In today’s blog post I’m going to show you exactly how to turn your eBook into a paperback book using CreateSpace. This is the secret weapon that you can use to double (or more) the revenue from just having a Kindle eBook alone, and it’s actually way easier than you think. Not only is it super easy, but it’s also ABSOLUTELY FREE! Better yet, who doesn’t love making more money without spending a single dime? That’s like free money!
If you aren’t publishing paperback copies of your books using CreateSpace, you are missing out on AT LEAST double your profits. In fact, with some of my books, the paperback versions outsell the Kindle versions 8 – 1! Publishing only Kindle version is like flushing your profits down the toilet!
This is your chance to reach back into your toilet and grab your cash! You may have to dry it off and wash your hands REALLY well, but hey, wet toilet money is still money, right? I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking it has to be SO hard to create a paperback book. You have to find a big time publisher, do a bunch of fancy formatting, create a beautiful cover, etc. Well you don’t. To be honest, publishing the paperback version on CreateSpace is almost as easy as publishing the Kindle version. In fact, CreateSpace is owned by Amazon so you don’t even have to leave the comfort and safety of your little Amazon controlled world! I’m going to walk you through the entire process of turning an eBook into a paperback and publishing that paperback book on CreateSpace step-by-step so pull yourself up by your bootstraps and buckle in, this is going to be a wild ride…. Ok, let’s do this! So the first place to start is your manuscript. This is the word document that contains all of the text of your eBook. If it’s in a different format (such as PDF) you can find an online converter to convert your file from PDF to Word. Once you have the manuscript in Word, the first thing you want to do is format it properly. The vast majority of paperback books will be published with dimensions of 6”x9”, meaning 6 inches wide and 9 inches tall. To get your manuscript in those dimensions head up to the Layout tab in Word and click on the small arrow on the bottom right of the Page Setup section:
That will bring up the page setup window. On the Margins tab, switch all four of the margins (top, left, bottom, right) to 0.8”. You don’t need to do anything else on this tab, so go ahead and click the paper tab..
When on paper, you will see the Paper Size section. Since our paperback book will be 6” x 9” we want to change this to 6” X 9”. Makes sense, right?
Nothing else on the paper tab, so move over to the Layout tab. Here you will see the Header and Footer. Set both of them to 0.3”.
Once you’ve made those page layout updates go ahead and hit OK
And you will watch magically as your manuscript changes shape! Congratulations, your word file is now the correct size to be printed! Once you get the dimensions set up, you will want to go back in and make sure all your formatting looks ok. You don’t want any spacing errors on the paperback version, it will look terrible. The easiest way to check for these errors is to go to the View tab in Word and select Multiple Pages. This will let you see your pages side by side so you can easily tell if the formatting is off.
Here’s an example of a formatting error in the book I will be publishing at the end of this blog post. You see how the page on the right isn’t starting at the top of the page? You will want to bring it up to the top. Errors like this look AWFUL in print so take your time here and make sure none of these exist in your document. You also want to look for paragraphs that have to many spaces between them and the next paragraph, etc. Make sure it looks PERFECT! Once you have the file formatted you’re actually done with the manuscript, nice work!
Wasn’t that easy?? Unfortunately, we still have quite a few steps so stay focused, we can have celebratory drinks later… Now that you’re done with the manuscript the next step is creating your cover. Since you likely already have your Kindle cover you may not want to hear this, but when designing your Kindle cover or when outsourcing someone else to do it, make sure to tell them you want it 6×9. Why do we want that? Because our book is 6×9, isn’t it? So it only makes sense to have our cover be the same size as the book. Otherwise it would look like a poorly wrapped Christmas present with the extra wrapping paper folded around it. This will make your life much easier, so do it when you’re creating your Kindle cover. But if you didn’t, we can still make it work. The first thing you want to do is go to the Createspace cover template builder thingamajig here: https://www.createspace.com/Help/Book/Artwork.do Once there, you will see this section:
You want to select black and white for the interior type. Printing in color is very expensive with CreateSpace so you won’t want to do that. Any guesses as to why we picked the 6” x 9” trim size here, too? Insert your number of pages in the number of pages field. As a personal preference, I always use Cream for the paper color, the White is very white and almost see through, but you can get samples of both and pick which you like best. Once you have those fields populated hit Build Template. It will take you here:
Click on ‘Click here to begin download’ When you do that it will automatically download a zip file to your computer named with how you made your selections.
