The Ultimate Guide to Selling on Amazon’s CreateSpace
7 min read
There are a million and one ways to make money online. You always see those ads, and you may have even tried a few ways – I definitely have.
The problem is that a lot of times they don’t make a lot of money – and you have to continually do the work to get results, like working at a job to receive a paycheck, naturally. (Gasp!)
Although this is great, a lot of us are always looking to improve on this and create more income for your time-dollar. To do so, you want to find and create a system or business that lets you do this over and over while you sleep.
passive income strategies!
This is where the online world is headed, with more digital products and platforms coming out each year. Createspace is one of them, and it allows you to simply upload digital books for free, which can be printed on demand for your customer – again, for FREE!
What is CreateSpace?
Amazon has a few platforms such as this, one being CreateSpace and the other being Kindle. I’m sure you’ve also heard of Merch by Amazon, but in case you haven’t, it’s Amazon’s print on demand T-shirt platform. That is for a different post though 😉
CreateSpace is where you can actually upload books you’ve created and written (or outsourced) to get passive income. The best part about this is that if you don’t want to hire a designer to create a cover or a writer to write your book – you can complete this for absolutely FREE!
That’s right – CreateSpace costs you absolutely nothing up front, because Aazon is already getting a portion of your sales when your book sells. You can also upload as many books as you want, and you can publish almost anything!
There are multiple types of books that you can create on these platforms:
- Niche books
- Coloring books
- Music Books
- Habit Trackers
- Productivity Tools
- Anything your imagination can think of in book form!
All you need to do is do the work up front once, a little bit of marketing – and then receive your royalties as you get sales!
This guide will show you:
- Exactly how to set up your CreateSpace account
- How to do basic market research to see what’s out there and selling
- Choosing your project
- How to create your book
- Uploading your book
- Marketing your book & beyond
So – are you ready to get started on creating your new passive income stream?
Let’s get to it!
How to Set Up Your CreateSpace Account
To set up your new account, you will want to head on over to the CreateSpace website here.
- On the left-hand side, select Sign Up
- Enter in your basic information and select Create My Account
- Follow the directions and agree to the member and user agreement
- Verify your email address
- Set up tax information (as instructed when you log into CreateSpace
You should be all set! Now we just need to find a project for you to work on!
Doing Basic Market Research & Choosing A Project for Self-Publishing
Market research sounds terrifying if you don’t know what it is, but it’s actually simple.
We just want to get a good background of what’s happening in the market right now, and then we can analyze the results to find what topics you want to write about.
What kind of books are people writing?
Head on over to Amazon and select the books category. Then, type in “CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform” and see what comes up. You can add in certain keywords like “teacher” or “nurse” along with the Createspace term, to see what the popular books are. .
Start with niches that you know and are familiar with, because you will know more about what would be successful in that niche.
Amazon will show you a few of the most popular books here, but we want to get real data to see how well they are selling.
How to tell which books are selling on Amazon
To do this, I recommend installing a Chrome extension called DS Amazon Quickview. It will pull up the sales rank for the notebooks and you can use the sales velocity calculator to enter that number and see how often they are selling. Generally, anything under 40,000 in the books category is going to be selling fairly well.
Finding the sales velocity – to find the sales velocity of the books on Amazon, read our article here!
What are the readers lacking and how can you improve it?
Do you see a book that you can improve upon?
Is there a notebook out there that is a great idea, but isn’t executed as well as you know you could do it?
How can you think of ways to differentiate yourself in the current market of books that are selling well?
Can you find a different spin on it, or improve the book somehow?
After seeing which books are selling well in the niche you’ve chosen, see how you can improve them. Do some brainstorming and really take your time with this if you need to.
When you’ve done some research, you can determine what the market is lacking in, and align it with your own interests. Make sure you really pick something you enjoy – because it’s very easy to get bored if you aren’t fully invested.
How to Make a Book for CreateSpace
Once you’ve chosen a niche or subject, you can start writing the interior of your book!
You have two options here:
- Create a blank notebook or a notebook with interior pages such as Cornell notes, music notes, a journal, dot grid journals, etc.
- Write a book
If you choose to create a blank book option, I highly recommend reading my review on Tangent Templates created by one of my favorite people, Katharyne Shelton! It’s so easy to download the interior of these books and simply create the cover and upload your book.
To write a book, it will take a lot more time and energy, but it can be very lucrative! If you choose this option, welcome to the world of self-publishing, and here are the exact steps to do this:
1 | Gather information from resources available
Do some web searching to see what you can gather. Write down what you already know about the subject. Do a brainstorming session and write it all out!
2 | Organize
Then, organize your information into a readable format for your reader. Time to go back to good ol’ outlines!
Create an outline with the basics, starting with the highest foremost ideas and drilling down to however in depth you want to go.
3| Fill in the blanks
Follow your outline, and make sure to keep it interesting for your reader! There are some great resources on how to write a good book – here’s a great article from CopyBlogger on how to do just that.
Go back through and edit the book, then take a break for a few days, then go back and read it again. Then, have your friends and family read it.
DO NOT get stuck in this step! It’s easy to get in an analysis paralysis situation with this step.
If you want to skip the writing part, you can outsource to a ghost-writer which you can find on Fiverr or Upwork. You may spend between $100-$300 for a ghost-writer, though.
4| Designing a Cover
Once your writing is complete, it’s time to come up with a cover design.
