Createspace Print on Demand – Pitfalls and Pratfalls PART I

No blogging of late mostly due to the fact that for much of the past two weeks I’ve been hard at work trying to get book two set up for its paperback release. This is the second time I’ve fought my way through the Print on Demand (POD) process and I thought I would offer some observations.

Before I start I will put in a couple of qualifiers.
1) I’m about as computer literate as a concussed Neanderthal
2) This isn’t a comparison of different POD companies, just my experience of Createspace.

Now for my actual writing I use the word processor in a venerable version of WORKS (hey! you at the back stop laughing) but when it come to actually preparing the file for the POD I use Word from Office 2010 – a program I don’t like very much but that’s a rant for another day. Anyway first order of business is select book size. Createspace offers quite a variety of sizes and clearly states which ones are trade standard. It also provides a handy Word template which gives a basic layout of title page, index, dedications, chapters, etc, etc. The template also inclines alternate pages left and right to allow room for the spine of the book. The end result all looked good and had been achieved with every little fuss. Feeling confident I at this point naturally ran head on into problems.

In theory the Createspace site can accept Word in practice not quite. I started getting error messages about Fonts that hadn’t embedded and might not print correctly. Unfortunately it doesn’t provide any help as to where these fonts might be in oh… four hundred pages of text. I thought that it might be easier if I provided the file in PDF format and after a long struggle this I managed to do (turned out the version of Word I was using could save in PDF [if you are wonder how I didn’t know that I refer you back to point One of the qualifiers]) In this format the review section was slightly more helpful. There were several words with ascents and these were changed, yet I was still getting the error message about fonts (Myriad Pro to be exact) that wouldn’t embed and I still wasn’t getting any guidance as to where this font was located and Createspace’s support were about as much use as a chocolate kettle. After much cursing and swearing I found it, in the Header and Footer (Author and book name and the page count) . This wasn’t data I copied and pasted in, I typed in those details.

So, to summarize, I used the Createspace template. That Template had formatting that caused problem for their own systems. Now it is worth noting that at also every stage of the process Createspace offers to do it for you – for a fee. While I’m not making accusations because a) I don’t have any proof and more importantly b) one should not subscribe to conspiracy that which can be achieved by incompetence. Still it is wildly irritating to be supplied with a template with problems built in. Book Two I’ve largely avoid these problem by copying the data over a version of the book one file. With the file now complete the next stage was cover design, which will be in my next blog. Until then…

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Filed under Self Publishing, Writing

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