First, you have to format the book in a PDF to the exact dimensions CreateSpace requires. Then, you can select a one of their two dozen or so covers to wrap your proof. Next, you have the option of uploading your own author photo and book jacket summary. After all of this is uploaded and approved by CreateSpace, Voila! You get a proof copy in the mail a short time later. They even assign an ISBN for your book. If, after you've proofed your copy and like it, you can make it available for sale on Amazon.com.
Had I not received the free proof from NaNoWriMo, I could have paid about $11 to get my own proof. I think this is a valuable service that I would have paid for on my own. Why? When I was reading and editing the galley proof for my Janeology, I realized there's something about editing a book in this format that gives you a distance and more objectivity about the editing. It truly puts you in the reader's seat. Plus, I think this proof copy will be a valuable tool to give to some of my unsuspecting friends and relatives to solicit much needed feedback on the story.
About this proof: