Create a coverage image for CreateSpace August 28th, 2013

Requirements for a Createspace coverage image:

6.5 inches wide X 4 inches high, 300 DPI, jpeg

  1. I scan an image (picture), save it as jpeg.
  2. Using MS Word, I insert it into a blank file.
  3. Using picture format – size it to 6.5X4
  4. Save image as doc.
  5. Print image
  6. Because I have an HP Officejet Pro 8500A
    1. I scan the printed image
    2. Set dpi @ 300
    3. Crop out the white space
    4. Save it in MS Word as jpeg
    5. Direct Createspace to this saved image when using cover creator.

The author photo is done the same way.

The entire process takes a few minutes.


Createspace’s Minimum List Price Calculation – 8/14/2013

Within limits, the author can set the book’s price, know as the  Author’s List Price. CreateSpace (CS) establishes a minimum list price. Minimum list price = CS fixed charge plus a charge per page, Amazon charge, and Expanded Distribution charge.  Author’s list price must exceed this level.

Royalties are computed as follows:

Author’s List Price

Minus CS Fixed charge

Minus CS charge per page

= CreateSpace eStore royalty

Minus Amazon Store Charge (20% of Author List Price)

=Amazon royalty

Minus Expanded Distribution (20% of Author List price)

=Expanded Distribution Royalty

  • Expanded Distribution is an option for shipments from Amazon to schools, libraries etc at a one-time fee of $25. If I had chose this option for my book The O’Donnells of Philadelphia, which exceeds 600 pages, it would have driven the minimum list price above $20/per book before I’d receive any royalty. I chose not to take this option for that book.
    • I accepted this option for three other books because I expect Amazon to notify schools, libraries etc. of their availability. I expect to drop this option sometime in the future to lower my book prices.
    • I have a different strategy in mind to replace Expanded Distribution, which I will share if it proves to be successful.

Now you ask, given all that, “How do I determine what to charge (Author List Price.) I knew you’d get to that.

CS makes it easy to play “what if” games with prices to calculate the potential royalties.

After your book is accepted, you set an Author List Price. Hit the calculate button and CS displays royalties for their eStore, Amazon, Expanded Distribution, books printed in the UK and books printed in Continental Europe.

lIf you are not content with the royalties, resubmit a different Author List Price and recalculate. You can do this again and again until you’re content with the price and royalty. You can also add or delete the Expanded Distribution option.

Prices can be changed at any time.

Books for the author’s use and purpose can be purchased directly from CS at CS’s cost which doesn’t include either Amazon’s or Expanded Distribution’s add-ons, nor any royalty. You can also direct CS to ship these books to other locations and charge you for the book cost, sales tax, and shipping charges.

My experience publishing in CreateSpace – July 17, 2013 Advice for writer-wannabees.

I decided it’s time that I published print versions of my eBooks. I first checked the internet to see what folks had to say about POD publishers, and decided to choose CreateSpace. I put a date in the title because the internet has no self-policing mechanism. Therefore, I spent several days learning from outdated articles all about PDF, formats, templates, etc. then found, I didn’t need them.

            There are three ways to submit covers and interiors to CreateSpace:

1) Hire a professional,

2) Submit your own final cover design and interior.

After working on it for the better part of a week, completing my final cover and interior and opening an account at CreateSpace (CS), I found out there was another option.

3) Upload your Word manuscript.  And, decided to try it. For my money it’s the way to go. The Civil War’s Valiant Irish, my second book, was edited for print, page numbers corrected on the Table of Contents (TOC), previewed and purchased in less than a day.

Cover Creator:

Ninety percent of what I had been fussing about went away.  CS inserts (they termed it “populates”) the title and author’s name on both the front cover and the spine. All I had to do was submit a book image, a back cover, and a photo of my smiling Irish face. That’s supposed to make people like me and purchase my book.

CS has a galley of cover formats. Select the one you like, and insert the front cover image (I recommend jpeg), back cover verbiage and author’s photo. The title and author’s name will already be there. The spine width is set automatically based on the number of pages submitted. Since I was writing about the Druids, I chose galley titled “The Oak.”

I’m fortunate to possess an HP Officejet Pro 8500A. This not only prints, it scans, crops, sets the DPI, and saves the copy as JPEG.

Interior Reviewer:

 I selected their most popular trim size (9 X 6) and made that the page size of my MS Word document. Yes, Word documents are acceptable. Set the margins as they specify. I prefer Arial 11 font size. I eliminated unnecessary white space to reduce the number of pages, hence the cost to the reader (chapters follow chapters without a page break.) My images of 300 DPI, size 2.86” by 5.05” were according to their preference. I also followed their wishes regarding margins and gutters, which vary by number of pages. I chose the white paper option, and let them supply for free, the ISBN number.

