Making a paperback book out of your eBook #WriterWednesday #Createspace

I don’t sell many paperbacks. When I first started this writing gig, I’d drive up from Germany or fly over from Istanbul to the Netherlands to do book launches (the Dutch not only speak English but many also prefer to read in English leading to English books being widely available – Yeah!). Besides my family, friends, and some former colleagues hardly anyone showed up. Even though I was having tons of fun, I wasn’t increasing my reader basis with these book launches. So, I stopped doing them.paperbacks cupcakes

Why then do I continue to publish a paperback edition of my novels? A few reasons. First of all, I gift my books to my sisters and parents and want to continue doing that. I also buy several copies for myself so that I can donate copies to various charities. Finally, I run giveaways in which the prize is a paperback. I find these giveaways are more successful than giving away an eBook.

createspaceAnd not a small factor in continuing to publish a paperback edition is that – through a lot of trial and error – I can transform my eBook into a paperback in a few hours. Here’s how I do it:

Set-up. I use trim size 5×8 in Createspace. The document size is therefore index card 5×8. You’ll need to use mirrored margins with the following customization:

Top .39

Bottom .39

Inside .25

Outside .25

Gutter .35

Gutter left

Page numbers. I like centered page numbers. The header and footer margin should be at .39. To make sure page numbers begin at the start of the book (and not with the front material) and stop at the end of the book use continuous section breaks. Just make sure to not link the footer to the previous section.

Middle material. I change the paragraph spacing to 6. Otherwise, there is too much white space in the paperback. You’ll also want to get rid of widow/orphan control. These ensures that paragraphs break over pages instead of staying together, which will leave you with large empty spaces on pages.

Back material. I remove the acknowledgement section at the end and alter the author profile somewhat. It may seem silly, but I like the paperback version of my book to be somewhat serious. (I know, I know, I’m never serious.) All hyperlinks and online contact information should also be deleted.

Front material. The copyright should be changed to refer to print publications instead of electronic. You’ll also need to add the ISBN. Createspace will give you one for free. Unless you’re writing nonfiction, the table of contents can also be deleted.

That’s it! If you follow the above, your book should pass review from Createspace. Now go sell some books!

paperback 2
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  1. Thank you for the instructions! 😀 I’m planning to publish paperbacks this summer and I’m terrified of mucking it up. This post will be a lot of help.

  2. Hi again
    Very interesting perspective. I decided against doing a print-on-demand edition of my own book for now, partly because I don’t have a hi-res cover. But I do love typography and the idea of designing the book as a physical object, so I set up a gig on Fiverr (don’t worry, no spammy link) offering to typeset the pdf of the book interior for use with print-on-demand services.
    So far, I’ve had just one completed job, which was fun and interesting. There are couple more in the pipeline but I’m not being overwhelmed. I suspect that many indie authors do a PoD paperback in order to “go wide” but don’t expect to sell enough to make it worth their while to spend money on typesetting.

      1. Like I did with my cover! I suppose you can’t prioritize everything. When I was considering a PoD edition, several authors advised me that it’s better to get your own ISBNs than to use the free ones supplied by CreateSpace, IngramSpark etc. I must say I still don’t see the logic of this. You’re still going to need a new ISBN for a new print edition, so you lose nothing by virtue of the fact that you don’t “own” the CreateSpace one.

  3. This is a great walk-through! I’m going to be trying my hand at POD’s in the Fall and haven’t yet decided which platform to use. There are so many mixed reviews between Createspace, Ingramspark and the new Print ability directly through Amazon – which is still in it’s beta infancy.

    Did you try a different POD platform before CS or no? I’m just trying to get feedback to help make the best decision possible. Great post & thanks for sharing it with us! 🙂

    1. I haven’t used any other platforms. The new Amazon platform only allows paperbacks to be sold through its website so that was out for me. Ingramspark is a paid option so I didn’t go with that as anything I can do myself – I’m doing!

      1. LOL I completely understand steering clear of paid sites, I do the same. I’ve been leaning toward CS for awhile, but have been reading some articles that Amazon may be trying to fade it out of service with their new exclusive print platform. I really hope not. 😐 Thanks again for the post!

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