In this post I’ll cover what you have to do before setting up a title with CreateSpace.
Write the Description
Before starting the process, write the description of the book that will appear on its Amazon listing (and on other online stores, depending on distribution). This can be the same as the back cover copy, so if you already have that, you’re all set.
Prepare your Files
CreateSpace requires two files, the book cover and interior. You’ll find the submission requirements at the CreateSpace site.
Now, CreateSpace is essentially a printer, so a Word file won’t work. You have to create a print-ready PDF file, just as you would for Lightning Source (LSI). In fact, you can use the same file for both. LSI has stricter requirements, so if your file works with LSI, it should work with CreateSpace. The margin settings could trip you up, so make sure they conform to CreateSpace’s requirements.
Creating your interior file is outside the scope of this post. There’s plenty of information out there on the net, including on the CreateSpace forums. Ideally you’ll have a book designer lay out your interior, or you’ll do it yourself using a layout program like InDesign, but both of those options can be costly in terms of time and/or money. Another option is to layout the interior using Word. If you want to go that route, I’d recommend picking up Perfect Pages: Self Publishing with Microsoft Word by Aaron Shepard.
You can create your cover yourself, or hire a cover designer. CreateSpace offers a cover creator, but it creates very basic, very template-looking covers. If that doesn’t matter to you, it’s the easiest and cheapest (free!) route to take. I used the cover creator for my little public domain book, since I don’t care much about the print version. If you use the cover creator, the cover will belong to CreateSpace, not to you. So you can’t use it with another printer, or as an eBook cover.
If you already have a book cover, you’ll probably have to tweak it for CreateSpace. Spine width depends on the paper used, which varies from printer to printer. You can adjust the spine width yourself, or ask your cover designer to do it.
Gather the Metadata
Will you use your own ISBN, or have CreateSpace assign one? What’s the BISAC category? How about search keywords? Who are the contributors? What will the trim size be? How many pages are there? Make sure you can answer all these questions before you set up the title.