Monday, May 28, 2012

I Want to Put My Book On CreateSpace, What Do I Have to Do?

I had a great question come across my plate from a colleague about self-publishing using CreateSpace so I thought this would be a good topic for a post. home page

Question: What do I need to have to publish a book on
Hi Bruce, I have a friend who has a Mac and wanted to do a book using Amazon’s self-publishing service. Does she need special software? I told her about you and how you were proficient at this stuff. She now has access to a PC laptop so if she needs different software, then she can look at it.

She indicated her problem arose when she went to upload the book as she said Amazon has certain guidelines in regards of loading separate sections of the book, such as cover for the graphics, chapter titles for the reader to see, and the actual chapters for people to read a sample, as well as a bio of the writer. I haven’t been there yet, but will need to soon as I have a few books about to be written and would love a little guidance on getting books up on

Answer: How to work with, the print-on-demand service from Amazon.
Hi, thank you for the great questions about getting your book up on CreateSpace.  CreateSpace is Amazon’s self-publishing service. It is a stand alone division of Amazon and handles their print-on-demand publishing services. Using CreateSpace you can upload a MS Word or a PDF file of your book using one of their templates or a document that you have formatted. Once you have filled in the application form and the book has processed it will be moved over to and can be bought by anyone through their website. The entire uploading process can be done in one sitting. The processing and move to Amazon takes about 1 to 2 weeks. Which in publishing terms is like lighting. The service is basically free or if you want their expanded distribution you can spend an extra $25.00. I highly recommend the expanded distribution. They now have distribution in Europe which is super cool.

Producing Your Book on
One of the concepts that took me a while to figure out and this is the same on other print-on-demand services is that the book insides and the cover are treated differently. They are also upload individually. Lets take each and talk about them.

Your book insides can be produced in a variety of ways, at the simplest using MS Word, which you can format and upload. It works great for text based books and simple design such heads, subheads, body copy, headers and footers, that kind of thing. Great for fiction, novels, text based books, etc. Books can be produced in a variety of sizes form 5 x 8 up to 8.5 x 11, black/white or color. I recommend using the industry standard sizes.

CreateSpace will supply you with a MS Word template which I have used and didn’t like. They set their templates up for left and right hand pages which I find awkward and not very flexible. I ended up building my own and liked it a lot better. Basically you just set up the Word document at the size you want, say 6” x 9” and then set up margins at 5/8” or 3/4” of an inch. CreateSpace likes good wide margins and will complain if you move to close to the edge. With this kind of set up I would center your header and your footer. Once it is formatted you will upload this file to Createspace.

You can see all the sizes and other info here:

MS Word works great if your book has a simple layout. You can use the H1, H2 heads to build a Table of Contents, you can add simple illustrations, it works really well. If your book is more complex with pictures, with a more involved layout then I recommend moving to a program like Apple’s Pages or Adobe InDesign. I use InDesign for some of my books and I also use the latest version of Adobe Illustrator, which now has the ability to have multiple pages. InDesign is a powerful program with any kind of feature you might need to layout a publication. Again you set up the document size for your final size and give yourself decent margins. Once the book is done you save it as a high res pdf file with fonts embedded

Some Keys Tips,
  • Books need to be a minimum of 24 pages and can be up to 220 to 828 pages depending on size. 
  • CreateSpace likes high res graphics, if you are adding images make sure they are 300 dpi. It will accept less but they complain.
  • Images can be color RGB or CYMK, if your insides are black/white then the images must be black/white bitmapped or grayscale. 
  • CreateSpace can produce black/white or color interiors, the covers are always color, it is the interior that determines the b/w or color designation for pricing. You can make a much higher royalty if you produce black/white books, but they do a very nice job printing color. If you need really high quality color images then look at or
  • Decent margins are important, or your book will be priced out as one with bleeds. They have an excellent book reviewing tool that will let you know if you went to close to the edge and you can fix it. This includes the page numbers.
  • If you find you have made a mistake in your book after you have published you can also upload a new file, that is very cool.
  • I like purchasing the physical proof, it gives me a great sample and sometimes you pick up mistakes.
Full cover in  CreateSpace's online cover template

To see how the book looks on Click Here. I put it up in paperback and on Kindle.

There are two ways that you can go with covers on CreateSpace. You can use their templates or you can make your own and upload them. You can also hire a cover designer through CreateSpace or on your own.

CreateSpace Templates
I recently did a project using their cover templates, the experience wasn't to bad. They have a nice variety of designs for you to choose from. They have a pretty good tutorial that leads your through the process step by step. Front cover then back cover. You can supple your own cover images and there is a fair amount of customizing that you can do. You can change backgrounds, type sizes, colors that kind of thing. If you make a mistake you do have to start the sequence over again but all and all not to bad. On the design that I picked I wasn’t all that pleased with how the back cover type was treated but the process make a decent cover.

