Navigating Kindle Direct Publishing


Learning to use Kindle Direct Publishing to publish my novel To Kill a Wizard wasn’t nearly as hard as learning to properly format my book for Kindle readers. Both, however, had their challenges, which I’ll share here, as well as, some tips on how I formatted my novel.

Things I learned:

  • First, I uploaded my book and made sure there were no basic issues.
  • After that, I looked at how my book actually appeared on my Kindle Previewer. I found I needed to adjust my spacing, indents, and font size, depending on what I thought looked best.
    • In “page setup,” I changed the page size to be six-by-nine.
    • Then, I had to select a “custom margin” based on the size of my book. I believe I went with the “top,” “bottom,” and “outside” being .5, the “inside” being 0, and the “gutter” being .75.
    • I selected “mirror margins” and applied it to the “whole document.”
    • But these numbers vary based upon the number of pages in your book.
    • A lot of writers also choose to space their lines by 1.5, but I found that it looked like way too much, so I played with it until I found the perfect number (for me) 1.35.
    • I finally changed my “style set” to “simple.”
    • (For more information on formatting these areas for Kindle, check out: Createspace Help.)
    • Trying to figure out your trim size?  Check here.
  • Youtube was my friend for the next step in formatting. Creating a table of contents within the novel, with links to each chapter in my book, sounds like an easy process, but it wasn’t. I used buttons in Microsoft Word that I’ve never used before. I’ll sum it up below:
    • I changed the “style” of my document to “simple.”
    • Then went to “Insert” and “Table.” It then warned me “No Table of Contents Entries Found.”
    • I highlighted each chapter title, clicked “Heading 1” under the “Home” menu in Microsoft Word.
    • When I was done highlighting each chapter, I hit “Update Table,” and it all showed up.
    • Finally, I highlighted “Table of Contents” and made a “Bookmark” (Found under the “Insert” menu). When the box pops up, name it “toc” for table of contents.
    • And that’s about it!
    • (For more information on formatting your table of contents, check out: YouTube Video.
  • Finally, I uploaded my cover. The first time, I included the entire cover. But then, I realized that the image people saw when searching for my book was the entire cover, including the back, so I had to reload my image with just the front of the cover.
  • After that, I had to determine the cost for my book, the channels I wanted it distributed on, and whether to join KDP Select. I think these options are personal choices, so I won’t go into that.
  • One thing I will say, however, is that because I was setting things up for pre-releasing my book at the end of June, it seemed I had a lot of options. Most everything appeared like it could be adjusted up until right before the date the novel would be available. So, I selected July 4th as my release date, thinking I could change it later. Turns out that’s a big no, no. I contacted Amazon who explained I could move it up once, without penalty, but not back. Next time, I’ll make sure I am 100% sure about my date before I choose it.

So overall, Kindle Direct was really easy to use, but it did require some internet research, random texts to my good friends Amber Kallyn and Aeon Igni, and picking the brains of several other writer friends. I’m sure many people have done this completely on their own, but there is nothing better than an assortment of awesome people to help make the process easier.

Books by Lisa Morrow: Lisa Morrow Author Page


About lisamorrowbooks

Lisa Morrow is a life-long reader who treasures fantasy in all forms. Being a middle child in a large family gave her a unique perspective on the world, but few experiences compare to her time spent studying abroad in Cambridge, England and wandering throughout Europe. After her travels, Lisa settled down in Arizona to teach junior high English, and later, to spend time with her young children, husband, and cats. To some people, her life may seem quiet. But to her, every day is spent in a world colored by the imagination of children, and fantastical worlds created by her very own mind.
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12 Responses to Navigating Kindle Direct Publishing

  1. Reblogged this on Rebirth of Whimsy and commented:
    I’m grateful for authors who put up their experiences like this. Those of us who are starting to tread into the scary self-publishing waters, truly appreciate any and all advice we can get!

  2. This is super. Bookmarking this. Thank YOU. 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on jean's writing and commented:
    This is must have info for anyone interested in publishing a book on Kindle Direct Publishing. A big thanks goes out to Chris the Story Reading Ape’s Blog for sharing a post written by Lisa Morrow on her official site. I’m sure y’all will be as thrilled as I was to read her tips.

  4. It’s great that your first experience with KDP was rather smooth! From my experience, you can change any details (or actual file) for your release up to 3 days before the release date. I learned it the hard way when I was 48 hours before a release and had to make some edits. I set up the clock to be sure I could swap files within minutes after releases (it was a minor release so I was lucky I had had no pre-orders contrary to other titles).

    For the formatting, I pre-format in Word and then do the rest in Scrivener, which I find very practical and quick (especially for the table of contents), once you figure it out. It also helps me make the PDF and Word final versions beside the mobi one.

    If you ever decide to go for print versions, Create Space is wonderful and all formatting is prepared for you. Putting your text into the template that is customized makes for a very smooth experience!

    • Thanks for the advice! It’s good to know I can still make changes for awhile still.

      I’m also publishing using CreateSpace and also found it much easier to format, but I didn’t use the template. I might use it with my next book. 🙂

  5. Helen Jones says:

    I found setting up on Kindle more difficult than setting up on Createspace, to be honest! I even downloaded a book that promised to teach me everything I needed to know but I still couldn’t figure out how to set up a TOC link. (So thank you for sharing your experience, I’ll definitely give that a try with book 2.) In the end I realised I needed to completely strip all formatting, insert page breaks and that was it – I checked it in multiple formats and it seemed to work – so far so good, I’ve not yet had any complaints.

  6. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Please share YOUR experiences of setting up KDP with Lisa, on HER blog 🙂

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