Last month, I got the first proof of a printed book I’m launching. Many people have asked me the steps of printing a book since I showed them the results. The process isn’t complicated, but it does have many steps and takes some time. I’m using Kindle Direct Publishing for on-demand printing. The book will be for sale on Amazon. Here’s how the process works:

Write the book and get it edited

A clean manuscript will make the process easier. It is a headache to make a change to the content of the book while it’s getting designed. Self-edit the book and then hire an editor to go through it. An editor isn’t required to self-publish, but it’s highly recommended to get a professional product.

Choose your book size

The book size is something you need to decide on before you start working with a designer. The design template of the interior and exterior has to be the correct size to avoid issues later.

CreateSpace was Amazon’s self-publishing service. CreateSpace is now in the process of merging with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I’m not sure when the official merge will be complete. I started my book before the merge and used resources here on CreateSpace for instructions. KDP has its own printing options here.

Make sure to pay close attention to the book cover formatting instructions. Covers are one long rectangular sheet with space in the middle for the binding. You need to give instructions for sizing and text for the book binding to the designer.

Get your book cover and interior designed

I worked with an excellent illustrator on for my book cover. There are many designers on the site offering book cover services. You could also try On this website, you can choose a designer or start a contest where many designers compete for your business.

I tried a few designers for the interior of my book but wasn’t happy with any of them. Instead, I decided to design the inside of the book myself using Apple Pages. I got some design inspiration from other books and am very happy with the result.

Expect the book design process to take some time. I’ve been going back and forth with designers for months to get the book exactly how I want it. You may want to start working with the designer, at least on the exterior, while the content is getting edited.

Upload to KDP and get a proof

Next is the uploading and proofing process. KDP assigns you an ISBN for the book. You have to add the book description, book categories, author details, and other information about the book to the platform. Be sure to research categories for your book and keywords to put into your description. Amazon is a search engine. Keyword research can help you come up in search queries.

The next step is uploading the interior and exterior of the book. There’s a feature where you can get a digital preview of your book to scroll through the pages. At the end of the process, you’ll be asked whether you want a proof. The proof is a sample printed copy of the book. You aren’t required to get a proof of the book. However, I highly recommend that you get a proof.

I ordered my first proof and loved how it came out. The second batch of proofs I ordered after making some changes was horrible. I’m now speaking with quality control about what may have happened. Getting a proof helps you catch problems you may not be able to catch when you’re looking at the work on the screen.

Start selling

I haven’t started selling my book yet, but the process of moving forward with that on KDP is also pretty simple. You choose the countries where you want to sell your book and decide how much you want to sell it for. KDP shows you how much your royalty will be. This process is print-on-demand which means you don’t need to carry stock. KDP prints books as people order them and takes a cut of the sale.

Final Word

Self-publishing a quality book takes time and effort, but it’s doable. I underestimated how long it would take me because I wanted it to be perfect. After writing, it could take a couple of months to edit, design, and publish. But the result is a beautiful new book that you can sell and use as a marketing tool for your brand.


Taylor K. Gordon is a personal finance writer and founder of Tay Talks Money, a personal finance and productivity blog on hacking your way to a happier savings account. Taylor has contributed to MagnifyMoney, The Huffington Post, GoGirl Finance, Madame Noire, and The Write Life.

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