Dear Mr. Indie…

Please don’t tell anyone that I have no idea what I’m doing, because I love pretending. Today on Dear Mr. Indie, Frank asks:

“I know I want to start with Createspace, but am I ok then trying to get on the Nook store and iBooks? Will Amazon get mad at that? What procedure do you use to publish?


I highly recommend CreateSpace. I’ve used them and Lightning Source, and I’ve become a huge fan of CS’s advantages over LSI’s ability to get me in bookstores. The printing quality is top-notch, the pricing is better, the setup is free, the shipping is faster, and the integration with Amazon (who owns CS) is much better.

Because of this ownership, it sounds like Frank is worried about publishing on other platforms. Don’t be! CreateSpace and Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP) are separate entities. There is no penalty for publishing your ebooks wherever you like. Amazon won’t get mad at all, I promise.

My publishing procedure is as follows:

I concentrate on the ebook first. Once I have that formatted and uploaded, I paste my manuscript into Indesign. I use a template set up from an earlier book. The pagination is a little involved, but I end up with a PDF, which is what CreateSpace uses for their printing. Once I have these two formats handled, I work on getting the ebook up at Kobo, Nook, and the iBookstore.

Lately, I’ve started using a professional ebook formatter. Kindle keeps making little changes and tweaks, and some of these have caused issues with various readers. It’s too much to keep up with, not like in the old days when there was a single Kindle and everything was black and white (har).

17 responses to “Dear Mr. Indie…”

  1. When you go to make your PDF of your book, do you include the book cover as well? If you do, is it in the dimensions that the cover will be including the front, spine, and back cover?

    1. They take two PDFs, one for the full-color cover and another for the B&W interior. CreateSpace has a template generator where you enter the number of pages and the type of paper (creme is thicker than white), and it spits out a template for just about any program.

  2. Wow! I just asked you about this an hour ago. Now that’s service!

    I’m going to publish around the holidays, and am trying to figure out what platforms to use and how to not screw this all up by giving someone the rights to my book. This thing is my baby! I don’t want some corporation claiming rights to it because I chose to publish through them first.

    Ok, here is another question: Is it hard/costly/not allowed to update a book after it has been released?

    I noticed you talking about people finding issues in some of your books. I am lucky to have a whole school of teachers to lean on for edits, but I would love to be able to fix any formatting problems that arise. If this unrealistic, or would it be just too time intensive?

    Thanks for the response! This was a very helpful post!

    This was helpful. I knew I wanted to go iBooks and Kindle, I had no idea about Kobo. I want to make sure this thing gets out there, so this broad view will be very helpful.

    I have a friend that worked for Createspace in the editing and formatting side. She has offered to do the design for the ebook. Part of me wants to take her up on it. Another part wants to do it myself so that I can be more self-reliant. Of course, if having a set template would be good, then maybe I am best letting her do the first book.

  3. If you have a designer, use them! You’ll get a better product and you can learn from what they create. Don’t turn that down.

    Also, your work is copyrighted the moment you write it. No one will take your material from you on the distribution side, so don’t sweat that.

    You can fix anything you want at any time, but try and make it perfect after you get the proof and before you do your first print run, because any future changes will require your book to be “unavailable” on Amazon during the time it takes them to print the proof and for you to okay it. Be meticulous on the front end. It can be a good idea to publish the e-book first, so you get feedback and pick up errors before you head to print.

    1. By no means was I planning on being sloppy! I am lucky enough to have a staff of fellow teachers willing to help edit. I just want to make sure I can make changes in the chance they are needed. :)

      Thanks again for the post!

  4. Filed under Weird and Weirder, I JUST created a CreateSpace account today to begin the process of printing Martuk … The Holy (my full-length novel) into an actual book. Was going to eat dinner and then settle in and start Googling the How Tos and Do This and Not Thats and so on and so forth.

    And here’s this Post!


    I’m taking it as a sign I’m on the right path. Ha!


  5. That is interesting that CS has an advantage over LS when it comes to book store distribution… I would have thought it was the other way around!

    1. I think Hugh meant that CS’s advantages (cost, ease, etc) trump LS’s advantage of getting into the wholesalers (and thus the bookstores). (Which I totally agree with BTW.)

      1. Exactly. Thanks for clearing up my befuddled language. :)

    2. It is the other way around. Poorly worded on my part.

  6. It must be the time to format, because I’m doing the same thing … and braving a direct upload to iBookstore for the first time (still working on it though). Why does Apple have to make things so … difficult?

    1. Oh no, Susan! Don’t tell me it’s hard. I haven’t even started yet, but that’s my next project. Maybe I’ll be picking your brain on this!

  7. Does CS offer a hardcover option? Or do they strictly do paperbacks?

    1. Only paperbacks as far as I know. Hardbacks are difficult to do as an indie while keeping the price reasonable. They require large print runs rather than POD.

      1. Hardback would be nice, but I’m already going to feel bad having to charge above standard pricing for a paperback. I wouldn’t complain too loudly at $4.18 a copy for a paperback from Createspace, but it isn’t an insignificant chunk of change when ordering multiple copies if you are on a fixed (and small) budget.

        Pricing is one area where I’m just flummoxed. My book is 58,000 words. I want to make it affordable, but pricing at .99 feels like the wrong move. I’m leaning more towards 4.99 or 2.99. This would allow me to put it on sale at times, but I worry that prices me out of the impulse buy territory.

        Good thing I have a few more months to ponder the price.

        1. You’ve written a novel. Price it at $2.99 – $4.99, where you’re thinking, and do free days and .99 days.

          1. Good suggestion, Hugh. After the quiet nightmare of formatting for print — which I kept misspelling right now as “pint” for some reason; guess I need one –, the issue of price was my next row to hoe. And I think you just hoed it for me, Hugh!

            Ba-dum-bump! (cymbal crash)

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