This may bring you a pop up. Depending on what you’ve been doing to your book, you may want a different option, but we want to save our changes so we don’t have to enter all the info again.
A little box with an orange swirly will pop up. depending on your connection speed it may sit there swirling for a long time, or a very short time. My net was running good tonight so it went fast.
When cover creator first opens it will have a “how to” splash screen that doesn’t really tell you much of anything. Feel free to click “don’t show me this again” and then click continue.
Now we have some more options. First we’re going to try browsing their gallery. I don’t really recommend doing this because if you’re using that image, who else is? But, we can take a look because those pictures are free and can always be a good cover placeholder until we get some cash or find a free image elsewhere.
You’ll get a pop up with photo categories. Browse through them and see if there’s something you like. I am going to choose Black and White.
This opens a selection of black and white photos. Let’s scroll through and find something creepy and/or mystical, shall we?
Once you’ve selected a picture, click on it. This will bring up an image overview and a bigger version. If you don’t want it after all, then click on the category name in the upper left to go back to the thumbnails. If you do like it, then click “use this image”.
The page beneath the pop up now loads with a bunch of design options. If you see one you like, feel free to “choose this design”
Personally, I am going to try uploading my own image now, so I am heading to the “choose new cover image” option.
This pops up the image screen we started with. This time I am going to select “upload my own image”. Note: Images should be .jpg or .tiff and should be between 1000 and 2500 on the longest side.
Click the cheery computer icon to get a browse dialog box. Navigate to the image you’d like to use and click open
You’ll get another orange circle that may take a long time to disappear, or may go away fast, depending on your connection speed.
Once it loads you’ll see we have those same design options again
This time we’re going to actually commit to this image and choose a design. Of course, you don’t have to. You can continue to upload and/or browse until you find something you like. Then, choose a design when you’re ready.
You’ll notice there are options that require no picture. If you choose one of these, you still get to edit the colors, text, and layout. Since those tools are EXACTLY the same as the cover with photos, I’m not going to do a separate section for that. You can use the following steps for either the image layouts or the non-image layouts.
Hover over the design of choice so that it says “Choose this design”, then click on it.
A new screen loads.
You’ll want to close the tool tip box by hitting the x. Remember that you can change designs at any time by choosing “Start Over” or change your image by choosing a new one.
KDP has automatically put the title in for us, including the “short” that I added, which in this case looks silly. So I am going to close it out (by hitting the x in the upper right corner of the cover creator), change the title and go back in. Half a tick.
I changed the title, but it made no difference, as the cover creator refused to update. Since I am not going to use this cover it doesn’t matter for me, but if you plan to use it, make SURE your title is the way you want it before you hit that cover creator button.
There are lots of things to edit here. Let’s start with the fonts.
You can either use the Font Tool, which lets you choose from pre-made “themes”:
OR you can hover directly over the text you want to edit:
And then click to get a box of options
Here we can change the font by clicking the arrow and choosing a new one
The size (including an auto fit option)
Change the color:
Make the words Bold, Italic and drop a shadow behind them (useful on lighter backgrounds)
And change the position (Justify, left align, center, right align)
As you may notice, I centered mine and changed the font and the size, but left it white.
Now you can do the same for the author (you can see an example of drop shadow on it) and if you have a subtitle (alas, I don’t).
What about those other buttons? Let’s play with the layout next.
When you click on it in the tools, you’ll get a string of layout options:
Click through them to see the differences. When you find one you like, click on the layout tool again to make the strip go away. Sadly, I like the original best, so I am sticking with it.
Now it’s time to play with colors, because that neon pink is terrible!
Click on the color tool and it gives us the option to choose colors individually, or to pick a premade color theme. To try different themes just scroll through and click on them:
Terrible, I know, so we’re going to choose the colors ourselves.
Click the color you want to change:
And get a pop up. Click on the teeny tiny squares to choose your color:
Repeat for the other colors.
After I got the colors changed, I decided to change the layout, too. Now, we can preview the cover by clicking the preview button:
The preview lets you see it in color, black and white, and in thumbnail. Switch between them by clicking the icons on the left.
If you’re happy with it, click the Save & Submit button. You’ll get a white screen that says you’re submitting your cover, and then be taken back to the edit project page. From there you can finish your publishing (see previous post) and submit your book.
