Publish Paperback Graphic Novels with Amazon KDP | Mel McKenzie | Skillshare

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Publish Paperback Graphic Novels with Amazon KDP

teacher avatar Mel McKenzie, Artist/Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (1h 14m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Imprints & ISBNs

    • 3. KDP Dashboard and Publishing Overlook

    • 4. Creating Manuscript Template and Interior Layout

    • 5. Formatting Art for Manuscript

    • 6. Exporting Manuscript

    • 7. Book Cover Template and Design

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About This Class

Hi! I’m Mel McKenzie - author and illustrator of the lgbt graphic novel, Hooked On You.

Lots of people dream of creating comics or graphic novels. If you’re just starting out with a new idea and have never dabbled in comic creation or publishing - you have your work cut out for you.

When I first began my graphic novel, Hooked On You - I knew it would be a lot of work - but didn’t realize just how much was involved and just how much of a time commitment it would be.

Many creators work on side projects while working regular day jobs. If you are serious about making a graphic novel - understand that a lot of your free time will be put into your project if you ever hope to reach that end goal.

If you're an artist planning to self publish your comic story, you probably want to save time and money where you can. You can hire someone to help you with the editing and design, or try to take it into your own hands. Since you're an artist, you already have a eye for what's aesthetically pleasing, but just need a little help understanding how to setup and format an official manuscript that showcases your story. You're also probably curious about what exactly is involved in the self publishing process.

Over the years I've dabbled in self publishing and have learned a lot along the way that has enabled me to finally produce a graphic novel in print. A lot of trial and error has went a long way in teaching me how to streamline my workflow and avoiding time wasting mistakes. (I've spent 4 hours just trying to submit a manuscript because I had my file formatted incorrectly!)

I'll walk you through the editing and document layout process while showing you how to publish your completed manuscript through Amazon KDP.

This class is NOT a how to make comics class (though I will show you a few helpful tips when creating art in digital files that will save you time later).

This class focuses on the not-so-fun aspects of creating comics. Students will gain technical knowledge about page layout and design along with publishing basics to get them ready to publish their first comic book or graphic novel in print paperback format.

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Mel McKenzie



Hello, I'm Mel.

