KDP is the self-publishing arm of Amazon.com. On the KDP website, you can create both digital and print versions of your book. The print version is produced using the Print On Demand [POD] technology described in the section on ‘Frequently Asked Questions‘.
Click the Sign in button and enter your Amazon ID and password.
If you do not have an Amazon account, click the Sign up button.
You should now see the following popup:
Near the bottom of the popup is a button to create a KDP account [circled in orange].
Click Create your KDP account and follow the instructions to sign up with KDP.
Note: if your country has a Trade Treaty with the US, you may be eligible to have the 30% Withholding Tax reduced to 5%. Amazon will prompt you to fill in a tax exemption form. You can sign it electronically.
After your account has been created, sign in to KDP.
Whenever you sign in to KDP, you will be taken to your Bookshelf first. This is where you will find all your books, both ebooks and paperbacks. The Bookshelf is also where you will ‘Create a New Title’ – i.e. start setting up your new paperback or ebook:
Other major areas include Reports, Community and KDP Select.
The Reports page allows you to view sales figures and royalty amounts. The Community option will take you to the KDP forums, and the KDP Select option provides marketing information for ebooks.
When it comes to the cover of your book, KDP offers two tools:
A template builder that specifies cover dimensions for use with a dedicated graphics package such as InDesign,
A free, online Cover Creator app. developed for KDP
Using the Cover Template Builder
The Cover Template Builder generates a template that is exactly the right size for your cover and its spine. These dimensions are based on your chosen trim size and the total number of pages in your book.
To use the template builder, type the following web address into the address bar of your browser:
PDF stands for Portable Document Format. With PDF documents, each page is like a ‘snapshot’ of the original Word page. That’s why the format is called WYSIWYG – what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
Note: KDP will accept a variety of common file formats but recommends the PDF format.
Converting a Word document to PDF begins with ensuring that all the fonts in the Word document are properly ‘embedded’. Embedded fonts are flattened into ‘pictures’ so the appearance of the text does not change if the printer doesn’t have access to the same font.
Note: this is particularly important with POD printers as they will flag non-embedded fonts as errors.
The following instructions are provided for Word, versions 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and 2003.
Word 2007 is capable of converting files to PDF format, but first you will have to download and install an ‘add-in’ program from Microsoft. The easiest way to locate and install this Word add-in is to click the Office button and select the ‘Save As’ option.
Next, click the option that says ‘PDF or XPS’.
Word will automatically take you to the relevant Microsoft page and download the add-in for you. After that, you will be able to save your documents as PDF whenever you wish.
Adobe bundles other software with its download, so unless you particularly want these software applications, untick all the checkboxes as shown below:
You should also note that ‘Acrobat Pro DC Trial’ is for evaluation only. If you want to keep using it, you will have to pay.
Once Acrobat is installed, find the PDF version of your book on your computer and double click the file name to automatically open it in Acrobat Reader.
Click the Acrobat File tab to display the File menu:
From the File menu, select ‘Properties’ as shown above.
You should now be looking at the ‘Document Properties’ dialog box:
Click the Fonts tab as shown above.
You should now be looking at a list of all the fonts contained in your document:
Every font in the list should be shown as ‘Embedded’ or ‘Embedded subset’.
Any fonts not shown as ‘embedded’ will be the cause of the KDP error.
The easiest and simplest way to fix the KDP font error is to replace the imported font with a standard Word font. There are other ways to fix this problem, but they are quite advanced and far beyond the scope of a guide for beginners.
In the next section we will look at preparing the cover of your book using a template guide.
Once the sections of your book have been set and unlinked [see ‘Section Breaks‘], you will be able to apply different page numbers to each section – i.e. Arabic numerals [starting at ‘1’] for the Chapters and Roman numerals [starting at ‘i’] for the Back Matter.
You can sometimes experience page number problems that have nothing to do with the section breaks. Some of the most common involved page numbers that appear truncated or do not show up in Print Preview at all.
If you are experiencing problems like these, the cause could be the Word Footer or the printer that is installed with Word.
