If you won Nano2011 and want to use the Createspace Offer – here’s how

I have just finished this process and took detailed notes to post here. Note – this offer is only available to writers who won NaNoWriMo 2011.

If you’re not sure if you want to do this, I strongly suggest you do. There’s something really wonderful about holding your work in printed format, even if you only do it to put on your shelf for yourself. Past participants in our region have done the following with their copies – 1) self-published their poetry collection and sold it, 2) printed in double spacing and used it for editing and revision, 3) given away copies as gifts to friends and family. This year I’ll be giving my story to my kids and godchildren as I wrote it for them.

Let’s start with deadlines – the code from Nano can be used up to June 30th, 2012. The process with Createspace takes about 2 days from start to finish (and about four hours work on your behalf). But you’ve got to get your book to a good state first, so factor in time for that. If you want to print a proof copy to amend before approving the actual five free printed books that will take time (and money) to ship – so factor in at least a month there. I’d recommend you don’t leave this to the last minute like I did last year and end up missing the deadline.

Step 1: Win NaNoWriMo and get your codes

There are two codes. To redeem the offer, you’ll need a special NaNoWriMo winner’s password. To get this, you must be an official NaNoWriMo 2011 winner, and be signed into the NaNoWriMo site. Once you are, your unique password will be displayed on your winners page. Jot it down.

To get the Createspace discount code take this Nano password to www.createspace.com/pub/l/nanowrimo_winners.do and enter it there to receive your promotional code from CreateSpace. Jot it down. It will work up to June 30th, 2012.

Step 2: Finish your novel

Any word count is fine – I printed 106,000 words using the 2009 offer and 51,000 words using the 2011 offer.

Step 3: Edit your novel

Do this in your word processor of choice. Typical things would be grammar, punctuation, flow of the story, clarity. You might want to add a title page, acknowledgements, about the author, table of contents etc – it’s up to you. If you’re really serious about this it’s really useful to get someone else to read it on paper with a red pen. They will see things you (and spellcheck) have missed, I promise.

Step 4: Create a cover image

They have a gallery of images you can use. I can draw, so I did my image in ink, and scanned it at 300 dpi as a jpeg. You need a size 5.5” by 3.25”  image for the Sycamore theme cover. I’m not sure if that varies for other cover themes. If you want to sell the book, make sure you own the copyright to any image you use for the cover.

Step 5: Log in to Createspace at www.createspace.com

If you don’t have a free account, create one.

Step 6: Set up your book

  • Add New Title
  • Name: Red Sails
  • Paperback/audio/mps/dvd/video – Paperback
  • Setup as Guided or Expert – Guided
  • Get Started

Step 7: Title Information Page

  • Title: Red Sails
  • Author: Grace Tierney
  • Description : This is the short blurb for selling on Amazon
  • Add Contributors: none – all work done by me
  • Subtitle: none
  • Volume: none – this is not part of a series or multi-volume book
  • Save and Continue

Step 8: ISBN Page

ISBNs usually cost money – Createspace gives you one. Having an ISBN doesn’t mean the book is published, but it does mean that you can sell it (if you chose to). This ISBN is used if you chose to sell your book via Amazon. If you later publish with a traditional publisher, the book will get a new ISBN from them. Note, if you’ve self-published (and sold) first, some traditional publishers may not like that too much. Note – it is completely possible to use this offer to print 5 copies of this book purely for yourself and to never offer it for sale – hence it is not published. That’s what these instructions focus on.

  • Your book has been assigned a CreateSpace ISBN.
  • Continue

Step 9: Interior Page

  • This is where most of the work happens
  • Black and white text, on white paper : yes
  • Trim Size is the size the book will be (ie. the front, not how thick). They default to 6×9 inches. I went with 5.06” by 7.81” as that’s a size I’ve used before and like.
  • Download the Word template for your selected trim size. This gave me a size 11 font and 1.5 spacing which looked ok in print preview.  Save a couple of copies of this.
  • Enter the titles, author, ISBN, dedication, acknowledgments, and chapters into that template.doc. I decided against some of the suggested pages in the templete and deleted them. I also removed the header with author name and title, as I didn’t want that. Use your own decision on what you want here.
  • If you copy and paste in the text of the novel it will keep font and size for you.
  • This takes a while to do, so you may time out of your Createspace session during this process, just log in again and you’ll be back on your novel project page and continue. Remember to save and close your novel’s formatted file before next step.
  • Upload your book’s text (formatted for right trim size template) – pdf,doc,docx,rtf
  • Save
  • You’ll get a message box about uploading the file, processing it, and checking for printing issues – this took seven minutes for my novel (366kb Word document, 260 pages long, 51,000 words)

