How To Painlessly Create a KDP CreateSpace Book : The Simplest and Fastest Way Without ANY Software!

Question: How do you self publish a print book?

Answer: With Google Docs and Amazon!

NEW! Updated for KDP Print on Demand!

How to PAINLESSLY create a KDP Print on Demand CreateSpace book: The simplest and fastest way without any software!

In this tutorial we are going to learn how to:

  • Make a KDP Print book
  • Make a cover for that book
  • Upload it all to KDP
  • Publish the book on KDP, Amazon's Print on Demand Platform!

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Making a book for Amazon's KDP Print can be a total pain in the neck! But not anymore:[click to tweet!]

After making a few CreateSpace books AND KDP Print on Demand books, I want to share my lessons learned.
When you're done with this tutorial you will be able to make and publish a book on CreateSpace so fast and easy you'll be surprised, and the coolest thing is: you don't need any software! (and YES that includes Adult Coloring Books and Childrens’ books.)
This post has been updated for KDP Print, Amazon’s self-publishing solution. In 2018 Amazon closed its Createspace platform.
In its place is now Amazon’s KDP Print platform. Much has changed, and a lot has stayed the same.
Let’s get started:
First go to Amazon’s KDP platform and start your profile:

I'm going to assume you can complete your profile in KDP Print. It is mostly intuitive, but the main point is to finish your TAX INTERVIEW.

If you do not provide your tax information, Amazon will withhold 30% of your royalties!

When it comes to making your profile, you must complete your tax interview, KDP Print will not publish anything until your tax interview is finished.

You must also complete your bank details.

The easiest way to get paid is by EFT—electronic funds transfer, otherwise you also have the option to receive a check by mail.
Now let's dig in...


Before we upload anything to KDP we have to get our manuscript in shape:
1.  Start your book:
The first thing you want to do is download a template. The most common sizes are the 6 X 9 and the 8.5 X 11 KDP Print templates. But ... I have made them just for you, and they’re pre-formatted :-)

You can download them (tap) here: and then write your book in it! 

Note: It’s important to choose the right size NOW, because once you publish your book, you won’t be able to change it.

Since we are making a print book we will be operating by the principle of what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG), so there are some advantages to this:

1.) This means you can make your book look exactly like you want. Whereas with an ebook, the formatting is VERY particular, and can be changed by the user's eReader.

Also things like bullet points are a real formatting nightmare for Ebooks, you just don't do that.

But in a print book we can use as many bullet points as we want.

So first download my template and then upload it to your google docs or google drive. Then open it in your Google Docs.
Alternatively, open your favorite word processor: Microsoft Word, or LibreOffice, or my favorite, Google Docs.

Google Docs is my preferred word processor, so in this entire tutorial the screenshots are from Google Docs.
The second thing you want to do is to choose “print layout”.
In Google Docs use the pull down menu “view”:
Screenshot 2016-06-27 at 22.52.47.png

This way we can see the page breaks better.
This is very important because if your book is too long, (because of blank pages that can be hard to catch) then your book will be more expensive in KDP Print, and that means less revenue for you.

Now start writing your book:
I recommend 12 Point Georgia or New York Times fonts. These offer the best balance between readability and book size/page count, remember: we don't want to have too many blank pages or white space. This is the fine art of book making!


Make clean page breaks with Control+Return.

You want to directly control the end of a page.

Do not just keep hitting the return key to move your cursor to the next page.
2.) Make all of your chapter headings HEADING 1.

You need to have a consistent numbering system and “look and feel” of your book.

These headings will also be part of your Table of Contents.

This is not a creative writing tutorial or grammar lesson so—needless to say you're going to write an awesome book right?

I don't have to tell you to get it proofread, and edit it, and that there are no spelling mistakes, etc. , you're going to make an awesome book and you're going to make it look exactly like you want it to,
— because KDP Print is going to print it exactly like you want them to.

2. Add your pics and images:
When it comes to pics we have an advantage, because we are not making a digital book for Amazon KDP, we will not incur a download penalty for large (megabytes) images. 
We want to use pics that are 200 dots per inch (dpi) or more—300 dpi is best!
Then we include them in our book with the “insert image” button in the toolbar:
Screenshot 2016-06-28 at 11.03.32.png
Once inserted, we can resize them anyway we want by grabbing the corner of the pic with our cursor:
Screenshot 2016-06-28 at 11.08.26.png
This is much easier than with an ebook where we must downsize everything and really watch out for that megabyte download penalty.