The diagram below represents a Word page:
The grey area represents the whole, A4 page in Word.
The blue area is the printable area of the page – literally the area your printer is capable of printing.
Although Word allows you to set whatever margin you please, the printer attached to your computer has its own printable area, and this area over-rides any margins set by Word.
The yellow area at the bottom is the Footer. The page number is positioned near the top of the Footer.
If the Footer area does not extend up into the printable area of the page, or does not extend high enough, the page number will either not show or may appear truncated [as in the example].
In Windows, your computer can have a number of different devices installed – such as printers, scanners, fax machines etc – but only one will be the default device. If your printer is the current ‘default device’ you can temporarily disable it by making some other device the default.
The printer will still be installed, but it will not be available. This means two things:
Word will not be constrained by the printer’s printable area.
You will not be able to print with the printer while it’s not the default device.
When the page numbering in Word has been completed, you can simply return the default device to the printer, and it will work again.
In Word, the purpose of a section break is to isolate one part of the document from the rest. The new, isolated section can then be formatted differently to the rest of the document.
This is particularly useful when printing novels because the page numbering of the three parts – front matter, back matter and chapters – is usually different for each part.
For example, a typical novel may have no page numbering for the front matter, but the chapters will have Arabic numerals [ 1, 2, 3 ], while the back matter has Roman numerals [ i, ii, iii ]. To complicate matters further, both the Arabic and Roman numerals are required to start at ‘one’.
The only way to set different page numbering, and number styles, for different parts of a book is to ‘isolate’ each part using section breaks.
As a general rule, most books need to be broken up into three sections – one for the Front matter, one for the Chapters and one for the Back matter – but you will only need to set two section breaks manually. The third section break is set automatically by Word and includes the parts of the document that are left over – i.e. that remain outside the manual section breaks.
There are four types of section breaks in Word:
Continuous – sets a section break but allows the text to continue on the same page.
Next Page – starts the new section on the next page.
Odd Page – begins a new section and attempts to start it on the next, odd-numbered page.
Even Page – this section break works in the same way as the Odd Page break, but it attempts to start the new section on the next even-numbered page.
All of the section breaks have their uses, but I recommend using the ‘Next Page’ section break only.
Apart from choosing the correct type of section break, there are also do’s and don’ts governing how and when to set section breaks. These include:
Do your formatting and set your ordinary page breaks first.
Always begin inserting section breaks from the end of the document, not the beginning.
Always set the section break command in front of the new section, not at the end of the previous section.
Unlink the sections, starting with the last one.
Do not try to format the page numbering until the section breaks have been unlinked.
The easiest way to open ‘Headers and Footers’ is to double click the blank spaces above or below where you type the text on the page.
Note: to close ‘Headers and Footers’, simply double click inside the body of the page – i.e. inside the area where you type.
As well as displaying repeating text, such as the name of the author, Headers and Footers also display section breaks.
With Headers and Footers open, you should now see something like this:
Note: the Header displays ‘Section 2’ even though only one section break was set. That’s because Word counts the area of the document outside the section break as a section as well, so that area automatically becomes ‘Section 1’.
‘Same as Previous’ indicates that the current section is ‘linked’ to the previous section and shares its formatting.
You will not be able to change the formatting of individual sections until they have been ‘unlinked’, but you should set all the section breaks before you ‘unlink’ them.
To set the final section break, navigate to the very first chapter of your document and click in front of the first word of the chapter heading.
Next, open the Layout tab and click ‘Breaks’.
Select ‘Next Page’ from the list of section breaks.
Now if you open ‘Headers and Footers’ again, you will see that Word has updated the number of sections to three – i.e. the two that you set and the one that Word set to contain everything else in the document.
Once all the section breaks have been set, you are ready to unlink them.
As before, navigate to the end of your document, to the first page of the Back Matter [where you set the section break].
Double click inside the top margin of the page to display the Headers and Footers.
Opening ‘Headers and Footers’ automatically opens the ‘Headers & Footers Tools – Design’ tab [as shown below].
