The fact is that even when you've uploaded your book and cover for publishing, it still takes another three weeks or so for the print version to be ready (that is, if you want a print version; ebooks take much less time). And even then, you might want to get a sample copy for a final look before you are ready to sell it.
Here's what I've learned from the self-publishing process with CreateSpace so far – and the first steps apply to all publishing modes:
- Make sure your book is edited. In the case of The Writer's Drawer anthology, I am its compiler (since the stories and poems are posted at this website) and editor. However, if you're the author, and even if you're an experienced writer, you should have someone – preferably a professional editor – go over it.
- Make sure your book is proofread, at least once, if not more – before it goes for formatting.
- Unless you're familiar with InDesign, the program used by CreateSpace, I'd strongly advise you to have your book formatted by a professional. Otherwise, you might find it returned to you with "issues" after you've uploaded it.
- After your book is formatted, check all the technical details: front matter, contents, running headers, page numbers, text layout – and proofread the text again.
- In parallel, or even before the formatting, you might have ordered a cover (or even designed one yourself). Besides choosing an image and arranging it with the title, you'll have to prepare two or three paragraphs for the back cover. These should be both informational and enticing, in order to attract readers to the book. (How do readers often choose a book? By reading the blurb on the back cover!)
- If you're someone like me, with no artistic talent whatsoever, you will probably need to enlist the help of a friend who does have a good eye for design and layout. Even then, you will have your doubts, so make sure your graphic artist has patience!
- Once the files are ready for uploading to CreateSpace, do so with the knowledge that nothing is irreversible. Your files will go through a checking process to find out whether there are any "issues." If there are, they'll be returned for fixing. If they're approved, you can okay the next step, creating a print and ebook. If you have any doubts, make any changes you need and upload the files again. They'll go through the same checking process (24 hours) and you can decide then whether to proceed. I had second thoughts about the cover after I'd uploaded the files and had already received approval. I returned to the graphic artist for some adjustments and repeated the uploading process. A warning, however: don't go to Setup, but to Cover and Interior to upload your files again. If you go to Setup, it will just upload the same files!
- There are two options for finalizing the process before the book goes on sale: proofing the book digitally or getting a sample copy. Although the latter option will delay the book's "outing" by at least a week (even more if you decide to make any changes), this was definitely the choice for me.
- Finally – try not to obsess over the book, especially in the final stages. There is no such thing as perfection. Just get as close to it as you can and call it a day. But trust your instincts: if others say the book looks fine, but you feel there's something wanting, then make the necessary change.
Good luck with your own self-publishing!