To begin, move to the back matter of your document and click the mouse at the point where you want the Table of Figures to appear.
Next, open the References tab and click Insert Table of Figures:
You should now be looking at the Table of Figures dialog box:
As you can see, the default settings are to:
Show page numbers
Right align page numbers
and ‘Caption label: Figure’
If you are happy with these default settings, click the OK button.
Note: if you have created different kinds of captions – for example, one for ‘Figures’ and a second one for ‘Tables’ – clicking the down arrow next to ‘Caption label’ will allow you to choose a different label. In this way you can generate a separate table for each label.
Unlike the Table of Contents, there is no specific command that allows you to delete the Table of Figures.
To delete the whole Table of Figures, you will have to manually select the entire table as if you were selecting a paragraph of text.
Note: simply clicking inside the Table of Figures will not work.
Once you have manually selected the whole table, press the Delete key on the keyboard. The Table of Figures will now be deleted, but the captions underneath the actual images still remain so you can reinstate a Table of Figures at any time.
This is the last of the graphics related how-tos, but the defunct ‘How to Print Non Fiction…’ also contains advanced help on Indexes etc. If anyone would like me to post this information, please let me know in comments.
At their most basic, captions are simply labels that describe the content of an image. As such, you can simply type a label beneath each image and leave it at that, or you can opt to not have captions at all. But if you are going to have captions, I’d strongly recommend using the ‘Insert Caption’ command found on the References tab.
If you use the ‘Insert Caption’ command, Word will automatically label and number each caption for you. Once all the captions have been entered, you have the option of getting Word to generate a Table of Figures like the example shown below:
When images are moved or deleted, Word not only updates the page numbering, it also updates the caption numbering.
Until now, the image and its caption have acted as two, separate objects, but it is possible to ‘lock’ them to each other via the ‘Group’ function. Grouping creates an outer ‘envelope’ around the two objects so they can be moved as one.
To group an image and its caption, first check that the text wrapping of the image is not ‘In Line with Text’.
Note: Grouping is only possible if the text wrapping of the image is not set to ‘In Line with Text’.
The first step is to click the caption. A text box will appear around it.
Next, hold down the Shift key on the keyboard while you click the image.
Now, both the image and the caption will have ‘handles’ around them, but they are not yet grouped:
Next, right click either the image or the caption.
Note: right clicking causes a context sensitive menu to be displayed.
You should now see a menu with ‘Group’ as one of the options:
Click Group to display the Group sub-menu.
Now click Group on the sub-menu. The image and its caption will now remain locked to each other until you ungroup them.
To move a grouped object, click on the image to display the outer frame and handles.
Note: if you click in the caption area, you will select the caption text box as well as the outer frame.
Next, point the mouse at the top of the outer frame until it changes to a black, four-headed arrow [as shown]:
Click-hold-and-drag the group to the required position.
The type of movement available to the grouped object will depend upon the text wrapping chosen for the image before it was grouped. For example, if ‘Square’ was chosen as the original text wrapping, the text will flow around the grouped object in a ‘box’ shape.
Update! So sorry! I assumed there’d be a link… Here it is
I’m not much into poetry, but I like what I like, and right from the start, I’ve been moved by Frank Prem’s poetic way of telling a story. In ‘Small Town Kid’ I felt as if Frank was somehow tapping into my own childhood as a ‘New Australian’. In Devil in the Wind, it was my own memories of Black Saturday that came back to haunt me. Memories of waiting and fear and horror as the full scope of the devastation became apparent…
That’s Frank Prem’s great power – he weaves simple words and images into a visceral reminder of our own stories. Yet he’s an unassuming man with all the quiet strength of a true Aussie.
If you want to become a poet, or a writer, or an artist, but don’t think you can, read Frank’s story and take heart. It is possible. 🙂
I haven’t written any how-to’s on how to create an ebook because I assumed there were countless how-to’s out there already. I was both right and wrong; there are lots of people providing helpful information about text-based ebooks such as novels, but there are not that many devoted to graphics heavy ebooks.
This distinction was brought home to me when one of my blogging friends needed help with a picture book. He was trying to create an ebook with both pictures and carefully formatted text.
It can be done, but the digital technology we have at the moment is limited when it comes to integrating text and graphics.