Note: if you do not see these options, click Design on the tab.
The first thing you should notice is that the command ‘Link to Previous’ is highlighted on the Ribbon. This shows it is active.
To unlink Section 3 from the earlier sections, click the Link to Previous option to deselect it. Once ‘Link to Previous’ is deselected, the Header for Section 3 should no longer display ‘Same as Previous’:
With ‘Headers and Footers’ still open, click inside the Footer and deselect the ‘Link to Previous’ option from there as well.
After you have unlinked Section 3, find the first page of Section 2 and unlink the Header and Footer as for Section 3.
Once you have Sections 2 and 3 unlinked, you will have three, completely separate areas in your Word file, each one ready to be formatted in a different way.
The next chapter will look at setting up different page numbering, and page number formatting, for each of the three sections in your book file.
Although it’s not strictly necessary to include a Table of Contents [TOC] in a paperback novel, Word does offer two automatic TOC styles that are very easy to use. Both are based on the Heading styles, so if you used Heading 1 on your Chapter headings, most of the work has already been done.
As well as being easy to use, Word’s automatic TOC styles are also easy to update – for example if you add or remove significant amounts of text from the document.
Next, click at the end of the Copyright Page and insert a Page Break as shown:
The cursor will now be positioned at the top of the new page.
Open the ‘References’ Tab and click Table of Contents:
You should now see a drop down list of options. At the top of the list are previews of the pre-set TOC styles. At the bottom are four further options. The fourth option is only available with Custom Table of Contents.
Click either AutomaticTable1 or AutomaticTable2 to select it.
Note: if you generate a Table of Contents before formatting the page numbering of your book, Word will use its automatic numbering system – i.e. counting the Title page as ‘1’ – for the Table of Contents. After you have formatted the page numbering, you will need to update the TOC to reflect the correct page numbers.
Click inside the Table of Contents to select the entire table.
Next, open the References tab and click the option for Table of Contents.
On the Table of Contents menu, click the Remove Table of Contents option:
This will remove both the TOC entries and the table itself.
Note: You can click ‘Remove Table of Contents’ without first selecting the TOC entries, but this will cause a Continuous Section Break to be left behind. Not only will this section break clutter up the file with unnecessary commands and functions, it may also interfere with manual section breaks inserted later on.
In the next section we will look section breaks and how to use them.
ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and refers to the unique, 13 digit number that identifies each published book worldwide. You can buy an ISBN yourself, or you can accept a free ISBN from KDP.
Go to the website and hover the mouse over ‘National ISBN Agencies’. A drop down list will appear.
Click ‘Find an agency’ as shown below:
You should now be looking at the ‘Find an agency’ screen. Click the small down arrow opposite ‘Select an option’ to display a list of countries. You can now scroll through the list until you find your country, or you can type the country name in the search box:
Clicking on a country name will display the contact information for the ISBN agency in that country.
Note: for a step-by-step guide to buying an ISBN in Australia, see PART 3, for Australian Self-Publishers.
The following table compares free versus private ISBNs:
Amazon EU and UK
The cost of ISBNsvaries considerably from country to country. In Canada, private ISBNs are free, in Australia, buying a single ISBN can be quite expensive. Nevertheless, cost is not the only factor governing the choice between free and private ISBNs – Portability, Imprint and Distribution are equally important.
KDP ISBNs are not portable. This means they can only be used on KDP. If you decide to sell your book through another distributor, you will have to buy a private ISBN that can be used with any distributor, including Amazon.
Having changed the physical dimensions of your print-book-to-be, you should notice an increase in the total number of pages. You can now edit the format of those pages if you wish. The format includes a range of visual elements such as the fonts, spacing, alignment, indents and heading styles.
The following is a quick discussion of the main design elements of a book.
Fonts – Joel Friedlander, an acknowledged expert in book formatting, prefers the following fonts for the interior of books – i.e. the body text:
You can learn more about formatting on Joel Friedlander’s website:
Alignment – refers to the position of the text on the page – i.e. whether it is aligned to the centre, left, right, or justified. The text in print books is almost always justified with a straight edge on both sides.
