Monday, March 22, 2021

Self-Publishing a Print Book, What You Need to Know


I'm pleased to say that print books haven't gone out of fashion yet, and there are still plenty of people who love the touch, feel and smell of a book.  Which is reason enough to want to write your own books and have shelves full of your own work.  But most importantly to have the sense of achievement that you've created something that other people can own and read, and know that your name is on the front cover.  

From a marketing perspective it also enables you to offer your readers the cheaper alternative of an ebook instead of the paperback version.  

Print books are handy to have when you're doing talks, giveaways, and as a marketing tool.

Here are some good reasons why you should always produce a print book:

  • People still love the solid feel of a book that they know they won't get with an ebook.
  • They can be used as useful marketing tools to encourage readers to buy more books.
  • Useful for comparison pricing when selling your book.

The Era of Print-on-Demand

You can use any free online print-on-demand service such as Kindle Direct Publishing, Ingramspark, Lulu, Draft2Digital, Trafford Publishing, BookBaby, Troubador, Acutrack, and Blurb.

Print-on-Demand, What it Means

What does it mean when you publish through a print-on-demand service?  

When a customer orders one of your books the online bookstore simply prints up a copy and sends it directly to the customer.

This means you no longer have to worry about:

  • Upfront printing costs.
  • Warehousing or inventory management.
  • Piles of unbought books stored in your house.
  • Shipping and delivery costs.
  • Books that don't get sold.

The Simplicity of Print-on-Demand

When you sign up to a print-on-demand platform to sell your books from, such as Kindle, all you need to do is workout how much of a royalty you would like to get from your book.  

Sites like Ingramspark offer bulk sales so you have the option to put your books in libraries, universities, schools and bookstores.

Kindle Direct Publishing offers expanded distribution, which means your book can be offered to large distributors, which will include other booksellers and libraries.

Printing in Other Book Formats

When you create a book you can start thinking about printing your book in other formats such as Large Print Editions, Workbooks, and hardbacks.

If you want to pay a bit more you can also have your book published on special paper, full-colour and many more options.

What Are the Best Options for Print-on-Demand?

The biggest companies are Kindle Direct Publishing and Ingramspark.  Most new authors tend to use Kindle Direct Publishing because it sells the most books and has the biggest outreach.

Kindle offers multiple sizes for paperbacks, as well as expanded distribution to reach a wider audience. 

Print-on-Demand Basics

Before you can put your book into print here are some of the things you need.

A Print Ready File

This means your file needs to be in the correct format for the company or service you've chosen.  I highly recommend using Kindle Create if you're creating your book to sell on Amazon.  You can do this by going to Amazon and downloading a copy of this app to your computer.  All you need to do is upload your file and start creating the way you want your paperback book to look. 

Kindle Create is pretty easy to use, and when you come to upload your file onto Kindle Direct Publishing any errors will be detected when it comes to the approval stage.  This means you can go back into your file and make the changes required by Amazon before you approve properly.

Front and Back Matter

Kindle Create will allow you to add front and back matter such as your title page, copyright, dedication with a few simple clicks.  

Ink and Paper Type

Kindle offers you three ink and paper options:

  • Black ink and 55# (90 GSM) cream paper
  • Black ink and 55# (90 GSM) white paper
  • Colour ink and 60# (100 GSM) white paper

Trim Size

This is the size of your book, and the most common trim size for paperbacks in the U.S. is 6" x 9".  You'll be given a selection of standard and non-standard trim sizes.  Or if you prefer you can create your own custom size which must be within 4"-8.5".  The height must be within 6"-11.69".


Bleed just simply means when printed items on a page, this includes illustrations and photographs, reaching all the way to the edge of the page.  All book covers printed via KDP require bleed, however you have a choice whether your interior has a bleed or not.

Book Cover

Whether you're working with or without a budget on your book, you still need a book cover.  I use Fotor for my book cover design platform.  I sometimes find a template I can work with, or create my own design.  Either way the end product is a suitable book cover that is within the standards required by KDP.

Cover Finish

KDP book covers are printed on 80# (220 GSM) white paper stock with a glossy or matte finish.

  • Glossy - A shiny finish.
  • Matte - Leaves a minimal sheen and a subtle, polished look.

Making Money from Print-on-Demand

Before you press publish you need to set the price of your book.  

For print books the royalty rate is 60% (minus your printing cost) on each sale.  When you click on expanded distribution your royalty rate is 40% because of the increased market opportunity.

You'll never lose money through returns on KDP Prints because they have no returns.

Getting Paid

You'll receive your Kindle Direct Publishing royalties every month, approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which the sale was reported.  Expanded Distribution royalties are usually 90 days after the sale was made.  Payment is made via direct deposit straight to your bank account.

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Read more:

10 Steps to Make Money With Amazon Associates

Self-Publishing an ebook, What You Need to Know

Why You Should Think About Being an Indie Author

Knowing Your Publishing Options: Traditional Publishing

Know Your Income Options After You've Published a Book

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