So add all the pics you want, and make sure that they are 200 DPI or more, and then just make them look good—what you see is what you get!

3. Add Page Numbers

Adding page numbers in Google Docs is super simple; just go up to the toolbar again, and in the insert menu choose “insert page numbers”. I recommend the first option, see screenshot below:

Why do I only recommend that option? Because KDP Print wants your number one page to start on the right side, that is a right-sided page, and I have found this option to work best:

But you may want to try the other options in the menu above. Sometimes you may get a warning from KDP Print “the first page should be a right sided page...”

In some cases you may have to add a blank page before your first (title page) page to control which side gets the “1” page.

You can also totally disregard this notice from KDP Print! You can publish your book with the first page on the right or left.
One other thing to watch out for when you add page numbers is the footer:

When you add the page numbers Google will also add a footer to all of your pages. I have found this footer to be much too tall, and have reduced it for you in the template (another reason to download my templates.)

The footer added by gdocs can be too high. I lowered it for you:

4. Add table of contents

This is optional with Ebooks, but with print books it is highly recommended: basically mandatory. Google has finally included the Table of Contents with page numbers function in Google Docs:
Screenshot 2017-02-09 at 9.38.46 AM.png
The left option works best. See this book’s ToC for an example. The right option is for Ebooks and hyperlinks the ToC (It is also blue.)

You will most definitely have to REFRESH this table of contents in the course of your writing. Make sure everything that should be in this ToC is a heading. Heading 1, for Chapters, and Heading 2 for sub-chapters for example. Then when you are done writing, refresh the table with the little circular arrow in the top left corner:
Screenshot 2017-02-09 at 9.41.53 AM.png
For a quick tutorial on this table of contents and how to use this template, go see the video in YouTube—it’s only 4 minutes long...Tap here:
5. Download your book
And now the cool part: when you are done with your book, and you're satisfied, you've added the table of contents, you’ve added page numbers, you’ve added pics 200 dpi or more, and you have proofread it and checked it, and are really satisfied with it; 
— now all you do is download it as a PDF:
Screenshot 2016-08-12 at 23.18.35.png
This PDF generated by Google Docs is sooo good, that you can upload it to KDP Print and it will retain all of the formatting, all of the images, and the 6 X 9 format.

Why bother with cumbersome (and sometimes expensive) software, when you can do it all online, for free!? — Proceed to next section...

6. Upload and complete your book in KDP Print:

And now the fun part, go to your KDP dashboard:

—and start your new book!

Sometimes your dashboard will start you out in the “Sales Dashboard”. If this is the case hit the “Bookshelf” tab:
Once you are in your bookshelf, you can hit the “+ paperback” button:

Now you are “in” the book creation part of KDP:


Once you are in, you can start adding your data like your book’s title, and the all important “META” data.

Metadata is all the data you cannot see, but it is MEGA important.

An example of meta data are the KEYWORDS and CATEGORIES that you can add in the upcoming screens.

Although nobody can see this data, when your potential readers are browsing for books in Amazon, this data tells Amazon directly where to put your book so people can find it easily in Amazon.

And this translates DIRECTLY into sales.
So your metadata is super important, and we will cover that after we go through the first fields one by one:

1. Title, Subtitle, and Series


In the Series field you must also put the number of the book in the series. I.e. The the first book in your series gets “1” in this field.


These fields are NOT metadata. These will be seen directly on your book’s sales page (also called description page) in Amazon.

The Title of your book is mandatory, however a subtitle, and series is not.

HINT: It is very advantageous to have a subtitle and series because these are important data that help people discover your book in Amazon, and also help Amazon place your book properly. All of which equals more sales.

So my number one tip here is: if you cannot think of a subtitle, at least make your book part of a series. EVEN if your book is a stand-alone book! Yes, that’s right, you can make a ONE book series. Besides, you can always add a book later when your career takes off ☺.
But it is VERY important that you take advantage of this data, and MAXIMIZE your book’s chances to be discovered on Amazon. The series field is a gift to do this. 

Put something here that works for your book and something that people are searching for in your genre.
2. Edition, Author, and Contributors
Next comes EDITION number, AUTHOR(s) and CONTRIBUTORS:

The edition number is optional.

The AUTHOR is mandatory, CONTRIBUTORS are not.

You can add editors and illustrators and co-authors in the contributor fields.

2.1 Author Pen Name and Author Central Profile

In the author field: put your name here or your PEN NAME. It does not have to be the name of your KDP account or bank account. You can have as many pen names as you want, but Amazon only let’s you have THREE pen names per account.