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Mel Mackenzie, author and illustrator of the graphic novel hooked on you. When I first began hooked on you, I knew it would be a lot of work, but I just didn't realize how much work it would actually be. And despite all the fun in creating the art, There's a lot of stuff that's not fun, like creating book covers your manuscript formatting, editing, publishing, trying to understand all the jargon. It can be overwhelming if you've never, ever had to deal with it before. A lot of people who decide to make graphic novels also work a day job. So when you're doing this, you got to understand that there's going to be a huge time commitment on your end and a lot of your free time is going to go towards this project. If you ever hope of getting to the end because of the time commitment, it's important to save time and money where you can, when you get to the end stage in plan on publishing and graphic novel, you could hire somebody to do all the non fun technical work, like setting up your manuscripts and editing it, creating your book cover for you. However, you're an artistic person and I'm confident that you could probably save yourself some money if you did it yourself. And it's really not that hard once you know how to do it. Over the years, I've dabbled in self-publishing. I have published everything from a diet book way back in the day to single issue comics. I published web tunes online and now my most recent I have published e-book version of hooked on you and a paperback version. There was a lot of trial and error that allow me to learn how to streamline my workflow and avoid making costly time wasting mistakes. I'll walk you through how to set up a manuscript and create a template for future projects. I will also show you how to design a book cover to go along with your manuscript. We will also take an in-depth look into the Amazon kVp dashboard. I will show you all the options available to you and describe in detail what you can do. This class is not a how to make comics class. I'm not going to show you how to set up your artwork, how to layout panels, tell stories. This is mainly for the final part of creating a comic book where you have to create your manuscript and create your book cover and publish it. That being said, I will show you some helpful tips to keep in mind when creating your art that will help you save time later when you're formatting your manuscript. Self-publishing isn't too difficult, but there are some things you should know, like, what is an imprint? Do you need an imprint? What is an ISBN and how do you buy one? Do you even need one? These are things that I will answer in this class. This class is for people who already have the art, know how to make the art or are planning on publishing and graphic novel in the future. If you're ready to publish a graphic novel, I'll walk you through the process. Just join this class and we'll get started. 2. Imprints & ISBNs: So I want to talk to you about imprints. And if you need one, when you are self-publishing on Amazon, kVp, you don't necessarily need an imprint. It's kind of based on what you are hoping to do with your publishing business. Do you plan on just publishing a one-off book? You probably won't need it. If it's something that you plan on doing more of in the future, you may want an imprint. In an imprint is basically what you would use your publisher name if you've never had a business before, there's something you file called a dba and that's a doing business as if you're not doing business as under your own name, you have to have a DBA to associate your name with whatever business name your choosing. So like if I wanted to have McKinsey tolls, I can do that as my business name. If I wanted to do power tools as my business name, I would have to file a DBA in order to use that name for Business. Different states have different things that they require you to do. I'm from Pennsylvania, pennsylvania and just requires you to fill out a form on the government site, pay $70 and they will approve it. You also have to start a bank account under the DBA so that all your income will go towards that business account. So if you plan on using an imprint, you will also need to have an ISBN whenever you sign into Amazon kVp, it's going to ask you if you have an imprint that you would like to put in. And it will check to see if it's registered. Once you have a DBA, you have to register it with BellKor, which is a place where you get ISP DNS. And this is something that you have to consider when you're doing your book because it can add a lot of cost to self-publishing. And self-publishing can be relatively cheap unless you start doing more complicated things like this. So if you file for an imprint and you plan to publish it under your imprints name. You have to buy your own ISBN. Every book is assigned an ISBN for every format. So if you have a paperback and an e-book, both have to have a separate ISBN. You can't just use one for both. Here's where the problem lies. In the US, ISBN are not cheap. Other countries offered them for free or really, really discounted. In the US for one ISBN with a barcode, it costs a $150 and without a barcode, a 125. You can, for the best deal by 10, ESPN's know barcodes for $300 off a banker and BellKor is the only place that you can buy ISP DNS. That being said, through Amazon, you can order ISBN is off of BellKor for a discount. I think doing it through Amazon. It comes out to $99, but I don't think that includes a bar code. You're just getting the ISBN. You've planned to have a paperback and you want a barcode on the back. You may have to buy a bar code as well. And I think those are twenty-five dollars a piece on BellKor. If you decide to forgo the imprint and simply publish it under your own name, Amazon will assign an ISBN to your book. Now, this ISBN is something that is only available to US through Amazon. You can't sell your book anywhere else using that ISBN. You can't print it from anywhere else using that ISBN, you have to print it from Amazon. So like if you bought your own ISBN, you could print from Amazon, you could print from Barnes and Noble press. There's other places that you could potentially print your book from and get better deals. If you decide to use Amazon's free ISBN, you could only distribute it through Amazon. Kindle books do not require an ISBN. Amazon does assign it something called an asean, which is basically Amazon's version of an ISBN. So if you're unsure of what you want to do, you could publish it under your own name first and see how sales are going. And then eventually, if you wanted to, you could always republish it with an ISBN that you buy after you file for an imprint. If you decide to do that, whether or not you need an imprint is something that's based solely on what your goals are as an author slash publisher, if you plan to publish more books in the future, rather than just like a one-off