I Self-Published My First Book! (And How You Can Do It Too)


Hi everyone!

Sorry for being a little silent here – I wanted to make this post a bit earlier, but there were a couple of minor issues along the way; here we are now, though, so let’s get on it.


So, like the title says, I have published my first book via a self-publishing service site called CreateSpace. The book in question is a poetry collection, and even though it is not my first official publication (I’ve published two short stories with a publishing house a few years back), it is the first time that I’ve published something that is solely my own work. In other words, those short stories were parts of two volumes of an anthology, so there were several other stories in the book along with mine, but this project is mine and mine only.

Before I go into the whole process of publishing, let me just say that the collection is called Starlight so you know what I’m reffering in the following text.

Okay, so. Why did I choose to self-publish?

I have been writing with a goal of publishing since about age 13; that’s when I realized that writing is the thing that I want to do, the thing that makes me happy, the thing I feel like I need to do because writing runs in my blood and just feels right – I believe many can relate to this, whether your passion is writing or any other form of art (and not necessarily just that). One of my main goals is to one day publish a YA novel with one of those well-known publishing houses.

However, I often need to float down from the clouds and into reality, where I am faced with the following: there are certain barriers that are making things quite more difficult for me to reach my goal.

Since I have so far written only one novel in its entirety, and I’ve decided not to pursue publishing with that project, I am going to use Starlight as an example of this. So, I finished writing Starlight somewhere around the beginning of this month, but I’d looked into the possibility of publishing it a few times before. I would search for different publishing houses in different countries to see whether any were accepting submissions. And this has unfortunately been quite a disappointing search for me because of two main reasons: one, a large number of these publishers have geographical limit, and me, being from Croatia, scarcely meet those requirements. When I do manage to find something without those limits, chances are those publishers have an entry fee, paying which to me is not really an options, for certain reasons. There are some other inconveniences I stumble upon, like missing the deadline by a few weeks, meaning I’d have to wait almost an entire year for the submissions to open again, or when publishers don’t accept submissions by e-mail, which again, seeing as I live where I live, isn’t really an option.

So, amid all that, I’ve decided to self-publish this collection.

How to use CreateSpace?

I won’t go into too much detail, because there are plenty of helpful information on the internet, just run it through a search and you’ll find your answers.

Firstly, an information that is probably the most important for a lot of people, me included: it is free to publish with CS.

So, you’ll need to create an account, after which you can begin the whole process. You’ll need to enter the basic information about your work, such as title, author name, language it’s written in, etc. Here I’d like to point out one thing about your author name: for example, if you’re from a Slavic country, like myself, there’s a possibility that in your name you have certain letters that are not in the American alphabet; in that case, you’ll need to tweak your name however you can/want, because some of those letters are not printable and you cannot use them. It’s a minor inconvenience, yes, but there are ways to spell your name a little differently – personally, I was a little disappointed, but my full name in its true form was not included on those two short stories I’ve mentioned, so it wasn’t really anything unfamiliar to me.

Once you’ve done that (you can change the info later on if needed), you get an ISBN for your book. Here you can either get an ISBN that CreateSpace gives you, or you can use your own. As far as I know, to get your own ISBN, you have to buy it, so I went with the first option, which is free. Once you get an ISBN, that number is non-changeable. Next we have interior and cover – let me start with the cover.

This was a really fun thing for me to do – I created the cover (the one at the top of this post) in the following fashion: I used a free stock photo because I had only one photo of my own that would fit the title and the whole idea I had for the cover photo, and that one ended up being a wrong fit for the cover (important parts of the photo would end up cropped out, which I obviously didn’t want, so I found a photo online and then ran it through a photo editor on my phone. The editor has a wonderful effect of a starry sky, which I used, and the rest of the cover I made with the cover designer on CreateSpace. There’s a pretty nice selection of designs and fonts and other stuff, so you can make pretty neat covers there; of course, you can upload a cover of your own with all the elements already done.

As far as the interior goes, this was little tricky for me to do, but now that I know the basics, I’m positive the process will go much smoother the next time. Basically you need to format your book for printing, and you also need to pick a format of your book. In other words, its dimensions – for Starlight I’ve chosen a 5.25×8 inches, and you can download a template for (I’m pretty sure) all the formats and then it’s all laid out for you, you just put your content in that document – I did that, made a few changes with the order of content and such, and it worked out nicely in the end, so I definitely do recommend downloading a template if it’s your first time self-publishing or you’re not quite familiar with the formatting process.

After that, the next step is “file review”, which means that your book is being checked and this lasts usually up to 24 hours, after which you’re sent an email saying that your file is ready to be proofread. A side note: in the time that you wait for your file to be reviewed, you cannot make any changes to the interior or the cover.

Once the reviewing is done, you’re on to the proofreading part; you have two options here, either do that digitally (which is free), or to order a printed copy of your book to be delivered to you at home, for which you need to pay (in my opinion, the proof copy is not expensive at all, but I didn’t opt to order it because it would take a while for it to be shipped to my country (and some other reasons). I’ve seen that it is actually strongly recommended to order a copy because sometimes the look of your book varies a bit from what you’ve seen in the digital editing process – the colors on the cover might be slightly different and such. Oh, I’ve forgotten to mention, about the cover – you also choose whether you want your cover to be matted or glossy.

And then, at the end, once you’ve approved your proof copy – which, by the way, you should go through several times (chances are you’ll find a typo even on your fourth read-through) – you select through which channels your book will be distributed and the price of your book and stuff like that.

And then – congrats, you’ve published a book!


Were there any setbacks in the process?

Yes. Mostly around the payment issues – I advise you to get informed on the page itself – you can find a lot of answers on the forum, among the many posts other people have made before, and you can choose to contact support, with which I’ve had positive experience (they’ll answer under one business day, and they can really explain things to you in a cohesive and simple way).

I won’t get into too much detail, but I should say that you’ll need to pay attention to taxes and the relations between your country and the U.S. in terms of tax treaties, just so you don’t encounter any surprises along the way.


And there you have it, pretty much, that’s the publishing process I went through.

Now, if Starlight sounds like something you’d be interested in, I am going to link its Amazon page here –> Starlight on Amazon  and here’s the book description:

(what a mess)

you’re young
you still have time
it’s not too late
it will happen
when the time’s right
but the time is always right
the people are not
and what a mess that causes.

Poignant, bittersweet, personal and hopeful, Starlight is a collection of poems and thoughts on themes of love, heartbreak, sorrow, beauty and other kinds of magic that surround us.


Also, if you’re a Goodreads user, you can shelf the book over here Starlight on Goodreads and you can go to my profile and connect with me, should you like. You can also find me and come say hi on Twitter here – I might open more social media soon, for now those are personal accounts, but we’ll see.

In any case, I would really appreciate and be thankful if you checked out the book; if you give it a try and like it, please share it and/or leave a review, share the links, feel free to contact me however. If you have any questions about the whole publishing process or anything else at all, leave a comment here or contact me and I’ll make sure to provide the best answer I can.

If you’ve made it this far in reading this post, thank you so much and I hope you’re having a great day!



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