Step 8: Publishing Your Paperback Through Kindle Direct Publishing

If you have already created your eBook, then you will have noticed that the eBook and paperback versions of the book are going to be automatically linked. That means that the information you added when creating the eBook can be reused for the paperback so you can skip the next three paragraphs.

If you skipped creating the eBook, then the first thing you are going to want to do is make sure you have an account with Kindle Direct Publishing. They have a nice paperback creation tutorial which you will want to reference if you have any difficulties. After you create your account, you will be able to start to fill in the basic information about your book, including the title, author, and series information.

You will then want to include a brief description of your book. This will appear on the webpage for your book, so make sure to write something catchy that would give the reader an idea of what your book is about.

You will next have to pick a few keywords, which will help people when searching for your book. There are suggestions for these here, but the basic idea is to pick words not already in your description, that someone who was searching for them might be interested in your work. You can always change these later if you feel that they are not descriptive enough.

Formatting the paperback is a little harder as you are going to have to format your book with the appropriate margines. First you are going to have to decide what size book you want and then set the margins accordingly.

I chose the standard “6×9 inch” format, but the full list of formats available is found here. For the format I chose the margins have to be set as follows: first in Word go to “Layout” and click on “Page Set up”. Set the page setup to “mirror margins”. Next, set the Top, Bottom, Inside, and Outside margins to 0.25. Set the Gutter to 0.75 for now. When you upload the book KDP will suggest the correct gutter margin based on the number of pages to your book. You will then be able to go back and correct the gutter setting if it is not right.

Next go to the “Paper” tab in the same window and set the paper to the dimensions of your book (6 inches wide by 9 inches in this example). This will dramatically change the number of pages in your manuscript! Before going further scroll through the entire book and look for any formatting mistakes caused by the change in the page size. Such errors would include extra blank pages, or the starts of chapters being in the middle of pages.

If everything looks good, then you are only missing the Table of Contents, but first you are going to want to save a copy of your book in PDF format and upload it to KDP. Next, run KDP’s Online Previewer. It will flag any margin errors and formatting errors. Correct them before adding in the numbers to your Table of Contents.

To add numbers to your Table of Contents use the TAB option:

  1. At the end of each chapter name press TAB then enter the page number
  2. Highlight the Table of Contents and right click
  3. Open the “Paragraph” option and click on the TAB box
  4. Set the options as follows:
    1. Tab stop position: 5
    2. Align: Right
    3. Leader: 2
  5. Press “Set” then “Okay”

Now save your file as a PDF and upload it to KDP. Run the Online Previewer again. If no errors are found, then you are ready to move on to the next step which is pricing your book.

I know this step is going to be particularly hard depending on if you want to have your book available for distribution or not. If you do want to have your book available to distributors, then you are going to have to increase the price to cover the cost of printing from your reduced royalties. That is because once in distribution, the total percent royalties you receive decreases.

Luckily, the KDP website will let you know the cost of publishing your book, so you will be able to decide for yourself what price point works for you. If you change your mind later, it is very easy to go back and adjust the price. For me, I tried to go as low as I could hoping that the sales in eBooks would make up for the poorer returns on the paperbacks.

Once you have submitted everything, your book will be available in about 24-48 hours! If you decide to change anything, the same delay in the changes applies, but so far I’ve been impressed with how quickly updates are published.

Congratulations! It’s time to watch your favorite episode of Columbo (likely Try and Catch Me) and relax for a minute before going on to Step 9: Marketing Your Book (coming soon).

Step 3: Make a Thorough Outline

A good outline is key in helping to save time. I didn’t do this at first, and so I ended up having to go back frequently to read what I had already written, just to remember details or to see if a detail had already been mentioned.

I’m not saying don’t write down a scene if it is speaking to you, but before you write too much make sure you have a basic idea where you are going and when certain things are going to be revealed. Since I am a bit of a free writer, I’ll sometimes start a passage only to have it end differently than I expected. That’s because I want the outcome to be organic and not contrived.

That’s okay! After you are done with a passage be sure to update the outline to include a little bit about what the passage is about, and any important information revealed during it. This is just so you can find the information quickly when you are writing the next piece.

For the type of writing I do (fantasy fiction) I also wrote down a list of all the characters with notes on their appearance, age, and background. Keep the list in alphabetical order so you can reference it as needed.

You might also need a list of all places mentioned, with notes on where they are located. I drew a crude map so I could make sure the geography made sense. If I ever get better at drawing I’ll include the map someday!

Finally, I made a timeline noting when different things happened including all events mentioned in the book, even if they went back 20 or so years from the start. This is an additional way to organize your thoughts and make sure that there aren’t any glaring mistakes. You don’t want to end up with a character who is twenty-seven forever (or maybe you do!).

These are things you will be updating as you go along. Before any major changes, you might want to copy the files and tuck them away in a folder, just in case you want to go back to see what they used to say.

Next will be Step 4: Write!

Step 1: Stop Talking About It

If you read my last post, then you already know that the difference between wanting something and actually having it is making a plan. In this article I’ll go over the plan that I used to self-publish my work through Kindle Direct Publishing.

I think we all know at least one person who just talks endlessly about something they are trying to achieve. Let’s be honest, you are that person! At first, people are supportive, but after a while they begin to wonder why you aren’t making any progress. In a weird way, just talking about it makes you think you’ve achieved something. Don’t be that guy!

This is true of anything in life you hope to achieve, but the first thing you need to do is decide that you are not going to brag, mention, or even hint about what you are up to until you are done. This requires a great deal of will power, but you’ll need that same will power to keep yourself motivated when the going gets tough. Besides, most people don’t really want to hear you talking endlessly about how cool you are going to be when you achieve your goal.

Instead, to keep motivated think of things that would be nice rewards as you go along. I’m a writer so for me it meant watching my favorite movie after I finish a chapter, or sitting down with a hot cup of tea and just staring out the window. I know it looks like I am wasting time, but more likely than not my mind will soon be wandering through the next chapter.

Waiting to tell people will also make it that much more rewarding when you do have some positive results to announce. That will look different for everyone depending on what your goal is, but for me it was when there was a link available to my work and not a moment sooner (unless it was for some reason absolutely necessary).

Ready for Step 2: Pray About It?