Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 9, 2014

Amazon Kindle and CreatSpace

A while ago, I put my first short story, To Light and Guard, up on Smashwords. I did it mostly as a learning experience, and haven’t done much to promote it. I wanted to learn how to format a story to upload, and how all the technology worked. That’s much more easily done with a 3,000 word short than an 80,000 word novel!

To round out my education in the technology realm, I just last week got To Light and Guard for sale on Amazon. The process was much the same as Smashwords, just slightly different formatting rules. So now my story is available on both major self-publishing platforms, and available for all ebook formats, including PDF. (A Kindle-friendly file is also available through Smashwords, but the only way to get it listed on Amazon is to either sell more than $2,000 worth of the book or post it directly, as I did.)

The process on both was relatively painless, as long as you are able to read directions and pay attention to details.

I am now embarking on my first print-on-demand project—a genealogy book through Amazon’s CreateSpace. I am still in the process of learning how to format the book properly, and I am sure much tinkering will be required until I get it looking the way I want.

I probably chose a difficult book to start with, because mine includes photos and other non-text illustrations. This interrupts page numbering and makes things a little more complex. But it’s coming together.

I was slightly disappointed in the limits of size and lack of choice in paper type on CreateSpace—I was hoping for a slightly larger than 8.5 x 11 book, but in the end that size might be a blessing in disguise since all my pages are already 8.5 x 11. As long as I get the margins right, that might actually make it easier. I had also hoped that I could specify that the photo pages be on heavier, glossy paper, and the rest on regular stock, but I so far do not see that as an option.

The book is nearly done the preparation stage, and then I will upload it to CreateSpace and finish the process. I am eager to see it all put together and get an author copy to hold in my hands. This book represents years of research, and I hope to get it into the hands of other researchers who can use my work as a stepping stone for theirs. I know how excited I always was to find that someone else had done meticulous research on my line, and that I did not have to re-invent the wheel. I want to give that same thrill to other researchers!

I’ll let you know how the CreateSpace experiment works out. One thing is for certain—I am learning a lot!

Have you ventured into self-publishing? What has your experience been?

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  1. I’ve been working in the self-publishing area for a little over a year. After having 4 books traditionally published and then having my publisher bought out by Amazon, I decided I may as well get my feet wet. Like you, I started with a short story on Smashwords, which I also pubbed on Amazon. I went on to publish a novel on both Amazon and Smashwords as an ebook. Then I pubbed it as a print book through CreateSpace. It was a fairly painless process, but what you are doing sounds much more complex. Good luck with it!


    • Thanks, Sandy! I am at the moment struggling with creating the PDF, because for some reason my copy keeps telling me there are “bad parameters”. Once I figure out which pages are giving me the trouble, hopefully that will be the worst of it behind me. I’m having fun learning, though!


  2. People in my old writers’ group down in Virginia were big into self-publishing. For some reason, the covers never look quite right. I can always tell if a book has been self-published just by looking at the cover. Be careful of that. You don’t want to be judged by your cover! The closest I’ve come to it so far has been my blog. I’m slow getting around to new things.



    • Thanks, Debi! I’m sure going to do everything I can to get mine to look right. Comes from working for years in video–I’m picky about my visuals!


  3. […] of you following along will know I am trying to self-publish a Print-On-Demand (POD) genealogy reference book on my family in particular. I had decided to use Amazon’s CreateSpace because so many people […]


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