I published a book on Amazon!

Posted by on January 30th, 2020  •  1 Comment

I’ve been working a lot on my book. I’ve been studying online about the requirements of the Amazon publishing system. I’ve decided on a fixed layout epub book, while simultaneously publishing as a “print on demand” paperback. I was ready to publish tonight but when I tried to login to Amazon, I found that my account uses two factor authentication. The other ‘factor’ is my old cell phone number…which I walked away from 2 years ago.

Amazon requires two factors, and I only have one. I have to call them tomorrow and try to sort it out. Rumor has it that you have to provide proof you are who you claim to be.  There is a facebook group about Amazon publishing. One of the things I learned there was that half inch margins are required. Because I only hand out pdf’s, I got sloppy. I spent an entire day corralling all my pages inside half inch margins.

I got Amazon sorted out by calling a semi-secret number. A real person answered and asked me a bunch of questions to verify my identity, then allowed me back into the account. Uploading the fixed width ebook went smoothly. I had to import the InDesign pdf into an app called Kindle Create, choosing  fixed layout. Kindle Create exported a file with a *.kpf extension. Which I then uploaded to my brand new Amazon KDP account. The book works perfect as an epub in the Apple ‘books’ app…so I guess that’s progress. InDesign has an export as fixed layout epub function.

After the ebook was published, KDP asked me if I wanted to do the paperback version. I said yes but it turns out their standards are much stricter for paper. They need a 5/8″ margin on the inside 0f the two page spreads. 0.5″ is ok on the outside.  So a total of 1.25″ inches of blank paper across the spine before any words or pictures can show. That meant another trip through all 209 pages, nudging the content 5 shift clicks outward. My book has nicely aligned master page artwork all set to half inch margins. If I ever write another book I’m going with 0.75 inch margins all the way around.

Another gotcha was when they ask if your book bleeds. I said yes because my cover does bleed. Turns out they really meant: “Does your manuscript bleed?”, not the cover. There are too separate pdf uploads…but the question was only asked once.

When I went to the online proofer, all 209 pages showed errors. I was frantically going through every single page and saw nothing wrong. What was Amazon complaining about? Then I looked at the cover proof and the light went on. It was all messed up. The cover bleeds natively, if you build it correctly in InDesign. You don’t have to choose bleed up on the Amazon site. So, I unchecked bleed and finally, finally got a green light, 24 hours later.

I learned soooo much in this process. There is a helpful facebook group for self publishing…some really nice people are on there giving out free advice.

I’m waiting on my author copies to arrive in the mail now. I’m hoping they aren’t a total trainwreck. My book has always printed flawlessly on color laser printers in the past. And it looked flawless when I downloaded the PDF proof. So, fingers crossed everything should be fine if they are using quality paper and modern on demand printing presses. I really need a break from all this unpaid work.  The book has taken over my life since I got back from jtree.

I have to say though, seeing my book go live on Amazon put a huge smile on my face. I may have even done a little happy dance.


1 thought on “I published a book on Amazon!”

  1. Hello Mr. Webster, I hope you and your family are doing well. I am one of your former students, Marisol Garcia. I am so happy you desire to publish your book. You’re a great teacher. I am in the process of building my own website for my crafts and jewelry sale. I don’t know how long it would take me, but I am excited about it. This is my new website but it is not ready yet. creationsbymarig.com

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