book, you may want to have an imprint, something that you consistently publish under to give you a little more credibility. If you plan to just publish a onetime graphic novel, that's just like a passion project. You may not want that. It, it just depends on what your goals are. I'm going to include a little checklist and guide for you that you can follow along if you plan on doing, if you plan on filing for an imprint or if you plan on buying ISBN for your book. Well, I think that pretty much covers everything with imprints and I ESPN's, let's go ahead and go on to the next step. 3. KDP Dashboard and Publishing Overlook: So I'm going to walk you through the Kindle Direct Publishing website. This is This is where you will have your books listed and where you will do all of your business when publishing your book. So here is the dashboard. You can see your bookshelf reports, which shows your sales, community and marketing. There's different things that you can do. You can upload an e-book or a paperback. And this is series of something new. I haven't really looked into it too much. Whenever you start a book, you will have your book content, which is your manuscript. And you can see you can do children's books, educational content, comics, manga, whatever you wanna do, and you can make it. You have your book cover. They have a cover creator. I would suggest probably not using it because it is very limited into design. And it's probably better for you to create your own cover, which I will show you how description, keywords and categories. This is where readers will find your book in search words that they will use in order to find your book and your ISBN. This is something that all books have. Kindle e-books do not need one and they get assigned in ASIN, which is like an Amazon version. Your, if you do a paperback, you will need an ISBN. You can either get one free amazon under self-publishing title. Or if you have a DBA or an imprint, you can put your own in, but that is something you will have to purchase separately. Down here, you can see, I have a few things I've dabbled with over the years. Some I have unpublished. This originally was my hooked on you. I tested out doing single issues and what I found was the price to charge for a single issue. You can't charge less than like 299 for any book. So you're not really making any money off of it. And I don't know about you, but if you're publishing a single issue comic, they're usually around 24 pages. It's, you can't charge $5, people just aren't going to buy it. So you can see that something that, that I ended up not doing. I did a coloring book and I had published the paper back. And then I ended up taking I tried to do an e-book but it wasn't formatted correctly. They won't let you do an e-book that has to be colored. So that was something that I didn't think about. So they didn't allow me to do that, but I did have the paperback. Published for awhile and then I decided to take it off the shelf. Right now there is hooked on you. I have my As as of this point, I have my ebook live. I'm I'm paperback is waiting just for final submission. I'm going to use this to show you what you do when you go in and upload your thing, your manuscript. So I'm gonna go to continue setup. So the first part of the step is paperback details. You'll choose your language, your title. This is what I'm saying about that series thing. I'm not sure that it matters if you set it up initially as a series because you can do things like this and link your books together. I'm not really sure. Maybe that streamlines that process somehow. This is your edition number. If you have multiple editions, you'll have your author name if other people contributed your description. A good way to come up with your description is to kinda look at what other authors have done. Whenever you look at other books, what do they have in? There's a lot of them usually just have like the book summary and a little blurb about the author and that's basically what I did. You're publishing rights here. You will come up with your keywords that you think people will type in so that they can find your story categories. They have less here and you can click and choose from that and find what you want your book to be listed under. And adult content yes or no. From here, you can save it as a draft or continue. I'm going to continue. The next step is the paperback content. You can choose to get a free kVp ISBN and they will sign it. Or you can use your own. And you'll have to have your imprint, which means you will have to have filed for your DBA ahead of time and registered it with BellKor so that they can check and make sure and verify that that is a real thing. And you will have to have your own ISBN that you purchase. In the US. A one ISBN with a barcode is a $150. Depending on your country or it could be free. I think it's free and Canada, or really, really cheap, but that is an additional cost. If you want to also do an ebook, your eBook has to have an ISBN as well, a separate one that can't be the same. If your book has been published before, you can put the date if this is the first time you leave that blank. Here you can see your print options. There's several things that you can do. Black and white interior with cream paper, black and white interior with whitepaper, premium color interior with white paper. For comics, I would suggest white paper. Mine is a black and white comic, so that's what I chose. You can do different trim sizes. It will give you a list. It's good to look ahead. Learn more about supported Trump sizes on kVp. It's good to look ahead and see what trim sizes the offer they offer a lot, so I'm sure it won't be an issue for whatever you're trying to do. But that's something to keep in mind whenever you're creating your art. Bleed settings. If you have never done like design layout, bleed is the area that will be trimmed before the term size. Trim size will be the size that your book is trimmed down to. Bleed is extended beyond that. And it's for like if you have images that are going to spread to the edge of the page. That way whenever they cut it, there's no white gap. It's it gets all trimmed off and it just kinda makes graphics look nicer. And if you don't have your graphics extending to the edge of the page, if you don't have pictures going all the way to the edge, you won't need to worry about the bleed. But if you do have graphics going to the edge of the page, you're going to want to do you the bleed with the PDF only, your cover finish. This is preference, personal preference, matte and glossy. Look at books that you enjoy reading and see what their covers look like. I have a lot that are glossy and I have some that are Matt. And I personally kind of liked the the mat on the one and I thought, You know what, That's what I'm going to go with originally, I did have it set to glossy. Then here you upload your manuscript and you can see Doc, HTML, RTF. These are typically