First Line Indentation – refers to the way in which the first line of each paragraph begins a few spaces from the left hand margin. Non-fiction books generally do not have a first line indentation, but novels do.
Line Spacing – The default line spacing for Word documents is 1.08. The line spacing for novels is usually 1.0 [single spacing].
Chapter Headings – Whatever formatting you choose for your headings, the style must be consistent across all the chapters.
The easiest way to ensure that all the visual elements of your book are consistent is to set them using the Styles found on the Style Gallery of the Word Home tab.
Using Word Styles
Word Styles contain pre-set groups of commands that determine how headings and paragraphs appear. The most commonly used Word styles are found on the Home tab, in the Style gallery [as shown below]:
Every time you start a new, blank document in Word, the program automatically configures that document using the ‘Normal Style’.
The ‘Normal’ style settings in Word include the default font [Calibri], the font size , left alignment, and a host of other less immediately visible options.
If you do not like these settings, you can change them quite easily, and when you do, all the text that was written using the Normal Style will be updated automatically.
Right click ‘Normal’ in the Style gallery. This will display a drop down list of options:
Click the Modify option from the drop down list [circled in orange].
You should now see the ‘Modify Style’ dialog box:
The first thing to note is that ‘Only in this document’ [shown in green] is pre-selected to ensure that any changes made to the ‘Normal’ style of this document do not become standard for all Word documents.
All of the less common stylistic functions are hidden behind the ‘Format’ button:
Click Format and select ‘Paragraph’ from the popup list.
The Paragraph dialog box is now displayed. The important elements are circled in orange:
Alignment – this is already shown as ‘Justified’ because we set it in the main dialog box along with the font and font size.
Indentation – leave the Left and Right settings at zero.
‘Special’ – click the small blue arrow (shown in the previous screenshot), and select the ‘First Line Indentation’ option from the drop-down list. This will ensure that the first sentence of every paragraph is indented.
For By: type or select the width of the indent for the first line of the paragraph.
Check the preview pane to see how the first line indent appears.
Spacing – ensure that ‘Before’ and ‘After’ are both set to zero.
The ‘Before’ and ‘After’ numbers control the blank spaces automatically inserted before and after each paragraph. If using the ‘First Line Indentation’ there is no need for space between the paragraphs.
Note: this guide has spaces between paragraphs because it does not have first line indentations to mark the start of a paragraph.
Line Spacing – make sure this is set to ‘Single’.
When you are satisfied with the changes you have made, click the OK button to save and exit from the Paragraph dialog box.
Click OK again to save and exit from the Modify Styles dialog box.
If you are using Word 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016, all text using the ‘Normal’ style will be automatically updated to the new settings.
Using Heading 1 for chapter headings
Heading 1 is a style on the Style Gallery, and it comes pre-set with a range of formatting elements, all of which can be modified in exactly the same way as the Normal Style.
Heading 1 can be used to create consistent chapter headings throughout your manuscript. It can also be used to generate an automatic Table of Contents for your book (see the chapter on Table of Contents).
To apply the default Heading 1 style, position the cursor anywhere on the line that contains the first chapter heading and click Heading 1 on the Style Gallery. All text on that line will now be formatted as Heading 1. Repeat for each chapter heading in your book.
Congratulations on completing your manuscript! Now that the writing is finished, it’s time to convert that simple Word file into a properly formatted book file that can be printed by KDP.
Paperbacks come in many sizes so the first step in printing your manuscript is to select the Trim Size.
The term ‘trim size’ refers to the finished size of your book – i.e. after the pages have been glued inside the cover and trimmed off neatly.
There are many trim sizes available, but the most popular sizes for novels are shown in the following table:
6 x 9
15.24 x 22.86
5.5 x 8.5
13.97 x 21.59
5.25 x 8
13.34 x 20.32
5 x 8
12.7 x 20.32
As the most popular trim sizes are quite a bit smaller than a normal A4 page in Word, the trim size you choose will inevitably change the total page count of your book. This will have consequences in terms of layout.
