Publishing FAQs

I thought I would put together some helpful tips for self-publishing. I know the distributors don't make super simple to get all files uploaded seamlessly, so maybe this can help! I'm happy to continue adding tidbits, so if you would like to see anything added, please let us know!


Kindle Direct Publishing:

Kindle Direct Publishing can be used for publishing on the Kindle Platform, which includes Kindle Unlimited (an ebook subscription that allows authors to be paid per page read), and now print, as well. Publishing your book through print on Kindle Direct Publishing DOES have the option of expanded distribution, which allows your books to appear in other catalogs, but not Barnes & Noble or other print distribution channels. 

Therefore, if you aren't concerned about Barnes & Noble distribution through their online store, or you don't mind publishing a second edition through Nook Press (Barnes & Noble's print distributor), then Kindle Direct Publishing makes the print uploading process simpler. 


  • Files:
To upload your ebook for publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing, you will a JPG file of your ebook cover only, and an EPUB file of your formatted manuscript. Kindle does allow the possibility to upload a Word file and a Mobi file too, but formatting is a bit tricky with Word and Mobi files are generally larger than Epub files, which means you will pay a few cents more for purchase handling, which is taken out of your revenue. 
  • BISAC Codes:
You will also need to choose two BISAC codes. 
  • Keywords:
 You will need to choose keywords
  • DRM:
Kindle gives you the option of choosing to have your book secured with DRM (Digital Rights Management). Authors choose this option if they are concerned about their book being pirated. If you do not select DRM, there is a higher chance your book wills how up on the free download sites. Once you choose DRM or no DRM, you cannot change this option after publication. With the exception of one book, I have always gone with DRM for protection.

Kindle Unlimited: 

You either love this program or hate. If you have a target market that typically read a new book each day, there is a good chance they may be a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber. Those who are not a subscriber can still purchase your book for the price you list. However, subscribers will be able to download your book for free and you will get paid per page they read. The price per page changes monthly due to the Kindle Unlimited "pot," which is determined by the number of subscribers versus the number of Kindle Unlimited authors. The average is somewhere around $0.0040-$0.0050 per page.

Important:  Kindle Unlimited is that you are required to be published exclusively with Amazon, which means you can not publish any other versions of your book with iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.

Printing with Kindle Direct Publishing:

These preferences in the below image are common.
  • The trim size will often vary depending on your preference or the length of your book. Some novellas may be better as a 5 x 8, and larger books might be best as a 6 x 9 layout.
  • Black & White Interior with cream paper is pretty typical.
  • "No Bleed" is a big one because most often there is already a bleed line formatted into your interior formatted manuscript. By choosing "Bleed," your requesting more padding around the edges of your interior pages, which will make your page count much longer and will also cause your cover to be misaligned and likely rejected. 
  • Choosing between a matte or glossy finish for your cover is purely your preference. Although, one hint from experience—darker colored covers will sometimes show fingerprints on matte finishes.
The amount of pages in your manuscript will determine the width of your book cover's spine, so make sure your cover designer has altered the final file to fit your interior manuscript. You will be required to upload a PDF file with the proper CMYK and 300DPI requirements. If any artwork appears outside of the bleed-lines on your preview, it is likely that your book cover will be rejected until the size requirements are corrected.
You will also be asked to upload your interior manuscript. This file must be in PDF form. 
Once all files are approved, you have the option of ordering Author Proof copies, which will be sent out to you with the word PROOF on the cover, so I don't recommend using these to hand out as Advanced Reader Copies.
Important: Once you hit submit, the book will be published on Amazon.



These preferences in the below image are common.
  • The trim size will often vary depending on your preference or the length of your book. Some novellas may be better as a 5 x 8, and larger books might be best as a 6 x 9 layout.
  • Black & White Interior with creme paper is pretty typical.
  • Choosing between a matte or glossy finish for your cover is purely your preference. Although, one hint from experience—darker colored covers will sometimes show fingerprints on matte finishes.

Bleed or No Bleed?

Just like with Kindle Direct Publishing, the bleed question typically ends up causing most of the trouble, so make sure you choose "Ends before the edge of the paper" if your manuscript has been professional formatted. 


You will need to upload a PDF:X-2001 CMYK 300DPI file for your exterior cover wrap, and you will need to upload a PDF formatted file for your interior. Createspace will take about 24 hours to check over all of your files, so it's important to make sure these guidelines are followed if you are on a tight schedule. 


Once your print book has been approved, you will be able to set the price as well as choose your distribution channels. With Createspace, your book will be available at all other online book stores, including Barnes & Noble. If you are not ready to publish your print book yet, but would like to order early (non-proof) copies, you can publish just through the Createspace store and order from your dashboard. Your avid readers will likely be on the main distributor pages waiting for your book to become live, so this is a good way to get a head start. Once you click approve proof (after channels have been chosen), the book will be published.


Troubleshooting your print rejection:

There can be a number of issues preventing your cover and/or interior from being approved by any of the print distributors. 

Here are a few things you can check over yourself to see if it could contributing to the issue:

  • Cover files must be 300 DPI, which is a dot-per-inch sizing technique that determines whether an image is print quality. If a rejection says there was anything less than 300 DPI on your cover, that means an image needs to be corrected and scaled to the proper sizing requirements. This could be as small as a logo or an author picture on the back cover. 
  • If the error states that there is not enough spacing allowed on the spine, that could mean your cover designer and the formatter (if two different people), or even yourself have not all matched up with specks. This means:

Cover Designer: Prepared cover for 240 pages at 5.5 x 8.5

Formatter: Prepared interior for 260 pages at 5.5 x 8.5

Author: Uploaded file and chose 5 x 8 size interior. 

**To make sure this doesn't happen, all parties involved need to be informed of the accurate page count (to the single page number, rounded to an even number) and the chosen book cover size. 

  • Another big cause for this error is the bleed issue mentioned above. If you add an extra bleed line on top of a bleed line that already exists, this will throw off the page count calculated within Kindle and Createspace. 
  • Another common issue is if the cover is not exported in CMYK (ink colors). If a cover is exported with RGB ( web colors), there is a chance the cover will still be approved, but the output will not look the same after print as it does on your screen. 
  • Lastly, there are errors that can be caused by a designer, as well. If there is any text that is overlapping the bleedlines, the cover will be rejected. You can typically see if this is the case when viewing a preview of the cover before hitting submit. If there is text overlapping any computer generated line on the preview, you should speak to your designer and share a screenshot so the issue can be resolved before you submit for approval. 


If you are interested in publishing wide, sites like Draft 2 Digital and Smashwords can be a great third-party distribution method to help you manage your titles all in one place, rather than uploading separately to the distributors. They will have their own step-by-step guide on uploading, but they will be very similar to Kindle Direct Publishing.



Example One:

Copyright © 2018 by Jack Smith

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.

Publishing Name 
City, State Zip

Part in pink is optional.

Example Two:

Copyright © 2018 by Jack Smith
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Printed in the United States of America

First Printing, 2018

ISBN 0-0000000-0-0

[Address or P.O. Box Here]



FRONT COVER: The words 'Advance Reader Copy' should be clearly displayed on the front cover along with "Not for Sale" or "Not for Redistribution."
    FIRST INTERIOR PAGE: "This ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of [TITLE] by [AUTHOR NAME] is an uncorrected digital copy. Please note that that the content inside, as well as the launch date are subject to change."
    ISBN: 000-0000-000
    Intended launch date: