Amazon Paperbacks

If you publish an eBook using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), it prompts you to create a paperback version of your eBook via KDP (as opposed to Create Space, which is also owned by Amazon). After updating Crimson & Cream to a new version, on a whim, I continued the process of setting up a paperback through KDP. I had never used Create Space, so this was my first attempt at creating a paperback myself.

My first run through the process found several formatting issues I needed to address to convert my eBook manuscript to paperback. In retrospect, I recommend downloading an Amazon paperback template prior to formatting your document. Even if you don't paste your novel into the template, the 'Template with Sample Content' is a great resource to use as a reference when formatting your novel for print.

I found the official Amazon help pages somewhat hard to find, so if you're having the same problem, make sure you check out these official links:

Getting Started - How to Publish Your Book on KDP

Paperback Manuscript Resources

Paperback Publishing Guidelines (pdf download)

There are some things the KDP guides don't address, so I'd also recommend reviewing some of your paperbacks to see how all the formatting issues are addressed. For example, I added map images, a glossary, and a preview chapter excerpt of Mirrors & Mist at the end of Crimson & Cream. Neither images, glossaries, or preview chapters are included in the KDP templates or guides, so I formatted them based on my A Song of Fire and Ice paperbacks (which have maps, glossaries, and preview chapters).

Specifically, in the paperback examples I looked at, the glossary pages include the alternating author name/book title headers and page numbers continuing from the novel, while the preview chapter contains no headers or page numbers. Overall, they are minor details, but will make your paperback appear more professional if done correctly.

So after formatting my manuscript appropriately, I published Crimson & Cream as a paperback, and it's now available on Amazon. I purchased a copy for myself to inspect and was happy with the quality, however, I felt my back cover image printed too dark, so I decided to modify the cover and upload a newer version. This is where my problems began.

In addition to updating the Crimson & Cream cover, I prepared Mirrors & Mist for paperback publication using the same templates I had successfully used for Crimson & Cream. When I tried to update the revised cover, I keep getting the message "Error processing interior.There was a problem processing your interior. Please check your file and try again." I also received this message when trying to publish the paperback for Mirrors & Mist. The KDP Book Previewer would not launch for either Crimson & Cream or Mirrors & Mist, so I couldn't see for myself what the issues were.

I checked that my browser was updated and read all the online troubleshooting help, but couldn't find anything wrong with my manuscripts. So I contacted Amazon support and explained my problem. Amazon replied promptly (within 48 hours) with the following response:

"...to follow up on your concern regarding the paperback version of your books. I'd reached out to our Technical Team regarding this and they have informed that they have reuploaded your files and the files are now visible in the Online Previewer.

Your title, "Crimson & Cream" 9781521759059 is ready to Approve, you will need to select the Approve button to move forward and publish your book.

The cover file for your book, "Mirrors & Mist" 9781549919411 is not sized correctly at 12.97" x 9.25" and this will need to be corrected. The correct cover file size for a 6" x 9", 231 page book with cream interior is 12.828" x 9.25", spine width 0.5775". 

So, I approved the revised Crimson & Cream paperback to resolve the issue, which was apparently an Amazon problem, since I didn't have to change anything on my end. However, when I made the recommended changes to Mirrors & Mist, I ran into the same problem as before--I received an error message and could not preview the files. At this point, I checked the KDP Community boards and found other authors having similar problems with the KDP Paperback process. Overall, most authors recommended using Create Space instead, which is what I decided to do, instead of going back to Amazon support.

I'm currently in the process of publishing Mirrors & Mist to paperback via Create Space, and will let you know how that process goes, and compare and contrast it with the KDP Process in a future post. As for now, Crimson & Cream is available in paperback, and hopefully soon, my other two books will be as well.