Oh, this is getting exciting! You’re about to publish your manuscript on Amazon, using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)!
(Cue record-scratch sound.) Wait a minute. You need to make sure you’ve got that document formatted correctly.
It’s okay. Calm down. It won’t be that bad. You can do this. And you can do it right within the Word program. Whew!
You see, when I went to format my manuscript for publishing, I read lots of information online. That can be a mistake. Yes, there was a lot of helpful information, but there was a lot of misinformation too. Or maybe it was just dated information. I read about downloading a document conversion program, to put my document into some other format (RTF, or something like that). Even the step-by-step instructions on Amazon seemed confusing and daunting. Anyway, make it easy on yourself. Word documents are compatible with Amazon publishing, just the way they are! Don’t convert your manuscript into any other form of document. Not even a PDF file. Forget about it!
There are several formatting things you need to do, though.
First, if you haven’t already done so, set up your Word document with page numbers. If you don’t know how, search “page numbers” in Word help (it’s the little blue circle with the question mark in the upper right), and follow the instructions. Unlike the document for your ebook, your paperback document needs page numbers. I found this out the hard way. Someone ordered and received my paperback and told me that there were no page numbers. Oops! My second edition now has page numbers.
Next, set up your manuscript’s paper size. “What size is that?” you ask. The answer: whatever size of book you want to end up with. Amazon allows you to choose your book’s dimensions. I chose one of the most common sizes for a paperback, which is 6″ width and 9″ height. Choose your size in the Amazon setup, and set your Word document to the same size. From the “page layout” tab, choose “size,” then “more paper sizes.” There you can enter in the dimensions you want. There, done.
Now, think about holding a paperback book. There’s what the call a “gutter” in the middle, between the two open pages. You need to account for that, so the printing doesn’t get lost in the gutter, making your book difficult to read. In other words, you need the right margin bigger on the left page, and the left margin bigger on the right page. (If this isn’t making sense, find an actual book, open it up, and you’ll see what I mean.) Here’s how to accomplish this: From the “page layout” tab, choose “margins,” then “mirrored.”
I didn’t know about all these steps until I went to upload my manuscript. I would get to the preview step, and there would be red warnings all over my pages. Yikes! So I managed to stumble through these steps one at a time, finding fewer and fewer red marks each time I re-uploaded and looked at the preview. It took at least a couple hours! I hope that I have saved you some time and frustration by describing the steps above.
Next we will have a look at uploading your book cover. That took me hours too, but I can help you so it won’t take you nearly that long. Stay tuned!
Also, please share with us your tips for uploading manuscripts, and what you have learned. More teachers please!