Before I start on possible solutions, and/or workarounds, I want to explain what those limitations are, and why they cause problems with graphics heavy ebooks.
Things ordinary ebooks can do
Ordinary ebooks are great with text but just barely okay with pictures. That’s because they’re not really ‘books’ at all. They’re more like rolls of toilet paper with words projected onto them. The story literally unrolls in an ebook.
This has significant advantages. For starters, as ereaders don’t care about the size or number of words shown on their screens, the reader can make those words as big, or small, as they please…for the whole ‘book’. I use this feature all the time because my eyesight ain’t what it used to be.
Things ordinary ebooks can’t do
Unfortunately, the very flexibility of ebooks can create problems when it comes to adding pictures to the text. Pictures don’t ‘flow’ the way text does, so getting them to fit the screen requires that they be sized for the screen.
But which screen? There are dozens of different digital devices from smartphones to dedicated ereaders to tablets of various sizes. Making an image to fit one screen almost guarantees that it won’t quite fit another.
Another problem with pictures is that not all digital devices are in colour. Dedicated ereaders, such as ordinary Kindles and Paperwhites, only do grayscale.
To display a picture in colour, the digital device has to be some kind of tablet [like the Kindle Fire] or a mobile phone. So again, which device should you optimise for?
And finally, because of their ability to ‘flow’ the text, ebooks don’t do precise formatting. Unfortunately, graphics heavy books like memoirs, cookbooks, picture books etc, look best when the formatting is controlled and the pictures are in colour.
To work around this fundamental problem with ebook design, Amazon created a number of specialist programs:
Kindle Kid’s Book Creator
Kindle Comic Creator
I took a quick peek at Kindle Kids, and I couldn’t quite work out what it was doing [the manual approach]. I suspect it’s a lot easier if you use the PDF option and simply pour everything into the app in one go.
Of the three, Kindle Create is the one I find most useful. In its current iteration, it is actually two programs in one:
The first allows you to ‘format’ Word .doc and .docx files into text-based ebooks like novels. There is help for creating a Table of Contents as well as Front and Back matter pages, and you can add pictures although the image manipulation is basic to say the least.
The second is the old Textbook Creator app. which turns a PDF document into an ebook.
Kindle Create for text based ebooks
This version of Kindle Create allows you to include all the standard elements of a book as well as pictures, but all you can do with pictures is adjust the size, and sometimes the location. That’s it. You can make the image small, medium, large, or full, but you can only adjust the placement of small or medium images. Large and full images seem to be placed automatically and can’t be changed.
One nice thing is that Kindle Create automatically wraps the text around the image as shown below:
But again, only if the image is small or medium.
This does not constitute ‘total control’ over the way text and images display, but it’s not bad. More importantly, when I did a preview of the page, it seemed to display quite well on tablet, phone and Kindle devices.
Something I was not expecting was that the colour image was automatically changed to grayscale on a Kindle device:
Given that this option works with standard .doc or .docx documents, I was pleasantly surprised by how it put everything ‘together’.
The old Textbook Creator
For the sake of clarity, I’m going to call the second option of Kindle Create by its old name – Textbook Creator.
Textbook Creator doesn’t try to integrate text and pictures at all. It creates an ebook out of a sequence of pictures.
If you’re nodding your head and saying, “Ah, she’s talking about PDFs”, you’d be right.
To quote from one of my own how-to’s:
PDF stands for Portable Document Format. With PDF documents, each page is like a ‘snapshot’ of the original Word page. That’s why it’s called WSIWYG – what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
Basically, everything on the Word page becomes a composite ‘picture’ that cannot change. This is how you make sure that what appears on the screen of the digital device is exactly the same as what you originally created, including the positioning of both graphics and text.
It’s the difference between ‘some control’ and ‘total control’.
“But…PDFs can’t be edited.”
That would normally be true, if you were dealing with a PDF document as a whole. But Textbook Creator cuts the original PDF document into its component pages, and each one those pages can be swapped out, individually.
To make this a bit clearer, let’s say you have imported a 20 page PDF document into Textbook Creator. Then you discover that you made a small error on page 15.
Rather than redoing the whole, 20 page document, you can:
go back to the original,
make a change to page 15,
export page 15 as a new PDF document
swap the new page 15 for the old page 15 inside Textbook Creator, and voila!
Okay, I admit the process is convoluted, but it does make working with PDFs a little less frustrating.
