Workshop: CreateSpace Print Layout


Vision 80



CreateSpace Print Layout


Lazette Gifford

Copyright © 2015, Lazette Gifford, All Rights Reserved

Createspace puts out a PDF that will help you set up your book. However, some people find it easier to have a shorter version. Read the PDF because it may show you something I don't cover here. This may help you work through the steps, and there is a simple list at the bottom of the article.

I spent quite a long time shying away from the idea of doing print editions for my books. I feared that it would be a lot of hard work and that I wouldn't be happy with the results. I was wrong on all accounts. In the last two months I've set up three trade paperback books and I have three more almost ready to go. Will they sell? Maybe a few, but that hardly matters. It costs you nothing to set up a book on CreateSpace, and it gives you the ability to show a print version of your work to people who are not interested in ebooks.

Note: Trade paperbacks are the ones that are larger than mass market paperbacks, which are the common ones you see on shelves in stores. Trade paperbacks come in a variety of sizes and you can choose what you like for your CreateSpace book. They suggest 9 by 6, but I had already set up at 8.5 by 5.5, because that was what the majority of my on-shelf trade paperbacks were. This is no problem for CreateSpace.

Here is something you might not know. You can go to CreateSpace and download a template for your novel based on the page size you choose. This is the easiest way to do it, but honestly -- I like a hands on feel and I like to know what I can adjust and how I can make the book look specifically my own.

Step One:

Go look at trade paperbacks. These are any oversized paperbacks you may have or are at the library or store. Measure them. Get an idea of what you like and especially check out books that will be about the same length as your own. Shorter works can benefit from smaller size so that they look longer. An extremely long book might do better in a larger size so that there is less strain on the spine while reading.

Also study the first few pages like the title page, copyright page and dedication as well as the last few pages that go beyond the story. This is where you will find previews or ads for other work. Get a feel for how you want your own work to look and how to make it appear professional.

Step Two:

First, make a copy of the manuscript file. Name the copy with something that will make it easy to locate. I put CreateSpace after the title so I know this is the file I want when uploading.

I am going to show you how to set up the manuscript in Microsoft Word. You shouldn't have too much trouble adapting this to whatever program you use instead. Let's start with the Page Set Up. Note that on all of these tabs the 'This Section' is chosen.

Page Layout Tab


The important parts here is the Header and Footers section. Check both boxes. Also make certain Vertical alignment is to the Top position and Apply to is This Section.



Set the size according to what book size you are doing. Mine is 5.5 by 8.5, but you might be doing 6 by 9.




Note that the inside margin is larger than the other three borders and that there is also a gutter size indicated. Gutters are the inside area where the pages meet the spine, so you can't have words run all the way to the edge. This combination of inside margin and gutter size has worked for me, but you might want to play with it a bit.

Make certain you are on Portrait and that you have the multiple pages section set to Mirror Margins. You can see how that works in the preview.


The next important part to do is the paragraph settings


These are important settings. If you are publishing poetry, you will not want to have the alignment set to Justified. However, fiction manuscripts should be unless you have a good reason not to. Justified gives your book a professional look.

Set the first line indent to 0.3"; larger looks odd.

No before or after spacing.

Line spacing should be multiple and 1.15. This is a bit larger than single space but not some much as 1.5. You don't want too much space between lines because it looks unprofessional. You want this book to look like something you would find in a store.

Header and Footer

Decide how you want to set this section up. Do you want the page numbers on the top or bottom? Your name on the left page and the novel title on the right? You may have to play a bit with the header and footer commands to get what you want.

Choosing a Font

Don't go crazy here. Fancy fonts simply won't work. When you try for a fancy font it just says you are trying to wow the reader with something other than the story itself. I usually use Garamond 12 which has a nice clean print. A historical romance would look good in a serif font while a futuristic tale might look good in a stark, san serif font.


Step 3

And now we are on to the pieces you need to set up the individual pages you need for the book. Let's start with the cover page.

The first thing to note is that nothing will appear exactly centered on the page. That's because you have already set up the gutter which means all right hand pages (odd numbered) will be off to the right and the left hand ones (even numbers) will be more towards the left side of the page.

Put the title part way down the page and in large letters. On the next line write by, and on the next line put your name or pen name. If you have an illustrator (interior pictures, not the cover art) list that person in the same way.

You can add a publisher if you have one and either a link to their page or to your own page.

After all of the material is written in, put a SECTION Break, not a page break. You can find section breaks in the Page Layout Tab under Breaks. Use the Next Page function.

The next page is the copyright page. If you look at these pages in traditionally published books, you will find that the material is pushed down to the bottom of the page, rather than starting at the top. You can do this by typing everything in and then hitting return to move it all down to the bottom, or you can go to the Page Setup, go to Layout and change the vertical alignment to bottom. Make certain you have this section chosen so it doesn't change the entire novel. If you get to the end of a chapter and find that it starts part way down the page, go and check this setting.

Here is the type of information that goes on the copyright page:

This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental


All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in any form without the permission of the author, except for short passages in reviews





Publisher Url

Copyright 2015, Name


Cover Art Copyright 2015, Name



First Print Edition, Date


A quick aside on two subjects for this page. ISBNs can be provided by CreateSpace and so you may not want to invest in any from Bowker, which is the only US distributor. CreateSpace, Amazon, Smashwords all buy their ISBNs from Bowker as do every traditional publisher. Because they can buy in groups of thousands, they get excellent discounts and can afford to give them away. If you use a CreateSpace ISBN apparently you have a chance at getting into libraries, but it will list CreateSpace as your publisher -- and that marks you as an Indie Author, no matter what else you have done. You cannot use an ISBN from an ebook version of the same book.

