Tuesday, 5 July 2011

CreateSpace proof copies...answering questions

A few people have asked me about the proof copies I've ordered, and what they're even for. Below are the questions I got on my last entry, and my answers to said questions!

"Charity Bradford ordered her proof copy too, and seeing her book in the print motivated me to order mine. But I got a little scared at the ISBN spot. If an ISBN is applied to the book, even if its not published, does that mean it cannot be assigned another if an actual publishing company picks it up?

I saved what I had up to that point and buzzed on out of it. I really want to see my first novel in print, but am skittish about submitting even that much until I'm sure it will never be picked up by an agent or publisher. Eeeek! Did you have these jitters yourself Trisha?" - Donna Hole

I had similar concerns when I got my free proof copy for winning NaNoWriMo last year, but I checked out the thread on the NaNo forums and was reassured that it didn't matter if my book got an ISBN. I wasn't actually publishing it, I was just preparing it for publishing if that makes sense? I would get a proof copy to "review", and then once I was happy with it I'd activate it and put it up for sale. However, the "activation" part never happened, and I was still able to get my free proof. My book is still sitting there, unactivated, although yes it has an ISBN. But as many people have mentioned, books have many ISBNs anyway according to which publisher puts them out in which country, what format they're in, etc. Anyway, to see others asking the question and getting answers, check out page 2 of this thread on the NaNo forums, and do a search for "ISBN" (you will find quotes from Toadychan). Last year's thread had more discussion, but this one has some too.

"I'm confused. Well that's often the case (hee hee). How come you've got a paper-back of your pre-edited novel, Trisha? That sounds like a good wheeze. Have you somehow pre-published it?" - Deborah Walker

Every time you win NaNoWriMo, you get a free proof copy of your novel from CreateSpace. At least, that has been the case for a fair few years now. I used my free proof voucher last year for the first time, but I didn't use it on last year's novel. I used it on a novel I'd already been editing a fair bit, and so was in better shape. That's the first proof I ever got. The novel has gone through serious edits since then, so has changed shape in many ways. But it's still nice to have my book on a bookshelf, looking pretty (I highly recommend choosing the "cream" coloured pages if you ever use CreateSpace, it looks awesome).

This year I entered ABNA, and to my surprise even though I didn't get past round one, they gave me another code to use at CreateSpace for a free proof. I figured this was the perfect chance to get another of my novels on my bookshelf. So I prepared one for printing, even though I know it's way too long and needs serious editing. It's still in first draft form for the most part, that novel. The whole point though is that it's free, so I may as well make use of it just so I can see my book looking all pretty in print. And maybe it's way better to do it with a pre-edited version, since the end version I wind up querying will be completely unrecognisable. ;)

So no, I'm not being published, I'm not represented by an agent or anything. But nor is my book being self-published. Because I'm not going that final step and activating it on CreateSpace. I hope this answers everyone's questions, but if there are more, please let me know!


  1. Trisha, I can't thank you enough for this info. I got my proof copy from ABNA, but yes, the link for NaNo is helpful. I'm sure there is something through the ABNA or CreateSpace sites about it - I can't be the only one out there with doubts - but I have a hard time navigating the forums. So good of you to find the info :)

    I hope you had an awesome holiday.


  2. I didn't even realize the proof copy was free. Every day I learn something new.

  3. @J.L. - Only if you get a voucher for it, i.e. via the NaNoWriMo "winner goodies" page, or apparently through having entered ABNA :)

    @Donna, no worries :) Glad I could help.

  4. Thanks, Trisha. It all make sense now. It's pretty neat to have a copy of the book for proofing. One more reason to try nanowrimo again.

  5. I'm with J.L. Didn't realize proof copies were free either. Nice to know and thanks for the clarification!

  6. Wow, these are really interesting questions. I didn't know that about the ISBN or about NaNoWriMO. I didn't know that you could get a free proof copy. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. Excellent questions. Something I had never considered myself before Good luck with it all :O)

  8. I got butterfies when I read this. Just the idea of holding your book grabbed me. I don't care how you got it! hehe. This is neat and would make a really nice gift for me. from me. lol. one day.
    Thanks for explaining it because it all makes sense now.

  9. @Deborah - yep, it's a great motivator for me with NaNo! But one I only took advantage of for the first time last year.

    @Liz - yep, this time with ABNA I thought I may have to pay for postage...but at checkout it said that was paid too :) So it was entirely free!

    @Clarissa - no worries :) It's one of my fave bits about NaNo now. hehe

    @Madeleine - thank you! :)

    @Tanya - it's very, very awesome. I highly recommend it ;) And if you don't want to wait for a free one, you can always pay for a proof instead. ;) It's not a huge amount of money.

  10. I didn't know anything about this~ I love the blogosphere! Thanks so much for posting about it--I'll definitely look into CreateSpace!

  11. ooh good answers. I, too, was a little leary of the ISBN part, but just ignored it. Got my proof a few weeks ago and LOVED it

  12. I've never participated in NaNo....so forgive me for these very belated congratulations!!

    Thx for the info on CreateSpace as well.


  13. This is incredibly useful information. I had no idea about proof copies. As we move closer and closer to digital publishing, this is clearly a useful exercise regardless of whether one ever intends to self-publish. Thank you!

  14. I won NaNoWriMo last year and never knew about this. LOL. Wow, I learn something knew at almost every blog. :)

  15. CreateSpace can be used just like you're using it - as a printer. It's a great place to get one proof copy or a slew of review copies.

  16. Wait, what, whoa. Free proof copy for completing NaNo? Really?? I never got one!
    Thanks for explaining the process. Sounds like it would be good for me - I always edit on paper.

  17. @Jess - no worries :)

    @Sarah, did you put up any photos?? I love to see others' proofs as well :)

    @Bryce - thank you! And no worries :)

    @VR - yep, it's really cool and a unique and special way of printing out something for proof reading. I mean really they're meant to be proofs to check over before publishing, but this is a fun way to make use of them.

    @Ciara - you should always check out that "Special Offers" forum on the NaNo forums :) I'm hoping they'll continue to offer free proofs each year.

    @L. Diane - agreed! It's a much more fun way of printing out my novel. hehe

    @Deniz - yesss! As far as I know it's happened for at least the last few years. And you have until June 30 the next year to use the code.

  18. Wow, thank you. I learn something new every day!

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