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You encourage writers to self-publish a paperback version. Why can’t I just have an e-book?

You can! But if you want to have copies to sell at talks and local fairs, you should produce a paperback version. It’s the same content – you’ve written the book, exploit all the options available to make use of that hard work. Holding the paperback version is quite some achievement and one to celebrate. I doubt you will feel quite so thrilled to see the book land on your e-reader.


Okay, I’ve finished my manuscript and want to self-publish it. What now?

Assuming you are happy with the book only being available on Amazon – as both a paperback and an e-book – consider using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.


How much does it cost to use KDP?

Excluding your own costs (editing, proofreading, cover design, etc.) it’s free to use. They even have free cover templates.


That sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?

There’s no catch. Every time you sell a copy of your book, KDP will deduct their slice of the royalty (approximately 60%) from the book’s price. So, if your book has a retail price of £7.00 you will receive approximately £3 and KDP will receive the balance.


£3 doesn’t sound much. Why is that considered a good deal?

It’s a good deal because you haven’t had to pay for any set-up fees, committed to ordering a minimum number or become involved in sourcing a printer.  


Can you give me a brief overview?

  • Produce a Word document of your book’s interior.

  • Select the book’s size from KDP and copy the content into their Word template for that size.

  • Check you have page breaks at the end of each chapter and for the front and back matter.

  • Begin the page numbering from the first page of the actual book, not the front matter.

  • Produce the document as a PDF.

  • Upload it to KDP.

  • Upload your cover (or use a free template).

  • Download a proof copy to check.

  • Order a proof copy to check.

  • Sell your book!


Is it really that easy?

Pretty much. Just make sure you have prepared your document before you begin uploading it. If you need help with that preparation, please email me. For a nominal fee I will ensure your document complies with the KDP requirements. Also, I can upload it for you. Click here for more information.


Why do I need to copy the content into a template?

If you look at a paperback book you will notice that the inside margins – where the spine is – are deeper than those for the edges. The KDP template has those margins preset for the size of book you choose.


What’s next?

No one will knock on your door asking if you’ve written a book. You must market it. Create an online presence – a Facebook Author Page, a Twitter account. Here’s my golden rule for advertising on social media:


Engage – react to what others are saying… even if it’s just a photo of a cute dog.

Entertain – share interesting information, perhaps photos of where your book is set.

Exploit – advertise your book. By this time your followers will know you and be interested in your product.


That sounds easy. I can do that.

Of course you can. The secret is not to bash your followers over the head with adverts. Keep them entertained. And, most importantly, feed those sites. A few posts when your book is published won’t be enough. Marketing your book should become as important as writing it.


Hang on, what about an e-book?

Once you’re happy with the book’s interior, the only preparation is to remove any blank pages. That’s it.


Surely there must be a catch to that?

Nope. Just follow the instructions – again, if I can do it… And if you’re stuck, let me help you.



That all sounds fine and dandy but I’m hoping to get my book into shops – at least the local ones. Can I do that?

It’s unlikely that even an indie shop will stock a book produced with KDP. But don’t despair. You can still produce a PrintOnDemand book – it just takes a little more time and money.


Do I need to buy an ISBN?

KDP provide a free ISBN. However, if you are considering self-publishing a book and having it available on platforms other than Amazon, you will need to buy one. Please note that buying your own ISBN is not a guarantee your book will be available in high street stores.


I’m going for my own ISBN; how will I get my book printed?

Well, you don’t want to commit to buying enough books to fill your spare room, so POD is an excellent option. There are a number of service providers. There will be set-up fees to pay, but if you’re serious about selling your book in stores and are relatively confident you will cover the costs, it’s worth investigating.


If I do use my own ISBN and opt out of KDP will my book still be available on Amazon?

Yes. It’s uploaded in the same way but instead of requesting the free ISBN you enter the one you have bought.


And what about the e-book?

Have a look at some free software that will help create the e-book file. Calibre is very popular. If you do use a third party to create the file you will be able to upload it to other platforms – Kobo, Apple, etc.


This is starting to sound very complicated. Is it?

Not really. But it’s important to have realistic aspirations. Many authors are happy with the KDP product. They fulfil their dream of writing, publishing and holding their book in their hands. They offer to give talks at local clubs, sell the book at craft fairs. Then they write the next book…


But it all smacks of vanity. Surely I must be vain to consider my book worthy of self-publishing?

If you self-publish an inferior product then you will be more than vain, you will be daft. If you have written the best book you possibly can and feel that it’s of interest to others, then self-publish it. Today, even traditionally published authors are opting to self-publish their books. Successful short story writers – who appear in all the popular magazines – are self-publishing collections of previously published stories. Those stories have been submitted to magazines and accepted by highly critical editors. Self-publishing them is not vanity.


I’m considering self-publishing a book to raise money for charity. Is that feasible?

Absolutely! I wrote a short book about my experiences with breast cancer. All the royalties I receive are donated to Macmillan.


Okay, I’m warming to the idea. Do I need to employ a designer for my cover?

A book is judged by its cover and having a professionally designed cover could be the finishing touch your book needs. Even if you are only self-publishing with KDP, you will certainly want to showcase your book at local events and having a good cover will help with your marketing. A professional designer will interpret your synopsis and bring together the various elements – good font, alignment, colours, etc. – that get a cover noticed for the right reasons. The designers I recommend have been used by my clients. Some are award-winners.