Books written by Ray Sullivan

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Createspace - The Simple Proof

The story so far: I decided to give the Createspace route a go, not because I expected to sell any meaningful numbers of books through that format, but because it was an affordable way to experiment with getting my books into print.

If you followed my blog a few weeks ago you'll recall that I jumped in with both size nines, made some schoolboy errors on the way but ended up with five proof copies of Digital Life Form.  Admittedly it was four more than I really needed to proof read, but it looked impressive and to be fair some of the copies are doing the rounds of non eBook readers of my aquaintance.  I proofed the book while on holiday and uploaded a revised version that eradicated the silly errors such as not numbering the pages and forgetting to put the book title at the top of each page.  It seems obvious, but if you've spent any serious time formatting a book for eReaders then you'll know that you avoid both of those features for that genre.

Fired up by the arrival of the books and learning fast I updated the remaining four books and uploaded them to Createspace, believing I'd trapped all the schoolboy errors.  As it turned out, I hadn't completely, and in my haste had introduced a new one, but that wouldn't be apparent for three weeks as my books languished in Germany for that period.  Heck, I knew military collogues who'd done shorter tours of Germany!

Anyway, they turned up and they look the part - I'm going to re-do one of the covers when I get to proof reading it and all of them have some obvious errors that are easier to spot in print.  The biggest single silly error I seem to have made is with The Last Simple - if you followed it as Da Dan Brown Code you may remember that italics played a significant part of the story.  For one, the characters thought in italics. Anyway, it seems I managed to wipe out all the italics on my final reformat before uploading to Createspace, and given that the Illiterati were mentioned on practically every page that meant a lot of edits.  Which is a shame because I'd assumed that The Last Simple would be a swift proof to work through and it ended up taking me a couple of weeks (there has been a number of other distractions, to be fair).

So I uploaded the new version and awaited the response from Createspace, which arrived within a few hours, which is impressive.  The bit that really impressed me, though, is a new feature they have introduced since I started using them.  On the first book the expectation was that you uploaded a file, addressed any obvious errors they spotted (page numbers and title headers not included, unfortunately), then you ordered a proof copy or five (the maximum number of proofs they'll sell you) and you do the checking bit.  I have to say, although the postage racks up the cost of these books for us this side of the pond, Createspace do offer the authors a cracking discount on their own books and literally allow you to buy just one copy.

But it's got better:  you now have a digital proof to look at once you've uploaded your file.  Here's a screendump of the cover for The Last Simple:

Obviously this is showing the front and rear cover in one go.  I hope you enjoy the irony of the cover image - if you followed Da Dan Brown Code you will know that much of the action happens underneath Blackpool tower, which is a facsimile of the Eiffel Tower.  The photo on the cover is actually the Las Vegas facsimile, so it kind of amused me.

Clicking on the button to the right turns the pages so you end up looking at the start of the book like this (the printed version is much better quality than my screendumps imply, by the way):

And delving further into the book you can proof read on-line as it appears in print:

The book was immediately available from Createspace on the following link: and became available on Amazon in under twenty-four hours.  Price, if you're interested, is $6.  Enjoy.


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