Have you tried the KDP cover creator? If so, what did you think of it?
Go to http://kdp.amazon.com and sign in with the big yellow sign in button. You will want to use your amazon account for this, even if you have never used KDP before. I accidentally made a new account and now have two amazon accounts that use the same email address (originally they had the same password, too!) and it created quite a mess. Don’t make my mistake.
Once you’ve logged in you’ll be taken to your dashboard. Depending on whether you have books published or not, your may look slightly different. Click the yellow “Add New Title” button.
This will open a new page. The first option you’re confronted with is whether or not to enroll your book in KDP select. There are a lot of divided opinions on this, and you should do some research before deciding, but the run down is that if you join KDP select your ebook must be available ONLY on Amazon for three months and in return you get some marketing “tools” including five days that you can set your book to “Free”. There’s a lot more to it, and a lot to consider such as whether you will lose sales from other channel (again, your ebook can only be on Amazon and no where else), and I’m not going to cover all of that here, or tell you which is better. It’s a personal decision and you should do what is best for you. If you want it, check mark the box. If you don’t then do NOT check mark the box.
Scroll down and enter your book title. If your book is part of a series then check mark the series option, otherwise skip it. If you have an edition number (such as second edition) then fill it in, and if you have a publishing imprint put that under “Publisher”. I don’t, so I leave it blank.
The next option is your description, which you should have prepared. You can see the < p > in mine; this is HTML code that will make it skip a line. you can do some light html code in your description, such as bold or italics.
Scroll down and click the “Add Contributors” button
This will give you a pop up. Type in your author name and then use the drop down button to select “author”.
If you have other contributors to list then choose “Add Another”, otherwise click “Save”.
The contributors will now be listed on the page. make sure you’ve spelled them correctly, and then select the language your book is in by using the drop down box. English is default, so if it’s in English you can skip to publication date. I always leave this blank, as the publication date is whenever I publish it, but you can set it if you want to by clicking the calendar.
You’ll notice that the available days to click are today and BEFORE, not after, so this does NOT work to pre-publish or make your book available for pre-order. You can’t choose a day in the future.
Once you pick your day, be sure to drop a check mark in the “This is not a public domain work” (unless it is) and then click the “Add categories” button.
This will give you a pop up. Some categories have sub categories, for instance, under FICTION you can see that African-American has a plus sign. If we click that it will drop down with more choices such as general, christian, etc.
If you’re not sure what to classify it as then look around; go ahead and add as many as you want because you can remove them before you hit save. My particular book is Fiction>Fantasy>Paranormal. You can actually choose TWO final categories, but there isn’t another one that fits this book (I usually also file under Romance> Paranormal, but there’s not really any romance in this as it is a freebie of shorts), so I am only going to choose one. I recommend that if you can find two categories that fit to choose two. The more you have, the more lists your book will be in.
Choose them by check marking the box next to the final sub category. When you’ve got your list, use remove to whittle it down to two, if necessary, and then click save.
Your categories now appear above the button. Fill in up to seven key words that describe your book. For instance this is a collection of flash fiction “prologues” that take place the day before Heart of the Raven, my novel, takes place, so I used the series name (Amaranthine), Heart of the Raven (the novel title), short, flash-fiction (because that’s what it is), vampires and paranormal (because it’s about vampires) and add free because it is free on the other channels, so Amazon should make it free too (I will cover this later).
Now it’s time to add our cover. You have two options: Browse for your cover or use a cover creator (currently in beta). I will “cover” the cover creator in another post (ha ha!) so fir the point of this we’re going to upload our cover.
Clicking browse will open a dialog box where you can navigate to the image saved on your computer. It MUST be a .jpg or a .tiff (these are file extensions) and should be between 1000 and 2500 pixels on the longest side.
In this box click browse again to get a pop up and navigate through your files. Select the cover file and click open
Once it has the file path in the text box, hit the upload button
When it finishes you will see a thumbnail view of the cover. It will look pretty rough – this is NOT what your “official” cover thumbnail will look like, but rather a rough version so that you can make sure you’ve uploaded the right picture. The final thumbnail will be smoother.
If it looks good, hit the x in the upper right corner.