for word type novels. Yours are going to be pictures if you are making a comic. So you're probably going to do the PDF file. Something to keep in mind whenever you're making your PDF file to submit. You cannot have like empty textboxes just randomly thrown around. If you do, it's going to give you an error when you go to upload it, even though you can't see it when you preview the document, you also have to embed fonts. If the fonts are not embedded, you will get an error. For the most part. It's typically works. I have had issues uploading. Mainly. One was my fonts were not embedded correctly. And for some reason with what I was doing, I just couldn't get them to embed. I actually had to insert them in as like a graphic image. And then it worked because it eliminated the fonts. But if you do have an error, it can be very frustrating because Amazon does not always tell you what the heck is wrong. And the Munch you upload your paper back manuscript. It can take a little while to upload because it's a pretty big size. You do that. And then it will go through this processing stage and it takes forever. And you can be sitting there for 40 minutes and get an error and be like what? 40 minutes that you've you've waited. And then if you have to do it again and you get another error, it's very frustrating. Again. I don't entirely know a work around other than just look out for these kind of issues or your fonts embedded correctly? Or do you have any random text boxes just stuck in there without any text in. And these are things that I had to look on YouTube and see what other people did and people that knew more than I did about formatting and graphic design, they had the same kind of issues and the one guy showed that he did it like 17 times before he figured out what was wrong. So it made me feel a little better. I didn't do it 17 times. But but that's what you need to look out for when you're doing that. Here is where you will make your book cover. They do have a cover creator. If you pull it up, you will see it looks kind of tacky. You can put your own images and stuff, but it doesn't give you as much freedom as far as designing it the way that you want it to and laying out elements where you want them to be. So what I have done is I uploaded my own Cover. Once your manuscript is processed, you will go to the book preview. And it pulls up like a virtual rendering of your book where you can flip through the pages, make sure that it looks okay. If your pages don't extend to the edges, you will see that it'll show these problems. It will tell you if there is issues with any text, if there's issues with image quality, if there are too many blank pages in a row, it will reject it. It'll give you all those errors. Once you approve that, then you can move on to the next step. I have already done this, so it should let me go. Then from here, you're going to one to decide on your paper back rights and pricing. Select the territory's for which you hold distribute. Truby writes all territories like it's my book. I'm the one that created it. I'm the sole publisher, creator, whatever. So that's what that is. On pricing and royalty. Whenever you pick a price, pick something competitive with others, are doing so. I picked 1499. It is a 200-page graphic novel, and I've seen people post them for around 1499 and even 1799, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. It just depends, but that's what I went with. And then here, once you approve all this and you know that everything's the way you want. You're going to be making it available for purchase on Amazon and it can take up to 72 hours. They do their own review process to make sure that it does look correct. So you go through this this computerized process and then they actually have a person that looks over it and make sure yeah, it looks good because they don't want to put out crap. So if there's a problem, you'll get that back. You can purchase print proofs of this book if you want. They'll come in and will say, not for resale across the cover. And it's just going to show what it looks like inside. And you'll have a copy of that. You can order author copies once it is approved. These you buy at this rate and you can buy multiple copies and sell them yourself or give them to people. I'm not at the publishing point yet. I'm waiting for a certain date, so I'm going to leave this go and just save it as a draft for now. But I wanted to show you the process reports, the shows. Units ordered. This is your I just published this one. So I don't have a whole lot to show here, but the shows, how many people have read it on Kindle Unlimited. And you can see your royalties. So this is the Community tab. It shows you if you have different questions about how to do things, you can come here and look up different stuff about how to do everything basically in marketing. So whenever you do an e-book, you can submit it to kVp select so that it's available on Kindle unlimited, which is what I did. But when you do that, you can't be selling it anywhere else. It has to be in Kindle Unlimited. And I think the period is like three months. You can cancel it. That's how that goes. And then you get paid for the amount of pages read. Okay, So Amazon advertising is where you pay. Kinda like Facebook advertising where you make an ad. And that's where you set up your, your budget, run a price promotion. You can either do Kindle countdown deal or a free book promotion. You can only do one of these per enrollment period. That means one or the other. For that three months that you're enrolled. Can know countdown deals are where you set the price at starting at $0.99 and then after so much time and goes up to 299, and then after so much time it goes up to 799. You can do that. You can do a free book promotion which makes your book available for free. And that would be maybe a good thing to do to get some reviews and get more readers. You can nominate your books for these, for Kindle deals OR prime reading. It doesn't mean it's going to be selected. But you can try. Authors Central. This is where you will go to set up your author page. Here. I have mine. You can link your books altogether. So if somebody, whenever you're on Amazon and you see someone selling a book and you can see the author's name. If they click it, it's going to show them what books are associated, associated with that author. You can also put photos and videos and kinda of people come upon your page. They can see what you're doing and see what kind of books that what other books you have in your profile in your account, which I'm not going to pull up because it has personal stuff. It will have your tax information, you will have to fill that out. Money earned is taxable, even $10 in royalties the government expects you to pay taxes on that. You can either get paid via check or bank account. If you do the check, you have to reach a certain amount of money like a $100 before they pay it out. Or you