Low/No Content Books

This month I’ve been working on a project to publish a set of low/no content books on CreateSpace – diaries, journals, notebooks etc.

As usual, I dived in head first so it’s been a mad learning curve!

Here are a few tips that I learned about using CreateSpace along the way so far.

  • Decide your branding up-front. That is, who will appear as the ‘author’ of these books? Choose either your name, a pen name or a brand name
  • Think in batch terms eg a series of notebooks based on cat breeds – you need
    • one formatted set of internal pages (pdf template is fine) common for all books in the batch, and then
    • create covers for each book in the batch
    • load up each cover with the templated internal pdf
  • For covers,
    • make sure covers are at least 300 dpi
    • check cover text and Title matches
  • For internals, 
    • think through your layout and inclusions beforehand then produce a standard template
    • embed any quotes as images – text-based quoted often get flagged by the reviewer and that holds you up big time
    • make sure your format fits the appropriate CreateSpace template
    • if using lines make sure they are heavy enough to print cleanly
    • decide for yourself if your book benefits from page numbers or not
    • remember to update the ISBN for each title if including it in your internals
    • brand your book but don’t overdo it for products like notebooks
    • make any images 300+dpi even in pdf
  • Watch out for copyright issues – content, images, fonts – double check you’ve attributed if required and/or have rights to use for commercial purposes
  • Order a physical proof at least for one of a set of books to make sure it prints ok – if by the time yo get your proof you find you need to make changes, you can or to pull the original and resubmit a better quality one
  • Save time and energy by using templates – make your own or buy ready-made
  • CreateSpace inserts blank pages if your book size is not divisible by 4. So if you produce 97 pages, CreateSpace will insert 2 blank pages. For a 100 page book, make internals 99 pages to allow for ‘printed by CreateSpace’
  • Once you upload, review and approve your proof, your product is on sale on CreateSpace / Amazon within 5 business days. You don’t need to complete the “Publish to Kindle” step as that is for KDP and not recommended for newbies
  • After approving your proof for publication you can still change pricing, description, and distribution channels any time.

In a month I’ve managed to get two books available for sale and 8 more are in the queue. My perfectionism, lack of a system or ready-made templates slowed me down. In fact, I didn’t even have a plan! Not a recommended approach.

Going forward, now that I have a better idea of the whole CreateSpace POD process I am putting together a plan for what books I will produce, set up a production system including where I keep things pre and post-production and gather a set of ready-made templates to speed up production. Oh and this current batch of books are under my name but I will choose a brand name for future publications – I’d prefer to separate fiction and non-fiction publications.