Now it’s time to upload your book and choose whether you want DRM enabled. DRM means Digital Rights Management, and is something that amazon will put in the “code” of your book to keep people from pirating, think of the old VCR tapes that used to turn the movie a rainbow color if you tried to tape them to a second tape, or DVDs that won;t copy if you try to rip them. DRM is a hot button issue, some people feel it is a waste and only makes it harder for consumers and others think it is a great idea. You will have to choose what is right for you.
Once you do, use the browse button to find your book file, the same way that you found your cover. It should be a .doc file.
After it uploads, you’ll get a little box that says:
This may take a few moments. If you have completed all required fields above, click “Save and Continue” to move forward while conversion continues.
However, I just stay there until it’s done.
When it is finished converting you will get a screen saying that it was successful, and you may get “suggested” spelling errors.
Click “view them” and a pop up will show them to you, then you can decide if they are really typos or not:
After a double check, I have determined that Hikaru is the correct spelling of his name, and free online dictionary states that “woosh” is a valid form of “whoosh”, so, for good or bad, I am going to leave them by clicking “Ignore All” (please no comments on whether you agree or disagree about woosh/whoosh). However, if you have errors you want or need to change, then you shouldn’t do that. If there’s a lot you might want to mail them to yourself, and if there are only a few then just leave the screen up, open your document and use the “find” feature of your word processing program to find and then fix them. Once you’re done, close the pop up out with the x in the upper right corner of it and reupload.
Now we’re ready to preview the book. You can either use the online previewer, or you can download and install a previewer application. I am just going to use the online feature.
The preview will pop up. Because I have been doing this for so long (taking screen caps and hopping back and forth) I had to sign in again. If you’ve taken a long time setting up, you may, too.
The previewer “looks” like a Kindle:
You can scroll through the pages and make sure they look the way you want. This is where some authors (Ruth Ann Nordin, for example) read through the whole book. I am going to admit that I don’t because by the publishing stage I have usually read it thirty times or more, and have it memorized anyway. But at the very least you should check your chapter headings and endings and your opening pages to make sure there are no strange page breaks or weird formatting.
You can use the drop down box to select different devices, such as the paper white, etc.
It’s up to you how thorough you want to be. But, when you’re finished, choose Back to Book details in the upper left of the screen. you can then upload a new version if you need to and preview again, etc. I am happy with mine, so we’re moving on.
At the bottom of the book setup page select Save and Continue to go to the next page of steps.
Now it’s time to tell Amazon where you have the rights to publish this book. If it’s yours and has never been published by another publisher, then you have worldwide rights. Mark that dot and move on. But, if your book has been published previously by a publisher, you may not have all the rights, as your publisher may still own some of them. For instance a book published through a small press in the United States may have had rights for the UK and US in the contract but not for India or other countries, in which case you would select the second option and then choose only those countries that that publisher does not have rights for. If you’re unsure, you may need to speak to your previous publisher and/or a lawyer.
My book has never been published by anyone else, so I am picking the easy option.
Now we’re going to choose our royalty – 35% or 70%. As with the other big choices, the decision depends on what is right for you. If your book will be priced below 2.99 (mine will) you have to choose the 35% option, but if it will be priced $2.99 or higher you can go for the 70% option. I will say that I have chosen 70% for those books I have published that cost more than $2.99, but the choice is yours.
In this case I have to go 35%. So I will check mark it and I will put in the price.
I just check mark the “set price automatically” feature for all the other channels, but you can set them individually if you want.
Now it’s time to decide if you want Kindle lending or not (this allows someone who has bought your book to loan it to anther person’s kindle once). If you opted for 70% royalties this will be grayed out.
Make sure to check mark that you are confirming all rights, then hit Save and Publish.
A pop up let’s you know that it’s being published and that’s it – time to go back to your dashboard and wait until you get your “congratulations” email.
But wait. Didn’t I say that I wanted this book to be free? Why did I then set the price to $.99?
Because Amazon won’t let you choose free as an option. What you have to do is use a price match. In other words, that book has to be on another retailer’s site for free. At the moment, that book is on Smashwords, B&N, and others for the low, low price of nothing. Now, I can wait until Amazon notices it and sends me that nasty little “Tut, tut,” email (which might take days) or I can speed things along by “reporting it” myself.
But, I need to wait until it’s published. I doubt you want to stare at this spot for twelve hours, so I am going to use my magic wand to fast forward time.