can just have it direct deposited into your account, which is way easier and you're guaranteed to get paid. And that should be it. So that is the overall look at the Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard and what you can do there and kinda what the process looks like. Now that we took a look at that, Let's move on to the next step. 4. Creating Manuscript Template and Interior Layout: So when you are formatting your book, there are certain things that you have to take into account for when setting up your template. You will need to have margins and you will need to have a bleed if you plan on having images that extend to the edge of the pages. So I will share this link with you. I have it favorited in My Favorites bar because I have used it several times. It goes through all the things that you possibly could need when setting up your book. But I'm going to point out a few important things right now. So your bleed or no bleed if you don't plan on having images that extend to the edge of the pages. So for the interior, if you plan on having images that extend to the edge of the page, which I did in mind, you have to have a bleed. When you have a bleed, you will have to add this amount beyond the final trim size from top, bottom and outer edges. You don't have to have it on the inside because the inside does not get trimmed. However, inside margin will be larger than your outside margins. Does. Take a little bit of math to figure out what's your document should be set up as I'm going to show you how I have mine set up. You also have to have your images set at 300 DPI or higher. You should already have that done whenever you are making your artwork and whatever program you're using. But you also will have to have that setup in your scribe as template as well. So because this class is made for poor people like me, I am not using Adobe InDesign. If you have that, you probably are a little more into the graphic design field than I am. But I like to use what's available and what's free and scribe as his worked for me and I will show you guys how to use it. It is a free open-source program, much like Adobe InDesign that lets you lay out books and art and whatever you wanna do. First, I'm going to show you how I have my documents setup and then I will show you as if you were starting a new one on your own. So this is my manuscript right here. You can see I have mine set up with double-sided. My page width and height, have it in inches. I have a setting to start on the right page. So imagine if you're opening a book, you'd have your cover, flip it open, and this would be the first page that they would see. Then you have your margin guides. I have my margins set at on the inside, 0.5 and then my outside, top and bottom. When you're putting in your margins, you're going to want to have this unlinked. Because if you link them, see how it puts them all the same. And you don't want that same with bleeds because you're inside does not have a bleed because it is inside the book. It's not going to be trimmed. You have to have this. Although I have my linked. Nope, see if it hit the link, it turns them on. So the same. So you gotta make sure you have that unlinked. We are going to cancel that because we don't want to change anything. When you're doing this yourself, you will go to New and you will put in the exact same information, the double-sided. You will change this to inches and you'll go through and you'll put in all the things that you want, number of pages. This doesn't really matter at this point. If you're not sure how many pages you're going to have, you can give a rough estimate. You can always add pages or delete pages. It doesn't matter. So then you'll have your document. You can save as template as well. I did this myself with mine so that I would have, for next time, I wanted to do this again and I wouldn't have to set it up again. You would just come over here. Once you have your documents set up, go to File, Save as Template. And choose where you want to save it and give it a name. And that's all you have to do. So now if I want to go Open File New from template, I can go through here. A lot of these are already ones that were in the program. And I can see I have my comic template right here and I put the size so I would know what it was. And I can just click that and start fresh. So that is how you set up your scribe as template. I'm going to pull up my screen here. And I will save this for you guys so that you can see the exact amounts that I have set up on mine. And use them for your own. Depending on the size of your pages or the size of your book. They did have different margin sizes. If you're doing something kind of like a standard graphic novel size, this is going to be just fine and you would just adjust your, your width and your height. From there, you're going to one to decide on how you want to set up the interior of your book. Remember that your entire book is basically a presentation of your story and your art. So wow, the story art is important. It's also important to take into account the design of the entire interior. What is the first page that they're going to look at? How do you have your table of contents designed. It's an overall aesthetic that you are presenting to somebody else. For me, I looked through some of the books that I have on my shelf and kinda saw what they did and took things that I liked and incorporated it into my own. For my first page, I did something simple. I just took my cover and I made it black and white and put it in as my title page. Then I have a blank page. When you are submitting manuscripts to Amazon, they do not like you to have a bunch of blank pages. In a row. So like in the beginning you can have one or two pages. And then I think it's if it's like three or more, they will flag it in at the end of your book though, allow up to ten. And I assume that if somebody's publishing a book where they're living like a section for notes or whatever, they will allow that. So I have my blank page and then I have a table of contents. You can see from my table of contents I kinda kept minimal. And I used in my story, I have this catfish hat symbol that one of my characters wears. And I decided to go ahead and incorporate that into my table of contents page. And you can see if I took it out, it wouldn't make a difference, but it kind of gives it a little more character and ties it into the rest of the book as well. Now here is my first chapter. You can do Chapter art for each chapter or some books. They will go and they will just put like chapter one right here in the first panel on the page. That's perfectly acceptable to like I said, it's up to you and how you want to present your work. I decided to do Chapter art for each chapter and kind of keep it matching this. I don't know how to call it like a sticker cut out. I liked the way that that looked. And I kept the same fonts. Whenever you're doing titles, keep your fonts the