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Self-publishing your paperback - Kindle Direct Publishing

From e-book to paperback copies in just a few weeks

  • From e-book to paperback

  • What needs to change?

  • Print material options

  • Judge a book by its cover

  • Quality image (file size)

  • Textual considerations

  • Choose a book title

  • Book length (words or pages)

  • Pricing policies

  • International markets

  • Edits, updates, new editions

  • Lead time on delivery

  • Author copies

  • Marketing and Promotion

Paperback writer

Whether it's a romance novel or a non-fiction text book, you can use Amazon's KDP printing service to publish your next paperback - in a matter of weeks.

Before the internet and KDP - and at the time 'Paperback Writer' by The Beatles was a hit single - it would take several months to take a book to print.

From e-book to paperback

Preparing to self-publish in paperback is the same, to start with, as for your e-book. Check out key guidelines here...

You can use the same software and even the same original files created for your e-book, adjusting the formatting for your paperback version.

What needs to change?

You may wish to alter the margin sizes and increase the typeface for a more easy-to-read paperback version. Justified alignment of text looks more professional, in paperback as well as e-book.

Print material options

Paperbacks are 'tactile' - not digital - they need to 'feel' pleasant to pick up and handle.

Depending on your own preferences, and those of your genre, you may decide on white or cream paper going to print, or a thicker material for a more quality look and feel.

Judge a book by its cover

The thickness of your cover may add to its 'perceived value'. You may prefer a gloss finish, or the quality, silky feel of a matte cover.

The cover design can either sell a book, or put people off. Choose (illustration) wisely, getting feedback from friends, family - and impartial opinion - before going to print.

Quality image (file size)

Ideally, use the same cover and image as you have for your e-book. However, it needs to be at least 300 dpi for print, otherwise KDP will reject it (as would any other printer).

Textual considerations

A sub-title can add nice touch - especially if it is part of a series.

Remember to include a list of other books you have published and write a well thought out biography for yourself.

Write a 'sales', but not misleading, description of the contents - if non-fiction, or outline - if a story.

Book title

Make this unique to your book where you can. No single author owns the copyright to a title - which is why you see many books sharing the same title. (However, you might be pulled up if you entitled your own masterpiece "The Catcher In The Rye'!)

Flick through books of a similar genre or subject to your own, noting the 'style' of the bestsellers - for ideas.

Book length (words or number of pages)

Conduct research for your genre or subject matter. It may vary. You need to fit in with the norm. e.g. a historical saga spanning centuries may need to contain more pages than, say, a witty romantic romp. 

(Whilst the latter can extend to 400 pages or more, conversely, it may be inappropriate for the former to be cut short at 50,100 words.)


Again, you need to 'fit in' with the competition - especially if this is your first book. 
Once you become established you may find your 'unique selling proposition' (USP) enables you to demand a premium price.

However, be aware that even books by the likes of Jeffry Archer may be out there at discounted prices.

International markets

Paperbacks through KDP, as well as e-books, can be made available in overseas countries. If you extend your reach, conduct adequate research as it may require a different promotional approach and pricing.

Edits, updates, new editions

This is covered on the e-books section. The factor regarding not needing to publish any quantity up front is especially relevant for non-fiction, where you may need to release an update say, annually. (e.g. a travel book)

Lead time on delivery

Partly because KDP need to review and accept your uploaded manuscript, the first order could take a week or two. Thereafter, deliveries to those ordering on Amazon should be just a matter of days.

Author copies

You can buy sample copies at cost, plus a modest delivery - as well as send them to friends, family and reviewers. 

Advertising, Marketing and Promotion

This is the same as for e-books, in principle. Author copies are great for book-signing promotions. Look out for free opportunities on Author Central and Bookbub.

KDP quality of printed copies of your book can be excellent - see here

Unblock writers' block - take a walk

Publishing paperbacks on KDP can be as easy as walking the dog - ebooks too

Libre Baskerville is a classic font with a modern twist which you can use if you wish but KDP offers many alternatives available in your Word manuscript.

Your paperback font can be different from your ebook.

Rose The Missing Years by romantic novel

You can design your own cover on KDP but a professionally created front cover can be a big positive boost to sales.

Images need to be 300 dpi ready for print

River Sence - near The Ford Blaby off Mi

Insights into the author and snippets from the actual book - in words or pictures - helps readers connect with you and your story.

Milly Cutler wrote and performed this song

Creating a website for your books and for yourself as an author enables you to add video and sound to back up scenes in your story - like this song.

Could this be Rosalee from The Sign of t

If your novels include a feelgood factor, be sure to include them in your bio, imagery or descriptions.


Advice offered on this page is just that - for guidance only based on the author's experience.

It is the reader's responsibility to check the precise KDP terms and conditions, which may be subject to change.

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