Publishing Paperback Versions of Your eBooks

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If I can learn how to publish paperback editions of my eBooks, then so can you

One of the primary benefits of publishing in Paperback format in addition to eBook is that it opens doors to a new customer base, introducing your fantastic writing to more potential buyers. Some people prefer the feel and look and weight and experience of physical books to screen reading. And that’s okay!

If you’re worried it might be complicated, let me reassure you. It’s just like learning to publish eBooks. A smidgen bamboozling at first, but soon you are master of your domain.

Naturally, I assumed I was in over my head in attempting to publish paperback. And my first attempt seemed to prove this assumption. But, like any mulish pinhead with an ounce of ambition and two dollops of cockiness (AKA a writer) I stuck to it. Forged ahead. Tussled with the self-esteem demons and conquered them in the tenth round by KO.

Here are a few of the tips I learned along the way. Hopefully they will save you some time and writerly headaches and make your own writing quest shiny. These shortcuts will help you get it right the first time around, unlike this cottonheaded ninnymuggins!

How to Create Paperback Editions on Amazon

  • You must convert your eBook manuscript into paperback format before you can create the paperback cover, because the cover width will differ depending on spine size, which is determined by the number of pages in your manuscript.
  • The number of pages in your Paperback format will be different from the number in your eBook format. The PB will be quite a bit higher. For example: one of my eBooks is 269 pages (12 point font, 1.5 line spacing), but it turned into 436 pages in paperback format. It was like magic—the evil kind.
  • Amazon determines printing costs by number of pages. Yeah, I’m pretty sure this and the above phenomenon are related.
  • Most people select 6X9 paperback book size, as it is the most popular size outside of mass market. With 6X9 a paperback page will have fewer words than the same eBook page. Fewer words per page mean more pages. Example: An eBook page might have roughly 400 words, while a 6X9 paperback page might have only 235.
  • Once you’ve downloaded the Amazon paperback template here, you can begin the reformatting drudgery.
  • After finishing up your Title, Copyright, and Bibliography pages, and whatever else you might want to include as your front matter, create a dedicated Chapter Style, and a separate dedicated Paragraph Style. Do this by formatting them in the upper right section of MS Word, Home tab, above ‘Styles’. Right click on the one labeled ‘normal’, hit ‘modify’ and then ‘format’ down on the bottom left corner of that box. Rename it Supercool Chapter Title Styling if you like. Do this for your chapter headings and one to cover the rest of your paperback pages.
  • Chapter headings should be larger font (14 or 16), done up all in bold (i.e. Chapter 1), and centered—obviously.
  • Once you’ve finished reformatting into paperback edition, hit SAVE AS ‘PDF’. This will bring you to Adobe Acrobat Reader, if that’s your program. In here, click on FILE, SAVE AS, and when it gives you the option, hit DESKTOP or DOCUMENTS; wherever you want your PB PDF to nestle down in storage for later retrieval.
  • Whatever you do, don’t use a BS USB
  • Now go to Amazon’s paperback cover template page here
  • Click trim size (6X9 or whichever size you selected when choosing your paperback format template size)
  • Type in the new page number from your PB PDF file.
  • Now it will give you an exact dimensions cover template. Follow this exactly when creating your cover—I use Microsoft Office Powerpoint and then Microsoft Office Picture Manager, and finally Microsoft Office Publisher. I finish up with Publisher because you have to save your cover image as a PDF and you can’t do that with Powerpoint or Picture Manager. (At least not in the versions I have.)
  • In MS Office Publisher you will select (1) Blank Pages Sizes, (2) Create Custom Page Size, (3) Create—which is in the bottom right corner after you have put in your page size, which will end up roughly 13.342” X 9.250”. (That’s 6” width each for front and back covers plus the spine width and a bit of play for bleeding)
  • Click (1) Insert (2) Picture (3) From File. This From File is the cover image you created in Office Powerpoint and edited and resized in Picture Manager and then sent to My Pictures.
  • Expand this cover image to fill the ENTIRE WHITE BOX in Office Publisher, ignoring the faint blue line that tripped this idjit up first time around. Again, expand your cover image to the edges of the white box.
  • Then click FILE, SAVE AS, and PDF
  • One final tip: If you are attempting to convert old eBook covers into paperback covers, make sure any text is at least .375” from the edges. It also might not hurt to add .125” to top, bottom, and both sides of Amazon’s cover template recommended dimensions, as Amazon suggested I do after each time I submitted my completed covers—according to their original recommendations!

Okay, well I hope this saves you some headaches and time. Now go chant to yourself 7 times ‘I am awesome’ in a mirror while eating a Snickers bar and smiling. God Bless and happy paperback publishing, champ!

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