For the cover image I used a royalty free stock photo from, they have a nice selection of pictures and are very reasonable in costs. I purchased a smaller file size and uploaded it in the template when they asked for a cover image. Pretty easy to do.
Here is the site:

Designing and Uploading Your Own Cover
I generally design my own covers and it takes some care to get it right. To make the book cover you need to layout the front, spine, back and bleeds all on one page. Once the book is printed the cover is wrapped around the entire thing so it has cover all sides. I usually design my covers in Adobe InDesign and then move them to Adobe PhotoShop to prepare the final artwork for CreateSpace. You can also design them directly in  PhotoShop or Apple Pages. The front cover is on the right and the back cover is on the left and the spine in-between. Remember you also need to add 1/8" bleeds all the way around.

In Indesign I generally work on a larger page size than the cover so I can add guides, crop marks and stuff like that. For uploading to CreateSpace, the cover needs to be the actual final size. I will tackle that in a moment.

Books are printed larger than their final size and are then trimmed down. If you have ink running off the edge of your cover then the cover has to be printed larger so that you have a nice clean edge to trim off. This extra space is called bleed. So a 6” x 9” book is printed 1/8” or larger all around.

Your spine width is determined by how many pages you have. For white paper you multiple the number of pages times the thickness of the paper. CreateSpace uses paper that is .002252” thick so a 60 page book is 60 x .002252” or 0.141” thick. 

Once your cover is set up you save the document as a high res pdf PhotoShop file with fonts embedded.

Measurements for a 6" x 9" Cover
Cover width: Bleed + Back Cover Trim Size + Spine Width + Front Cover Trim Size + Bleed
.125” (1/8”) + 6”  + 0.141” + 6” + .125”.  = 12.391”

Cover height: Bleed + Book Height Trim Size + Bleed
.125” + 9” + .125” = 9.25

Moving the Cover File to PhotoShop to Make the Final PDF
Once you have designed your cover it then needs to be converted into a PhotoShop PDF file for uploading. The first thing I do is set up a new PhotoShop document at the final cover plus bleed size for my book. The PhotoShop document for a 60 page book, 6x9 in size with white paper will be 12.391” wide x 9.25” high.

The original InDesign pdf file is opened in Adobe Photoshop, the high res version will open as a 300dpi file. I then copy this file and pasted into my new PhotoShop document. Make sure it is all lined correctly and saved as a PhotoShop pdf file. The PhotoShop pdf setting isn’t one that is normally used so look for it in the Save As popup menu. And that is it, you are ready to upload your cover file to CreateSpace.

Dimensions for laying out a cover for a 6 x 9 book with 60 pages
Illustration by J. Bruce Jones © Copyright 2012

To see additional information on building your cover at CreateSpace click on the link below: How to Create a Cover PDF for Your Book.

Opening your high res pdf in PhotoShop will give you a 300 dpi file to work with

Some Key Tips,
  • Take your time measuring and remeasuring the cover size with the bleeds. 
  • You want artwork that is at least 300 dpi so that you get the best cover you can get
  • Leave space in the lower right hand corner of the back for the ISBN number
  • Your back cover also sells your book, drop in your main benefits, show some sample pages
  • Add your contact info, remember this is a selling surface
  • You need 130 pages to have text on the spine, I don't worry about it, most of my books are in the 60-80 page length.
I would love any comments on this article, was it helpful? what is missing? please let me know and be sure to sign up over on the right for more information like this.


  1. These books has the inspiring and interesting stories of 20 idealists who act and think like entrepreneurs, but have dedicated their lives to various causes that do good to mankind in one way or the other.
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  2. Thanks for this article -- very helpful. I also just learned from the Create Space community forum ( that I can purchase my own ISBN through Bowker and name my company as the publisher, rather than having it say "Create Space" on Amazon. Apparently, if you purchase the $10 ISBN option through Create Space, you can also have your publisher name show up on Amazon instead of Create Space, but your ISBN is not portable if you go to another printer. All very interesting stuff. Again, thanks!

  3. thank you for stopping by, I opt for the CreateSpace ISBN, I think they put you in their wider distribution system. I will have to check because they keep changing. I don't worry about to much, their deal is non-exclusive so I could publish anywhere. I also just pretty much just stay on line with my book distribution and now with Amazon's Europe stores I am pretty much everywhere.

  4. what type of things should we keep in mind while choosing or designing a cover..?

    Corflute Signs

  5. Great article. It's 2016. Have there been any changes to requirements (number of pages, etc.), formatting, etc.?

    I'm writing a children's book. It's mostly illustrations. I'm wanting to publish it to both CreateSpace and Kindle. Because it's illustrations, the layout of the graphics is important. The book can't re-flow on Kindle like it would with a text-based novel. Do you have any information about how to create children's books that look good on both CreatSpace and Kindle? Thanks!