Continuing with the self-publishing project to end 2021, I decided to get the paperback set up through KDP. And as I suspected, it was a bit of a chore. Yet, it’s finally done and live on Amazon.
Well, it was more of a pain in the ass, really.
The Process of Getting a Paperback Set Up on KDP
There’s no doubt, setting up the eBook on KDP is a hell of a lot easier. And I’m not just talking about the graphic part. There is quite a bit of effort that goes into printing a copy of your book.
I can see why many authors will pay for specific services. Still, I haven’t spent a single dime except buying a copy of the book for myself and ordering 10 to autograph for select people.
Is It Long Enough as a Paperback for KDP?
Make sure your book is long enough for a paperback version. According to Amazon, the paperback book needs to have a minimum of 24 pages. And if you want text on the spine, it needs more than 79 pages.
Though, I wasn’t able to have text on the spine of my book at 93 pages. So, I’m not sure where the requirements land since it looks like Amazon doesn’t update their requirements or information on a regular basis.
In fact, one of their own tutorials is grossly outdated for Kindle Create, which I was quick to point out when they offered me a survey of my experience.
Not that they’ll read it.
Anyway, make sure your book is long enough to warrant a printed copy.
Book Details was the Easy Part
Setting up the book details was quick and easy, especially since I already had the eBook version published. Just click the “Book Details” tab and it auto-fills the specific information.
Of course, you’ll want to go through and make sure the details are accurate. You can always go back in and change them, but might as well make sure everything is good to go.
Once you save and continue, you’ll be taken to the content portion.
Submitting Content, 4 Times!
So, this was perhaps the most difficult part of the self-publishing process. I had to submit the file four different times for varying reasons.
First, the font was too small and I had to change it. Then, I thought I had to format certain spacing to make it flow right, which backfired tremendously. Then, the book was too short to have spine text.
Needless to say, there are a few extra pages in the paperback as opposed to the eBook. Nothing affecting the actual content, though. I just added an epilogue and an introduction.
I wanted to be able to see my name on the spine of the book…so it needed to be fleshed out with just a few extra pages.
At any rate, I was finally able to get the book formatted perfectly to fit my needs. Though, I spent five hours working on just the formatting part alone.
Yes, I’ve learned quite a few things about how it all works and plan on whipping out a video and blog post about it.
One thing I’d like to point out, though, is that you can use the same file for the paperback as you did for the eBook in KDP. Even though Amazon’s content page doesn’t state as such, it is possible.
So, if you used Kindle Create to format the eBook, it also works for the print versions.
Using KDP’s Cover Creator
In order to have a good cover printed, it needs to be at 300 dpi. Anything less and Amazon will kick it back. Since the free version of Canva won’t allow massive images like that, I had to use the KDP Cover Creator for the paperback.
I could have used Photoshop, but the whole purpose of this book is to see how much I can do for free.
The Cover Creator is a bit, well, limiting. You really don’t have a lot of customization options as opposed to something like Canva.
Don’t get me wrong, I am satisfied with the end results. However, it would be nice to move the text blocks to certain areas or have access to more templates.
Unlike Canva, the Cover Creator makes you put the title, subtitle, and author name in exact locations. Meaning you can’t grab the text block and move it where you want.
Amazon would be wise to take some creative design ideas from Canva.
In any case, I was able to create something closely resembling the eBook. Though, it’s going to bother me as I like symmetry…and the fonts for both versions are a bit different!
The “In Review” to “Draft” KDP Bug
After finalizing the content and setting the prices, my paperback book was put into “In Review” status. I was pretty excited, actually. I was one step closer to achieving a life-long dream.
Then it happened. It moved from “In Review” to “Draft.” Clicking the “Continue Editing” button only refreshed the Bookshelf page in KDP. I was starting to stress out as I spent the better part of the day getting this damn book done.
And I had no way to continue working on it or figuring out why it was sent to draft.
Taking to Google, I found that KDP has had this particular bug for more than three years. If your book goes from “In Review” to “Draft” in KDP, give it a few hours. Usually, it’ll correct itself and go live.
Otherwise, you’ll get a message from Amazon about why the book isn’t published yet.
In my case, I went to bed last night with the book saying it was a draft to waking up this morning to see it read, “Live.”
3-Day Prime Shipping, for Print-on-Demand?
I wasn’t sure how print-on-demand was going to work. I mean, I know a lot of authors have books going through KDP, but I figured it would be something that took longer to print and put together.
But when I bought my first copy this morning and Amazon Prime said it would be here on Monday, I was a bit surprised.
I plan on doing an unboxing video once the book arrives, and I hope the quality of the print is decent.
What is giving me pause of concern is that it’s been my experience that rushed products usually don’t work or look right. Then again, I’m basing this opinion on being a business owner – more than a decade and a half ago.
I am pretty excited to see my book, though.
Now, I did buy 10 author copies that will show up on January 3rd. So, I guess when it comes to bulk, it takes a bit longer – obviously. Hopefully, they will look good as well.
How Does the Paperback Look from KDP?
Obviously, I haven’t received the copies yet, so I can’t really judge what the book looks like. However, I do plan on updating this post as soon as the book arrives.
So, I guess this is a bit of a placeholder.
I can say that the paperback cover is slightly different than the eBook version in KDP. That’s because I used Canva for the eBook and had to use the Cover Creator I mentioned earlier for the paperback.
Still, I think I got the fonts relatively close. According to what I designed, I am happy with the result. So, hopefully, the actual print has the same quality.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Should You Use KDP for Your Paperback?
Publishing the eBook was child’s play in comparison to setting up the paperback. Especially since this was the first time I’ve ever done such.
Nonetheless, being able to print copies of my book without coming up with upfront cash is attractive. I know my sister spent thousands of dollars self-publishing with Tate, who wound up screwing her badly.
Aside from buying my own book, I haven’t spent a single dime thus far. Then again, I haven’t dived into promoting and marketing yet.
Anyway, when you don’t have a lot of money to invest in publishing your book, Kindle Direct Publishing is a great way to get you started. Just remember that no one is going to buy the book if they don’t know it even exists.
Get it out there.
Looking Forward to More Self-Publishing in 2022
Even though setting up the paperback was a long and arduous process in KDP, it didn’t discourage me. In fact, I am looking forward to self-publishing a lot more books in 2022.
I’m also interested in trying out Kindle Vella to see what it’s all about. But, let’s just focus on one thing at a time, shall we? After all, I still have several videos and blog posts to write about publishing this first book.