They found 4 issues – so I launched the Interior Reviewer application

  1. Trim size incorrect – despite using their template – I used page scaling to fix this
  2. Text outside the margins – vanished after scaling
  3. Insufficient gutter – vanished after scaling
  4. Myriad pro font not available – OK by me
  • I looked through every one of the 256 pages and they seemed OK
  • It is worth taking your time to review the book interior carefully here, especially if you’re skipping getting a printed proof copy and want to avoid blank pages, typos, and weird formatting errors.
  • Ignore issues and save
  • Ignore issues and continue

Step 10: Cover Page

  • Build your cover online/pay for cover design/upload a pdf of the cover (which is tricky as you need to adjust for how thick the book is)
  • Build your cover online
  • I picked the Sycamore theme as it could take my own cover image.
  • OK
  • Setup theme, title, author, front cover image, back cover text, background colour, font colour
  • Pick a text theme. Try them all out and pick the best one. I liked Simplicity.
  • Image – upload a jpeg or tiff of 300 dpi at least, 5.5” by 3.25” ….or they have a large gallery for you to use
  • Submit Cover – takes a minute to generate the preview
  • Complete cover
  • Look at the fullsize preview – save this as a jpeg for your records
  • Continue

Step 11: Complete Setup Page

  • This is where you submit for their review. It can take up to 48 hours but only took 16 hours for me. In the meantime don’t edit the project at Createspace.
  • Submit Files for Review
  • They put me onto a Sales Channels page
  • Remove Amazon and Createspace estore if you don’t want it up for sale
  • Got an email to tell me that the book has been reviewed and met submission requirements.
  • Logged back into Createspace
  • Book Status : awaiting proof order
  • Click on Order Proof

Step 12: Proof Order Page

  • Order a printed proof (mine would have cost $3.92 plus p&p).
  • I picked no proof because I’m fairly experienced at this process.
  • Approve File as-is.

Step 13: Review Proof Page

  • Title Setup is complete – congratulations
  • Mine is not available for sale as I’ve got no sales channels setup – correct
  • Click on Order Copies

Step 14: Shopping Cart Page

My book was priced at $3.92, this is based on size of book and cost for them to print it, I think. So five free copies meant the prize discount code was worth $19.60 or €14.80 to me. If you’re selling the book I assume there’s a page where you set how much you want the book to cost the consumer, but I didn’t get into that.

  • Quantity=5
  • Enter Discount Code and press Apply Discount – your subtotal will now be Zero – Hurrah!
  • Click Checkout and fill in delivery address – note you will need a zipcode – if you’re in Ireland and hence don’t have one – enter 0 (i.e. zero)
  • Pick a shipping speed – I went for standard shipping $15.94 or €12.03 est. delivery date of 28 March ie. 48 days shipping – pretty long but I can live with it. (Update 28 February – my parcel actually arrived in 18 days! Print and cover quality was excellent. The books arrived in pristine condition).
  • Billing address
  • City/province/postal code – Stamullen / co / meath
  • Get confirmation email on the order

Now sit back and wait for the parcel to arrive. I hope my notes help you.

happy writing,

Grace (ML for Ireland NorthEast)


About wordfoolery

Grace Tierney is a writer and mother living in rural Ireland. Specialising in a humourous slant thanks to years of reading Wodehouse, Dickens, Pratchett, Brookmyre, and chick-lit galore, her fiction and non-fiction writing has been published internationally and locally in everything from the local paper to anthologies, online media, coffee tins, and glossy magazines in several different countries. She has published three books for writers; “Positive Thoughts for Writers”, “The Writing Contest Expert's Guide to Fiction Contests”, and “The Writing Contest Expert’s Guide to Nonfiction Contests” based on her long-running contest column for Writer Online (available at www.lulu.com/gracetierney). Grace is currently writing her second chick-lit novel. For more information about Grace’s work see www.gracetierney.com.
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