change there, and then re-submit the file. This means that you will have to start over again, as everything but the title information and ISBN will be changed.

Distribute: When you are finally finished with what you see (it took me a while to reach that point), you can setup your distribution channels. There are three channels to choose from: Amazon, Amazon Europe, and CreateSpace eStore. I chose all three. When I first published the book in April, Expanded Distribution was $25. With Expanded Distribution, your work may appear in different retailers both online and in-store, as well as different libraries. Since April, this option has now become free. While I used it for a bit, the one drawback was that Expanded Distribution shot up the Amazon price for my book and I could not lower it due to manufacturing costs. Since then, I have just used the basic setup. The Distribute section also gives you a price range (pricing will depend on how large your book is and how many channels you have selected, among other things) that you can pick from to price your book at. One nice feature is that there is an automatic currency converter you can use. This makes sure that your book’s pricing is equivalent through all of your channels. You can also choose between a matte or glossy cover (I went with glossy, but recently changed it to matte). Once you are done with that, you write the description for your work, the author biography, search keywords (you can create up to five), the content of your book (adult or not), and the format of your book (Large Print or regular). The biography and description can be tricky and some hints are provided.

Once you get through all of that, you are ready to publish your book. You can also put your book on Amazon Kindle, which is what I did. This process is much easier, since you are using the same cover and interior that you just worked on in CreateSpace. (Though, technically, you can change the cover and interior for the Kindle Edition if you wish.) You also do not have the same review process that you did with CreateSpace, so you do not have to wait as long as you did. The basics include writing a description and determining a price. Before you publish, you will also be asked if you wish to put your book in the Kindle Select program, which lets users borrow your book for free. There are some benefits to this program, which are listed here. Though the program says that it can take several weeks for your book to appear on Amazon, I was able to get a link for my book in about ten hours.

If you have any other questions on the process, be sure to let me know. Also, if you have used this program before, come share your experiences down below.


Jumbled Writer

*Photo Courtesy of Publishing Perspectives.


18 Responses to The (Not Horribly Long) Road to Self-Publishing

  1. I’ve used Createspace to publish two books. I had some difficulty with formatting my cover on one of the books, but overall, the process was fairly simple. Thanks for providing this overview for authors who are preparing to publish a book. This is a great article.

  2. Excellent post! Thanks for walking us through in such an easy to understand fashion. My first try at create space will be this weekend and this is exactly what I needed. Two questions: How long did it take to get the hard copy for review? And once you hit the end of the process, how long did it take for it to appear on amazon (is it instantaneous or does it take a day or two, or do you pick a release date? ) Thank you again for your awesome walkthrough! Your blog totally rocks!

    • I believe it took around four days or so to get the hard copy. It was pretty quick.
      I tried to plan the release date for April 5th, so I made sure to get the files in by midnight. Looking back over my blog posts, I was able to write a blog post that same day and provide a link, so I would say it took around eight hours for the book to show up on Amazon.
      If you have any other questions, let me know!

  3. I’ve used Create Space to publish five books and find the process through them easy to follow. It’s amazing how far and easy Independent Publishers have it compared to getting a printing company to print copious amounts of books to sell/distribute on your own. This makes it so much easier. And as the quality of independent books increases the cost for both the reader and the writer becomes attainable. Now I need (and I’m sure there are many others) – explicit and simple instructions on marketing effectively. Thanks JW for the advice – like doverwhitecliff says – awesome walkthrough.

  4. Thank you for liking “Spring Is Here!” I have heard about self-publishing through and CreateSpace, and I was curious about what it was like to use their services. Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

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