For example, you may find the odd chapter heading at the bottom of a page, or the last sentence of a chapter at the top of an otherwise empty page. As a result, some re-formatting will be required.
Furthermore, as the spine of the cover depends upon the number of pages in the book, trim size indirectly affects the width of the spine as well.
You can see a complete table of trim sizes available in KDP – in both inches and cm – at the web address below:
But if selecting the trim size is the first critical step in printing your book, ‘bleed’ can be the second.
To illustrate the concept of ‘bleed’, consider the two pages below:
Note: the dotted green line represents the trim line.
The image on the left extends past the trim line into the ‘bleed’. When the page is trimmed, the image will have a crisp, clean edge with no white showing.
By contrast, the image on the right does not extend into the ‘bleed’ and will have a thin white edge after it is trimmed:
Although most novels do not contain photographs, some do include maps and illustrations, and for them, bleed may be an issue.
If those images sit within the normal margins of the page, the book will not need bleed, but if they extend to the very edge of the page, the book will need bleed.
This point is illustrated by the two pages below:
So keep ‘bleed’ in mind when you select the trim size of your book.
Another factor to consider is the length of your book.
A short book printed in a large trim size may end up looking too thin. A long book printed in a small trim size may end up looking too ‘fat’. More importantly, the spine may not be wide enough to allow for the printing of the title.
Note: KDP requires a minimum of 100 pages to print the title on the spine.
And finally, there’s the question of genre. Books are tactile objects and readers get used to a certain size in their favourite reading material.
Note: books that are either too big or too small for their genre may not be as ‘visible’ to a reader intent on buying a book.
Table of trim sizes – with and without bleed
The following is a table of trim sizes available with KDP:
The column on the left is for standard trim sizes. The column on the right shows the total trim size required when bleed is included.
For simplicity, the screenshots and illustrations in the remainder of this guide will assume that the document does not require ‘bleed’.
Page Specifications – how to convert A4 to trim size pages
Once you have chosen your trim size, you will have to convert the A4 pages of your Word manuscript to the correct, book-sized pages.
Note: make a copy of your original Word manuscript and work on the copy. If something goes wrong, you can revert to the original. If all goes well, you can easily rename the copy and make it the new original.
To make the conversion process easier, KDP provides interior templates for all trim sizes. These templates come in two flavours, Basic and Sample.
Templates – Basic vs Sample
The basic templates provide page setup information such as page size, margin sizes, header and footer sizes etc. The sample templates contain the same setup information but also include formatting and sample text to show you how the interior layout should look.
The following screenshot shows the Chapter Heading, Header and Page number formatting of a sample template [circled in orange]:
Having the formatting pre-set can save time and effort, but this convenience comes with inherent problems:
Each chapter of the manuscript must be cut-and-paste into the relevant sample chapter of the template,
Text that is cut-and-paste into the template can bring the original formatting with it, overwriting the formatting in the template,
There are only 10 sample chapters in the template,
You have to create the Table of Contents manually,
All the formatting in the template relies on section breaks.
Creating a Table of Contents by hand is tedious but doable. Everything else, however, is dependent on section breaks so even a simple mistake can quickly escalate to formatting hell. For example, if you accidentally delete a section break while cutting and pasting chapters from your manuscript, the headers will stop working properly.
In the example below, a missing section break has resulted in the header appearing on the same page as the Chapter Heading:
Section break related problems can be fixed, but only if you already know how to work with section breaks. This creates a catch-22 situation as writers often use sample templates because they do not know how to do the formatting themselves. Yet if they don’t have the skills to do the formatting, how can they fix problems arising from the formatting?
For this reason, How to Print Your Novelwith Kindle Direct Publishing will show you how to format your own manuscript from scratch, using only the Page Setup information found in the templates.
