Self-publishing via Word and Createspace – overview

This is the first in a series of how-to posts that will help you publish a print version of your book…without making all the mistakes I made with Innerscape. The posts will focus on Word 10 and Amazon’s Createspace. The information is accurate as at April, 2017.

Right, first and foremost – what is Createspace?

Createspace is the print book arm of Amazon’s self-publishing toolset. Createspace allows you to publish a trade paperback version of your manuscript which will be produced on a ‘Print On Demand’ basis [POD]. POD is a fast way of printing small to very small print runs of books.

How small? Try just one.

Essentially, when a customer buys a POD book, they are placing an order for a book that does not yet exist in physical form. Once the order is placed, the book takes 1-3 days to produce, and then it’s posted out to the customer just the same as a book printed in the ordinary way.

PROS

  • Amazon will place your book for sale just like any other book – i.e. it will have the same visibility, or lack thereof, as any other book.
  • Self-publishers can have the pleasure of holding a physical copy of their own work.
  • Readers who do not like ebooks can find and buy your work in a physical format.
  • POD costs nothing up front, and printing charges* are subtracted from the sale price of the book – no sale, no charge.
  • POD books do not have to be warehoused.

CONS

  • Because POD books lack efficiencies of scale, they are not cheap*.
  • Because POD books come from Indies [and may or may not be returnable], bookshops generally do not accept them.
  • Most Indies sell far more ebooks than POD versions, but that may simply be a function of price [see above]
  • Preparing your manuscript for printing via Createspace requires a fair bit of work, or at least I found it to be so.

This is a cutesy video that walks you through the sales and royalties side of the process:

*Before you can calculate your royalties, however, you have to set a price that will not only cover your print charges, but will also bring in a small profit…to you. Working out the print charges, however, is a little bit like finding the end of a tangle of string.

  1. Print charges depend on the total page number, BUT >>
  2. the page number will change depending on the trim size of your book – i.e. how big or small it is, BUT >>
  3. Word documents are in A4, not in standard trim sizes, so a 200 page Word document could be up to 400 pages, depending on the trim size.

Trim size

I admit, I struggled with this. Trim size refers to the actual physical dimensions of the book you end up with after the printing process is finished. But what are these sizes? And how do they relate to my Word document?

After much floundering I found this table of trim sizes:

This information is from the Createspace website and the sizes shown in bold are the standard ones. Without going into too much detail, ordinary printers can print any sized book you can imagine, but POD printers like Createspace can only print the standard sizes. So, go standard. 🙂

After much messing around with measuring tapes and various sized books, I settled on the 5.5″ x 8.5″ trim size. Imho, not too big and not too small. But I was still no closer to knowing how many pages I’d end up with. Enter the Createspace templates.

Createspace templates

Before I say anything else, I have to say that trying to pour my manuscript into one of the templates was an exercise in frustration. For example, I could not get the page numbering to work. At all. I really wouldn’t recommend actually using the templates but…they do provide invaluable information such as:

  • Standard fonts
  • margins
  • layout etc

The information on the margins is absolutely vital. So next step is to find a template for the trim size you have chosen. You will find the most up-to-date information on the Kindle Direct Publishing website. If you have already published an ebook with KDP, login as normal. If not, got to this link:

https://kdp.amazon.com/

and login with your normal Amazon ID and password. Once you have logged in, select the ‘Help’ option from the top of the page. From the first Help screen select ‘Paperback Manuscript Formation’ as show below :

 

From the next screen, select ‘Paperback Manuscript Templates {Beta} as shown:

From the next screen, select ‘Templates with Sample Content’ to display the list of templates available for each trim size:

The ‘sample’ part helps you to see how the bits fit.

Select the appropriate template and save it to your computer. Open it and look at it, but do NOT change anything. This template works for Createspace, so you need to keep it with its original settings so you know what to change in your own Word document.

In the next post, I’ll show you how to:

  • change the font and font size of your manuscript to match the template,
  • change the margins and page setup to match the template
  • change the alignment and line spacing to match the template.

