Books written by Ray Sullivan

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Createspace Formatting Update + 1

Note:  The details of this post have also been added to the Digital Life Form (DLF) Has Arrived in Print post from 25th February.

Note - 16 March Update below the main blog entry.
I'm still waiting for the books to arrive - according to DHL they were processed at Koln on 28 February but I'm unclear if that means they are still there or stuck in the UK system.

However in the interim I've been reading up on the various boards and would like to pass on some disparate wisdom from other Createspace authors. First, there's some debate about the ISBN numbers. Amazon will issue you one free of charge or can sell you one for $10. There's two issues associated with this according to some.

First, if you choose the free ISBN it means the book is nominated as published by Createspace, which sends a big warning signal to mainstream booksellers. The alternative, where you pay $10, means you create your own 'company name' which will fool them all apparently. I'm not too convinced a made up name that they hadn't come across before would necessarily convince, but I guess the point is that Createspace is synonymous with vanity publishing. For my part I'm unconcerned - I've been upfront; I don't expect to sell many books through this medium, and I've certainly resisted paying $25 a title for access to a broader set of sales channels.

The other issue with the ISBNs, of any flavour as far as I can tell, is that they are inextricably welded to the book page size. Now the issue here is that if you choose the wrong page size and try to change it, you can't, apparently. I don't know if this is true and if it is, if it relates to proof copies and published copies or just the published versions. I do know I'm in a good position to test the theory if and when my books arrive.

Having lived with the proof of Digital Life Form for a couple of weeks I realise that the default 9 x 6 size is probably not ideal for a fiction paperback. It's more suitable for an academic book via the Open University (I have a bookcase of maths books from my degree studies at that size). Once I've edited one of the proofs and made the necessary edits (if required) then I'll reformat the book in a different size and try to upload it. If that works I'll see if I can do the same trick with Digital Life Form - from what I've read, I would need a different ISBN to achieve that but so far it's unproven.

Ultimately it does appear that having separate ISBNs for the same book can be a little distracting but not forbidden. I may only attempt it as an academic exercise but not follow through with the change, but whatever I do, I'll update on this space in due course.

Update 16 March - The books have arrived!  They only took three weeks and two days to cross the Atlantic and apparently they could have swam it quicker.  To be fair they've been in Germany since the 28th February and on arrival I noticed two books were capable of conversational German, one was fully translated into the language, which should help me expand my International marketing and the fourth, well I think it's gone Native.  Last seen in the kitchen sporting lederhosen.

The books look fine although at least one has failed the in-house 'Out of Focus' group review - so at least one cover will need replacing as part of the review process.  I've now got to fit in the structured proof reading of each book and then ensure the document files are modified and uploaded as I go.  I'll use this space to keep you all informed of progress.
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