Poets, writers and publishing control freaks are in luck. Amazon’s CreateSpace makes self publishing easier. Local writer Amy Miller is offering a workshop at the Ashland Book and Author Festival, this Saturday Sept., 20 at noon to help get folks started. The festival will take place at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon library from 10 am to 4 pm. It’s all free and open to the public. Miller’s one-hour workshop will teach the basics of self publishing using the on-demand publishing tool.
The workshop will cover what services CreateSpace offers, how to set up an account, common errors to avoid, and basic book design. Miller is a seasoned do-it-yourself publisher who has produced 10 chapbooks of poetry and prose at home using design software and desktop printers. She is the publications project manager at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and has worked as an editor and book designer for a number of years, so with her experience, do-it-yourself publishing has been a bit less stressful. Nevertheless, when a freelance client asked for her help publishing a book on CreateSpace, Miller decided to practice on one of her own books first, “I wanted to use one of my own chapbooks as a kind of guinea pig, so I could avoid making any big mistakes with my client,” Miller said, “and if it went well, I’d have a nice book to show for it, too.”
Miller’s efforts went very well. So far, she’s produced two books on CreateSpace, “Beautiful Brutal: Poems about Cats” and “In the Hand.” They’re good looking, good quality work both inside and out. In addition to fine books, she also came away with some lessons about publishing on CreateSpace. “It was definitely a learning experience, and I am so happy with the results,” Miller said.
She’s offering the workshop to help take away some of the anxiety around self-publishing. “There’s a lot of information out there, but it’s nice to have some help with the details. CreateSpace is surprisingly simple once you have the basics down,” Miller said.
While it is possible to publish your work with little more than a word-processing program and a printer, CreateSpace also offers services for writers who may not have the time or the skills to produce an attractive product on their own. Miller will help users with the process, offering step-by-step instructions and cost-saving tips.
Miller says that the cost of publishing your book on CreateSpace depends largely on how much you do by yourself. “Publishing your book is practically free if you can design the whole book, both the cover and the interior by yourself,” Miller said. “CreateSpace has combinations of services that range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.”
Amazon offers online templates and design services with CreateSpace. Users can design the book, alone or with the help of the online services. Amazon prints and ships copies of the book whenever customers order them. “If you do it on your own, all you pay for is the copies of the books you order for yourself, and the author price is deeply discounted. It’s about what you’d pay a printer,” Miller said. “For most chapbooks, that’s a little under $3 per book, including shipping,” she added.
While Amazon is not without its controversies, tools like CreateSpace are an ideal way for poets and writers to publish and share their work, says Miller. “With a little planning and common sense, it’s easy to manage and fun to use.”
The Ashland Book and Author Festival will take place Saturday, September 20, from 10-4 pm at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library. All events are free and open to the public.
For a schedule of events, click on the link below: