Monday, October 19, 2015

Paperbacks tips for the indie author

I waited to do the paperback version of She Dies at the End until after I'd released the ebook on Kindle via Kindle Direct Publishing.  I wanted to gauge the level of interest before I put in the time.  I was surprised to find out that a lot of people, even young people, still prefer a physical copy and asked me when one might be available.  Having a two month gap also allowed me to correct some editing issues that came to light after I published the Kindle edition.

I used CreateSpace, an Amazon subsidiary, to create my paperback.  Here are just a few tips I figured out along the way.

When you upload your text, CreateSpace lets you know the dimensions your cover needs to be based on your pagecount and the size book you choose (6" by 9", for example).  The dimensions include the front and back covers, the spine, and a little extra for bleed.  You can then either use their cover creator or upload a pdf that matches the required dimensions.

I chose to use Canva to design my cover, since that's what I used to do the ebook and I wanted the two to match pretty closely.  Canva lets you do custom dimensions, and I had no problem creating my cover.  Do remember to leave room for the barcode on the back, and make sure the writing on the spine is centered and oriented properly.

I love Canva.  It is free if you use your own images, and the price for their images is quite reasonable.  It is quite versatile, and they have some lovely fonts.  You can hire a cover designer, of course, but if you have to or want to do it yourself, is a good choice.

When you upload your book's docx file to Createspace, it converts your document to the new size and can generate a new docx file for you to download with the proper page dimensions and margins.  You then want to save that file so you can add page numbers, tweak spacing and font, etc.  Remember that you need to choose different odd and even pages under page numbers due to the way books are bound.  (You might need bottom right on odd pages and bottom left on even pages, for example.)  Once you have perfected your work, you upload the new file and submit your cover and interior files for approval.

Once your files are approved and you think the digital proof looks right, get a hard copy proof before you approve your files for publishing.  I cannot stress this enough.  It looks so much different in your hands than on the screen.

Good luck, and happy writing!

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