If you’re like me, newfangled things always catch my attention. And so when I heard that Draft2Digital could provide the author with a Createspace-ready PDF of their book, I was all ears. PDF, you say? Does that mean I not only can have a copy of my novel in mobi and epub, but I can have a printed paperback copy to hold in my hands as well???
The answer to that question is yes, using Draft2Digital’s Createspace-ready PDF format that’s currently in Beta. I decided to give it a test drive last week with a proof copy that I needed to print on Createspace, and so after writing my book in Ulysses, importing to Vellum, and then importing from Vellum to RTF, I then uploaded it as a new book to Draft2Digital. I know, I know. I could easily just write it in Word and then export. But I don’t write in Word. I write in Markdown, and that means Ulysses.
Whenever you upload an epub version of your book on Draft2Digital, D2D will only show you the mobi and epub versions of your book. But if you upload a Word document (.doc and .docx) and RTF, you will see the PDF option alongside the mobi and epub formats. And that’s exactly what happened. After less than a minute, I had three versions of my book: mobi, epub, and Createspace-ready PDF.
I then sent that PDF file to Createspace, which gave me the trim size and page numbers and then I set out to create a fake cover (I have the ebook cover above, but I don’t have the full wrap file; it’s also reserved for the actual publication. Sorry, no cover reveals since you’ve already seen it!) using Createspace Cover Creator.
Using a free image from Unsplash which is licensed under “Creative Commons Zero, which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash,” I created a full wrap cover, added in the title and subtitle, and then the description. I opted to hide the Author image and the Publisher image and then I clicked Review.
Personally, I LOVE this image, even if the woman does not look anything like my heroine for she’s a blonde. But it’s perfect as a full-wrap cover, and when you’re done on Createspace, they’ll provide you with a Kindle cover which is just the front of the book. Sure, you have to deal with the white boxes but the option, if you don’t like the other templates, is to upload your own design which could require some Photoshop or Pixelmator (cheaper alternative to Photoshop if you have a Mac) skills and risk angering the book cover designer gods. You could also use Canva.
After 24 hours, I received an email from Createspace saying that my book had been approved. I could have proofed it online but after squinting through all the proofs of my first three books, I wasn’t about to do that this time, not when I needed to see how a Draft2Digital Createspace-ready PDF stacked up against the Pressbooks file I usually uploaded ($99 per book, $59 if on sale), or after much frustration, a Scrivener-formatted PDF.
And this is the result:
After choosing the matte finish and cream paper for all my earlier books, this time, I chose the glossy option and white paper, which I actually really like. It really makes the image pop out and now I’m wondering if I should switch to the glossy option for the new editions, or reprinting of my previous novels. I only picked the matte option upon the recommendation of a book cover designer, but now I’m having second thoughts.
One of the things about the cover being the way it is, using an existing template from Createspace, is that it’s a great option for authors who may not be able to afford a cover designer for their covers. Many a cover designer has lamented the lack of taste and the proliferation of awful covers out there, but sometimes, unless a writer knows where to look, cover design can be costly if they don’t know where to explore cheaper options.
Now back to the book. The interior is actually really good. At 80K words, I ended up with 280 pages, which is much thinner than my previous books with large line spacings leading to bloated page counts. It’s why my books cost $14.99 – $19.99 as the minimum price to order because man, they are big at 400 – 500+ pages. And that’s only because I ended up choosing a fancy Pressbooks theme with large line spacing, but I sure am not doing that anymore.
The only thing that the D2D version of the paperback doesn’t have is the Table of Contents. While D2D gives you a table of contents in the digital versions (I think it does), it doesn’t do that for the PDF version and that can be a problem. But I’ll figure out the solution for that in my next experiment.
For now, I need to edit this book on the go, in a book and not on a 6-inch phone screen.