This is confusing at first, but your pen names and author profiles are managed through yet another account called “AUTHOR CENTRAL”.
Consider it mandatory to set-up your author page.
Here you can also link your blog or add videos!

But most important is to add some information about yourself and your books.

Here is what it looks like in author central:

And this page is what “feeds” your author page on amazon, here’s mine:

3. Your Book’s ALL Important Description +HTML Hacks!

Once you are done adding your author information it is time to add a DESCRIPTION for your book.

This field is perhaps the most important field for your book.
Your book’s description, combined with the cover and title of your book will make or break your sales!
In this field you will put your “copy” i.e. the description of your book which is meant to get the reader to click on that “buy now” button.

It is also important that you FORMAT this text properly.

So it’s a two step process: 1.) write your “blurb” or description (e.g. on a separate piece of paper) and then 2.) format it for the description field in Amazon:

3.1 Copywriting

I cannot give you a full copywriting tutorial here, but here is a great formula for non-fiction books:

— Hook (often formed as a question)

— Hook

Benefits for the reader in BULLET POINTS

Benefit #2

— BIG FAT CALL TO ACTION! E.g. “Scroll up and grab a copy today!”

Here is one of my examples:
Can you really make an AWESOME paper airplane in 10 folds?!
Read and find out how to make the best 10 fold airplane ever, and...
  • There is a free TEMPLATE in this book which you can print out and fold perfectly!
  • Also, for TREASURE HUNTERS, there is a free EBook...
Scroll up and grab a copy Today!
Notice that I used BOLD and bullet points.
The problem is that you MUST use HTML for this.

Luckily there is a super tool for this, just go to Kindlepreneur and copy and paste your raw unformatted description into the tool:
Then make sure to use bold, and headings, and bullet points. The tool is really easy to use and self-explanatory.
When you are done making your description look good, you copy the code and paste it into your description field in Amazon, it should look something like this:

Next comes the PUBLISHING RIGHTS field:
In this field you choose the first option “I own the copyright…”

Yes it is possible to publish public domain books but that is complicated, and another tutorial completely.

I highly recommend you do NOT do this for your book.
When you choose this option Amazon assumes you are publishing an ALREADY published book from a classical author, like Voltaire or Jack London. 
These books are readily available at sites like Therefore you must prove to Amazon that you are publishing a new unique version.

4. The Meta Data - Keywords & Categories

In the next field, we finally come to our all-important “METADATA”.

FIRST, we get to add seven keywords:
As previously mentioned; keywords are super important! 
Don't just think of keywords that you like, or that you think are relevant to your book.

Here you want to use keywords that RANK in Amazon.
A great tool for this is called KDPRocket, it’not free but it is quickly becoming my favorite tool of all. Here is my first KDPRocket case study (on YouTube):

The advantage of this tool is that it shows the search volume from Google AND Amazon, even for search terms and keywords that are NOT in Amazon.

Did you get that?
If you find a search term with high volume, and there are no products or books for this on Amazon, guess what? — you make that book or product!

So use a tool like KdpRocket or KDSpy to choose your high traffic profitable keywords, OR you can see my free tutorial and tool

After entering your seven keywords in the field we come to the CATEGORIES field.
The tutorial+tool above will also help you select the right categories for your book.

This field is equally important. With this field you choose the GENRE to show your book on Amazon. Additionally, you get to choose two!

So make sure you choose two categories (genres) that you really identify with and reflect your book:

Finally we come to the juicy part, the ADULT CONTENT yes/no block and a big SAVE AND CONTINUE button which will successfully complete this section.

When done – hit the Save and Continue button!


Now we come to the PAPERBACK CONTENT section:

1. Choosing an ISBN

Here you must input your own ISBN number or let Amazon assign one.

The easy remedy is just use the free ISBN from Amazon option.

I am assuming you are a beginning author, otherwise you would not be reading this tutorial. However, professionals, or publishers will probably want to use their own ISBN number here, which must be bought. I have been self-publishing my books for over 5 years and have never had a problem with the free ISBN’s from Amazon, but if you want to know more, here is an excellent article about this on Joel Friedlander’s website:

BEFORE you assign your ISBN it is important to know that once you publish your book, they (your book and the ISBN) are permanently LOCKED together forever in holy matrimony:

That’s the nature of ISBN, one forever UNIQUE number is assigned to your book.

The data that you may not change once your book is published are the following:
  • Language 
  • Title 
  • Subtitle 
  • Series 
  • Edition number 
  • Primary author
So, if you make mistakes, don’t fear, you can just unpublish your book and publish it again anew…as if it’s a new book, with a new ISBN etc. You have to go through this entire process again.