As you can see, the name of mine is 6×9 Cream 80 because this example is 6×9, cream color pages, and 80 pages long. Open up the zip file and you will see a PDF file and PNG file. When you open them up the file will look like this:
This is your cover template. The part on the right is your front cover, the middle is the spine of your book, and the left is the back cover. There are probably a ton of ways to build your cover, but I am going to show you how I do it because its pretty simple. Head back over to Word and open a new page. Go back to the page layout section. This time you will change the page to Landscape orientation and the margins to 0”.
Then go up to Insert and click on Pictures
Find the PNG file you downloaded and insert it into your Word document. Once you do, it should look like this:
Fits like a glove. Don’t worry about the extra gap at the bottom, CreateSpace only counts what’s within the template itself. One thing you will want to do is click the tiny button at the top right and select “Behind Text” so that anything else you add will go on top of the template.
Now, if you created (or had an outsourcer create) a cover and created it at 6” x 9” you can literally just plop it in (assuming it’s a .jpeg file). If you created the cover yourself in the correct dimensions of 6×9 in Word, you will want to save it as a PDF file first, then go online and find a pdf to jpeg converter (here’s the free one I use: https://pdf2jpg.net/). The reason to do it this way is that your image will stay in the correct size. If you insert a smaller image and then attempt to resize it to fit the cover, it will become distorted and be blurry in print so please do it this way. There may be better ways to do it, but this works like a charm for me. Here’s the Kindle cover my wife and I created for this particular book about going Vegan (pretty freakin’ sweet right? I’ve paid a lot of money for a lot of covers that weren’t this good. I might create a course about how we create our Kindle covers as well):
As you can see, this is only the front cover image for Kindle, but since we created it in the correct dimensions (6×9), watch what we can do…. Just literally go back to Insert > Picture and select the cover. When I do that it comes out like this..
Again, you will want to select “Behind Text” for this image as well, then you can just click and drag the cover image over to the right side and resize it perfectly so it looks like this and doesn’t get distorted. Remember, seeing pink on the outside is OK, just want it to be within the dotted line (but definitely make sure you are on or slightly outside of the dotted line so you don’t have any pink showing when your cover is printed).
Once you get that perfectly in line, the front cover of your paperback is done! Woohoo! Now on to the back and the spine… The back can be pretty simple, you could even just use a black background if you wish. We decided to use a chalkboard looking background to match the background on the front cover. We went to my favorite FREE high quality image site, Pixabay.com, and typed in Chalkboard
On the second page of the search results we found this image that matched the front background perfectly (if you can’t find the perfect free image for your covers, cough up some dough and go to shutterstock.com and pay for an image. Your cover is the first thing people see so it needs to be AWESOME). Then we click on Free Download and downloaded it to our computer (for FREE!)… We then went to our cover and clicked on Insert > Picture and selected that image. It came out like this…
Again, click the top right box and select “Behind Text.” Once you do that you can move it freely around. Then just resize it and there you go. Once we had that done it was looking like this.. Awesome, right!? Then, you just simply have to enter a text box and copy and paste your Kindle book description. To enter a text box click on Insert > Text Box
When you click text box it will give you these options…
Just click the first one “Simple Text Box” When you do the text box will appear on your template, drag it over to the back cover side and expand it so it fills up the whole cover like this…
One thing to be mindful of is that you will have a Barcode on the bottom right of your back cover so don’t fill that space. I will show you a neat trick to check if you have anything in that space in a little bit. Now, delete the text that came pre-filed in the text box and replace it with the cliff notes version of your book description. Once you do that, right click on the outer edge of your text box and this will pop up
You want to click on Fill and select No Fill, this will make your text box clear so you can see your back cover image.
