In an effort to help others with the long and grueling process- I decided to give a summary of my experience with Kindle Direct Publishing. Although Kindle is in the title of this program, it allows authors to also publish their book in paperback form.
What it comes down to is this- do you want to wait forever to get your work in the eyes of the world? Because if you do- traditional publishing is the way to go. However, if you want to stream-line the process (it’s still not fast) I highly recommend the self-publishing route. I can’t really walk you through the actual process of writing your book. But I think it is very useful to know that at some point after you’ve written it- even more tasking challenges are ahead.
The first of those challenges being formatting. Man it is a PAIN! I utilized the free templates available on KDP and still had to do a lot of manual format editing. But, I must admit, the word document templates they offered probably saved me a lot of extra time. These templates come in a large array of common book sizes- 9 X 6, 8.5 X 5.5, and so on. You must remember to get rid of all of the placeholders that the template auto-fills in for you. Or you could use one of the “blank ones” if you have a general idea of how you want the pages to look.
After hours of formatting (sorry it’s going to be time-consuming if it’s your first time) you get a chance to do all of the “cool” book stuff. Like creating your cover! They have a pretty functional cover creator on their site and I personally am happy with how mine turned out. Just MAKE SURE you use an image on your cover that isn’t copyrighted. They have some free images on the creator itself, but I strongly urge you to give sites like Unsplash a look. They offer a huge amount of high-quality and royalty-free images you can use on your cover. You aren’t even required to give credit to the photographer. Of course there are alternate choices- you can hire someone on Upwork or Fiverr to design a cover for you.
Now once you’ve uploaded your manuscript and designed or uploaded a cover, you get to set the price of your book. Make it available as both an e-book and a paperback because if you don’t you’re really just missing out on an even larger available audience to read your book. And if this is your first book that should be one of the main goals. Of course you want to make some money from it- but it’s also just really exciting to see people reading it! KDP will help you in recommending the prices, but you can set them to whatever you want within a certain range. Just make sure your paperback price will cover the printing fees they take out.
So, you’re ready to publish? No, not quite yet! Please, please, please- order a proof copy before releasing your paperback version into the world. You can go ahead and make the kindle version available because you can check how it will look online. But by ordering a proof copy of your own book you can make sure everything looks the way it should before releasing it. Once you’ve made any changes you wish- you’re finally ready! Go ahead and hit publish after going over all the settings one more time and now you just wait! KDP will review your book and settings and within 72 hours (even sooner in my experience) publish your book for sale!