So what is the downside of using Textbook Creator?
The text in the ebook created by Textbook Creator cannot be resized. You can pinch-and-zoom to see details at a larger size, but you cannot specify that the text in the entire ebook be at a certain size.
This means that the original document has to be designed in such a way that it will suit most readers and most ereaders.
In paperbacks, this is kind of standard, and expected, but not so in digital devices. Plus getting the document to fit can be rather tricky.
Getting the size right
As mentioned before, there are a lot of different ereaders out there, and screen sizes are not the same either. Designing a document to fit all of them is a case of picking something ‘average’ and basing the sizing on that.
But what do I mean by ‘sizing’?
The easiest way to explain is to show you. The following is a preview of this post, in Textbook creator:
Can you see how tiny the text below the image is?
All I did was export a standard Word file to PDF and then import that PDF into Textbook Creator. The font size of the Word document is 12.
Now have a look at this preview. Same document but with a font size of 28:
To get the document to display like that, I had to radically change how the Word document was setup. Basicallly, I simulated the Kindle Fire screen in Word so that I could place text and images to their best advantage.
The following screenshots show my page setup in Word 16.
1. Paper size
The dimensions circled in orange create a page size that exactly fits the screen of my Kindle Fire 6.
Again, those margins are designed to make reading the Kindle Fire 6 screen visually ‘comfortable’ without wasting too much space.
Note: there are no settings selected in Layout. You need clean, minimal formatting in the original Word document. This includes not using things we normally take for granted, such as manual ‘spacing’.
For best results, you should always create styles – for the effects you must have – and use only those styles in the formatting.
Because Word is an old program, and Microsoft never throws anything away, it simply buries it under new code. This means that there is a lot of…[expletive deleted]…junk in Word that lurks in the background and can seriously mess with other programs that attempt to read/use Word documents. So keeping the document ‘clean’ is important.
But wait…there’s more. Remember how I said I’d changed the font size to 28? The next screenshot is of the Normal Style I created just for Kindle Fire 6 documents:
I can’t tell you why translating text from Word to a small digital device shrinks the text. All I know is that it does, and we have to manually compensate for it.
The other thing you might want to notice is that the alignment is set to ‘Justified’. Not only does it make the text look more professional, it also saves space on the screen.
To change the Normal Style on your own version of Word, right click on the style [on the Ribbon] and select ‘Modify’ from the drop down list of options [see here for step-by-step details]. That will get you to the Modify Style dialog box shown above.
Once the Modify dialog box is open, change the font size and alignment and then click ‘Save’.
We should now have a document that is optimised for an ebook.
Once the Word document is as perfect as we can make it, save the document as a Word file, and then Export it as a PDF.
Your book is now ready to import into Textbook Creator.
In my next post, I’ll talk about the Textbook Creator software.
Although it’s always preferable to edit images using dedicated graphics software, it’s often necessary to do minor edits once the images have been inserted into a Word document. This is especially true after the A4 Word document has been converted into the required paperback size [trim size].
In this post, we’ll look at basic image editing tasks you may have to perform in Word 16.
Selecting an image
To select an image in Word 16, simply click it.
You should now see a frame and circular ‘handles’ around the outer edge of the image:
All of the handles will resize the image, but only the corner handles will keep it in proportion.
Change the size of an image
To decrease the size of the image, hover the mouse over one of the corner handles until the mouse pointer changes to a diagonal arrow.
Click-hold-and-drag the handle into the middle of the image.
To increase the size of the image, drag the corner handle away from the image.
Cropping allows you to cut away the unwanted parts of an image. This technique is particularly useful if you want to create a ‘close up’ of one particular detail, or when the details are too small to see clearly, but the image itself is already at the maximum size for your page.
To illustrate this point, have a look at the two screenshots below:
In the first screenshot, you can barely see the ‘Crop’ option. You certainly can’t see any details about it. In the second screenshot, only part of the Ribbon is visible, but the ‘Crop’ option is shown in ‘close-up’ and is easy to read.
This will cause the image frame to be displayed. It will also make the ‘Picture Tools’ tab available on the Ribbon.
If the tab is not open, click Format as shown below:
You should now see the ‘Crop’ option on the far right of the tab:
To crop the selected image, click the Cropicon [not the word or arrow] on the Ribbon.