Repeat this process for the Outline selection as well to remove the small black outline you see around the text box. Once you do, it will look like this…
Now format your text so that it matches the text on your front cover or at least fits the theme of your book. We decided to use Calibri size 16 font, white color. It came out looking like this.
Then we decided to add the title of the book in another text box at the top of the back cover like this…
Our cover now looked like this
The last piece of the puzzle is the spine. All we had to do was simply drag the back cover chalkboard image over so that it covered the spine section, but also making sure it didn’t infringe onto the front cover at all. You could insert another text box here and add vertical words like the title or author name if you wanted, but I chose not to in this case.
An awesome way to check your lines is to right click on the little bit of pink showing for the cover template and select Bring to Front
When you do that, your cover template will pop back up so you can see exactly where the lines are. You can even put a text box around the barcode area and keep that in front of all your images so you know where it is so you can avoid putting text there. When you get done, just click Send to Back and it will disappear. And there you have it folks, you’ve just created your paperback cover! Ain’t she pretty?
Go ahead and save it as is as a Word file so you can come back and change anything if needed, but for submission you will want to save this is a PDF file (When you’re saving it just change the file type to PDF).
Now you have your manuscript and your cover done, you basically have a paperback book! The next step is to publish this bad boy so you can start selling some copies. Publishing your paperback is so freakin’ easy. It’s literally just as easy as publishing on Kindle, so let me show you how… First you have to create an account, so head to Createspace.com and create your account. Once your account is up and running, go to your Dashboard and click on Add New Title.
When you click on that it will take you to your new project page. 1. Pick a name of your project, 2. select Paperback, and 3. click on Guided > Get Started.
That will take you to the Title Information page.
Now just populate what it’s asking for. Put your Title in the Title field, subtitle, author name. You can leave Edition number blank. English is my language so I have that. For publication date you can select today’s date. Then hit Save & Continue, which will bring you to the ISBN page.
Now if you are serious self-publisher who buys their own ISBNs from Bowker, you would select Provide Your Own ISBN, but in this case I am just going to use the Free CreateSpace-Assigned ISBN option. So I clicked on that, then you would click on Assign Free ISBN. That will take you to another page that just confirms your ISBN cannot be changed now, hit Continue. (There are some pros and cons of using the Free ISBN option, but for ease of use and cheaper costs, this is fine. Once you get more serious and start making some real money, you will want to buy your own ISBNs from Bowker.) Now it will take you to the Interior page. The interior type will be Black & White, the paper color I’m going to use is Cream, but you can select White if you want White. Below that, click on Upload your Book File. For the Interior File you will want to upload your manuscript (I would suggest saving your manuscript as PDF as well, but you don’t have to. I’ve found that changing it to PDF helps keep some of the formatting in place). Once you choose your manuscript file, for the Bleed just leave that on Ends before the edge of the page.
Once you do that, hit Save at the bottom of the page. It will take a min to load while its uploading your file and doing the Automated Print Check. When it’s done, it will tell you if the automated print check found any errors. Either way, you will want to click on Launch Interior Reviewer which will bring up your book! You will be able to see what errors were detected, if any. I got an error about images being less than 200 dpi, but not a big deal. At this point, you should also click through every single page and double check your formatting. It’s very easy to see errors in this reviewer so take the time now and check every single page. Once done, hit Save and Continue or Go back and make changes, this will let you upload a different file if you need to make updates for formatting or anything. If everything looks good, hit Continue or Ignore Issues and Continue (if you had issues)
Now you’re on the Cover page. For 1. Pick Glossy and for 2. Since we have already created our cover and its print-ready, select Upload a Print-Ready PDF Cover. This will bring up an option for you to Browse your computer and select the cover file. So click Browse and select your PDF cover file that you created earlier. Before we hit Save at the bottom, please take a look at the price they are trying to charge for “Professional Cover Design.” STARTING AT $399!! I’ve basically just saved you a minimum of $399. YOU’RE WELCOME! You can buy me a beer sometime…
After you upload your PDF cover file and hit Save, it will give you an option to Change or Continue, hit Continue. Now you’re on the Complete Setup page, you’re almost done! OMG OMG I’m so excited for you!
