5 Steps to formatting your academic book for print through CreateSpace.com

TextbooksAs an author and publisher (and new member of TAA) preparing manuscripts of my own design and assisting other authors to do the same, I needed a service that was cost-effective and efficient. After researching several different services, I selected CreateSpace.com, which is a part of Amazon, because it allowed me to print quality textbooks for pennies on the dollar. I also like this service because of the free ISBN number and the fact that if you intend to revise an edition you can lock in the ISBN number for subsequent editions.

My challenge herein is to get you ready for printing via CreateSpace in five steps. Since there are actually more than five steps to each part of this process, I have outlined the main components of what is necessary to get your book ready for print in basic formatting for 8 ½ x 11 and 6 x 9 books. So without further ado, let’s begin:

1) Copy Preparation: In your original (MS Word) document, choose Times New Roman or Garamond as a clean text. Margins should be a maximum of 1 inch around. Right justify paragraphs and make line spaces 1.15 or 1.5 for easy reading. Single lines appear crowded in CreateSpace. Headers and footers can be inserted at .3 or less, allowing for more room for copy at the top and bottom of pages, and creating a natural insertion point for a page break that flows neatly to the next page, which is how you will want it for your final PDF copy for upload.  Do not mix font styles since it is best to have one font for future e-book layouts. If you choose separate chapter headings, use one of the two fonts I recommended above.

2) Front Matter: This should include the title page, which is best placed as a separate page after what will become the physical book cover, publisher’s and copyright info, table of contents, acknowledgements and/or dedication pages. These pages are laid out in advance of your book content. After you lay out these pages, insert a section break by going under the LAYOUTS function and clicking on BREAKS then on CONTINUOUS, in your MS Word document. It took me several books to learn this but I finally got it! For pagination, insert page numbers after the front matter as they relate to book content including chapter heading pages. Use the INSERT PAGE NUMBER function under the INSERT tab. You can follow this for back matter as well unless you plan to paginate them in the TOC, i.e. bio and contact information.

3) Pictures: Embed pictures, charts, and other materials at a minimum DPI of 300 by 300. When you upload your document to CreateSpace you will be able to adjust this content based on an initial proof prior to ordering copies. If something is not clear, CreateSpace will alert you and ask you to fix it. Follow the prompts as you are uploading. There is also a fun cover creator within the upload process that allows you to design a cover in the upload process or insert one of your own design. Choose to get a free ISBN assigned by CreateSpace unless you have already purchased blocks of ISBN numbers for your business. Choose white paper over cream and a glossy cover over matte in the upload process – it looks great and reads well.

4) Account Setup: When you setup an account with CreateSpace, you will have to enter personal banking information. You are paid as your book realizes $100 increments in sales. Once you begin placing proof orders they will also ask for delivery information. Delivery can take up to two weeks unless you pay for express shipping. The good news is that the books are well done, and what I consider excellent copies for promotion or self-selling.

5) Distribution: After your book is uploaded for sale there are many options you can choose to promote the book within Amazon. I sell directly through my company rather than incur extra costs for promotion and marketing services; still, if you have some extra cash it does not hurt to invest in these services. If you choose to distribute e-books on Kindle as an extension of selling print books on Amazon, if you follow these steps your book should be ready for upload through this service. Depending on embeds of pics, charts, and the like, you may have to adjust according to what the service prompts you to adjust in this process.

Whew – challenge met!  I hope to meet some of you at this year’s conference in Santa Fe! Happy writing and continued success.


Stefanie August  has worked in the arts and entertainment industry as a performer, artist manager, agent, creative consultant, producer and strategic planner since 1983. From 2012-2017 Stefanie co-operated TigerKat Publishing, Inc., producing four CD’s and five books under the TigerKat imprint. For 2018, Stefanie has re-branded as www.stefanieaugustcreative.com continuing to offer her services to clients in arts, entertainment and other industries. She received a Bachelor of Music cum laude from the University of Bridgeport, CT, and studied finance for two years as part of a Master’s program at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

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