The image will now display the distinctive black, crop handles:
Point the mouse at one of the crop handles until it changes shape and looks like a smaller version of the crop handle:
Click-hold-and-drag the handle towards the middle of the image.
When you release the mouse button, the grey area visible in the background represents the area of the image that will be cropped:
To complete the crop process, click the Crop icon on the Ribbon again.
Once the image has been cropped, click it again and use the corner ‘handle’ to make the image bigger. This basically creates your ‘close-up’.
Moving an image in Word
Depending on how you originally inserted your image into Word, changing the page setup of your document may mean that you also have to re-align the image on the page.
The first step is to click the image to select it.
Next, point the mouse at the image. When the mouse changes to a four-headed arrow, click-hold-and-drag the image to a new location:
If the image won’t move, it means that the default ‘Wrap Text’ setting – i.e. In-line with Text – is still in force. This setting locks the image to the text at its current location.
To ‘unlock’ the image, open ‘Format’ on the Picture Tools tab:
Next, click Wrap Text to display the menu of text wrapping options. In the example shown, ‘In Line with Text’ is the active wrap text setting. You can find detailed pictures and descriptions of the wrap text settings here.
To select one of the other Wrap Text options, click the icon next to it. Depending on which option you chose, you should now be able to move the image on the page.
I can’t tell you how good it feels to see the Classic toolbar, all in one, neat place at the top of the post. It’s like the blinkers have come off!
To celebrate, I’ve made a new Plotagon video starring the lovely Kenneth Wu. I tried for a little humour this time, not sure it worked. Anyway, could you please tell me whether the speech is clear enough or whether I should put in sub-titles?
I’ve just unpublished ‘How to Print your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing’.
It’s not the first book I’ve unpublished – I had to unpublish the two CreateSpace versions after CreateSpace ceased to exist. Nevertheless, hitting that ‘Unpublish’ button on KDP felt very odd, especially as I’m not sure whether I’ll ever republish in the same way again.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I unpublished the KDP how-to book because it was first published in 2018, and parts of it were now quite out-of-date. KDP only made a few changes, but Thorpe-Bowker [the agent for ISBNs in Australia], and the National Library of Australia, had both completely changed their websites. I would have to update much of the second and third parts of the how-to, and basically create a ‘second edition’ of the book.
Unfortunately, when you create a second edition of a book, you have to publish it with a new ISBN, and that costs money. Given that I haven’t earned a single cent from the how-to, it didn’t make sense to invest yet more money into a project that no body seemed to want.
Around about this point, I sat down and did some hard thinking.
Was the how-to bad? Was the Kindle Fire version too restrictive? Was the paperback too expensive?
Or could it be that people have grown used to finding information online? For free?
Given how much research I do online, for free, I could hardly fault others for doing the same thing. So I had to decide whether to keep flogging that poor dead horse, or move with the times. I chose to move with the times and publish the entire how-to, online, for free on my blog.
Was this a completely altruistic decision? Hah… -cough-
The truth is, self-publishing is hard. Making yourself visible on Amazon is hard. Selling your books and making money is next to impossible unless you’re:
very good at marketing,
have oodles of cash for advertising, or
have some way of enticing people to your blog
I suck at the first three, but I am good at teaching people how to do things. At least half of all the people who visit my blog are there for one of my how-to posts. So if that’s my strength, how do I translate it into increased visibility for the rest of my work?
Honestly, by the time I got to that question, the answer was pretty obvious – the smart thing would be to self-publish the how-to on the blog and hope that increased exposure would lead to…something. -shrug-
I’m realistic enough to know that very few of the people who come for my how-to posts stay to chat, or buy my science fiction. But you have to work with what you have. Besides, I’ve put so much work into my how-to books I’m damned if I’ll let them sink into complete obscurity.
So, allow me to introduce you to the new, updated, 2020 edition of ‘How to print your novel with Kindle Direct Publishing. -points to sidebar on the right-
Clicking that image should take you to a Table of Contents which contains all the links to all the sections/chapters of the how-to. Alternatively, you can click the link below:
Paperback Rights & Pricing is the final tab in the KDP setup process:
On this tab you can set distribution rights and pricing, check royalties, and request a printed proof of your book.
This section is about your rights – i.e. where you have the right to sell your Paperback. The two options shown are ‘Worldwide’ and ‘Individual territories’.
