Once the eBook was officially available, I took a week or so to let my friends and family know about it. I was proud of the book and I was glad it was out there. But as a life-long book lover and a library employee, I longed to hold the book in my hand. A real, physical book that could sit on a shelf, gather dust, and live on long after I was gone. A book that might somehow find its way into a used book store one day, where other people who never even met me might stumble across it.
I knew I couldn’t afford the actual self-publishing route, where you have to buy a certain number of copies. For another thing, even if I could afford to do that, I have nowhere to store 100 or more copies of my book and no idea of how to distribute them. But I could offer publish-on-demand. Since the main purpose was to get the book out there, royalties weren’t a concern for me.
For various reasons (not the least of which was a built-in distribution through Amazon), I settled on CreateSpace. Since I already had the book formatted, all I would have to do would be to upload that and expand the cover a bit, right? I mean, I had the front cover all ready to go. I just needed to add a spine and the information for the back.
In a word — no.
First of all, CreateSpace has its own specifications for text formatting. First you have to decide on which size you want for your final book. I decided on 5.5″ x 8.5″ (this is a standard trade paperback size). Then you have to use one of their templates to format/re-format your book to that size.
This actually didn’t turn out to be that bad. In fact, I think the formatting that I ended up with at the end of it was laid out much better than my original eBook. I was able to add special dividing pages for each story and section. I was able to utilize an actual Table of Contents. The pages had actual page numbers. My title page looked like a real title page. My copyright page looked like a real copyright page. Instead of just a Word document, it started to look like a real book to me.
But as for the cover? Well, they have an online cover creator, but it did not lend itself well to the way I wanted my cover to look. I liked my cover. Their online cover creator insists on adding the text for you; since the title and author were already part of my artwork, I couldn’t use it.
Luckily, they did offer templates for book covers, as well. You could download the template, layer your cover elements over it, and then save the whole thing as a PDF. The only thing was, I’d have to take the time to actually learn to use GIMP.
This wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought…
Next: Creating the book cover, part deux…