You can outsource this or do it yourself. If you are going to design it yourself, here are a few tips:
First, go onto Amazon and take a look in your niche again. Which ones are selling well now that you’re done writing? What do those covers look like? Pay attention to things like:
- Placement of text
- Photos or vector images
- Size of text and images
I would also take a look at inspirational places such as Behance and Pinterest for inspiration. Here are a few other resources specifically for ebooks:
The Book Designer-Cover Awards – This website is especially informative, because each month the site does awards for the best covers. This one is my favorite!
Here’s a very good video done by Katharyne Sheltons husband, Isaac Gonzalez called See Like an Artist. He goes over how art is created, why your brain perceives art as good or bad, and how to create art yourself!
Platforms for Designing Your Covers:
Places to get Stock Photos:
5 | Finalizing the Writing and the Cover
To finish up your book, you will need to edit your book. You can ask friends and family to edit the book, read it out loud, and all of the normal tricks. However, I highly recommend you hire an editor to do this part using Fiverr or Upwork again.
If you choose to go the free route, analyze your title and your writing by using the Hemingway Editor. It’s an amazing resource for catching errors and other parts of writings that aren’t typically recognizable by a word processor editor.
How to Upload Your Book to CreateSpace
After that tedious process, you’re ready to upload your book!
To do so, head back over to CreateSpace and log in.
What you need to upload a book to Createspace
- To have a CreateSpace account (go ahead and create one if you haven’t yet)
- Title of the book
- An author name that you want to be under (some authors use pseudo names)
- A product description filled with keywords you want to include
- What will customers search for to find your book?
- What descriptive keywords can you use to describe what’s inside and what the cover looks like? Remember, search engines can’t read images, so this is where you want to put a lot of your descriptors
- Keywords that are high performing
- To find the best keywords, use the Chrome extension called Keywords Anywhere – it’s free!
- Your cover in JPG format – 300 DPI
- Interior pages of the book in PDF format – also try to keep this at 300 DPI
Step by Step on How to Upload Your Book to Createspace
On your CreateSpace dashboard, select Add New Title
Enter a Title, Choose the project type, and select Expert
I’ll guide you through, don’t worry! Choose Paperback and select Get Started under the Expert setup process.
Enter Title Information
You really only need to enter in the title and the author name here. You can use a fake name if you’d prefer, a lot of those who sell books on Createspace do that.
Select “Createspace Assigned” under the ISBN section
Choose your paper type, color, and size
The most common is black and white because it’s cheaper to print, white paper color, and you are welcome to choose what size you want. We often do 7.44x9.69 as it’s close to the size of a composition book. Another common size is 5.5x8.5. To change the trim size, select Choose a Different Size
When selecting “Choose a Different Size” this is what your options are
Select your Interior Choice:
With your finished book, upload a PDF of it, making sure it’s the correct size.
The most common bleed type we select is “Ends AFTER the edge of the page”
Select “Launch Cover Creator” to open the Cover Creator
Choose a Design for Your Book Cover
After opening the cover creator, it will auto-save your progress.
Then, scroll to page 5 and select “The Spruce 7.44x9.69” for this particular tutorial.
You are welcome to choose another selection, however, I like to be able to edit the entire cover photo image with the image I made. If you choose another cover, it will have only the small photo selection.
Select a coordinating color for the background and the font, so that the font color is close to the background color. Then, select Submit Cover
Select “Glossy” or “Matte”
Enter your Description and Search Keywords
Select a BISAC category, choose as close as possible to what your book entails
Choose your pricing and finishing up
Select both Amazon US and Amazon Europe
Select the price and then select Calculate to see how much you’ll
Select Save Progress, then select Submit for Review
How to Market Your CreateSpace Book & Beyond
Once your book is approved by CreateSpace, you will want to wait a couple of days for the interior view and details to populate. Last I checked, it takes about 5 days to fully populate the details of the listing.
Then, you’re ready to start getting the word out there that your book exists!
Some tips to start marketing:
- Share the listing on Facebook to your friends and family
- Tell anyone who might be interested
- Post on your blog or site
- Create an ad on Pinterest or Facebook
- Create a Pinterest pin on Canva and pin it on all of your group boards
- Post on all social media platforms and groups that you’re a part of
- Talk to Facebook group owners to see if you can do a giveaway or contest in return for spreading the word about your new book
- Post on Reddit (make sure to read the terms of the Reddit forum beforehand)
- You can also utilize other Print on Demand platforms for eBooks and indie authors such as Barnes and Noble (yes B&N has an e-book publishing platform!). Cross-list your book and dropship it when someone orders it.
- You can also cross-post your Createspace book by creating a new listing on Amazon as a merchant-fulfilled item to have more control over the listing and your competition
Once your book starts taking off, you can certainly capitalize on that by ensuring your readers have something more. To do this, you will want to start building an audience around your book and maybe even creating more products that resonate with them. Start by creating a website and some social media platforms with your brand name. If you begin to learn and know what they like to read, go even more in-depth or pivot towards another relating subject or category within the same niche.
As our online world continually grows, and more physical stores are being shut down – the one platform you want to hop on is Amazon. The beast of the e-commerce world – Amazon’s where it’s at!
Luckily, The Success Mountain talks about Amazon frequently, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get updates when we post something new, and other information that we learn as this volatile online world changes.
Amazon’s CreateSpace platform is a fantastic way to dip your toes in self-publishing, digital platforms, and digital products.
There are quite a few success stories about CreateSpace, and it still seems to be a fairly unrecognized platform.
This is great because you can hop on this new platform that isn’t oversaturated like Merch by Amazon is. Hop on it before it gets too crazy!
With some luck and hard work, you can turn your book, or multiple books into recurring income!
Have you used print on demand services before? What would you like to hear about next?
Do you have any questions I can help you answer? Let me know in the comments!