(Here's me holding my proof copy. Almost as exciting as giving birth to my children, and not quite as painful!)
Today I'll share how I created my print copy of The Boy Who Loved Fire!
There are many reasons why I think print books are a giant bonus, even in the digital age. I'll share more on that topic in my 4/24 guest post on Janice Hardy's blog. For now I'll discuss the how instead of the why.
For the purpose of this post, I'll focus on CreateSpace--the company I used for my print book. I've been really happy with the outcome.
Here's a step by step guide to creating a print book:
Print covers require a spine and info for the back cover. I used J. Allen Fielder to design all my covers, including print. For a small extra fee, he adjusted my digital cover for print. He knew exactly what to do. All he needed was the book size, page count, and ISBN. This was one of the many benefits of working with a cover pro! If you're working with a cover designer, let them know you're doing print and discuss the details.
Before you even sign on to CreateSpace, you'll need to format your final, super duper edited manuscript for print.
- Choose a book size: I pulled favorite YA contemporary books off my shelves and whipped out the measuring tape. I chose 5.25" x 8". Another popular size is 6" x 9".
- Format to size: I write with Apple Pages. I updated my page size in Inspector>Document>Page Setup. (CreateSpace offers help to Word users in this link)
- Choose margin sizes: I used a ruler to size up my shelved books, then changed the margin settings. In Pages it's Inspector>Document>Facing Pages and >Headers, >Footers.
- Chapter headings: I moved my chapter numbers to almost mid page of each new chapter. I also increased the font size of the chapter numbers.
- First lines: remove indent from the first sentence of each new chapter and after each scene break.
- Delete unnecessary data: remove the table of contents from the front matter, and digital links from the back matter.
- Save as a .pdf
Upload to CreateSpace
Once you have a nifty cover with a spine, and a re-formatted document, you're ready to upload your book. This part moves easily from one step to the next. Here's a short breakdown.
- Open a CreateSpace account: some of your information from Amazon will transfer over. Everything else is self-explanatory.
- Title page is self explanatory
- Interior: choose paper color (cream is most common for fiction) and type color (black and white). This is also where you upload your .pdf file.
- ISBN: I chose the free ISBN offered by CreateSpace. For more info about the ins and outs of ISBN numbers, read this post on Janice Hardy's blog.
- Cover: choose matte or glossy finish (I chose glossy). Upload your cool cover with spine.
- Complete setup: this is where you review all the info you've entered.
Once you've completed all the steps, CreateSpace then reviews your book for quality. You'll receive a message when it's approved.
- Review your book online: click through each page and see how it will look once printed.
- Browse through errors: in your online book review, you will likely see errors off to the right. Click through those to figure out what needs to be changed. If you're unsure about these changes, or can't see anything wrong where an error message appears, visit the forums. Many of these "errors" are simply glitches that don't need to be fixed.
- Proof copy: once you've reviewed your online book and can't find any errors, it's time to order your proof copy. Once you receive your proof copy by mail (a totally exciting experience, by the way), go through each page of the book. Look for anything wonky.
- Change and re-upload: make any necessary adjustments to your main document, save to .pdf, then upload a new copy.
- Channels: I made my book available everywhere.
- Pricing: I made my book as cheap as CreateSpace would allow. Print books are already more expensive than digital. I wanted it to be as affordable as possible.
- Description: this is where you add your book summary and author bio.
- Keywords: very important! If someone wanted to search for your book, what would they put in the search engine? I used teen, arson, hispanic, burn victims, romance.
Once your online book and physical proof have been reviewed for accuracy and beauty, click Publish and get that baby out there!
Yes, print books require additional work, but it's soooo worth it. My biggest advice is this: use the forums. Click here and search for anything you're up against when creating a print book. CreateSpace authors have done and seen just about anything, and they generously share solutions. Forums are an indie author's best friend.
For more tips on self publishing, including ideas for a professional print book, I'd highly recommend James Scott Bell's Self Publishing Attack.
If you're indie or traditionally published, is there a print copy of your book out there? If you've used CreateSpace, or another print service, can you think of anything I've missed?