How to find the KDP templates
To find the right template for your trim size, open your internet browser and type the following web address into the address bar:
On the KDP home page, click the Help button located near the top right of the screen [you do not need to sign in first]:
With the Help Topics page displayed, select the following 4 options from the navigation pane on the left:
Prepare Your Book
Format Your Manuscript
Submitting Your Paperback to KDP
Paperback Manuscript Templates
You should now see a video at the top of the page. This video provides a brief overview of the process.
Below the video are five, numbered steps which all open out into more detailed information.
Click ‘Step 1 – Choose a template’:
You should now see two template options – Blank and Sample:
As discussed at the start of this section, the Blank template will contain only the Page Setup information you’ll need to change your existing Word file to a book file. Making the necessary changes to your Word file may entail a little more work in the short term, but it will save you a great deal of frustration in the long term.
Click the option for Blank templates.
KDP will now display a list of links, one for each trim size:
Click the link for your chosen trim size.
The template will be a Word file, and KDP will prompt you to download it to your computer.
Note: you should always have your anti-virus software updated and on before you download anything from the internet.
Click OK to save the template file to your computer:
Once the template file has been saved, open Word, find the file and open it.
The template file will be in Protected View and look something like this:
The bright yellow warning message reads:
‘PROTECTED VIEW Be careful – files from the Internet can contain viruses. Unless you need to edit, it’s safer to stay in Protected View.’
Next to the warning message is a button labelled ‘Enable Editing’.
As the page setup information is on the Ribbon, and the Ribbon is locked in protected view, you will have to get out of protected view.
First, ensure that your anti-virus software is on and up-to-date.
Next, click the Enable Editing button.
Once editing is enabled, the Ribbon will be unlocked and you will see the tabs that are normal for your version of Word.
Finding the Page Setup information
The Page Setup information is found in the Page Setup dialog box of Word. This dialog box is the same across all versions of Word covered by this guide, but it is not always found in the same place, so its location will be shown for each version of Word from 2016 to 2003.
Select the File tab and click Page Setup as shown:
Using the Page Setup information of the template file
The Page Setup information in the template file is found in the Page Setup dialog box. This dialog box contains three tabs – Margins, Paper and Layout – and the following examples illustrate the types of information you will need from each one.
Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP for short, is part of Amazon.com and provides a one-stop-shop for both ebooks and paperbacks. KDP uses ‘Print On Demand’ [POD] technology to produce trade paperbacks that are automatically listed for sale on Amazon.
What is POD?
POD is a relatively new technology that makes it possible to print just one book at a time.
Before the development of POD, all books were printed using offset technology. This involves etching the book onto metal plates, an expensive process. To be economically viable, large quantities of books have to be printed at one time. This is called a ‘run’. 1000 units [books] is often quoted as the realistic minimum per offset print ‘run’.
At such quantities, the cost per book is very low, but the total cost of the ‘run’ can be prohibitive for self-publishers. A POD book is more expensive, per unit, than a book printed the traditional way, but it has other advantages that make it ideal for self-publishers.
How does POD work?
On Amazon, POD works like this:
A customer sees your book and buys it,
Amazon sends the order to KDP,
KDP receives the order and produces a single copy of your book,
Amazon then posts your newly printed book to the customer,
The customer receives your book in the mail and the order process is complete.
Why use POD?
The most compelling reason to use POD is that it costs the author nothing up front. The cost of printing and selling the book is subtracted from the sale price of the book…after a customer buys it. The difference between the sale price and the total cost of printing and distributing the book is the author’s royalty.
What if I want to sell my book through bookshops?
At the present time, large bookstore chains do not sell self-published books. These chains are geared towards the traditional publishing houses which allow retailers to return unsold books. These books are then pulped.
Local, independent bookshops, however, may agree to stock self-published books.
Which version of Word does the guide use?
Most of the screenshots and examples used in this guide were developed using Microsoft Word 2016. For certain critical steps, however, information is also provided for Word 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013.
More generally, anyone familiar with the Word Ribbon should have little trouble following the instructions, and the section on KDP does not require Word at all.
To use this guide, you will need:
your manuscript [in Word],
the ability to save and retrieve files [in Windows],