I've just submitted my book for review as a paperback and an ebook on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which uploads to Amazon. It's a bit of a nightmare everytime I do it. I've done it a total of 4 times now, with 3 books. Always forget in between, so need to look at my notes. There were some additional issues such as embedding errors, that I haven't had before. Will outline a few things, to go back later with more detail, as I intend to write a guide for those who are keen to self-publish.
As far as I am aware, KDP is the most affordable option for indie authors, as there are no upfront costs. If you want both a print book and an ebook. I list my books there first, then late might decide to use another ebook distributor as well. I sign in for being locked in for 90 days. This gives me the opportunity to run a promotion.
I set the print book up first. Note that some categories cannot be changed, so avoid typos (with ISBN, 'imprint' etc). The 'imprint' is the publisher. I put 'Independently published'. Alternatively, a brand name can be used but it must match where you got your ISBNs. In New Zealand, different ISBNs are required for each format of a book. So I'm publishing from New Zealand, even though my books are international.
Even though an ebook with KDP doesn't actually require an ISBN. I used my own ISBNs but requested a barcode from KDP.
I thought I needed a jpg file for the print cover but turns out I needed a print PDF file. That was an easy fix, as I just needed to save my original design into a PDF.
I had a PDF exported from Word for the print manuscript. When I uploaded it there were 'embedding errors.' I'll go into how I fixed that, below. A Word document can be uploaded but a PDF is recommended, to have the exact layout as wanted.
For the e-book 'called 'Kindle' on Amazon, I already converted a differently formatted version of my manuscript to an EPUB. I can use the EPUB on other platforms if I wish.
The e-book cover needed to be a JPEG, which I had prepared in advance, to the correct dimensions (there is a minimum size of pixels but file sizes should not be excessive).
Font Embedding error
Now this error came up when I was doing the preview stage on KDP, after uploading my manuscript and cover 'successfully'. It said it has embedded fonts for me and they might change the appearance.
When I looked up about this, it says that fonts must be 'embedded'. I haven't had this issue before, to my recollections. One place suggested using 'free' to commerical use fonts. As far as I'm aware, I didn't use any licenced fonts.
There were other suggestions to save the file on Adobe as 'embedded' (some options I don't recall). Now, I only have Adobe reader, not full paid version of Adobe, so I didn't think that was going to work.
I tried uploading the Word file directly, which got rid of the embedded fonts error. However, when I flipped through the pages, there was an extra blank page and the page numbers didn't match, so it obviously moved text around. When I checked the source document, I had a page break where I wanted without extra paragraph returns etc, so it shouldn't have put a blank page (which wasn't on my Word document or PDF).
I found another suggestion, to 'save' rather than 'export' as PDF. Choose 'save', 'options, 'PDF/A compliant.' Apparently that embeds the fonts. When I looked up what that means, it means that all the fonts, colours, text, images are embedded and does not contain audio or video.
Anyway, I uploaded this file of the manuscript and the embedding error was gone. I flicked through every single page of the preview, checking my headers, footers, page numbers etc were inside the guides plus no random blank pages.
Error with ebook
So after I'd set up and submitted the print book (which is expected to take around 72 hours to approve), I set up the ebook (Kindle).
Now my notes are a mess from doing this last time (2 years ago), so I clicked on what I thought was the correct place and thought 'sweet' as everything copied over from the print book.
Then I got a 'Please fix the highlighted error(s) to continue' warning. Which was a bit frustrating as nothing was highlighted and there no options to click on. As far as I can gather, this warning comes up when KPD alerts the ISBNs don't match. The EPUB has an ISBN as part of the metadata.
To get around this, I deleted that partially started ebook, then started a new book, from stratch, not under the banner of the other book. I can link them later.
After doing this, everything was straight forward, although I had to look up about the Digital Rights Management (DRM) setting, as it seems to have changed from a 'yes' or 'no' tickbox option to just one box you either tick or you don't. Most places I see recommend say don't opt for DRM. This option cannot be changed.
categories and pricing
These were straight forward, choosing up to three categories that best fit your book. Along with keywords etc. Plus the pricing. I ran some prices through an exchange, based on my main target market (USA). All the other prices for other markets (eg Amazon UK) can automatically adjust.
A printed book costs more to produce because it has the actual printing. I price my ebook lower, although some people price the same.
Then, the nearly impossible part for indie authors is to market it. I have a few people keen to read it, so it will really be a niche audience of contacts, generally. I will order a bulk lot at cost to for my local friends, as shipping to New Zealand is very expensive.