Cheat Sheet: How to Format a Book for CreateSpace

Design November 10, 2014

We’ll skip the long intro this time and move directly to the subject. If you’re planning to self-publish a manuscript and you’re struggling to format the book for CreateSpace, this Cheat sheet should make your life easier.

create space formatting

Basically, the toughest part is to format the cover and to set the correct margins and bleeds for the interior pages. If you plan to do this yourself, here are the requirements for a book of 24 to 150 pages, 6’’x9’’:

  • The bleeds should extend 0.125’’ beyond the book’s final trim size, so if you’re publishing a 6’’x9’’ book, the .pdf document submitted to CreateSpace should be 0.25’’ higher and 0.125’’ wider than the book itself. This means the size of the .pdf book should be 6.125’’x9.25’’.
  • The trim size of the book is the final size, 6’’x9’’ in our case.
  • The outside margins should be at least 0.25’’ plus the bleed if you’re submitting the manuscript with bleeds, and the inside margins at least 0.375’’, but it’s better to go with 0.5’’.
  • If you’re using mirror pages, the value for the inside margins will be set in the gutter field. So if you want the inside margin to be 0.5’’ for all pages, add this value in the gutter margin box and leave the inside margin field blank.
  • The spine of the book is calculated based on the number of pages and on the type of paper you plan to use. If you want a black & white book published on white paper, with up to 150 pages, the spine will be the number of pages multiplied by 0.002252. For a black & white book on cream paper, the page count will be multiplied by 0.0025 to obtain the spine’s width, while for a full color book, the spine’s width will be the number of pages multiplied by 0.002347.

Additionally, you need to make sure that:

  • All pictures are 300 DPI, flattened to one layer, and placed either inside the safe area or extending beyond the margins, in the bleeds. Both CMYK and RGB colors can be used, but it’s better to opt for CMYK just to make sure the quality of the images is maintained in the printed book.
  • All fonts should be embedded. This is one of the most common errors done by beginners. If CreateSpace’s Interior Reviewer identifies this issue, you have to go back to the Word document and click on the File tab, then go to Options -> Save, and check the “Embed fonts” box.

embedded fonts word

  • The .pdf file should be under 400 MB to be accepted on CreateSpace.
  • Make sure all pages have page numbers.
  • Choose the single spacing option for paragraphs and the justified alignment for all the text.
  • Don’t forget to add a Copyright page and the ISBN number. The ISBN can be assigned directly by Amazon when uploading the book on CreateSpace. Also, make sure your book has a properly formatted Title page, with the book’s title and author’s name on it.

Moving to the cover, the bleeds will be identical to those used for the pages: 0.125’’ for a 6’’x9’’ book, but the final size of the cover will be 9.25’’ in height and 6.125’’ + spine + 6.125’’ in width, so for a 150-page black & white book for example, the cover’s width will be 6.125 + 0.3378 + 6.125 = 12.5878’’.

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