Distribution Channels on Amazon’s CreateSpace

One of the most attractive features offered by CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company and print publishing platform, is its distribution channels. There are six channels and they are all free.

Standard distribution

Selecting Amazon.com “makes your book available to millions of customers on Amazon.com.” Activating Amazon Europe enables you to target websites belonging to Amazon in Europe, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain. And, you can choose to place your book in the CreateSpace online e-store.

Expanded distribution

By selecting Bookstores and Online Retailers, your books will become available to “thousands of major online and offline bookstores and retailers.” Choosing Libraries and Academic institutions will enable you to increase your book’s exposure to “public libraries, elementary and secondary school libraries, and libraries and other academic institutions.” Selecting CreateSpace direct will “make your books available to certified resellers such as independent bookstores and book resellers.”

The more the merrier

Having recently uploaded a third book to CreateSpace, I gladly selected all the distribution channels available. This is because the more distribution channels you choose, the more readers are exposed to your books, and the greater your chance of selling them and earning more royalties.

Networking

According to an article posted by CreateSpaceResources, “Book Marketing: Have you Tapped your Network?” by Maria Murnane, every author has a network that includes: where we went to school, who we share a favorite hobby with, our heritage, and where we’ve worked. It’s important to reach out to our network and tell them that we’ve written a book or books since this is newsworthy, according to Murnane.

From my marketing experience with Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, I can assure you that there is a natural progression to exposure; that a fan base will develop; that readers share with other readers; and that your reading audience will become more and more familiar with your brand.

When readers comment favorably about you or your work, include their comments in the About section on your website called, ‘What people say about [put your name here.]’

In my opinion, it’s not a matter of throwing a lot of money into your efforts. Remember, CreateSpace offers absolutely free distribution channels. It is, rather, a matter of systematically exposing your work and what you’re about to readers. It’s something that you must do every day.

If you select the distribution channels that are made available to you at no cost by CreateSpace and you do your part by networking and marketing appropriately on social media, you will significantly increase book sales, royalties and become known.

Book distribution

Image credit: The Cadence Group, Book Distribution

How to Use Amazon’s Createspace

If you’ve written a book in, say, Microsoft Word and have proofread it, properly formatted it, and have a title page, copyright page, introduction, table of contents and distinct chapters, you are essentially ready to roll for Createspace.

Although a variety of trim sizes (i.e., book sizes) are available, I recommend selecting the 6” x 9” setting, B & W. Why this trim size?, you may ask. Choosing a 6” x 9” trim size will ensure that your book is fit for most distribution channels. Your title will be exposed to more potential customers hence increasing your chance of being discovered and read.

Once your book is in its most perfect form possible and you have zero spelling and grammar errors, go to the Createspace website and, if you haven’t already done so, open an account. Select the “add new title” option. You don’t need to worry about buying an ISBN; Createspace will automatically assign one for you if that’s what you choose.

The secret is, once logged on and moving through the process, to find the link that leads to Createspace’s interior templates. Download the 6” x 9” template to your computer. Copy and paste your ready book into the template. Visually check that the pages are numbered sequentially; that your chapters are correctly numbered; that your headers alternate between your name and book’s title appropriately; and that you are completely satisfied with how the book appears. The template will ensure that your book’s margins, fonts, pagination and other settings satisfy Createspace requirements. If you’re careful, patient and thorough, this will save you time later. Export the file as a PDF and upload to Createspace.

After you’ve inputed the book’s title, have selected an ISBN, category, and successfully uploaded the book’s interior to Createspace, you’re now ready to create the cover.

In the same way that Createspace offers the right template for your book’s interior, Createspace has a cover creator. The creator comes with a variety of styles to choose from as well as images. If you choose an image from Createspace, make sure to read the fine print about what doing so entails. Alternatively, you can upload one of your own images. The steps you’ll need to complete while using the cover creator are: Theme, Title, Subtitle (if applicable), Author, Front Cover Image (yours or one offered by Createspace), Author Photo (optional), Publisher Logo (optional), Back Cover Text and Background Color. Createspace will take care of the bar code for you.

I enjoyed uploading my own image and experimenting with different styles and colors offered by the cover creator.

After completing the above, Createspace will suggest that you use its interior reviewer. I highly recommend that you do so. If you haven’t embedded your text, do not worry. Createspace will do it for you.

Createspace offers a range of distribution channels. The more channels you select, the more exposure your title will receive. I personally selected the minimum price threshold for my book (generated by Createspace) since this guarantees the lowest possible price for my readers.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll be prompted to submit your file for review. You’ll receive an e-mail within 24 hours with further instructions. In my case, I was congratulated, told that my file was printable, and asked to do a final review which I did.