If you are a self-publisher and own the copyright to your book, click the button for All territories (worldwide rights). This will allow your paperback book to be offered for sale via Amazon’s standard and expanded distribution outlets.
Amazon in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Canada and Japan are deemed to be Amazon’s ‘standard distribution’ outlets.
If your paperback sells through these outlets, Amazon will take 40% of the sale price as payment for selling your paperback. Your share of the sale will be 60%, but the cost of printing is taken from your share.
As at July, 2018, all other countries in the world, including Brazil, Mexico, India, China and Australia [which have Amazon stores of their own], fall into the category of ‘Expanded Distribution’
Your paperback is not automatically sold in these expanded distribution outlets.
KDP does offer Expanded Distribution, but it does so by outsourcing the supply of your paperback to third parties. As these third parties must be paid for producing your paperback, your share of the sale price drops from 60% to 40%, but the cost of printing still comes out of your share.
As explained in the previous section on Distribution, KDP relies on third parties to produce paperbacks for Expanded Distribution.
If you tick the checkbox for Expanded Distribution, your Rate – i.e. your share of the sale price – drops to 40% because the cost of outsourcing comes out of your share as well. So now, the calculation looks something like this:
Using the same figures as before, the calculation would look something like this:
((10 – 4) – (20% of 6) – 5
(6-1.2) – 5
As you can see, the Author ends up 20 cents out-of-pocket.
To ensure this does not happen, KDP automatically increases the Minimum Price when Expanded Distribution is enabled.
Although this ensures that the Author doesn’t lose money, the fact that the increased Minimum List Price is applied to both Expanded and Standard Distribution outlets means that overall sales may drop [because the price in Standard Distribution is now too high]. It also means that authors will be limited in how much they can use pricing as a tool in their marketing.
The Primary Marketplace is the Amazon distribution centre chosen as the default. The List Price for all other Amazon marketplaces is based on the Primary Marketplace and its currency.
In the examples shown so far, Amazon.com is set as the Primary Marketplace, and the List Price of $12.99 is in US dollars by default. If someone wanted to buy that book in one of the other Amazon marketplaces, the price would be converted to the equivalent in that currency. But this assumes that the accepted price of paperbacks in the Primary Marketplace is the same for all Amazon marketplaces. This is not always the case.
For international authors, it makes more sense to optimise the List Price for the marketplace in which most books are likely to be sold. For example, an author in the UK might want to change the Primary Marketplace from the US to the UK.
To change the Primary Marketplace, click the small arrow next to ‘Amazon.com’:
KDP will display a drop down list of the other standard Amazon marketplaces:
Amazon.co.uk – is for the UK.
Amazon.de – is for Germany.
Amazon.fr – is for France.
Amazon.es – is for Spain.
Amazon.it – is for Italy.
Amazon.co.jp – is for Japan.
Amazon.ca – is for Canada
To change the Primary Marketplace, simply click one of the other marketplaces on the drop down list.
In the screenshot shown below, Amazon UK has been selected as the Primary Marketplace, and all the pricing is shown in English pounds [£].
All the other markets will now be based on the UK List Price.
KDP also allows you to set different prices for each of the standard marketplaces.
In effect, this means that you can optimise the List Price of each marketplace to suit the cost of books in that marketplace.
If you know the best price for each marketplace, this option can be a very powerful marketing tool.
To set the List Price for individual marketplaces, click 7 other marketplaces as shown below:
You should now see calculators for all seven marketplaces:
To change the List Price of one or more of these non-primary marketplaces, click inside the price box of the chosen marketplace and type in the new price.
To bring the List Price back in line with the Primary Marketplace, simply click the option to ‘Base this price on Amazon.com’. The name of the markeplace will change, depending on which country is selected as the ‘primary marketplace’.
Although you can make changes to your book after it has been published, I strongly recommend ordering and reviewing a printed proof before clicking the ‘Publish Your Paperback Book’ button.
To order a printed proof, click the blue link as shown below:
When you click ‘Request printed proofs of this book’, KDP displays the following screen:
At the top, KDP explains that proof copies ‘…have a ‘Not for Resale’ watermark on the cover and a unique barcode but no ISBN. You pay only the printing cost for your selected marketplace times the number of copies. Shipping and applicable taxes will be applied at checkout.’