In future posts, I’ll walk you through how to:

  • change the styles to make formatting easier,
  • how and why to insert section breaks and
  • how to insert different page numbers in different areas of your book
  • how to calculate costs and royalties based on the number of pages you end up with in your formatted manuscript
  • how to calculate the price you need to charge for your book in order to make a profit, or at least break even.

This may seem like a very back to front way of doing things, but you can’t make any of the important calculations until you know exactly what size book you want to create and how many pages it will have.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 


Saving the planet, one innovation at a time

This is a video of a new process that turns waste plastic into one of the components used in road building:

This is what I call innovation. 🙂

cheers Meeks

p.s. Apologies but the Createspace article was pushed onto the backburner today. Manana?


My first purchases from iStock :)

I can’t tell you what I’ve been working on just yet, but I will show you some photos I just bought from iStock:

I was looking for a visual image of Nabatea when I found this first one on iStock. It’s a lovely image and only cost $36 AUD, but then I also found this one:

This is a painting of an oasis and nowhere near as beautiful as the previous, photographic image, but it does have a ‘waterhole’…and it’s no more real than Miira’s Nabatea.

As most of you have already guessed, I’m struggling with a cover for Innerscape. Here are two more images that I’m pondering, both created by The Offspring :

and…

I’m still a very long way from being happy with any of my preliminary concepts so I’ve turned comments off for this post. Tomorrow I hope to begin a new technical series on how to prepare a manuscript for Createspace. It’ll be full of the things I learned while making every mistake under the sun, so stay tuned. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


The Case For Compulsory Voting …

We take democracy for granted at our peril. It’s actually a fragile thing, and like a good relationship, you have to work at it.

Filosofa's Word

There are a number of reasons that we in the U.S. find ourselves with a madman at the helm.  Certainly, the Russian connection played a role, though it remains to be seen just how much of a role.  James Comey, perhaps pressured by another, played a role.  Voter laws that disenfranchised members of certain groups had a role.  But perhaps the largest reason was voter apathy … many were simply too lazy or too disgusted with both candidates to take an hour out of their year to go vote.

Only about 25% of eligible voters voted for Donald Trump.  Let that one sink in for a moment.  About ¼ of citizens over the age of 18 voted for Trump, yet he now sits in the Oval Office.  Voter turnout in the 2016 election was only around 55%.* Barely half of all those who had the opportunity to…

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Coal to Newcastle or #robots to #China UPDATE 18/4/2017

I was going to post a recipe for plum cake, but then I found this video clip on Quartz. What can I say? I like robots. 🙂

So, this from China:

And this from…?

But I saved the best till last – the Teslasuit. It’s a full body haptic suit. For gamers to wear in conjunction with a VR headset.

The Teslasuit doesn’t exist…yet…but there’s a Kickstarter campaign to turn it into reality. 

Apologies, I was wrong – the Teslasuit does already exist and it’s being enhanced by its developers. This is what the still image looks like:

And these are two video clips that show it actually working:

There is also another video clip but you need Flash to play it and I don’t use Flash anymore. But for those that do, here it is:

http://www.bbc.com/specialfeatures/horizonsbusiness/seriessix/sharper-senses/?vid=p03xnpch

And finally, you can go to the website for even more information :

https://teslasuit.io/#intro

I am seriously excited!

Meeks


Mesmerizing Animated Masterpieces

I’m not religious, but if it takes a religious celebration to focus our thoughts on kindness and goodwill to our fellow man, then so be it.

This weekend I’m posting nothing but uplifting information, and here’s something close to my heart – beautiful graphics made even more clever by modern technology. Enjoy. 🙂

ALK3R

For the 50th anniversary of the Edward Hopper’s death, a British digital agency, Verve Search for Orbitz chose to make the most famous masterpiece of the artist, by creating beautiful GIFs.

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Email to the PM re #Adani

I just sent this email to the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull:

Just for the record, I do not know the PM, but I did ‘chat’ with him by email after he lost to Tony Abbott, way back when. At the time, I wanted to congratulation him on being a man of integrity, even if he was a Liberal. I still receive updates from his staff.

