How to Publish with KDP: Part Four

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Hello SErs. Harmony here. As promised earlier, here is the fourth installment in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and on sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.

If you’d like to take a look back at the previous posts in this series, please click on the links below:



Part 1 (Software) :

Part 2 (General Formatting Necessities) :

Part 3 (Ebook Conversion) :

To make it easy to browse back and forth, I’ve set all links to open in new tabs. As this series progresses, I will update the links for you so that each post includes links to all past posts in the series.

So, here’s Part Four: How to Format for Paperback

Today’s post covers the nuts and bolts of getting your finished manuscript into print/paperback format. While this process is much simpler than the requirements for an eBook, you will need to know things like margins and gutters, front pages layout, headers and footers, recto and verso, etc.

TIP: Paperback books do not require a table of contents like eBooks do. In print, a TOC is completely optional and up to you. If you do want to include one, you do not need to link the TOC, and it will–again–always go at the front of the book–usually at the end of all the other front pages.

For print, you will need to ensure that your margins, headers and footers, and the page gutters are large enough to allow for the printing process. The gutter is the inside edge of each page, which will end up in the middle of the finished book and is where the spine is bound. If you leave too small a gutter, your content will get lost when your reader folds the book open to read.

With the margins and the gutter, it is not worth making them too small in order to save money on printing costs. The same with your text print size … it is not a good idea to go small to save on the number of pages to be printed. You need to have compassion for your readers πŸ™‚

If you’re not sure about the margin, gutter, header, and footer allowance requirements, KDP offer templates HERE, and shows you guidelines HERE. Once you have downloaded your template folder, you will need to choose your trim size (the size of the book) and the language you are publishing in. Below is a screen capture of the margin and gutter requirements for KDP print publishing …



You will notice that the page ranges are generous, so you don’t need to worry too much about the page count changing once you’ve set your margins, etc. If you use one of Amazon’s templates, your margins will be set automatically right from the beginning.

Below, I show common trim sizes, which basically show the finished size of your print book …











The above trim sizes allow for expanded distribution (more on that in future posts). The sizes available to you will depend upon the paper colour you choose, as well as whether your book is in colour or black and white. For all text-heavy novels, I would recommend choosing white paper and black & white print. Only picture books warrant the cost of full colour interiors.

For deciding on trim size, see a previous post of mine on the subject:

TIP: The first page of your book needs to start on the recto (right) side of the book. This will ensure it appears on the ‘front’ side of the paper rather than the ‘rear’.

Recto is right or front. Verso is left or rear. If when you preview your print book on Amazon’s online previewer your book starts on the verso, you can solve this by the simple expedient of adding a blank page at the front of the book. It’s no good adding a blank page at the back, as this will ‘disappear’ in the conversion process. In effect, Amazon will ‘steal’ any blank page at the rear. A good place to add the extra blank page if needed, and if you don’t have one placed there already, is after the TOC if you have them, or after any dedication page. In short, right before the main body of your book begins. If in doubt, have a play and see what looks good. Also, you can check out other paperbacks that you have on your shelves and see what those publishers did.

Front pages want to be unumbered and without any header or footer text.

To obtain this, you will need to format your section breaks correctly. When you set each section break, you will have chosen (ideally) ‘next page’. To stop extraneous text from appearing on your front pages, you need to format your section breaks by double-clicking on the symbol. To do this, you want your ‘show formatting’ turned on. See below …










The top circle is your ‘show formatting’ button. When this is turned on, the blue symbols show up on screen. With this activated, click on the double blue lines of your section break (see the bottom circle). This will open the following dialogue box.









Select ‘different first page’. You will need to do this for the next section break in the sequence too. This will ensure that any header or footer text will not show in this section.

Likewise, you do not want your header or footer text to show on the first page of any chapter. So each section wants setting up in the same way all the way through to the end of the book.

Once your section breaks are taken care of, you can insert your header and page numbers.

Both Word, Scrivener, and Vellum offer you a number of different header and footer layouts for inserting book title, author name, and page numbers. Below is an example of how I set this up in one of my older books …
















And, the Chapter Start page …














You will see that no page number or other information appears on this page. It is set to appear the same as the front pages.

If you prefer, you can have a page number on this chapter title page. However, you do not ever want your author name or the book title (or any other text) to appear on these title pages.

Below is a screen shot of the dialogue boxes for displaying your headers and footers …











Within Word, click on ‘document elements’ (1 in the image). Then click on ‘page numbers’ (2 in the image). The first dialogue box will open (3 in image).

Set your alignment the way you want it. Then select ‘format’ (4 in image).

In the ‘format’ dialogue box select ‘start at … 1’ for the section break at the end of the first chapter. This will set up your page count to begin at page one. The page count will now follow through for the rest of the book automatically.

If you prefer, you can have the first page of the book set to continue from previous section … this will start your first story page on a page count that includes your front pages. Personally, I prefer to start the first page of the first chapter on number one.

Once you have your manuscript formatted, you want to save it to a PDF ready to upload to the Amazon KDP print platform.

For this stage, I have Adobe Acrobat. And for editing a PDF, especially for easily adding blank pages, I use a cheap PDF editor (for Mac: Wondershare Editor Pro is great). There are lots of such programs out there, so have a look around and see what works for you. This is a much cheaper option than paying for an editable Adobe PDF program.

Before you upload, set your PDF viewer to ‘two-page display’, so that you can get a good idea of how your finished book is likely to look.

Here’s an example of the PDF display …


You can find tips and guidlines for uploading your paperback on Amazon’s help pages HERE.

That’s it from me for today. I hope you’ve found this post useful. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and I’ll see you all again on Wednesday, February 19th, where we’ll be taking a look at the various software available for making your book covers. Information on uploading your manuscripts and covers will come later in this series.

Β©Harmony Kent 2020

(If you're reading this post on or after February 19th, 2020, then here's the link for Part 5 in the How to Publish with KDP series: Please note, the link won't work until February 19th, 2020.)

30 thoughts on “How to Publish with KDP: Part Four

  1. This is such an educational series, Harmony! Thank you SO much for breaking it down into sections and showing examples. That makes it all much easier to navigate. As with the other posts in this series, I’m pinning for future use!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m putting this email in the starred file, Harmony. As someone who has never done this before (someone helped me self-publish with my first book), I want to give this a whirl down the road.

    By the way, I have your Polish Your Prose book coming up soon on my Kindle. I’m looking forward to giving it a read, and I’ll be sure and give you some feedback and try to leave a review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Harmony. I’ve been doing my formatting for five books now and enjoyed your step by step process. I usually do the print version set up and then go to the ebook. In this way, it is a matter of eliminating headers and footers and adding in a TOC and it is good to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: How to Publish with KDP: Part Four | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

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