How Do I Create Books for Amazon KDP?
Updated Sept 2023: Today, I thought I’d provide a fairly quick update on the primary tools I employ to create books for Amazon KDP. Over the past three or four years, I’ve experimented with various tools for producing paperback* books to sell on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. I’ve even purchased software that I’ve yet to use. In this post, I will focus on the ones I actually use and would highly recommend.
Please note that this post may contain some affiliate links.
Free vs. Fee – Paperback vs. Hardback
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that some of these self-publishing tools are free (such as Canva), while others are not. Most, though not all, offer a free trial period.
And it’s not just about paperbacks anymore. We’ve recently gained the ability to create hardback* books on Amazon as well. Converting an existing paperback to a hardback is fairly straightforward, though it’s worth noting that cover dimensions are quite different!
Lastly, I previously shared a similar post about Print on Demand, but since then, I’ve picked up a new tool or two, which I’ll be updating you on today.
As an official Canva Verified Expert, it’s only natural that I wholeheartedly endorse Canva as my go-to tool for crafting both book interiors and covers. I also find it indispensable for adding graphics to items like journals and planners.
What sets Canva apart is its remarkable versatility. You can create an entire book, from the inside pages to the cover, all for FREE, and then seamlessly upload it to Amazon at no cost as well.
When using Canva for book design, I typically recommend sticking to all the FREE elements to ensure you’re on the safe side legally. However, having a Canva Pro subscription is highly advisable, though not entirely essential. It’s worth noting that Canva recently updated its licensing page, providing more clarity on usage rights.
If you’re curious about testing Canva Pro, I can offer you a 45-day FREE Canva Pro trial. It’s incredibly useful, especially when it comes to tasks like resizing book covers and manuscripts!
You can create covers and interiors in Book Bolt. While I do less of that, I have started to use Book Bolt a fair bit but more for research than anything else. It has a “Cloud” feature which is quite useful. They have a variety of other features like ‘Book Scout”, KDP Spy and the BookBolt Lister which uses a Chrome Extension.
Now if you’re interested I have a special link that can get you a wee discount if you want to join BookBolt – just use the code ‘podinscot‘ and that should give you a little something off….
A Book Creator (formerly Aududu Book Creator)
Earlier this year I “met” Aududu’s founder Cindy Minear on Clubhouse. I’d heard of her software even before I met her, but after having a few good conversations with her, I went and forked the money for a year’s subscription. To be honest, it took me a few months to actually use it, but when I did, I fell in love with it. It’s how I’ve made my Totally Scottish and Totally ’80s Word Search books. If you want to give this one a wee three-day spin – then use this Aududu book creator link and give it a try. She has lots of tutorials if you need some help getting started.
UPDATE 13/11 (taken from Cindy’s Instagram): ‘Create covers for hardcover books with our cover creator! You can upload an image for the entire cover, and/or images for the front and back cover. Switch between hardcover and paperback with one click! You are going to love how quick and easy you can create both paperback and hardcover covers! This example uses a background image, with transparent png files added for the front and back cover. Try it here: https://www.aududu.com/pagegen/cover
Activity Book Generator
One I have just picked up in the last 48 hours or so is Activity Book Generator. When I couldn’t sleep early one Saturday morning I fired up Youtube and came across a video where a guy was reviewing the software (2.0). I watched it, fell back to sleep, and many hours later, I went and searched for the software and bought it. At just $29 for the basic, somewhat limited membership, it was a no brainer.
Creating books fast…
With a few clicks I made a 30 page Mandala book in about 15 seconds. Repeated the process again for thirty more mandalas. When the downloaded PDFs looked rather sparse, I imported them into Canva and completely made them my own. I added some frames, some lines and some sketch pages to create a 100 page A4 book. It’s an oversaturated niche, so honestly am not sure I’ll get any sales, but I was feeling inspired and so went with it.
By the end of the weekend I’d submitted my first Mixed Mandala colouring, journaling and sketching book.
Tangent Templates, like Canva, is a go-to tool I use all the time to create Books for Amazon KDP. It’s quick and easy to make planners in seconds. The other thing I love love love about TT is the ability to quickly download “size guides” which show bleed on your covers and interiors. It costs about $50-$60 but was 100% worth every penny.
I don’t have an affiliate link for this one, I just love, love, love it. Incidentally, its co-founder is another Canva CCC (not something she broadcasts).
There is some cross-over with these platforms. For instance you can make log books in Book Bolt, Tangent, and Aududu. Heck you can do it in Canva too. ‘Couple of them do Puzzle and Activities as well. I find you just have to try different software on, and see how it fits you.
I tend to mix and match all of these. To be fair the Activity Book Generator is a brand new tool but even though I just bought it, I am already loving even the basic membership and might even consider the jump to their premium offering.
What tools do you use most to create books for Amazon KDP? Or are you just starting out on your journey?