And that brings me to the second point I want to clarify: I know the PM won’t read this email of mine. It is quite possible that his staffers won’t read it either. In all likelihood, the subject line of ‘Adani’ will be more than enough to get it binned sight unseen.

But…

I know Climate Change is real.

I know its caused by us, and

I know that our long-term survival requires that we do something about it.

Digging up more coal is not the answer. And neither is paying a ridiculous amount of money to gain a very few jobs in Queensland. The 10,000 jobs bandied about were never a reality. The truth is that if Adani goes ahead, we’ll be lucky to get 1500 jobs.

$900,000,000 [the cost of the rail link] divided by 1500 equals $600,000.

Think about it, one job will cost us 600,000 dollars.

I’m no mathematician, but that doesn’t seem like a very good deal to me.

If you agree, please pass this on. The more Australians who know what’s really involved, and get angry, the better our chances of actually stopping this madness. Trickledown economics has never worked, especially when it comes via the Cayman Island tax haven. We really are smarter than this.

Meeks


Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion – The Prayer

Just because it’s beautiful. 🙂

And special thanks to A Momma’s View for starting the music tonight:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/24134256/posts/1415692637

Goodnight all,

Meeks


Prodigal Son – by Laurie Boris

You’re welcome. 🙂

Laurie Boris

Amid the chaos, the family arguing about who would get what, you figure no one will miss you. He’d told you where to find the paperwork. Which car to take to the house in the country. Your older brothers call it “the cabin.” What a joke. Pop only bought it because he thought it would make him look smart. Because some wise man in the past droned on about doing his best thinking in his cabin in the woods. Pop had been there once. He stayed exactly two hours, pronounced it “boring as hell,” then went back to the city. But you’ve always liked it. You really want nothing from him, and told him so the last time you spoke, and somehow he respected you for that (probably calling you a schmuck behind your back). Now a small part of you hopes he left you the house in the woods…

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Smithing in Vokhtah – how to forge the links of a chain

The creatures of Vokhtah possess many ‘skills’ that owe more to fantasy than sci-fi, but their world is as real as I can make it, so here is some real blacksmithing that I had to research today:

Those who’ve read the first book about Vokhtah will know that the technology of the iVokh is somewhere between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age of Earth. They have Smiths who work starrock – i.e. rock that falls from the stars – in firepits. Of all the items crafted by the Smiths, two play a vital role in Vokhtan culture – timepieces and shackles.

I introduced the concept of a water-driven timepiece in book 1, and the following is a concept drawing of what such a timepiece [with extra ‘alarm bell’] might look like:

 

In book 2, however, I’ll be introducing the idea of the shackles. Think old convict shackles like these:

If you go searching for images of shackles, please be careful how you word your Google search. I learned some eye-opening things about bondage before I found the above image on Ebay. Apparently you can ‘Buy Now’ for $25.97 USD…

But after all that research, how much actually ended up in the story?

Not much. The one thing that truly hit me from the video was that without that shaped anvil, the calipers and the hammer, the blacksmith would have been struggling to make anything resembling a chain link. So how about my Smiths. Would they have possessed such specialised tools? Probably not, at least to start with. So my research boils down to half a sentence, shown in bold below:

The silence of the small chamber was broken by the clank of starrock as Tatah strained against the shackles that bound her to the cot. Held aloft by her huge, red wings, she thrashed from side to side in a vain attempt to break free, but neither the shackles nor the cot showed any signs of weakening.

Exhausted by her efforts and still not completely recovered from the Cut, she slumped back onto her belly and lay there gasping as her wings slowly deflated.

She was bitterly disappointed at not being able to free herself but was not surprised. She had commissioned the shackles at a time when she thought she could conquer the world, so her Smiths had been ordered to produce nothing but the best. They had taken her at her word, spending a year just to craft the tools they would need to forge the shackles. Then they had spent another year refining the starrock and forging it into a set of bindings strong enough to hold even the strongest Vokh.

Tatah had been delighted. But, of course, she had never dreamt that the shackles would be used against her…

Happy weekend all. 🙂

Meeks

 


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