If you publish a book on CreateSpace and get a content validation request you’ll probably have a lot of questions. I know I did! However, I could never find any official documentation on the process. So here’s what happened to me.
When I published the 2018 version of the WordPress Website Owner’s Manual one of my goals was to have a paperback version of the book as well as a Kindle version. I’d heard good things about CreateSpace so I used their service to publish the paperback.
The paperback version of the WordPress Website Owner’s Manual went live on Amazon in March of 2018. Sales have been good and I’ve been really happy with my CreateSpace experience.
Everything was going great . . . until I logged into my computer yesterday morning and saw an email from CreateSpace. They were pausing the publication of my book until I proved that either I was the author of my book or that I owned the copyright.
Talk about a rough morning!
Here’s part of the email that they sent:
Copyright is important to us – we want to make sure that no author or other copyright holder has his or her books sold by anyone else.
To publish your book, please respond with documentation confirming your publishing rights within four days
Acceptable documentation can include:
– If you are the author and you are republishing your book after your publication rights have been reverted to you, a signed reversion letter from your former publisher
– If you are the author and you are publishing under a pseudonym, please state that you have the rights of the content along with the pseudonym used.
– If you are the author and your content has not been published anywhere else, please state that you own the rights to the content you are publishing.
– If you are not the author, please provide documentation where the author confirms your rights to distribute the content, such as a signed contract between you and the author granting you the rights to publish the book in the territories, languages and formats you have selected or other similar documentation
What had triggered this? How long would this process take? Why was this happening after the book had been on sale for months?
I called CreateSpace, but didn’t get many answers. I was told to follow the instructions in the email. I could expect a reply within 3 to 5 days.
I crafted a short and very polite email explaining that I was the author of my book. I also told CreateSpace that this was the second book in the series. I hit send and prepared for a long 3 to 5 days.
Luckily, they responded in just 4 hours. The good news was that we all agreed that I was the author of my book. (Yay!) The bad news was that my book wouldn’t just be made live again. Nope. To get the WordPress Website Owner’s Manual published again it had to go through the file review process as though it were a new book. That would take another 24 hours.
I was relieved that my book would be published again. At the same time, I was nervous because I couldn’t find any official documentation about the content validation process. I really, really wanted to know what triggered this whole thing.
This morning I logged into my computer and hoped to see that my book was for sale again. Nope. It was still in the file review process.
I called CreateSpace to see if I’d missed any steps or if there was anything I was supposed to do. They told me that I just needed to wait. I was also told that during the file review process my book would not be updated or changed by them. So once it was reviewed I should just be able to publish it.
True to their word, about 24 hours after they began the file review process I was informed that they were done. However, their email also stated:
Our reviewers did find some non-blocking issues with your files. Some of these issues may have been fixed causing alterations to your files.
To be fair, the book does contain a ton of screenshots. The images have a low DPI. While the images look fine in the manual, if they were any other kind of illustration (say a photo of a flower or something) they’d be fuzzy. The screenshots of WordPress settings look fine though.
I’d dealt with this image issue early in the year when I’d first published the book. I did not expect to be reviewing a proof of the book months after it had already been published. However, that’s what I had to do.
I didn’t see any changes, so I accepted the proof. I thought I’d be in for a big wait, but within an hour my book was available for sale again. Whew!
The whole process took about a day and a half. I still have no idea what triggered the validation request. Was it just a random thing? Was it because it was the second book in a series? I’ll probably never know.
I do respect CreateSpace’s attitude about copyright protection. I’m also grateful that the process went relatively smoothly. What would have helped (a ton) is if there were any documentation about the process and what to expect.
If this happens to you my advice is to follow CreateSpace’s instructions. Stay calm and stay polite. With any luck your experience will be like mine and your book will soon be back on Amazon.