Our journey to becoming a published author now moves into the more traditional space. Here is how to move your eBook to print.
There are a host of platforms for publishing your book. I chose kindle direct publishing (KDP) to complete my first book. Remember, “When a sneeze was a sneeze” is a children’s picture book and is governed by its own set of runs. We initially released the eBook, but I wish I had done the print book first. Although the KDP platform walks you through the process steps and helps you check the components of your uploaded book, we will discuss a few problems we encountered.
I am going to walk through the process for our print book as this is where we encountered the most issues. One of the reasons we chose KDP was that it provides many step-by-step resources as well as video content in its KDP University that allowed us to go from zero knowledge to being able to publish our first book in six weeks. We used a standard 8.5” x 11” page size resulting in a full spread of 17” x 11” as pictured above.
Our layout was largely full-bleed illustrations, which means our images cover the entire page and “bleed” over the margins. KDP provides templates to ensure that your illustrations are sized properly to ensure there is no white space and that the text of your book is within the viewable area. They also provide direction on how to set up commonly used text editors, such a Microsoft Word, to facilitate building your manuscript. I used PowerPoint to create a manuscript that I converted to a PDF for upload into the KDP platform.
Building two 8.5” x 11” pages from a 17” x 11” illustration requires splitting the image in the exact center by leveraging the template you created. I would start on the left page and drag the image to the upper left corner. In PowerPoint, the remaining part of the image is cut off by the size of the slide. I would then insert the same picture on the next page (right-hand page as you read the book) and drag the right corner of the image to the upper right-hand corner of the page. If your illustration and template are properly sized the result is a perfect split of your image. We had several pages that had single-page illustrations as well. Once our images were placed we used the “Send to Back” function to ensure that the text we added would sit in front of the image. Our template ensured the text we added was within the defined margins suggested by KDP. You can save yourself a lot of issues by ensuring your illustrator is aware of the text placement and that there is an area of sufficient contrast to place your text. Planning and periodic reviews are a good idea.
Now that we have the completed manuscript, we must save the file in a format that will allow you to import your book into KDP. Within PowerPoint you can go to File > Save a Copy and change the file type to PDF. The minimum number of pages for a print book is 24. It may be necessary to add blank pages to your book to shift the first page to the right-hand page as you read, for instance. In our case, we had to amend our book’s PDF file several times once we viewed the finished product in the Kindle Previewer.
The process to build your cover was a bit less taxing. Again, I would encourage you to leverage the KDP University content on the topic and the associated templates. There is a formula that allows you to set up your template based on the number of pages you have and a few other variables. My initial cover was rejected but the platform told me exactly what I needed to do to fix the problem.
Alright, manuscript complete? Check. Cover complete? Check. Let’s get published. KDP provides step-by-step instructions.
You will follow a workflow that will take you through adding your “Paperback Details,” “Paperback Content,” and “Paperback Rights & Pricing.” There are help sections for each of these and the process is straightforward. The section on content was the most exciting as it provides a look into your final project. Here you will decide on the paper your book will be printed on, the final size (you have already done this), the bleed settings, and the cover finish. Next, you will upload the PDF files for your manuscript and cover, and voila, you are ready to launch the previewer and approve your print book.
The previewer will verify you have followed all the rules and point out when you colored outside the lines. We had to change the size of our cover template by .306 inches and move some of our text away from the margins, but the details of the problem were specific and easy to understand. The software also took care of embedding our fonts which was an issue we had overlooked. Once you have corrected any issues and reviewed your final copy you can proceed to the pricing page. Here is where you set your price and can request a printed proof before hitting the publish button.
It takes only a few days to receive your book but by this time you are so excited, it seems like months. If you are happy with the final product, you can return to the “Paperback Rights & Pricing” section and hit the “Publish Your Paperback Book.” Within 72 hours, your book is live on Amazon and you are on your way to the best sellers list with a little luck.
Here are a few stumbling blocks we hit, bear in mind we had no experience and completed this project in six weeks:
For the best results, all images should be sized at 100%, flattened to one layer, and inserted into your manuscript file at a minimum resolution of 300 DPI (dots per inch).
Embed your fonts to prevent unintended design changes to your text.
Proofread everything and when perfect, proofread it again. We put an image of our cover on KDP as a place holder that required multiple phone calls and a week to resolve.
We wanted the pain to learn the process but once we had our illustrations and text, we could have leveraged a professional designer to format our book for the KDP platform. You can find help at Fiverr Pro to handle almost all the heavy lifting when creating your book including finding an illustrator.
In closing, I would appreciate it if you could share this with any aspiring authors out there, and feel free to reach out with any questions. You can also buy our book on Amazon by clicking: When a sneeze was a sneeze.