It’s easy to take paperback publishing for granted. We’ve had the opportunity for years and there’s a number of different options and possibilities. The great thing about it, though, is with the ability to make your book available to the major book distributors, the only difference between you and a traditional publisher is your level of professionalism.
And while paperback publishing is fairly simple, take the time to get the details right and you’ll have a beautiful, professional book in the end.
Like ebook publishing, the first step is to set up an account with the distributors you want to use.
- Nook Press will make it available at Barnes & Noble.
- CreateSpace will make your book available on Amazon. They also offer to make it available to book distributors (presumably by listing it with Ingram and Baker & Taylor).
- IngramSpark (previously Lightning Source) has a set up fee that varies by format while the other two do not.
There’s one key trick if you want to use both CreateSpace and Nook Press. Because if you choose CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution your paperback will still be available at Barnes and Noble BUT you’ll get a reduced royalty and you won’t be able to publish it with Nook Press at that point because they already have your ISBN registered in their catalog. Yup, learned this the hard way.
So, publish with CreateSpace first but don’t select Expanded Distribution. Only make it available at Amazon. I like to start with CreateSpace since it has several areas with more guidelines and help than Nook Press. Then publish with Nook Press to make it available at Barnes & Noble. Finally, go back and select CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution to make it widely available, thereby skipping the need to publish with IngramSpark.
Though, up to this point I’ve only worked with CreateSpace and Nook Press. If you’ve worked with any of the other print on demand publishers, I’d love hear how it compares in a comment!
No matter which printer you choose, I highly recommend using your company information for the email address, name, address and the account you set up for direct deposit of your revenue.
While I’ve already covered formatting, it’s worth reviewing or altering a few things for your paperback format.
It’s better to add the page numbers to your paperback file rather than your master file. Word makes it pretty simple to edit the header or footer and add page numbers. Use section breaks instead of page breaks, and don’t link to the previous section, for your title page and the front matter so they are free of page numbers. Word has help articles for each of their different versions if you’re not sure what I mean.
Since a paperback only has one size, you don’t have to calculate for readers with different devices and screen resolutions. This allows you a bit more freedom to use more elaborate chapter headings or larger images (since they can fill a page rather than a compressing to a 4″ screen).
The tricky part comes when you go to upload your file…
Publishing your book
Though the steps for paperback publishing and ebook publishing aren’t drastically different, both the book file and cover file take a bit more work.
The first step is to fill out the basic information. You’re probably familiar with this step if you’ve already uploaded your ebooks. If not, you’ll need your synopsis, author bio, ISBN and keywords for your novel.
You’ll then select some interior options:
- Trim Size isn’t strictly interior but it’s in this section. CreateSpace has helpful tips about standard paperback size and mass market size.
- Interior Print color (either black and white or color)
- Paper color. Nook recommends creme paper with b&w printing.
Book File Upload
You can upload the Word doc file to CreateSpace and Nook. This is another reason to start with CreateSpace. It will process the Word doc and give you the option to download a reformatted file based on your trim size. I highly recommend using their template.
For Tattered Heart I don’t remember that I had a template option so I formatted the size and margins manually. It’s surprisingly exacting and sometimes difficult to get the margins correct, especially when some pages are just images (like the map of the Princess Kingdoms). Also it can be difficult getting the left/right thing sorted out. It feels like it took me days, though I can’t remember for sure.
With Enchanted Storms they had the template. While I still made adjustments and ensured my maps were within the margins, it was much simpler and quicker.
You can then use that same file to upload your book to Nook Press.
If you don’t have a different cover for your paperback, now is the time to make it.
CreateSpace gives you some options of different templates that you can customize. I use the full size blank template. It shows the cut lines and helps you size the image correctly. You can also see the lines for the spine in order to manually include your title and name with your preferred font. And the blank template gives you the flexibility to use your ebook cover image with the synopsis on the back cover.
Uploading the file with CreateSpace is a series of steps such as selecting if you want the title and author displayed (I select no for both since I’ve done it manually on the blank template). Then the file is validated and it will let you know if your image resolution is not high enough or if there are other problems.
Nook requires a pdf file instead of an image file. The easiest way to do this is insert your image in a Word document sized to Nook’s specifications with no margins and then save it as a pdf file.
Then you get to determine the price for your book. There’s a nice calculator to show what your royalties will be at different prices and different distributors.
With CreateSpace you can select to have it available on Amazon, Amazon Europe, from CreateSpace eStore (their website), and Expanded Distribution to bookstores and online retailers (basically making it available through Ingram and Baker & Taylor). Again, I recommend selecting Expanded Distribution only after uploading it manually to Nook.
Once you’ve entered and uploaded everything you need, there’s a review that generally takes 24-48 hours. You’ll get an email informing you if your book is approved or if there are changes you need to make. If there are no errors, the review process is a few clicks in order to make your book available.
Order and Review
Once it’s all said and done, you can order a copy of your book.
That way you can review it and make sure everything looks and feels the way you want.
AND now your story is a real book. You can hold it in your hands, enjoying the satisfaction of having written and published a book!
Check out the entire DIY Publishing series.