And look at that! The book is published! For some reason they have done something odd and linked it to Heart of the Raven the novel, but I’ll suss that out with an email later. In the meantime, let’s report that price.
Go to your book’s page and scroll down to the Product Details and click on “tell us about a lower price”.
Now you’ll get a little pop up. Click the mark next to “website”.
the box will expand with an area to paste a link into. At this point you need the link from the lower listing page – i am going to use Smashwords. Enter the url, the price (in this case 0) and the date, I dropped it back to August 1st but you don’t need to. Then click Submit Feedback.
It will then say “Thank you for your feedback” and give you a “close window” button – and that’s it. Now we just wait for Amazon to get it and say “tut-tut”.
If you set a book free via price match and later want to charge for it, can you get it switched back? I assume so, but I have never tried it, so if someone with more experience wants to chime in in the comments, that would be great!
I have a few posts I’m planning to do on blog customization since I’ve had some people ask me about it.
You may have come across those cool signatures at the bottoms of blogs that look like the author signs each post. Maybe you’ve wondered how you can get one, too? It’s much easier than you’d think!
The first thing we need is a font, so let’s go to http://dafont.com. I prefer this site because all of their fonts are clearly labeled with licenses and they have a very cool custom text option we’re going to use.
Load up dafont.com and in that big box at the top choose “Handwritten” under the “Script” menu.
Now in the custom text field type your name as you want it to appear at the end of your blogs. This way, we’ll know what it’s going to look like from the very start. Then, hit “submit”
Now scroll through the choices and find your font. If you’re a romance author then you may want to go with something very fluid and “script-y”. If you’re a sci-fi author you might want something clean, a chick-lit author something kind of fun, etc. Or you can always look for the font that most closely resembles your handwriting. *Remember to check the licenses listed all the way to the right. So long as you don’t use this as a logo on your books it’s not commercial use, but beware the “demo” and “donationware” fonts, as both “ask” that you pay money if you use the font. Of course, if you like a font, many have a “donate to author” button you can click.*
Once you’ve chosen your font, download it by hitting the big gray button on the right and save it to your desktop. Don’t let the .zip file scare you, windows will be able to open it without a problem. Just double click on it and a new window will pop up. You can either hit “Extract all files” to the left or just drag and drop the .TFF file to your desktop and from there you can install it. If you don’t know how to install a font then check here.
Now comes the only tricky bit. What color is your blog? Is it black? White? A weird shade of blue? If it is black or white then all you’ll need is to flood fill your image, but if it’s an odd color then you will need to get a screen cap so that your signature appears to be written over it. (If, for some reason, it’s patterned then you need a transparent GIF or PNG which you can do in GIMP or other graphics programs, however I am just covering paintbrush here, which as far as I know doesn’t have transparencies.)
Open your blog in a browser so that you can see a blank chunk of your post background, then “print screen”. It is labeled different things on different keyboards – sometimes it is PRT SCR etc. but it’s usually up in the right hand corner somewhere. Once you have your screen shot open paintbrush. And use Edit > Paste. This will paste a BIG screen. First click on any random tool, then click back on the selection box tool and select only a section of blank background:
Then Edit > Copy and File > New (do not save changes) and then Edit > Paste. This will give you a box of color. Use the eye dropper to select that color and then use the floodfill to fill the whole are with it, and now your background will match your blog.
(My background is really white, the blue is only there as an example)
Now, use the text tool and – using the font we just installed – put your name on it. (Dragging the text box from the very top corner of the image will save a lot of time!!) Of note – you may need to add a space in before the first letter if it runs off the page. I had to.
When you’re done, click on the pen tool then move to the bottom right corner until you get a black double arrow icon (sort of like this):
Then click and drag the box until it is just around your name. Let go and the image is automatically cropped. File > Save As and that’s it! All you have to do now is upload it to your blog. If you have blogspot there’s a way to use CSS to put the signature image into every post automatically. But, if you’re on wordpress.com and don’t have access to your CSS you’ll have to manually embed it in each post by using insert image > media library. Unless someone knows of an easier way?
(If you feel like a more advanced user you can even add clipart to your signature, or an underline or other embellishments. I added the tree in paintbrush, but put the bats in with Paint shop pro.)