How I Accidentally Self-Published: Creating a Paperback Book From an Ebook

In the last year I have created two ebooks and one paperback published book.  It was not necessarily something I had planned or thought of much but just sort of happened.  Thanks to the internet, I did some research and took a risk and because of it I am now a self-published author...sort of by accident. Through the process I have learned a lot, made mistakes, and have come out with a finished product I can be proud of.  This is what I learned. 

When I came out with 31 Days of Serving My Husband: The Devotional, I knew I wanted to offer a paperback version.  When I put together my first ebook, 31 Days of Creative Homemaking for the Modern Day Woman, I had used CreateSpace to print myself a keepsake hard copy of my book.  Even though it was an ebook, it felt like a really big deal that I created a book out of content that I wrote that people actually wanted to buy.  I wanted to remember that moment with my own paperback copy.

Because the homemaking ebook was so photo heavy and in full color, it seemed too expensive to actually sell a paperback version.  But I started to understand the process of CreateSpace enough to push me to consider it for my second ebook.

Since 31 Days of Serving My Husband was full of photos of my husband and I, I figured I could take them out.  They filled in space on my blog posts but for a devotional version it seemed more appropriate to design it in a daily study book style instead.

No photos, less pages, less design issues to deal with, and just text?  Those were the keys to taking an already designed ebook pdf into a real book.  If I were to design a book with intentions of creating a paperback, there is probably a different process.  This was more of a matter of taking already existing information in an ebook format and going through the process to also offer it as a book just in case there were people out there who wanted it.

The great thing about CreateSpace is that it is low risk.  Using them is completely free.  Besides ordering a proof of my final book to look over (which is pretty inexpensive) there are no fees for creating and having them host the book to sell.  Whereas when I use e-junkie to sell my ebook, there is a monthly fee to host with them.  I need to sell a certain amount of books each month to make up for that cost.  I figure that I sell more ebooks than I would paperback so investing in e-junkie works for me.  Selling the paperback was a new experience and I did not want to suffer a loss if it was not as successful as I had hoped.

Because CreateSpace is affiliated with Amazon, they provide a very simple setup to also host your book on Amazon to sell.  There is a bigger cut you have to take to sell on Amazon versus CreateSpace but the chances of buyers being more comfortable to buy from Amazon is higher.  I also think that over time the book will get more exposure on a popular site like Amazon.  CreateSpace also requires buyers to create an account before purchasing which I think could be a turn off, whereas most people already have an Amazon account set up.

Without even knowing what I was really doing, CreateSpace has copyrighted my book for me, hosts my book on Amazon, and even created an author page for me on Amazon!  Suddenly I was a legit self published author!  And I had not even planned on it! 

How to use CreateSpace to publish your ebook into a paperback:

1. Create an account

2. Upload your pdf ebook

3. Design a cover (this is the tricky part--they have instructions but if you are not comfortable designing the front and back, you can just upload the front cover of your ebook and not have a back)

3. Choose your design and finish (I tried both matte and glossy but for a book with a photo on the cover, the glossy finish appealed more to me)

4. Your book then gets looked over by CreateSpace where they check for any major margin/design issues on your pages

5. Make any necessary edits and approve your book (You can even order a proof copy to have a hard copy in your hands to approve before going to sell)

6. Sell your book!  (It takes a few extra days for your book to be available on Amazon whereas CreateSpace is immediate)

CreateSpace also allows you to turn your book into a Kindle version but I have yet to figure that one out.  

The ease and inexpensive aspect of CreateSpace makes publishing a book pretty easy once you get the hang of it.  I think this would be a great option for personal publishing whether it be a keepsake journal, favorite recipes, children's stories they have written, etc.  I am a big fan of creating photobooks, but for making a book on a smaller level, and especially heavy on text, this is also another great option.  It can be a more complicated route but if you are publishing content that you want to take a chance at selling, it is a low risk option with potentially big results.

But how do you create an ebook you ask?  That answer is coming.  I like to do things backwards!