3 Things I’ve Learned About CreateSpace Paperbacks

I recently put the finishing touches on my physical edition of The Zombie Apocalypse using CreateSpace and I’ve come away a little wiser than my first outing in November of 2013. A lot has changed, and I think there are some things that anyone going the physical route with their novel or book should know before diving in.Are you ready? Here we go.

  • Choose matte over gloss cover finish.

Since the entire reason you’re designing a physical printed book is to have something you can hold in your hands, you want that book to feel as professional and elegant as possible. No joke – I bought the 15th Anniversary Edition of the Harry Potter series in paperback because of the new cover art and the matted finish. They just feel wonderful to hold.

Back Cover

You want your reader to have the same reaction when they hold your own literary baby. You want them to show off your book to others and have them reaching for it the same way they do for someone’s infant. It needs to be irresistible.

  • Choose cream paper over white.
Again, you’re creating a physical printed book because someone wants to hold it in their hands (even if it’s just your mom!) and the cream paper is thicker and therefore sturdier than the white paper. Especially for my game book where the reader will be constantly flipping the pages back and forth, I wanted something sturdy. This type of paper was just the ticket. (I also remember the guys over at the Self Publishing Podcast saying that they always go with cream paper instead of white after their own experiences.)
  • Lastly, don’t choose the default size dimensions.
I went with the suggested book dimensions my first go-round with CreateSpace when I designed Macyntire & Hough. Although the book looks nice, it is pretty bulky to hold. I used the 9x6in size for that book and it felt strange, like it was a little too big to carry around comfortably.
I became enlightened when I walked into my local Bullmoose store and saw Morgan Rice’s A Quest of Heroes sitting on the shelf – and it looked so good I had to pick it up. Compared to the bulky oversized paperbacks that I saw, this one was smaller and more appealing. The dimensions were 5x8in and it was a pleasure to hold. And so, I went with that trim size. Making it a little bit smaller complemented the cover finish and the paper weight. It just felt like it was better quality.So there you have it. Those are the three things I’ve learned on my second printed book. Doing all this stuff yourself is hard work – but when you have a real copy to hand to someone technologically challenged, it makes it all worth it!


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