Createspace and all its benefits might now be gone, but that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck. As a self-publisher or as someone who is looking to get started with writing books, you might be concerned that no Createspace means less opportunities to compete against publishing companies. Don’t worry. Just because Createspace has been replaced with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for paperback books, there are plenty of ways to gain success. Here are some best practices for self-publishers to help you achieve success with your paperback book.

Use A Professional Graphic Designer For Book Covers

While the old saying states you should never judge a book by the cover, people do. In fact, a study from Book Smugglers found that 79% of people use the cover as part of their decision to buy a book. In a world of visual marketing, you need something that stands out, looks clean and professional, and targets the people you wrote that piece for. KDP does have their own free tool for cover design, but it is very basic and generates covers that look, well, self-published.

Using a professional designer will help to elevate your book above the “self-published-looking” books, and into the realm of books produced by reputable publishing companies. An experienced graphic designer has the knowledge about fonts, colours, positive-negative space and images – and how to put them all together in a visually appealing way. This person has been trained to create graphics that attract your target audience.

Another fact is that Amazon KDP does not have phone support like Createspace did. Nope, there is no real person to talk to. Let’s say you create a cover yourself and upload it successfully, but a day later you get an email that the cover did not meet specification. The email you get is not very specific. You take a calculated guess as to what you did wrong, and upload it again. Low and behold, you get the same exact email a day later! This can happen over and over, until you finally figure out what went wrong. The mistake can be something like having the title a few millimetres too close to the spine, or selecting the wrong interior paper colour when generating KDP’s cover template. Hiring a professional who is used to uploading covers to this platform will save potentially days of aggravation.

While you can try to take matters like cover design into your own hands, there is no guarantee that you will come up with the solution that gives you success.

Get An ISBN Number

While an ISBN number isn’t always necessary, it is always a wise decision to have one. An ISBN is a book’s personal ID number. If you want to sell your book directly to stores and other groups, you are going to need that number to help sellers, libraries, and other dealers recognize the book and keep track of the title. If you are Canadian, it is free to get an ISBN number from the Library and Archives Canada site.

Market Your Book

Not only do you need to publish the book and have it available on multiple platforms, you need to market it well, too. Spreading awareness about your literary piece is crucial. Taking the images of your book cover as well as other visual promotional items that your graphic designer can aid you with, take to social media. Post pictures with direct quotes from readers. Update your fans with news of publication. Get a website created. Get friends and family to review the book, and then share those reviews.

Have An Incredible Website

When you market your book, you are marketing yourself as well. Having a well designed website that includes information about you as author, your previously written works, links to your social media profiles, and book buy links that direct customers to marketplaces on the internet will boost sales. You can also use the website to communicate directly with fans, which is excellent for your exposure—and your book.

The self-publishing space is growing and changing at a fast pace. But don’t despair. With determination, education, effort and good design, you will have your own published book.