Double check all your info on this page, if it all looks good, hit Submit Files for Review It will tell you that your files are being checked and that their review will be done in 24 hours. Pretty ridiculously fast if you ask me!
You will get an email when the review is done and I will show you that as well, but for now let’s finish up what we can. When you hit continue here it will take you to the Channels page.
Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, and the CreateSpace eStore will already be selected, move down to Expanded Distribution and select Libararies & Academic Institutions and CreateSpace Direct, too. You want to get your book in as many hands as possible! Once you select those, hit Save & Continue (You will see that the Bookstores and Online Retailers option is not selectable, we will fix that shortly). Now you’re at the Pricing page. This is where you (shocker) select your price.
I price the majority of my books at $11.97 because that gives me at least a $5 royalty on Amazon.com purchases. Some books I price much higher and some slightly less, but it all depends on the book. Choose whatever price you want then hit Save & Continue. This takes you back to the Cover page, we’ve already done that so just hit Save & Continue. Now you’re on an important page, the Description.
Just copy and paste your description from your Kindle listing into here, then select the most relevant BISAC category (by the way, once you select your category you will be able to go back to the Channels page and select Bookstores and Online Retailers 😊). If you want to add an Author Biography you can, but you don’t have to. Select the language your book is in and the country of publication. Then you have an option to pick 5 keywords related to your book’s niche. Select the best keywords you can think of. Then hit Save & Continue. Now you’re on the Publish on Kindle tab, but your book is still in review so this is as far as you can go for now. And you already have a Kindle book anyway, so you won’t do anything here. Now we just sit and wait until we get the review email! (Submitted book for review at 5:50pm on 6/14) Ok got the email this morning at 3:30am on 6/15. That’s only about 9 hours from submission to completed review! It’s incredible how fast they are. Here’s the email you will get….
When you click on the link it takes you to the Proof Your Book page. For your first few times doing this I STRONGLY suggest you order a printed proof. My first time doing this I thought my cover was great, but I had resized the image too much and it was extremely blurry in print. Had I not gotten the proof, I would have had no idea. Wait a few more days and get the proof to check everything, it’s worth it. To get the proof mailed to you, click on the Order a Printed Proof button and it will take you through the checkout process.
Since I have done this more than a few times, I’m going to go ahead and just review the digital proof by clicking View a Digital Proof and then click Launch Digital Proofer. Looks AWESOME, right?! But, upon further inspection it looks like my spine has crept over onto the front cover. You can zoom in super close by clicking the zoom button in the top right corner of the digital proofer. This will really help you see any flaws.
So obviously I don’t want that tiny gray part on my front cover, so I would go back to my cover and move the spine over just slightly to get it to line up perfectly. Don’t be afraid to take some extra time to make it perfect. It needs to be PERFECT. After I reviewed the cover, I then went in and started reviewing the text. I found some of the exact same formatting errors that I told you to look out for (go figure). Here they are…
Click through your entire document and note where any and all errors are. Then go back into your manuscript and fix them. Like I said, it’s worth fixing it now. No matter how good the content is, people will think it’s very unprofessional if it has a ton of errors like that. So at this point, I’m going to fix the spine of the cover and all the formatting errors and resubmit my book for review. If you find errors in yours, you should do the same. My book has been resubmitted and I got the congratulations email again. Upon checking this time, the cover looks awesome and there are no errors… time to approve!
Once you hit Approve it will ask you to confirm, so hit Approve again. That will bring up this window…
And you’re done! At a minimum, you just doubled your sales! You can now order copies of your book and send it to all your friends and family to show them how amazing you are. You’re now the author of a print book! Time to celebrate! If you found this blog post helpful please comment/share, it would be much appreciated!