Amazon. The necessary evil. I’ve resisted Amazon KDP printing my book Publish Your Way to More Clients for a few years now (I’ve sold it through Amazon Advantage), but I’ve come to realise that they are not going to go away, so if you can’t beat them, join them. In this article I’ll be explaining how to upload your book onto Amazon through the KDP platform and what that means to you, the author.
If you’ve been following me then you know that I’ve recommended selling your book through Amazon Advantage – if someone bought your book on Amazon, you would get an order, you’d then send Amazon a copy (using they’re super complicated ordering system) and then Amazon would send your book to the buyer. However, I’ve come to realise that although they take a considerable chunk of your commission, getting Amazon to PRINT your book, the distribution is quicker and easier and it means you don’t need to faff around with sending copies of your book to Amazon whenever anyone buys one. But before you switch, remember;
Pros to Advantage: The advantage with this option is you can have whatever trim size and cover finish you like Amazon KDP only allows certain trim sizes, limits cover finishes and offers just 2 types of paper, cream and white (both not particularly nice imo). You have complete control over your books finish as you’re supplying them with your printed book.
Cons to advantage: YOU are responsible for managing and sending orders. This could be a disadvantage to the reader (as they are waiting longer) and your book information might say out of stock on your listing if you’ve been late with sending them books. I also think they penalise you in rankings – I don’t have proof of this, but I’m sure they give higher rankings to books they print, as they are making more money.
A quick note; Amazon KDP used to be called CreateSpace. This has now merged with KDP. Don’t confuse Kindle with print. (KDP was how you published your Kindle book but they now do print-on-demand as well.)
So, if you’ve decided to use KDP to print your book, you will need to have a few things in place first;
Your book needs to be laid out and exported to PDF to one of the KDP trim sizes – A list of trim sizes are here. Your exporting settings will need to conform to Amazon requirements as well. Not doing this could lead to Amazon rejecting your upload. They are VERY picky!
You will need to make sure your cover is set up correctly (using the right bleed and trim size) even if you are .5mm out it’ll be rejected, so pay attention to this. You can find a handy cover generator here.
If you are new to KDP – in other words NOT selling anything already – then you’ll be asked to fill out a TAX information form. This includes your bank details, TIN number and your inside leg measurement 😉
If you’re already selling a Kindle then you can just log into your KDP account, go to book shelf and add your paperback. You will need to fill out all of the books details, but you won’t need to repeat the banking/tax setup. As an aside, Amazon are a US company, and although you can sell your book through amazon.co.uk they will assume you’re based in the US.
Imprint name. This is who has published your book. Your title verso page should have this listed. If you’re unsure of who this is, it’s whoever you got your ISBN from. If you bought your ISBN from Nielsen’s directly, then you would have had to tell them who the publisher is (whatever name you’ve given them) or if you’ve bought your ISBN from an independent publisher then its their name.
Your ISBN allocation. You have a few options when it comes to ISBN. You can chose to have one of Amazon’s free ISBNs – BUT you will not be able to sell your book OTHER than through Amazon. It’ll state ‘Independently published’ on the tile page. If you then wanted to sell your book on other platforms, then you’ll need to get another ISBN. KDP offer an ISBN from Bowker’s at a discounted rate $99 at time of writing this article – but Bowker is based in the States, so if you are a UK author, this might not be attractive.
If you’ve bought your own ISBN (or bought one from Compass-Publishing) then you can list yourself – or your company name – as the publisher on the Title verso page, just make sure this is also listed as the imprint name when you’re uploading your book. If you’ve chosen this option, make sure you check the ‘I have my own ISBN’ box. There are also two options for how this ISBN gets displayed on your cover. You can get Amazon to do this for you, but you need to make sure you’ve allowed enough space on the cover for this (here are the guidelines) or you can add the ISBN yourself. This is a much more professional option so make sure whoever has designed your cover has added it. Whichever option you’ve chosen, make sure you tick the relevant box on KDP.
Another note: If you’re only publishing a kindle version of your book then you DON’T need an ISBN. You will be assigned an ASIN number by Amazon, and this will be used to identify it.
Paper and cover finish. You have two options when it comes to paper. White or cream. Each of these choices will affect your cover dimensions, so make sure you have chosen the correct paper choice. You will also get two choices of cover finish, glossy or matt. This makes no difference with overall cover size.
You’ll then be asked to upload your interior and cover files. You’ll need to preview them before you can save your upload. Any major issues will be flagged up, but it takes 24 hours for them to ‘process’ your book and make sure all trim and bleed sizes are correct. You will be notified by email once the book has been approved (or needs attention).
You’ll then need to order a proof. Be warned, even if you have opted for your own ISBN, they will print a dummy ISBN onto your cover, so that you can’t then sell this ‘proof’ copy. Once you approve the proof, the dummy ISBN will be removed and won’t show up on any orders going forwards.
Uploading your book to KDP is fairly easy and quick. The issues occur if you haven’t set up your interior or cover files properly and it’s usually the bleed which catches people out. You also need to know what paper choice you’re having before you set up your cover file as this affects spine width. If however you’ve used an experienced cover designer/typesetter then you shouldn’t have any issues at all.