same. And then I have my art. You can see I have graphics that do come the whole way to the edge. That's why I have a bleed on mine. You can see I'm within my margins. The center margin is wider than the outer margin because this will be folded into the binding. My words do not go into the margin space just in case. You can see here's Chapter 2. Again, I kept the same kind of style where I have the paper cut out. And I do that throughout the whole book. You want it to be a cohesive design. You don't want to do a bunch of different strange things that don't match and it just looks like chaos. You want to try to make it look nice and presentable. So I did that the whole way through. And then you get to the end and you have some decisions to make. Here's my last page, the end. And then I have a blank page. Whenever I am designing my manuscript. Let's say at the beginning, I started putting in stuff and I didn't have my chapter art. I will take a text box which is up here. And I will make a text and I'll put, oops. I'll put I'll not use. Okay, I will put a text box. There we go. And I'll put concert Chapter 1, art. And then I let it. Now I have to remember to delete this and not just put a picture over top of it. Or when I go to put it into Amazon and it's going to get an error. But I like to do that to kinda give me an idea of what I'm doing through the process. So I don't forget what my plans were. When I am putting pictures in. I'll do this. So now I have my my picture frame and I will go to Properties. I know that I want it to be the same height as my book. Now this isn't taking into account my bleed area. So I need to extend it a little. Should be 5.75. And I want it centered. Now here I have my picture frame. Whenever I go to insert a picture, I would just go like this. Right-click, get image. And then wherever folder you have your images in and you just pull it up. You can also lock the image so that it doesn't move. Sometimes I do that, sometimes they don't. It depends on my mood. You can come over here if you're ever questioning. If it's fitting within the margins, you can reduce the opacity. And you can see your guides through the image. So I have my blank page here. Then I decided to add a little mini story. And it's just a two beat page mini comic that goes along. And I did that afterwards. And then I made my author afterward where I just kinda decided to put just a little, little mini thing from myself. And you can see this is another design choice that I made. I put in a little cartoon of myself exhausted from all the drawing that I've just done. And I think everybody that helped me with my project. I also did up a special art page because it was something, it's just a nice little personal touch for the people that have read my book and have been following me on social media. So I wanted to make something that everybody can just enjoy. And then I have my copyright page. And the way I wrote this was I looked through other books and took from them what I felt was the best way of saying this is mine. Don't touch it. Whenever you publish a book, you automatically hold the copyright. But it's always good to kind of reiterate so that people know. You're saying, I'm claiming this this is mine. Don't do anything that you shouldn't be doing with it. Basically. That should conclude how you go about setting up your scribing document as a template that you can add your, your artwork into and the things that you need to think about when creating your manuscript, you should you have a title page? Do you want to have a table of contents? Are you going to do page numbers? Are you going to have Chapter art for every page? Are you going to have an author's afterward? Are you going to do any special art or mini comics in the end? Are you going to heavier copyright page in the beginning or the end? It's up to you. It is how you want to present your work. Now that we've covered this, I think we can go ahead and go on to the next step. 5. Formatting Art for Manuscript: So I'm going to show you why it's important to keep your art in layers. It makes it easier to format it for your book later. And it's something that I did not do from the beginning. So I'm going to show you how I originally did it and then how keeping it in a different layer made it a little bit easier. So first off, I made myself template for my manuscript where I have the left page and the right page. And the way I did that was I came to my kVp and I submitted just like my manuscript filled with only two pages of art. And I uploaded it. And when I launched the preview, our, I use the snipping tool to take a snip. So I launched the preview or and I, on one of the Empty Pages, I took the snipping tool and hit New snip, and that gave me like the perfect template. When I opened up my file here, I made sure that I had my dimensions to match the actual dimension of my pages for my PDF manuscript. And then I just imported the template and the guides in here. And I move the black edges all the way to the edge of this. And I wrote left page and right page and I colored them so that I would remember which went to which. So for this one, I pick this image because I have this image here where it covers part of the panel. And you're going to see my original art does not quite correspond to the dimensions of this page. So I'm going to pull will just make it a left page here. And I'm going to show you I have this layer that has this text which is not editable now, unless I want to completely type it again. If I did it that way because the back of it is outlined with white. And the way I do it, I flatten it into an image. Then I have this layer which you can see over here. It's still dialogue. So I can, if I change my mind about how I want something to be spelled, I can just come over here and lock it and easily go in and fix it. Then here I have my line art, and here I have my toning. So most of my things are usually those four layers. And then I have. Folders where I have reference images in 3D assets that I use to help me set up my storyboard. So whenever I imported over here, I usually do the toning and the line art first. And you'll have to unlock them. With both of them selected. I'll come up here to the scale and I know to put it at the top left. And Twenty-five will get it down to a manageable. And then I will make sure that it fits the width of the guides. You can see I have some art that expanded outside the panels that you don't see over in the original file. But because I shrunk it to the margins, you do. So I will have to erase that. Not every pages like that, just some of them because the way I drew them. So then I will align this up to the top by using the Move layer. You can move it up step-by-step, just pressing the up or if you hold Shift, it'll take bigger jumps. Now, I want him to take up the whole bottom here. So this is where if I had kept this image on its own layer, this is a step that you would not have to do that because