You can order up to 5 proof copies at a time – i.e. for yourself and/or for beta readers.
Finally, you should select a marketplace that is the closest to where you live. This will reduce waiting time and shipping costs.
When you have selected the relevant information, click the Submit Proof Request button to be taken to the payment processing area.
Proof Copies vs Author Copies
Although Proof and Author copies are both supplied ‘at print cost’, Proof copies can only be requested before the book is published while Author copies can only be requested after the book is published.
Author copies can be sold by the author. Proof copies are clearly marked ‘not for resale’.
Publish your paperback
To go ahead and publish your paperback with Amazon KDP, click the yellow ‘Publish Your Paperback Book’ button located at the bottom of the screen.
KDP will display a confirmation screen which includes the following message:
Once the review is finished, you should see your paperback listed on your KDP Bookshelf and on Amazon itself. Congratulations!
Part III is devoted to information specifically for Australian authors. This information includes step-by-step instructions on buying an ISBN in Australia, applying for a US Tax Exemption, and the Australian National Library’s requirement that a copy of all material published by Australian authors is deposited with the library.
Although the KDP Cover Creator has a few quirks that don’t make it ideal for absolute beginners, some of the advantages – such as free images and a cover automatically sized to the correct dimensions of the book – make the learning curve worthwhile.
The following table provides a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages associated with using Cover Creator:
The app. is free
The app. is not supported on: KDP.amazon.co.jp
KDP provides a helpful video that covers the basics. You can find the video on the KDP website under ‘Create a Book Cover’.
The video and the written instructions are not geared towards absolute beginners
The app. uses templates that can be customised using either pre-set themes and styles or manual options
The app. only provides 10 templates and they do not allow for a great deal of customisation
The Title and Author Name are automatically inserted into the template
The Title and Author Name will display exactly as you typed them during Title setup. To change how they look, you will have to return to the Title Details tab and make the changes there
The manual options provide a fair degree of customisation
The manual options are not always intuitive. For example: – the ‘Start Over’ button only takes you back to the template selection screen. – the Preview button only works after the sample text is all replaced.
The app. offers a large selection of free images
There is no ‘obvious’ way to select a different cover image once you have selected the first one.
The app. automatically creates a cover to the exact dimensions required for your book.
The following sections will detail how to create two covers:
One will be created using the pre-set images provided by Cover Creator.
The second will be created using your own background image.
To begin, click the yellow, ‘Launch Cover Creator’ button as shown:
The next screen is simply an overview of the Cover Creator process. Click the Continue button.
Cover Creator now displays three ways to select a background image for your cover. The three options are:
from the KDP free images gallery,
from your computer,
and ‘Skip This Step’.
Note: ‘Skip This Step’ places a generic image into each template. You will have to choose a permanent image before finalising the cover.
You should now be looking at the KDP Image Gallery:
The images in the gallery are organised into categories and sub-categories. When you select one of the main categories listed on the left hand side of the window, the sub-categories will display on the right hand side.
Note: you can also type a keyword into the Search box at the top of the window to narrow down your search.
Click one of the sub-categories to display the images in that category.
In the example shown below, the main category is ‘Backgrounds’. This category contains three sub-categories – Abstract, Nature and Patterns & Textures. Clicking the Abstract sub-category displays a gallery of images. The image used in most of this section is circled in orange:
Click an image to see more information about it:
And finally, click the Use this image button to select the image for your cover.
After selecting an image, Cover Creator automatically inserts it, as well as the Title and Author Name, into all of the pre-formatted templates available. These templates are displayed in a gallery:
Use the left and right arrows to view all the templates.
Click a template to select it.
You should now be looking at the Cover Creator working screen with your chosen image and template displayed:
The cover template is displayed with red and white dotted lines:
the vertical white dotted lines in the middle mark the fold lines of the spine.
the red dotted line around the outside is the safety perimeter. All text has to be within this line.
the white dotted line around the outside of the cover is where the printed pages will be cut, so any text that extends past this line will be truncated. The cover image, however, must extend past this line.
If you are using one of the free images, it will be the right size automatically.
Note: if you are using one of your own images, make sure it is big enough to extend past the white line.
The orange triangles are alerts that provide context sensitive help about possible issues and explain how to fill in the missing elements of the cover template, such as the blurb and Author bio etc.