Was it trouble free? Me, with my always in a hurry temperament? Of course not! I became very efficient uploading and re-uploading the cover and interior. My final edit consisted of revisiting the page numbers in the table of contents (several times).

James Francis Smith’s Formatting Specs for Druids, Celts, and Romans:

Font :              I selected Arial because New Times Roman reminds me of a business letter. Although I usually use Verdana, with its larger print, for my blog, this article is Arial font size 11 to show you how it looks.

Title:                font size 20 – bold

Author name:  font size 14 – bold

Chapters:        font size 11 – bold

Locations:       font size 11 – bold

Text:                font size 11

Page Setup:               Different odd, even, – different first page


Top:            0.5”

Bottom:      0.5”

Inside:         0.5”

Outside:       0.5”

Gutter          :        0.8”

Paper:                  custom size – width 6” – Height 9”

Paragraph:           Justified

Line spacing:        exactly 15 pt.

Header:                Author name on even page, Book title on odd page – page number on both

Some sage advice:

Add the page numbers to the Table of Contents after everything else is finished. During the review process, I checked the books page numbers to that of my TOC, and made the changes at that stage.

I hope you find this useful, and I wouldn’t be unhappy if you should purchase a copy of Druids, Celts, and Romans from Amazon. I kept the price  low and still make a buck. It retails for $14.99, plus shipping and sales tax.

If you or your ancestors are from Europe – Most likely this is your origin, learn something about it.


Writing Narrative History

Until it’s mined and polished, a diamond gemstone is still … just a rock. The same goes for history. There’s an old saying:

“In history, nothing is true but names and dates. In fiction, everything is true but names and dates.”

Along came Shakespeare, who borrowed what was useful then added the appropriate utterances and gestures to articulate his characters’ dreams and desires. Whereas, I take historical events humanize their characters, then I insert fictitious others to connect the story line and make the tale interesting.

My point-of-view is “third party limited.” This means that my characters are not omniscient. Instead, they have the same limitations as an ordinary person.

By doing this, I hope to achieve what one reviewer of The last of the Fenians, Jodi Sullivan of the Tacoma Writers Roundtable, asserted: “The reader soon forgets which characters are real and which are the works of the author’s imagination.”

My characters can only know and reveal what they have learned or experienced. If the generals and politicians in my tales were all-knowing, then they certainly wouldn’t have advocated the bloody-awful engagements that history has exposed. Furthermore, I have to conform to the boundaries established by the event. For example, I can’t shift the Battle of Gettysburg to some other location, nor have it occur at some other time. These restraints force an author to make full use of his or her imagination.

When I discovered, on the internet, Major Cooper’s text: “The Tenth (Irish) Division in Gallipoli,” I knew I had to include them in The Last of the Fenians, for few historians have recognized their bravery. Nor did the Irish Government, who waited until 2010 to honor the thousands of their countrymen buried in Gallipoli.

But How?

I already had my character “Reed,” who plays the part of a young cleric, stationed in County Cork, in order to bring Michael Collins into the tale to foreshadow events that would occur years later. Major Cooper provided me with an opportunity, when he told of an elderly Anglican priest who died of dysentery while serving in Gallipoli. I envisioned a new character, namely Reverend William Martyn, to befriend the young Reed. The two were forced to meet secretly for Reed’s unyielding Bishop had the parish housekeeper spy on the young cleric’s activities. Now I had the wherewithal for Martyn to convince Reed that the Catholics in the first division ever assembled from Ireland would have need of his services. Moreover, I used Reed and Martyn to bring to light and debate the many injustices that befell the Irish peasant from the Penal laws to The Great Famine.

If you have any interest in Ireland and its ancient history, The Last of the Fenians is a reference book well worth owning.

Adventures in ePublishing #2

   When I considered writing a blog to draw attention to my books, I also decided to share my experiences in ePublishing. Unlike Kindle and Nook, which I discussed in the post, “Adventures in e-Publishing,” Apple and others depend on iBookstore aggregators, among whom are Smashwords and LuLu. I chose Smashwords because their instructions seemed at the time to be more complete.

Because Smashwords services varied devices (Sony, Kobo, Diesel …) in addition to the iBookstore, they reconfigure the input into a standard format through what they term to be a meat grinder (autovetter). I think we author’s are the ones put through the meat grinder.

Smashwords editing involves a two step process to forward the manuscript to the retailers.

Their motto “your book your way” applies only to reviewing it and placing it for sale on Smashwords. To make it available for iPad and other online publishers, it must pass a second review before being awarded the “Premium Catalog status. Premium books are automatically forwarded to major online retailers, such as Apple.


        After establishing an account, go to dashboard (settings) – select book, select image.


