Skip to main content

Self-publishing with Createspace

Sitting here at the Gare du Nord waiting for the Eurostar, I thought I'd tell you about my experience of publishing a book with Createspace. Createspace is part of Amazon. It allows you upload a book file and have it published online on Amazon and through other outlets. You can publish traditional paperbacks or Kindle versions of your work.

We chose to use Createspace, after reading around a bit and concluding that the process was fast, easy and almost certainly more profitable than using a known publisher in the traditional fashion. Createspace is most associated with creative writing, but more and more educators and academics are finding it a convenient way to spread their word.

The process is simple and mainly pain-free. You sign up for an account at and start a project (your book). You write your book using Word. Createspace offer ready-made Word templates which correspond with the size of book you wish to have printed. 9 by 6 inches is common.

We opted for this size and downloaded a pre-formatted Word template. This, with hindsight, was an error. I would recommend going for a non-formatted template from Createspace in the future. The formatted one causes issues if you wish to override its standard settings. The pre-formatted version comes with a ready-made contents page, but this may not match what you want to do, especially of your book is not as simple in format as a novel. The advantage of a downloaded Word template is that it numbers pages correctly, ensures your chapters start in the right space and, crucially, that margins are appropriate for a book.

With Createspace you can include visuals, tables, pictures and so on. We had to fiddle quite a bit with the pre-formatted template to get these to look good on the page. It's important to remember that the file you upload to Createspace is a pdf, so you need to check carefully that your Word to pdf conversion is as you want it. If you are a newbie, it is dead easy to save a Word doc as a pdf.

Once your file is uploaded, the Createspace team check the formatting and point put any issues which need fixing. They will also do a spell check if you forgot to. It is easy to re-upload a second version.

When you work through your project on the CS site, you enter key information such as your name and book title, and you are given the option of uploading your own cover or using one of their free templates. These can be edited by altering fonts and colour schemes. You can also include your own picture in some of their templates. We used a ready-made template because it was attractive and free. You get to write your book's blurb during the cover creation process.

Once your book is uploaded it is ready for sale on Amazon within about 48 hours. It appears on UK, European and north American versions of Amazon, but not in Australia and New Zealand. Amazon's free "expanded distribution" service allows the book to appear in other catalogues too.

Royalties are generous and can be viewed on the Createspace site. Broadly speaking, you get about 40% of the purchase price (which you choose). Each month your royalties are transferred into your chosen bank account. You can see your sales in real time on the Createspace site and they send you a regular report if you opt into this. You get to see where your book is bought and what the royalty was in each case.

Incidentally, Amazon can discount your book price, but your royalties are always based on your original chosen price.

Any reservations? Not really. I suppose you lose the kudos of being with a regular publisher. Publishers also edit for you, which is useful. I would strongly advise that you get an editor. We were fortunate in having an experienced one and she (my wife) was very thorough about the process. Although you may not appear in some catalogues, remember just how many books are sold via Amazon these days, along with reviews. What I liked almost most of all was the speed and efficiency of the process - no waiting six months for a publisher to do their thing.

If you wish to publish via Kindle, you need to bear in mind that a different type of file is required (not a pdf). This can be done professionally by searching online. For simple books it is cheap. Where more complex formatting is needed, it costs more. We paid around £130 to have our book formatted for Kindle. To do this yourself you would need some IT skill, but is is feasible. So far, we have a small but significant number of Kindle versions of our book.

Finally, using Createspace is free unless you opt for their professional cover service or other extras. They make their money from sales.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Popular posts from this blog

The latest research on teaching vocabulary

I've been dipping into The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition (2017) edited by Loewen and Sato. This blog is a succinct summary of Chapter 16 by Beatriz González-Fernández and Norbert Schmitt on the topic of teaching vocabulary. I hope you find it useful.

1.  Background

The authors begin by outlining the clear importance of vocabulary knowledge in language acquisition, stating that it's a key predictor of overall language proficiency (e.g. Alderson, 2007). Students often say that their lack of vocabulary is the main reason for their difficulty understanding and using the language (e.g. Nation, 2012). Historically vocabulary has been neglected when compared to grammar, notably in the grammar-translation and audio-lingual traditions as well as  communicative language teaching.

(My note: this is also true, to an extent, of the oral-situational approach which I was trained in where most vocabulary is learned incidentally as part of question-answer sequence…

Dissecting a lesson: using a set of PowerPoint slides

I was prompted to write this just having produced for three separate PowerPoint presentations using the same set of 20 pictures (sports). A very good way for you to save time is to reuse the same resource in a number of different ways.

I chose 20 clear, simple, clear and copyright-free images from to produce three presentations on present tense (beginners), near future (post beginner) and perfect tense (post-beginner/low intermediate). Here is one of them:

Below is how I would have taught using this presentation - it won't be everyone's cup of tea, especially of you are not big on choral repetition and PPP (Presentation-Practice-Production), but I'll justify my choice in the plan at each stage. For some readers this will be standard practice.

1. Explain in English that you are going to teach the class how to talk about and understand people talking about sport. By the end of the lesson they will be able to say and understand 20 different sport…

Delayed dictation

What is “delayed dictation”?

Instead of getting students to transcribe immediately what you say, or what a partner says, you can enforce a 10 second delay so that students have to keep running over in their heads what they have heard. Some teachers have even used the delay time to try to distract students with music.

It’s an added challenge for students but has significant value, I think. It reminds me of a phenomenon in music called audiation. I use it frequently as a singer and I bet you do too.

Audiation is thought to be the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. You can audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music. When we have a song going round in our mind we are audiating. When we are deliberately learning a song we are audiating.

In our language teaching case, though, the earworm is a word, chunk of l…

Designing a plan to improve listening skills

Read many books and articles about listening and you’ll see it described as the forgotten skill. It certainly seems to be the one which causes anxiety for both teachers and students. The reasons are clear: you only get a very few chances to hear the material, exercises feel like tests and listening is, well, hard. Just think of the complex processes involved: segmenting the sound stream, knowing lots of words and phrases, using grammatical knowledge to make meaning, coping with a new sound system and more. Add to this the fact that in England they have recently decided to make listening tests harder (too hard) and many teachers are wondering what else they can do to help their classes.

For students to become good listeners takes lots of time and practice, so there are no quick fixes. However, I’m going to suggest, very concisely, what principles could be the basis of an overall plan of action. These could be the basis of a useful departmental discussion or day-to-day chats about meth…

GCSE and IGCSE revision links 2018

It's coming up to that time of year again. In England and Wales. Here is a handy list of some good interactive revision links for this level. These links are also good for intermediate exams in Scotland, Ireland and other English-speaking countries. You could copy and paste this to print off for students.

Don't forget the GCSE revision material on of course! How could you?

As far as apps for students are concerned, I would suggest the Cramit one, Memrise and Learn French which is pretty good for vocabulary. For Android devices try the Learn French Vocabulary Free. For listening, you could suggest Coffee Break French from Radio Lingua Network (iTunes podcasts).

Listening (Foundation/Higher) (Foundation/Higher) (Foundation/Higher)