Perhaps the step that most frightens authors in the self-publishing process is uploading their manuscript to be published as a paperback at Kindle Direct Publishing Especially for those with limited computer experience and who’ve never worked on the publishing side of communications industry, the terminology and steps can be downright foreign.
Fortunately, it’s easier than you think, and after you’ve uploaded a book or two, you’ll be entirely comfortable with it. For those new to self-publishing, the steps in uploading the book to KindleDP include: formatting; creating an account; adding your title, entering your title information, uploading your interior, uploading your cover, reviewing your file, selecting distribution and proofing your book.
Before loading your manuscript, you must format it or place it a form that is printable as a book. You can format the book in MS Word. If doing so, you may have included a blank first page so that the odd-numbered pages appeared on the right side as they’re supposed to; if so, delete that blank page and check to ensure that didn’t throw off the formatting. Then convert the MS Word document to a pdf. You can upload an MS Word document at KindleDP, but errors can creep in when that occurs. You’re always safer going with a pdf.
If you open this new pdf file on your desktop, you’ll notice the odd numbered pages are on the left and the even numbered on the right – which is not the way they should be. Don’t worry, KindleDP automatically adds an extra page to the front of your book, so it’ll turn out right.
Creating an account
Next, call up KindleDP – the paperback print on demand division of Amazon.com – on the Internet and create an account if you don’t already have one. KindleDP is free to use, is fairly easy to follow, and gets you a landing page on Amazon.com. You’ll need to open an account at KindleDP, which includes confirming via email that you intended to do so.
Adding your title
After creating an account, go to your Bookshelf/Dashboard page. On that page, “My Projects” is a list of your books that you’ve uploaded (or at least started working on) at KindleDP. If this is your first time there, there won’t be any books listed. Start by clicking “Add New Title.” This will take you to a page in which you name your project and indicate if it’s a paperback or some other format. Give your project the same name as the title of your book.
Entering your title information
From there, you’re taken to a page called “Title Information.” You will be asked to enter the following information: title and subtitle; primary author; add contributors, such as the cover designer, photographer or illustrator, and editor; if this book is part of a series; the language the book is written in; and the publication date. Copy and paste the information directly from your manuscript to reduce the chance of a spelling error when typing the information.
Assign your ISBN
Next you must give KindleDP your ISBN. If you did not purchase one from Bowker, you may get a free one from KindleDP. Remember that KindleDP then is the publisher, and you will need to add that to your title page. If you are using your own ISBN, when entering the name of your imprint – industry lingo for “publisher” – be sure it matches exactly what Bowker has on file or Amazon will flag your manuscript later in the process.
Uploading your interior
Next you’ll upload your interior, which is the formatted pages of your book between the front and back covers. First you must choose is if you will use black and white or full color for the interior type. If you have any color photos or text, you must use full color; be forewarned that this can significantly raise your book’s price. Next you must decide the color of your paper; white by far is more popular. After that, you must select a trim size. The default setting is for a 6 x 9 paperback, but I recommend the more postal-friendly and standard 5.5 x 8.5 size; simply click “Choose a different size” and that option will appear. Finally, you must select the bleed. Choose “Ends before the edge of the page” unless you have photos in your book that go right up to the page’s edge. After that, you can upload your book.
Next, upload your pdf of the book. After uploading, KindleDP runs your manuscript through an automated print check to ensure it meets its printing standards. You can see what the uploaded book looks like through an interior reviewer; always do that so you spot problems that need to be corrected.
With the automated print check and during the internal review, you’ll probably get two or three error messages telling you stuff like you have line art outside of the margins or that your fonts aren’t embedded. That’s all okay. You have the option to hit “ignore issues and save,” and unless you see obvious errors needing correction, that’s what you should tell KindleDP to do.
Uploading your cover
Following the interior, you can upload your cover. KindleDP gives you the option of a matte or a glossy cover. Most authors choose glossy. If you don’t have a cover, you can build one online, though because of the limited template options and since thousands of other authors already have used this tool, your cover likely will look similar to those on many other books already out there. You also can have the cover professionally designed, either by KindleDP staff or by freelancer. Go with the freelancer option; it’s less expensive if you shop around. If you do that, the freelancer should deliver to you a pdf of the book cover that is at least the same size as the actual full cover, which includes the front and back panels as well as the spine.
Reviewing your file
Once you upload your pdf and cover, KindleDP will have to vet your book. In about 24-48 hours, they’ll tell you the book is ready for publication. Always review the book – either online for free or order an actual paper copy of the book – before approving for publication. It’ll save you a lot of time later should you find an error in the book.
The next set of pages involve providing KindleDP the information it needs in part to create a landing page for you at Amazon.com (as well as at the KindleDP website). One page is for distribution channels. These are the landing pages that KindleDP will create for your book. You can get a landing page for the Amazon.com sites that cater specifically to the United States and various European countries as well as those used by bookstores, online retailers, libraries and academic institutions. Another page is for pricing. Here you will set a price; Amazon sets a minimum price to ensure it covers production costs and makes a profit; you can sell your book for any price above that minimum. The last page is the description, in which you enter the back cover blurb. You also can include your author’s bio, the BISAC category (Book Industry Standards and Communications) that is used by retailers to classify your title, and search keywords. Selecting these keywords is vital to getting your book on Amazon.com’s various bestseller lists.
Proofing your book
If you see errors, simply open the MS Word document in which you formatted the book, make the correction, delete the first blank page, save as a pdf, and you have a new uploadable document. Then reupload it at the “Uploading your interior” step. Expect to do this a couple of times until you’ve got the experience that allows you to catch formatting errors earlier in the process.
If what’s uploaded looks good; approve it and submit it for review. After a day or so, KindleDP will email to let you know the manuscript has been approved for sale. You now can personally approve it. Once you do, expect Amazon.com to have a landing page for your book up in about a day; sometimes you get lucky, and it’s up within a few hours.
Publishing a Kindle ebook
Always publish your book on Kindle. KindleDP will let you do that automatically after you’ve submitted your paperback for review, but be aware that often the paper copy of the book doesn’t translate very well into an ebook. Instead, have the book reformatted specifically for an ebook.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.