I didn't have to come over here and get my selection pen. And the cleaner you can keep this, the better it's going to be. And then I will edit, copy, edit, paste. Now I have two more of those. And then I'll select the original layers and delete it from those layers. So now I have that on its own layer, but you can see now I have pieces here. When I make the image bigger, I have to make sure that I cover that up. And you'll see what I mean here. See it's offset snow. I have to put it there. I'm going to flatten these. I will select that negative space, invert it so that this is selected. Come down to that layer. Edit cut. So it erases that. It's an extra step that you can eliminate by just doing this part on its own layer. And that's something that I figured out later on when I was doing my art. So I'm going to show you the difference with another file. So this one has a similar thing where the head covers that up, but I have it in its own folder. So again, I would do the same process. I would put my line art and that over there. Unlock. I like to keep my layers locked so that I don't accidentally draw over them. Because I have done that. This part also could be easier if you planned ahead. I didn't. I kinda like doing it this way where I just draw what I want to draw and then I format it later. Here I have a white background because you can see that I completely drew those panels and then this is just laying over top, so I will need that whole thing. Why do I pick 25 over here? Because that's what I tested it with and that's what kinda gets it small enough that I can figure out where it is to adjust it from there. And you can see that saved me a little bit of time. I didn't have to work out where the edges were, copy and paste it onto another layer and expanded from there. And then I have my fonts together. I usually will take both of those layers and I will flatten them. Edit copy. And the nice thing about keeping your fonts on their own layer is that the images can be any size. It doesn't really matter, but you want your fonts to be consistently the same size throughout the book. So here, this image is actually slightly bigger than it was in my original art. And that's okay. But now I can put my font in here. My dialogue, put it at 25, and I can do that for every page. From here. I will move all my texts into the boxes where I want them to be. And just doing this real quick, just to show you. And then you see I'm keeping it inside my margins. You don't want your texts to go outside because that's where it potentially will get cut off. And that's what it looks like. So keeping your artwork in layers will save you time whenever you format it later for, for in your manuscript. And that basically covers how you go about doing that. So let's move on to the next step. 6. Exporting Manuscript: When your manuscript in Spanish, it's important to export it correctly to eliminate any errors that you may get whenever you submit it on Amazon kVp, because we are using images, you are going to export it as a PDF file. There are some things that Amazon has listed on their site, and I will show you that now. I'm also going to share this link with you because this is a link that I have saved into my toolbar because I use it quite often to look up different things. As far as trim sizes, bleed sizes, Page numbers. It's all here. So you can see for the interior specifications, they require single-page files. So you will see that my manuscript is two-page spread. But when I export it, I do it in a way that the PDF file is single page. And this is how you are going to want to have yours exported whenever you submit it to Amazon. It also tells you that the font has to be a minimum of seven points. And then all fonts and the interior file should be embedded. Now this is a problem that I have had using scribe us. I'm not sure if I just need to update my program or if I'm just not doing something correctly, scribe us is a free open source program. And that being said, it does have flaws sometimes because you, most of your manuscript is going to be pictures. You're really only going to have maybe two or three pages that actually have font on. You could type them up in Eclipse studio documents like a picture program and export it as a PNG or JPEG. And then you would just import it as an image. And you want your image resolution to be 300 DPI or higher. So here we have my file, all my images. When I draw my art, I do them at 600 DPI. When I formatted them, I did change it to 300 DPI. Dpi is dots per inch. So the more dots per inch, the higher the resolution, it's going to be a lot clearer. Right there you have your images in your manuscript at 300 DPI. When you export it, you're going to make sure that it's still at 300 DPI. You're going to want to make sure that you don't have any random textboxes sitting here on blank pages. Like for example, for me, whenever I am in the process of starting my manuscript and laying out where I want my pages. If I know this is going to be a blank page, I'll put a text box here. 7. Book Cover Template and Design: So I want to talk about how to go about making the cover for your paper back. When you are in the Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard, you go over to the paperback Content tab and you will come down right below the manuscript. There's book cover. And you have the option of using their cover creator or uploading your own. Now I've looked at the cover creator and you can put in a picture but you can't it individual things like the spine and stuff. It's limited with what you can do design wise. And it's not my favorite. If you absolutely have no idea how to do any kind of graphic design, I can see how it would be helpful. But you being an artist and having the ability to create things like that, I think that you would be able to create your own book cover yourself. It's actually pretty easy and I'm going to show you how. So. First off, you will need to know how many pages are in your book at this point, because you will have to calculate how wide the spine is going to be on that one part. You can follow the math and it tells you how to multiply it by whatever number of pages to get the spine width. Or you can come up here to download aka ADP template. You click that. You choose your book size minus 5.5 by 8.5. Click that. You put in how many pages? Choose your paper color and then click Download cover template. It comes as a PDF or PNG file. I downloaded it as a PNG file. And when I pull it into my drawing program, I can see now that this is what it looks like. It shows the red here is the bleed. This is the area that possibly will be trimmed. This out here definitely is trend. This is kind of like a safe space that they put in here just to make sure it's not too close to where it's going to be cut. If you were to put text that goes all the way over to this line, it's probably going to be cut off. So you want to keep it within this whitespace so