Below the cover image are three buttons which offer pre-sets ‘styles’ :
From left to right, the buttons allow you to select a pre-set colour scheme, a pre-set layout and a pre-set font style for the Title and Author Name.
Selecting a colour scheme for the template
Click the button for Colors. You should now be looking at a list of colour schemes for the entire template:
These colour schemes work best for cover templates that include blocks of colour, such as the example below:
You can also select all three colour elements individually via the ‘Custom Colors’ pane on the left:
‘PrimaryColor’ is the block of colour that contains the Title.
‘Secondary color’ is the background colour.
‘All TextColor’ sets the colour for all the text – front cover, back cover and spine.
To change the colour of the text, click the appropriate option and select a colour from the popup palette.
Note: make sure the colour of the text does not blend into the background as this will make it hard to see at thumbnail size.
Apart from the Title, Sub-Title [if applicable] and Author Name, all the other text on the template is ‘dummy’ text. It’s only purpose is to illustrate where text appears on the template you have chosen.
Clicking an alert, or an area of dummy text, will display a white dotted line. This dotted line denotes a text box.
To replace the dummy text, simply click inside the relevant text box and begin typing.
The first few letters you type will be huge, but as you continue typing, the text will become progressively smaller.
In the example shown below, the text box is for the author’s bio, and you can see how large the font is:
The automatic re-sizing of the text occurs because the ‘Auto Fit’ option is selected by default [circled in orange above].
The ‘Auto Fit’ option is located on the Edit Bar which appears whenever you begin editing the text boxes.
Note: you can also copy/paste text from an external source using the keyboard shortcut of CTRL V.
To change the size of the text manually, click the small down arrow [as shown below] and then click a font size from the drop down menu:
The font will now remain at the size you set, no matter how much text you enter.
The Edit Bar also contains the standard editing options for Bold, Italic, alignment, and text colour. There is also a Reset Style option that acts as an ‘undo’ button for the current text box.
KDP advises against changing the wording of the Title, Author Name or Sub-title, but you can change the formatting – for example the colour.
To begin, click the text you wish to change. In the example shown below, the Author Name text box has been activated:
To change the font size, alignment or colour of the Author Name, simply select the relevant option from the Edit Bar.
To dismiss the Edit Bar, simply click outside the relevant text box.
Adding the Author Photo
The back page of the template includes a picture placeholder for the Author Photo.
To insert an Author Photo, click the placeholder image.
KDP will display the following popup:
Select the option for ‘From My Computer’.
KDP opens My Computer [or Windows Explorer] so you can find the photo you wish to use.
Select your Author Photo. Cover Creator will re-size the image automatically, but if the original photo is too small, making it big enough to fit will lower the resolution and cause the program to display an error message:
The author photo in the example above is only 116 x 150. For best results, the Author Photo should be 500 x 500 or above.
To check the size of your author photo [in Windows], open My Computer [or File Explorer] and navigate to the location where the photo is saved.
Hover the mouse over the photo until a small, floating popup appears:
Inside you will see information about the photo, including its dimensions. The one shown in the example is 527 x 532 and just the right size.
To choose a different photo in Cover Creator, simply click inside the image. The display will change to show the Edit Cover Image popup:
Note: the name of the popup is misleading. The options provided by the popup will work on any image that is selected – i.e. the author photo or the cover image itself.
To select a different author photo, click the option to ‘Choose a new cover image’.
Cover Creator will display the ‘Get Images for your Cover’ popup. Click the option for ‘From My Computer’. Find the new image and select it. Cover Creator will upload the image and substitute it automatically.
If you’re like me, you will want to see how your Author Photo looks, but if you press the Preview button whilst there are still unfinished areas on your cover [such as dummy text], Cover Creator will display this error message:
Click the ‘Go back to fix it’ button and continue adding text to the back cover. Once all the dummy text has been replaced, the ‘Preview’ button will become active and you can see what your cover looks like without all the guidelines.
To view your cover, click the Preview button located just below the cover template:
After a short delay, KDP will display a digital representation of what your cover will look like.
If you are satisfied with your cover, click the Save & Submit button located directly below your cover. KDP will save the cover and return you to the Paperback Content tab.
But what if the Preview reveals unexpected errors? Or what if you don’t like the cover at all?
