Recently I’ve published my Canva book on Amazon Kindle for the 2nd time. Yes, it was published years ago now and it was quite basic however Canva was basic at the time. Anyhow it was time to revise my book and get back into the “self-publishing mode” for Kindle. The first time was quite a chore and I didn’t think it was going to be that difficult. Thankfully I had a lot of help from my dear friend, Monna Ellithorpe, who introduced me to self-publishing on Kindle and I remembered a lot of her tips.
This time as I revised my,”How To Use Canva Like A Pro For Business (affiliate link)” book (I know… I should have thought of a shorter title!) I was approaching it a whole other way. I did remember from trial and error of what gave me the most trouble. I’d like to share with you some lessons on self-publishing on Kindle that will help you in your visual marketing journey for your business.
The First Dreadful Self-Publishing Experience
I originally created my book on a Mac in Word… okay that sounds strange doesn’t it? Yes, I am fully aware of Pages and that I could have used it on my Macbook. Well at the time I was a newbie to Apple products and I was a total Microsoft nerd so I HAD to get the Microsoft Office Suite for Mac. I wrote my book and was ready to share with the world. It’s just a simple upload of the Word .doc to the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) system, right? Not exactly.
If you’re new to self-publishing on Kindle, here’s a great breakdown of the process from ReadWrite. When I finally uploaded my .doc to KDP, it allowed me to see a digital preview. Which is pretty awesome so you can see how your ebook will look on various devices. Well with my first edition of the Canva book, I had minimal images, which by the way must be at least 300 DPI, the photos were weird on the preview and my formatting was askew. Oh boy! I was going a bit crazy with the formatting because it looked beautiful on Word but horrible on Kindle.
What was I doing wrong? My friend, Monna of course helped me and I found not only that I had the photos plus format all wrong, I had the clickable links on my table of contents not working. Yikes! What I thought was going to be smooth process it had become a nightmare. Needless to say, I had Monna fix most of it and she placed it on CreateSpace for me for a paperback version. I finally had to take my Word document to PDF and use Adobe Pro for my clickable table of content. It was a chore and it a basic book that I knew I’d have to update soon, which I dreaded.
The Second and Most Enlightening Experience with Self-Publishing on KDP
Well this time it would be easier since I already have my document but just need to include updates and new features Canva has. This time I really wanted to have lots of screenshots of Canva features. My Canva book is a about ways to use Canva for business and Canva is a visual platform so it only makes sense to have many images. I made sure all my images were at least 300 DPI. I then skipped the whole Word document and went straight to Adobe Pro to add my changes. Adobe Pro makes the job incredibly easy! It lets you organize your pages by moving or deleting pages, you can link the table of contents, add images with ease, and add separate pages from a different document.
This time I went through the CreateSpace area first because they do have an option to have the CreateSpace document placed as a Kindle book. CreateSpace was easy breezy! (I’ll write a post about CreateSpace soon.) Then I got to that option to convert it to Kindle and it bombed. It didn’t go through!
I had to go directly through KDP and set the book up on their end. No big deal, right? Just a little bump in the self-publishing road. Then I got to the digital previewer where I uploaded the PDF to find fully loaded Canva book with lots of images an absolute mess. The formatting wasn’t very nice either. I felt like I was pretty much back to the same first experience. What was I doing wrong when the PDF looked awesome? I started my research on images on Kindle and I found this ebook, Pictures on Kindle (affiliate link), it’s only .99 and it has a ton of information. Although most of which was not what I needed and seemed if someone who is not familiar with images and design would be completely lost. However I took these GOLDEN nuggets out of it and transformed my Kindle mission. Yes, it became my mission to figure it out! 😉
Basically if HTML is not your strong suit like me, then these are the best choices for you to self-publish on Kindle especially if you have images.
KDP Textbook Editor – This is the option I used and it’s a downloadable program, which will convert your PDF into a .kcb format, exclusively for Kindle.
It kind of reminds me of Adobe Pro because of its streamlined interface. The Textbook Editor is super easy to use as you can see above. When you are done making the adjustments, then click on Package on the top right to package it up for the Kindle upload.
