1. Technical stuff. If you’re not from the USA, you need to file a US TIN (Tax identification number) – (Why do they write TIN number instead of TIN? To me, that reads Tax identification number NUMBER. But I digress) This is a bit complex but you kinda have to do it otherwise, you’ll be imposed with a 30% tax cut instead of 5%. Big difference. Fill out the W-7 form from the IRS site, send it with the letter from the Createspace site, and wait for your TIN. Then you can fill out the W-8BEN and send it to Createspace. No one else can do this for you, so you’ll have to go through it. You having a headache yet? I know the feeling.
2. Services. They provide designing, editing, illustrating services. You can pick and choose according to your budget. They’re not that cheap but it would make your life easier with all the technical stuff you don’t know how to do.
3. Internal reviewer. Once you’ve done the design and all that, I suggest you launch their internal reviewer. It allows you to check the pages online to see if things are all good. It is advisable to do this because I got a bit confused (I did the layout myself). I didn’t realise PAGE 1 started as a right hand page and that really screwed up my paging.
4. The ISBN thing. That’s the number you see on the barcode, in case you’re wondering. It’s confusing, as usual, but necessary. You can buy an ISBN if you are planning to sell the book outside of Createspace/Amazon. But you can also get a free ISBN if you just intend to sell the book through the site.
5. Selling price. You can only go above the selling price that Createspace recommends. They calculate it for you based on the pages, size etc then tell you what is the minimum base price. They will also tell you how much royalty you’ll be getting once you’ve decided what price you want to sell the book for. They offer a pro plan upgrade of $39 for the first year then $5 for the next couple of years. Under this pro plan, you’ll get much higher royalty per purchase, and some other advantages too. You can opt for the upgrade anytime.
6. Ordering the proof. You will need to order a copy of your PROOF (the physical book you need to check for typos and changes before putting it up for sale). For that, you’ll need to order the book AND pay for shipping. Also, it takes 21 business days for it to arrive in Australia (basically a month) even if it’s using DHL. So slow, maybe they put it on a boat that needs manual rowing.
I opted for Createspace instead of other ones like Blurb or Lulu because of its connection to Amazon (and cheaper postage to Australia). But there are other sites out there that will probably be less complicated, in case Createspace is too much. Their support is quite good though, the replies to inquiries are quite fast so it wasn’t too bad.
P.S. Dymocks has just launched D Publishing — their answer to self-publishing in Oz. Worth checking out.