If you don’t like what you see in the Preview, there are four main options available to you:
Keep the whole cover but make a few minor tweaks to it.
Keep all the existing information [text, author photo etc], together with the design elements [font size, colour etc] but change the template.
Keep all the existing information [text, author photo etc] and design elements [font size, colour etc] but change the background image.
Keep all the existing information [text, author photo etc] but get rid of the design elements and change the template.
To make a few minor tweaks to the existing cover, click the ‘2 Style & Edit’ tab to exit the Preview screen and return to the template workspace:
Everything remains the same, but you can now edit the cover again.
To change the template itself, click the ‘1 Choose Design’ tab:
Again, all your work remains, but you can change the way it’s displayed by selecting a different template from the gallery of available templates.
New cover image
To change the cover image – i.e. the background image – first click the ‘2 Style & Edit’ tab to take you back to the working screen.
Next, click on any blank space on the background image – i.e. on a space not occupied by a text box. This will cause a ‘frame’ to appear around the background image. It will also cause the ‘Edit Cover Image’ popup to be displayed on the right hand side of the cover:
On the popup, click the option to ‘Choose a new cover image’.
Cover Creator asks where you want to get the image from.
Using your own image
This time, choose the option for ‘From My Computer’:
Navigate to your image and select it.
Warning! Cover Creator will attempt to ‘fit’ any image into the template, but the greater the difference in size between the image and the template, the less successful the result will be. For best results, the cover image should be tailored to the exact dimensions of the cover template.
Once you have selected the background image for the cover, you may find that the existing design elements – layout, text colours and font – no longer fit the new image.
In the example shown below, the Title and Author Name cover up too much of the cover image and the back cover needs to be re-worked:
This is where the ‘Start Over’ button can be very useful.
The Start Over button, located on the bottom left of the screen, deletes all the design elements – fonts, font colours, layout etc – while leaving the text, cover image and Author Photo intact. This is quite handy if you need to start the design process from scratch.
After clicking the Start Over button, Cover Creator displays a confirmation popup:
To continue, click the OK button.
You should now be looking at the template selection screen again:
This time we are going to select a special template that does not provide the Title and Author Name on the front cover. This template is particularly handy for those who have already published the book as an ebook and hence already have a front cover, or those who want to create something a little more unique for the front cover.
Template: Use with front cover image’
Click the template for ‘Use with front cover image’ [circled in orange above].
You should now be in the template workspace with the new template displaying the old cover image. To change the cover image, click the image and then select Choose a new cover image from the Edit Cover Image popup:
Once again, KDP displays the image selection screen with the three options of: ‘From Image Gallery’, ‘From My Computer’, and ‘Skip This Step’.
This time, choose the option for ‘From My Computer’. Navigate to the front cover image you wish to use and select it.
In the example below, a special font was used for the title and another image was added to it. The size and positioning of all the text was also designed to allow the cover image to ‘tell a story’.
Unfortunately, the orange triangle above the front cover image indicates that Cover Creator found a problem. Hovering the mouse over the triangle displays the error message below:
Cover image error
To ensure a good quality cover, KDP recommends that the cover image be 300 DPI – i.e. 300 Dots Per Inch, but the cover image is only 293 DPI.
As the image is very close to being good enough, we could ignore the message, or choose a better one. But we won’t. Instead, we’re going to scale the image down.
Scaling an image down means making it a little smaller. This has the effect of pushing the dots per inch closer together, thereby increasing the DPI.
Note: when you make an image larger, you decrease the resolution because you’re expanding the area covered by the same number of dots per inch.
Scaling the cover image
To scale the image down, start by clicking anywhere inside the image. This causes a ‘frame’ to be displayed around it:
Click-hold-and-drag one of the corners towards the middle of the image as shown above. As you drag the corner the image will become blurry. As soon as you release the corner, the image will snap back into focus.
If you scale the image down too far, press the ‘Click to reset image position’ option on the Edit Cover Image popup. This will undo everything and return the image to its original size and location.
As soon as the orange triangle disappears, you can stop scaling the image.
As before, click the Preview button below the image to see the cover without the guidelines.
When you’re happy with the appearance of the cover, click the ‘Save and Submit’ button on the Preview screen:
KDP will display a confirmation that the cover uploaded successfully.
In the next section we will look at reviewing and approving your book.