The other matter is cover art. If you are not doing your own cover art, make absolutely certain you have the rights to whatever art you are using and that you list it correctly. Different on-line companies provide royalty free pictures, which means you pay a single charge for the picture and do not pay for every copy of the picture made (every copy of your book). They want to be listed in specific ways, so make certain you have looked up what you can do with the picture you bought and how to list the work.

Put another section break at the end of the copyright page.

The next page is the dedication page. You can have one or not. This is up to you. You might want to thank beta readers and such here. You might want to try and move it around a bit to see if you like it better towards the middle of the page.

Now, put a page break here. We are finally to the novel itself!

Note: Some people will put a Table of Contents in at this point. You can or not. Nonfiction books should have a TOC, but fiction can often do without it.

Your next decision? Do you want all your chapters to begin on the odd numbered (right hand) pages? This may sound odd, but I find that it's easier to find chapters on the right hand side are easier to find. With or without a TOC, you still might find yourself looking for a specific chapter and if they are all starting on the right side, then they're easier to find. This means an occasional even page that will have nothing on it. That's not a big problem.

How do you want your chapter pages to look? I have set mine up with a specific style. I go down six returns so that it's not at the exact top of the page. Then for the Chapter One line I have this formatting:

Font: 24 point (Garamond since that's what I usually use), Not Bold, Small caps, Centered

I've created this as a style for Word so that every time I have a new chapter, I simply have to click on the style and all of that formatting is done.

How about a drop cap for the first line? Easy to do in Word. Since you are going to be doing this many times, the best way to start is by customizing the Quick Access Tool Bar (right click on it) and find the Drop Cap link in the All Commands section. Add it to the Quick Access bar. You might also want to add a paragraph formatting link there, too. Now, go to the first paragraph under the chapter title. Click on it and then paragraph formatting and remove the first line indent (change it to no indent). Now come back and click on the first line and then the Drop Cap button. Used 'Dropped' not in Margin which would put it in the gutter. You can customize the drop cap, but really it looks pretty good straight out of the box. If you have a second line that indents to the side of the Drop Cap, move it over to no indent as well. It will look better that way.

An alternative to Drop Caps is to italicize the first line or bold it or both. Look through books and see if there is something you like.

You can do a search for the word Chapter (providing you used it as part of the chapter title) and move from one to the next without much trouble. If you are putting the new chapters on only odd numbered pages, be certain that you check that. If it's on an even page, but a page break in. Do not do this with empty lines because they may not convert as well when the book is formatted for print.

Down to the End

If you have any Author Notes (the things that pertain to special research or people who helped you and you want to acknowledge it) put the material on the page after The End. Try to keep it short, at least for fiction (or skip it entirely). About the Author section. This should be a short piece with a couple links (remove auto links since they won't work in print anyway and the underlines just look messy)


About the Author:



I am an eclectic and prolific author whose has published in a number of genres, including Young Adult Mystery, Urban Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction and numerous works on writing. While I started on the outer edges of traditional publication with sales to small press and magazines publishers, I have since moved most of my work to the Indie world and I am madly in love with the new world of publishing and the direct contact with readers.

I live in Nebraska with my husband, my cats and a small but entirely useless dog.

I also own Forward Motion for Writers and the ezine, Vision: A Resource for Writers.


Connect with Zette:

Web Site:



Joyously Prolific Blog:



After that you can do a one of two things -- or nothing at all. You can add a preview to another novel. Don't make it more than a few pages long, and start with chapter one. If you don't think your first chapter is all that interesting, then you need to go rewrite it.

Instead, you can do a couple pages that list other books with black and white cover art pictures and short blurbs.

Be sure to give either a personal website url or one to the publisher page.

And there you have the book formatted! Here is a short list of the steps:

1. Set up Layout

2. Set up Page Size

3. Set up Margins

4. Set up Paragraph Settings

5. Set up Header and Footer

6. Choose Font

7. Create Cover Page

8. Create Copyright Page

9. Create Dedication Page

10. Decide on Table of Contents

11. Set up Chapters and Drop caps if wanted.

12. Author Notes (if you need them)

13. About the Author

14. Preview or ads for other books


And there you have it! Now here is the great news: once you have this set up for one book, you can use that same file for later books. Just tag it as your template and leave enough of the original book in place so that you only need to type over things like headers, not recreate them. The one thing I have found that it doesn't seem to correct is the line spacing, so make sure you go in and fix that!


Final Note: Cover Art set up

CreateSpace lets you do cover art in a couple ways but if you want to do a wraparound cover, you need to know the spine size. Here is a page (almost hidden - it's hard to find!) that will help you with the cover art layout. Just type in the number of pages and download the zip file which includes the PDF and PNG files. (You may need to have an account for this to work)

Go here

There you go!  My suggestion is that you play with the settings and then make up a list of what works best for you, besides holding on to a formatted copy of the novel as a template for future work.  After you've done this once, it is far easier the next time, at least if you have your list ready.