  1. Fonts must be either Arial or Times New Roman – I prefer Arial.
  2. Font size cannot exceed 18pt. I use 16 for the title, everything else 12.
  3. Every chapter in Table of Contents (TOC) must be bookmarked and hyperlinked to TOC.
  4. For the cover and title page, the Book Title must match precisely. Below is what I used for one title page and copyright. The Smashwords Editions License Notes are from their instructions. Personally, they would turn me off. But then I don’t expect to sell many books through Smashwords, however, it would be foolish to overlook the tens of millions who own these devices.


Druids, Celts, and Romans

Book One of the Irish-American Story


James Francis Smith


Copyright 2004 Text James Francis Smith

Copyright 2004 Illustrations Sean Judy


Smashwords Edition, License Notes.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be resold or given to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


  1. Regarding the cover, too much white space is frowned upon, and must be cropped because this could be viewed on Sony and similar small screens. Therefore, I initially create the cover in MS Word, insert the image, type the title and author name then under Edit choose “select all” before saving the file – I number them so I know which is my latest. This is the file I choose when I open MS Paint to edit the cover and save it as JPG.
  2. The cover must be a vertical rectangle with the length and width at least 1400 x 1820 pixels. Pixels can be assigned in MS Paint by selecting “image” then “attributes.”
  3. I select and center the image in MS Paint, then select “Image”, “stretch and skew.” I increase the 100% in horizontal and vertical in increments. For example, I may change the horizontal to 110% and the Vertical to 125%. Check to see how much white space is remaining and keep increasing them incrementally until I fill the white space. Then, I save it as (file name.JPG) in MS Word.
  4. Now I’m ready to submit it. I open Smashwords, select “Dashboard,” then “settings under operations,” click “upload new image” and select my JPG file, then upload new image.
  5. Apple insists on having an ISBN number, which Smashwords furnishes for free.
  6. As explained above, the book then needs to be reviewed for the Premium Catalog before it can be submitted to the major online retailers, such as Apple. This process takes about a week.


If you plan to ePublish, I wish you well. Don’t be discouraged. There are times you bend to the wishes of others. Under the TOC “Seven Days Battle” in The Civil War’s Valiant Irish, I had listed, for information purposes only, the various engagements for that engagement in the TOC. Smashwords insisted they be hyperlinked. So much for “my book my way.” I thought this would be overkill, however, to finally get the book eligible for the Premium Catalog, I eliminated the engagements from the TOC. Therefore, my iBookstore version differs from that submitted to Kindle and Nook. Such is life.

Kindle and Nook

ePublish on Kindle and Nook

Amazon and Barnes & Noble are in the business to sell books. Therefore, they make it relatively easy to digitally publish.  On the other hand, Apple sells devices, iPad and the like. This is evident because books from Kindle and Nook can be read on a PC or Apple without the requirement to purchase a reading device. I’ll cover publishing on iBook and book covers in a later article.

Both Kindle and Nook accept MS Word. In essence, you tell them where the file is located, and they come and get it.

Publishing on Kindle needs additional instructions only if you wish to include images inserted in with the text. Then Kindle prefers a HTML file.

To Publish on Kindle with images:

(Tip #1) Open a brand new folder.

  1. Copy the jpg file(s) of the image(s) into the new folder.
  2. Open the file containing the manuscript and insert the image(s) from the newly created file. Then save it as” Web page, filtered (*htm, *html) in the newly created file. This file will now contain the images and the .htm file.
  3. To improve transmission speed, Kindle expects the file to be zipped. I use “7-zip.” Open 7-zip, select the file, which will now have a .zip extension.
  4. This is the file you submit. 

(Tip #2) After the file is uploaded to Kindle, select preview and make certain that the images appear before continuing to publish. If your image(s) doesn’t show up, go back and redo the above steps.

Problems not yet solved.

My patience is almost non-existent, so I detest the slow process using the preview option to wade through my 500-page books. I used to be able to almost go directly to the portion of the book I wanted to preview. To accomplish this, I’d change the location at the bottom to something close to where my images were inserted. For example, if the current location reads 14 of 561098. I’d change the 14 to 561000 so it would automatically sort to the last page. Since Kindle’s Fire came out, this is not longer an option. Thank you Kindle programmers.

Wouldn’t you know it! The very day I’m about to go public with my blog. Kindle makes this announcement:
KDP Unveils New Previewer
Time doesn’t allow me to investigate this “new previewer.” Look for it in a future article.

The biggest issue I encountered using Kindle (after I learned how to do the above) was that once a book is purchased, you can’t get a revised edition even if you offer to purchase it again. This makes it difficult to review your final version. Once I gifted a copy so the recipient could see if my images were in their proper place. I’ve called this deficiency to Kindle’s attention. If you convince them you’re the author, they will manually send (by e-mail) to you a revised edition, sometime in the next 12-hours.

I’m calling Kindle’s attention to this article. I believe they need an “Author’s Advocate,” someone who understands authors’ needs and can be contacted directly.