The Free[dom] of CreateSpace

If you were to really know me you’d know that a favorite saying of mine is, “My middle name is free.” I like free as do most people.

Sometimes “free” is not all that great. The saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” But sometimes “free” is rewarding. I have found over the years that CreateSpace (CS) can produce quality books with “free” tools. As a result I make use of them.

My philosophy is simple, if I can get a job done with the least expenditure of money I will take a serious look at it. Sometimes I may need professional help, but almost all the time I check out the “free stuff” first.

A good example of this is the Cover Creator. It is a “free” tool with a relatively inexpensive enhancements available. With this tool I can easily create a quality cover. Here you have a good selection of themes and styles enabling you to create a very good cover.

An associated “free” tool is the Cover Gallery where I can search for pictures, etc. to use for the cover. Now I’ll admit right off that the gallery needs to be broadened and expanded. That said, I always take a look at the pictures, etc. offered for “free” and most of the time I’ve been able to use one of them.

In addition, Cover Creator allows you to upload pictures from your computer to be used as a cover. That is tremendous!

Another “free” tool is the ISBN. They actually offer an ISBN for a small price. Plus you can go elsewhere to get the ISBN. But most of us can do alright with the “free” version. This “free” ISBN works across the CS platform for publishing and marketing.

If that isn’t enough for you, they also provide “free” resources for your use. These can range from writing to publishing to marketing. And it is all free and practical. Plus they might point you to inexpensive sources.

In my opinion every author who wants to be independent and keep costs down should take a serious look at CreateSpace. And CS didn’t even have to pay me to put that little plug in here. I guess they also appreciate free.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Insights From World of Shem Part 2

In this issue I will speak about the cover. Usually the cover is done after the book is written, but I am going to cover it now (pardon the pun).

The cover is one of the most important items a writer needs. And often it is approached almost as an afterthought. But it is what first captures the potential buyer’s eye.

What are the important aspects of a good cover? It seems different people have different viewpoints, so here is mine. Good covers have:

  • A picture of nature, a building, or a person relevant to the story
  • Eye catching graphics
  • A good title (in a series you want title to relate to series)
  • A brief description on back matter
  • A brief bio of author on back matter

Again different experts will explain these differently and may have additional requirements. But the thing to remember is that the book only has two or three seconds to capture someone’s interest.

Createspace Gallery

The Gallery is definitely worth considering. While limited in what you can choose, I have found that they do have pictures that can be used. However, they have few pictures that relate to biblical stories or persons.

But I always look. Why? Because they’re excellent quality and FREE! I actually used pictures from the gallery for my books Perished and World of Noah and the Ark.

Buying Existing Royalty free Pictures

This is another inexpensive way to go: photostock.

For my novel World of Shem the gallery had nothing I could use. So I went with a picture I had purchased from Dreamstime a few years back. I not only purchased the picture but the right to commercially use it. And that is a big thing. Don’t just buy the picture, buy the rights to it as well. Doesn’t cost much and it is worth it.

When buying a picture make sure it is the right size (pixels). The license is only good for the picture you buy.

Hiring Professionals

The hiring of professionals is often highly recommended. And you can find professionals who know how to create covers that are acceptable to CreateSpace. For this service you will pay a little more, but not necessarily a lot. That depends on the artist and your needs.

In my opinion I would always check out the options in the same order I listed them. Why? Because the Gallery may have just the picture for you at no out of pocket cost, or buying royalty free pictures might prove to be the jackpot.

Just remember that there are requirements to be met no matter which route you take. The problem is different publishers have different criteria. So be careful! One additional thought, think about the pixels. The recommended size is 300 dpi (dots per inch) which for a 4 x 5 picture would 1200px x 1500px.

If uploading to Createspace’s Gallery it will recommend a particular size and warn you if the resolution is too low. So experiment.

I really like the cover for the World of Shem as it shows a man (Shem?) with hands raised to heaven (praying?). That caught the very substance of what I wanted displayed. Did you like the cover?

By the way I am still (and for the foreseeable future) looking for reviewers. You can buy the book or the ebook on Amazon or you can request a PDF or Epub from me. Then you can read the book and post your review. To receive a free PDF or Epub write me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and put “Book Review Request” on subject line.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.