The only downfall I encountered using this was since I had my original version as a PDF then I tried to upload the 2nd version as .kcb it gave me an error to upload as a new book. I know… I was so sad. That’s why you don’t see my original version on Amazon. Anyone who purchased my book in January while I was updating got the old version and won’t get the new version. That does suck! It makes me sad however I think what I will do is make a note in the description to those who purchased can come to my website to contact me for a new version. Anyway anyone who signs up to my newsletter will get a free copy! Sign up in the sidebar :arrow:.
Image-rich or Illustrated Books to Self-Publish on Kindle
KDP Comic Book Editor – This is another option available for comic books or graphic novels. I didn’t test it out but it’s another downloadable program. If you’re entire book is mostly images and a bit of text, this is the route to go.
Then I wondered how about those fully illustrated books for children would work, then I found out there is another downloadable program, called Kindle Kids’ Book Creator . For these programs, your original format must be: PDF, JPG, TIFF, PNG or PPM. Then you simply upload your existing file to the program and it will keep it as is. The images won’ t be skewed in any way, just like the Textbook Editor. Neat, huh!
Some Visual Marketing Lessons for Self-Publishing on Kindle
Use the Author Page to your full advantage. Once you have your Kindle book uploaded and live, then create your Author Page. Use every section as much as possible: Author Bio, great headshot photo, any video interviews or trailers, blog feed, and any events.
The book cover is important in your marketing efforts. Of course how can I do a post without mentioning Canva as a visual marketing tool! I know it’s an obsession… Anyway you can create your own ebook cover in Canva. I do have a quick tutorial on a guest post on Monna Ellithorpe’s blog, Create a Book Cover in Canva. This will give you the details on creating a book cover that will be inexpensive and you won’t have to worry about hiring someone. I also have a video on the book cover tutorial below:
Remember the book cover will most often be the size of a postage stamp. When someone looks up a book in the same genre that your book is in, Amazon will have related books or “Recommendations for You in the Kindle Store”. Sometimes the book covers show even smaller so make sure the main subject you want to display is prominent. For example, since my book is about Canva I made sure it was bigger than the rest of my text. Hopefully people who are looking for Canva resources will notice the logo and go to it straight away. I didn’t accentuate my name because not too many people know me but a lot of people know Canva.
Of course for social media posts to promote the book, you can use Canva to create Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and other posts. For example, I’ve used SlideShare as a promotional tool to give a sneak preview of the Canva book. Take a look below:
I then linked it directly to my LinkedIn profile.
Also consider if you’re creating a book series. Every time to create a book cover you’d have to hire someone, which can be quite pricey. If you use Canva, you can create your first cover and use it as a template. All you’d have to do is change the colors and text. They would all correlate and people will then recognize it.
Check out Brian Scott Baskins, author of The Message of Global Unity book series, his 6 book series all harmonize and have the distinct eye with the peace sign. Of course this was all intentional, the covers are genre branded, which means they look exactly like readers of Mind Body Spirit books expect them to look.
And they are vivid and easy to see and read as a thumbnail, which is of critical importance for ad campaigns.
I was super happy when I found out about the embed option from Amazon for the preview of the book that can be shown directly on a website. However when I tried it for my Canva book it wouldn’t let me. 😕 I’ll have to check into it with Amazon. This is where you can find it.
This is how it will look:
You can link an Amazon Associates ID to the embed. Yes, I’ve linked my code to the above image. It is an affiliate link. People can actually preview it on the website live and have the buy button to purchase immediately. Pretty slick, right?! Hat Tip to Amy Lynn Andrews, I found this out on her Useletter. She always has some “useful” tips.
Time to Wrap these Kindle Lessons Up
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing has really been a journey for me and I’ve learned so much on self-publishing on Kindle. I’m happy to share these nuggets with you and hopefully these lessons will make your journey a whole lot easier than it was for me.
Let’s recap what was discussed:
- Images must be at least 300 DPI
- When you have an image-rich book or an illustrated book, use The Textbook Editor, Comic Book Editor, or Kids’ Book Creator.
- Create an Author Page
- Create a Book Cover
- Embed a Preview of the Book
Please let me know if this was helpful to you in the comments or if you have any tips I’d love to hear about them. Have fun on your ebook journey!