that it's definitely going to stay on the cover of the book. Here. We also have the spine and you can see exactly where you can put your stuff. You don't want to put the words all the way to the border here because again, whenever they fooled the book, this is not an exact science in it possibly could be folded off onto the edges, so you want to keep it in that whitespace. Here we have the back of the book and we have. Your bar code right here. This, if you have your own barcode, you would put it here or you will leave this blank. And Amazon will put a bar code there whenever they printed. And when you're going about designing your book cover, you have three things to design. One, the front cover to the back cover, and three, the spine on your front cover you're going to want to have and I'll pull up mine here to show you. Turn this off. I like to work in layers because if I'm one and change an element, I can easily do it without having to mess up my entire cover. Um, so here I have this little hook element up here. If I decide I don't want it, I can just take it off. I want to change my spine color. I can and just have that little bar there. So anyway, on your front cover, you will want to have your title, your author, illustrator, anybody that helped make the book, you will want to have the names on the front. If you have a subtitle, you'll need a subtitle. And some kind of eye-catching image that you think is going to be something that catches your target audience's eyes to get them to want to read your book. I went through designing different book covers over time. And this is ultimately what I settled on. I usually do really colorful art, but a kind of decided to mute it down and go with just a certain color theme. And you can see it looks I think it looks pretty cohesive. But I have my title, I have my name, and I have my image on the back cover. You can put an image. You can honestly keep this as just like a blank colored page. Or put some kind of cute little illustration. It's up to you. For inspiration. Look at other books and see what they did. The one that I, the ones that I tend to like had pictures on the back. So I decided to make another piece of art to put on the back of the cover. I also have my book summary, which is like, whenever they pick up the book, it's what they're going to read in. It's what's going to be withdrawals them into wanting to read the whole story. So you're going to have that on the back. Added things like age recommendations or something that you have to put on the back. You can do so as well. For a lot of the graphic novels that I have, they had age ratings and this and specifically said boys love. So I wanted to make sure that I had that on here so that people knew exactly what they were buying. Again, I made these as separate little elements. I think they might be up in this folder. Yeah. So that I could take them and put them on and off. That's how I did that. And then. Here is where I put my pricing, what it would mean it's going to cost. And the way I did that to make sure I had it where I wanted it. If you turn on your template and reduce the opacity, you can see all your marks and where everything is going to be on the book. So here I saw the edge of my barcode is right here. And that's why I put it right there in that space. You can see up here where I have my summary. I made sure not to go over into the red and I kept it here in just that white area. And then you have your spine. And when you're thinking of a book cover, you probably don't give a whole lot of thought to the spine, but it's actually pretty important because when it's sitting on the bookshelf, It's the first thing that someone's going to see. So you do want it to be somewhat interesting. Looking again, look at other books and see how they designed them and what catches your eye. For me, I went with something simple. I went with a matching color. I chose the darker blue in my, from my art and then the lighter yellow color as the font color. Originally I did have it as more of a teal background, but the font didn't show up quite as well. And I didn't like how that I wanted you to be able to easily read what was on the book. So here I put my book title and I have my author name. And then a lot of books have either like a logo or sometimes they'll just have like a little picture of Lake something from the story sitting somewhere at the top or bottom of the spine. I tried putting on faces or something and they never quite worked out. My spine is very small, so I had to have it was I was making it too small. So what I opted for was just a little element here where I took this hook and made it look like it was dangling down because it matches the theme of the book. The guy's getting cat fished. I use hooks and fishes and fishing poles as symbols in my art. It's a thing that I've done the whole time. And I think it's something that complements the overall design of the book. Another thing that you could do is possibly some books will take just one image and it goes from front to back and curls around the spine. You could do something like that. It's up to you. As you're working. Make sure you keep things in layers. If you do digital art, you're going to obviously understand how important this is. If you have traditional art that you plan on putting into your book, you're going to have to get used to doing stuff like this. Over here you can see I kept the same style of font. Up here. I used this type of font. And I made sure that my hooked on you hear, matched the same font here. And I made sure my Mel Mackenzie matches the same font. Over here. It is okay to use multiple fonts, but make sure that they look good together and don't use too many different fonts. After you do all of this. In order to upload it to Amazon, you have to export it as a PDF. And you can see here I have mine done it in a 300 DPI. You will export on Clip Studio. You export multiple pages PDF format. It is made so that you can do multiple pages as a PDF, but this will come out is just one image because it's only one page. Technically. You do that. And then you'll go back to your kVp dashboard and you will upload your file. Now this is going to go through the same kind of process that your manuscript it will go through. You will upload it, it'll sit there processing for awhile. And then you can launch the preview were to look at liberal cover and your manuscript at the same time and see exactly what the whole thing is going to look like. Designing a book cover might seem overwhelming, but it's really not that hard if you think about the overall look that you want to create and kinda just play around. It's something that is going to be the first thing that people see. So it is pretty important. And being a creative individual, this is something you definitely can do on your own. I think this kind of conclude everything to think about when creating your book cover. So let's go ahead and move on to the next step.