So, you’re ready to publish in print, but you have a lot of questions:
- Where do I begin?
- What do I need to get started?
- How much does it cost?
- What is a good strategy for print publishing?
- Should I go for a hardcover as well?
- What about a large print edition?
Let’s answer these questions and map out a strategy for you. If you’re looking for a step-by-step, I’ve got a post on how to publish a paperback.
As usual, your strategy ultimately depends on what goals you want to accomplish with your print books and your plan based on those goals.
Let’s start at the beginning and eat this elephant one bite at a time.
Table of Contents
Where to Begin with Print Publishing
I always recommend that new publishers start with Amazon KDP. Odds are, you’ve probably already published your eBook there and that will make up-scaling to print a lot easier.
Even if you’re looking to take advantage of IngramSpark’s expanded distribution, you still want to start with KDP.
Your first steps are to outline your goals and create your plan. You may have already done this when you published your eBook. Some print publishing doesn’t include eBooks. For example, you wouldn’t create eBook versions of your low content books because you can’t really write in a journal on an eReader. I expect this to change soon now that the Kindle Scribe allows users to write directly on some books.
You need to have clear goals for your books especially if you hope to profit at all from them. Once your goals are clear, then you need to map out a plan to follow from publishing to marketing your book.
You’ll have to do some due diligence here. You’re already here on my website reading this post, have a look around and see where you can get plugged in to learn all the strategies you need. This is an excellent place to start – https://selfpub.substack.com.
What You Need to Get Started with KDP Print
As I said earlier, it’s easier if you’ve already publishing an eBook version because some things are going to be auto-populated for you during the publishing process.
Print books are vastly different from eBooks, so everything with them is a bit more complicated from the formatting to the cover. Here’s what you’re going to need:
- Your manuscript formatted for print in PDF format
- Your book cover with back cover and spine in PDF format
- Print-specific keywords and categories
- Book description
That’s it. You may be thinking, “That’s great, Dale, but how do I get some of this stuff?”
For your manuscript, you have 2 choices: format it yourself or hire someone. It’s quite a learning curve. I recommend either being prepared to spend the time to learn or hire out. Try our vetted list on Fiverr or our list of service providers from my Self-Publishing Books Facebook Group.
If you already have an eBook cover and you have graphics experience, you can get a template for your print cover directly from KDP. Just fill in the appropriate info in the calculator and then download a template.
Add your eBook cover, then create a spine and back cover. Save as a PDF.
If you don’t have graphics experience, you can hire this out. I recommend downloading a template and send that over to your designer.
Most Fiverr providers have gig tiers that include both an ebook and print cover. Here’s a vetted list of just book cover designers.
For your keywords and categories, I have tutorials for both:
One of the most important things you need to know is that keywords and categories are different according to the format of your book.
Have you seen the book description template Brian Meeks put together for Book Rescue? Grab it free.
If you take advantage of these resources, you’ll be in great shape!
How Much Does KDP Print Cost?
Publishing to Amazon KDP is free. All of your expenditures are going to come from how much you invest in your process.
It all comes down to your skill set and how much you need to hire out. I’m not going to lie, it can be very expensive. I do my best to provide you with affordable options.
It all comes down to what you have more of: time or money.
If you have more time, you may teach yourself the majority of your process. If you have the expendable cash, you may prefer hiring help for the parts you don’t know how to do.
Either way, I recommend you hire out your cover design no matter what.
The Best Strategy for Print Publishing
When it comes to the best strategy, I recommend publishing via KDP first. Don’t select the expanded distribution.
Then publish to IngramSpark as per this article.
This allows you to take full advantage of IngramSpark’s expanded distribution, which they provide to KDP. By going directly through IngramSpark, you are able to get max royalties for expanded distribution because you’ve eliminated the middleman.
This is currently the best strategy I know for print publishing and one that I use myself. If you’d like to circumnavigate IngramSpark’s upload fee, use my code DALE2023 for one free upload or 2 free revisions.
Should I Publish a Hardcover Edition?
Publishing a hardcover edition of your book will only cost you the discretionary funds to have a dedicated cover created. If you play your cards right, you can find a designer who will do eBook, paperback, and hardcover for you all at once. I believe OliviaProDesign will do this if you contact her before you order.
Otherwise, you should be able to find someone on Fiverr who can convert your eBook or paperback cover for you without too much trouble.
Your interior file should require little to no alteration.
There are people who only buy hardcover books so by having this edition available to your audience, you cover all your bases. You’ve gone through the trouble of writing a book, why not give yourself every opportunity to put forth a professional array of products. I say go for it!
Should I Publish a Large Print Version?
You might be thinking, “My book is not really aimed at seniors, so I don’t think I need a large print edition.”
Large print books aren’t just for the older folks whose eyes aren’t as sharp as they used to be. There is actually a whole community out there of visually impaired folks and a good bit of them like to read!
Creating a large print version of your book is a great way to include those people in your reading pool.
It doesn’t stop with the visually impaired. People with dyslexia also benefit from large print books. To get a full list and more details on what it takes to publish a large print version of your book, check out this article from the Kindlepreneur.
This route will cost you a bit more for formatting, but it’s a great way to include a community of avid readers that other authors often ignore.
It’s All About Being Available
When you were writing your book, you probably never thought about things like large print versions or hardcovers. The thing is, one book can equal up to 5 different products. That’s 5 pages on Amazon and 5 opportunities to sell what you’ve created. You can add up to 5 income streams with just one book.
That is pretty amazing.
That opportunity right there is why we self-publishers risk it all to publish on Amazon KDP. It’s an amazing opportunity. There are risks. Sometimes they shut down accounts for no obvious reason, but being a published author is a dream for most of us, so it’s worth every obstacle to be available.
Have questions or are you using a strategy that’s working for you? Let us know in the comments!