Obviously, you really want to nail your title and subtitle etc. before publishing!
Next enter your book’s publication date, or, just leave it blank and Amazon will use today’s date when you hit the button:

2. Print Options: Paper Size, Finish, and Bleed

Next comes the PRINT OPTIONS block. Here you will choose your book’s size, type of paper, and “bleed”:
Keep in mind that a full color interior is much more expensive than a black and white one.

At the 6 x 9 size, a full color interior can even double the price of your book.
You really have to think about this beforehand, because it's a real pain to go back and change the interior of your book, even though it's just an option that you click (you don't even have to upload the PDF ), you still have to break the chain and go all the way back, and this is NOT FUN.

I recommend “black and white interior with white paper” and sizes 6x9 or 8.5x11 .
Also in this step you have the choice of “BLEED” and COVER FINISH:

Choose the cover finish you like.

BLEED however is a little tricky.

This option determines whether or not the pictures and text will go to the end of the page or not. You can imagine that your page is actually a background with a frame in it. In this frame are your pictures and text.

In the old CreateSpace dashboard there was a better image explaining this:
If you choose the option “BLEED” to let the bleed go to the edge of the page, you might cut off your pics.

So for this tutorial and almost all book publishing needs, we shall choose “NO BLEED”.

If you want to publish children’s books that are mostly graphics that should extend “over” the page (like a full color background) and very little text at all, then a “FULL BLEED” book might be a better option…AND…of course I have made a video about that too!
Tap here: How to Make a “Full Bleed” Children's Book
NEXT: We get to upload our manuscript!

3. Uploading Your Manuscript

Just hit the button “upload paperback manuscript” and use the file navigator to choose your PDF that you made in Google Docs in the previous step:

[Choose your manuscript in your file navigator:]
This can take a long time, just wait and you should get “uploaded successfully”:

Amazon’s minimum requirement is 24 pages. I.e. Your book must be at least 24 pages long to be printed.

If you have a short story, about 5000 words, it probably won't make 24 pages :-(
Therefore, if you are into short stories—make a series!

Once you have uploaded your manuscript, you can’t review it yet.

First it’s time to make the cover!

4. How to make your BOOK COVER!
It will probably be easier to use the COVER CREATOR at first, so we will choose this option for this tutorial:
The option “Upload a cover you already have (print ready PDF only)” is for a single piece cover.

A single piece cover can be a little snazzier; you can do more effects. For example the front graphic can spill over into your back cover. But this is advanced stuff and I have put this in another course here: 

So we are going to use the easier option and hit the button “Launch Cover Creator” now:

At first you are presented with a screen where you can choose images:
I have found the images in this image gallery useless.

A much better way is to use and make your cover there first.

Now cover design is an art in itself, and it encompasses much more than a blog post, but an entire course of graphic design. You can spend years on the stuff!

So for you my friends; I highly recommend Like said, no software here! is one of the best online graphic editors. They even have a Kindle template. But other templates work better for print books, like the “poster” template.

See my tutorial here:
NOTE:Regardless of the software you use, make sure your cover is 300 dpi or more.
In the interior of your book 200 dpi graphics are sufficient, but for your cover you must have 300 dpi or more:
  • Cover = 300 dpi
  • Images in book = 200 dpi
This can be a challenge in CANVA because the “dpi” is not shown anywhere.

Therefore start with the largest template possible, the “POSTER” template—just type it in the search field and choose it from the drop down menu:

When making your cover in remember to keep a nice big border along the edges of your cover graphic, because this will be the bleed area in the cover creator once you upload it:

Your book’s cover must show the following:
  • Book Title
  • Subtitle (if any)
  • Author
The series of your book is optional on your cover. My example cover in this tutorial would be rejected by Amazon because there is no author name on it.

When you are done designing your cover in CANVA then download it as “PNG” and upload it to your KDP Cover creator:

Then you have to choose a template.

The cover creator has automatically inserted your cover now into all of the templates, so you can browse for the one you like best.

I have found the simplest to be the very first template, in the top left corner, as it is the one that allows us to upload our cover image with the minimum amount of text boxes and peripherals. Means: use this one!

If you look closely, you will also see that the cover creator automatically fit your cover graphic into the frame--maybe incorrectly. You will have to adjust this by grabbing a corner and enlarging your cover to FILL the frame:
Also note: CANVA has a much better selection of stock pics that actually are good enough for your cover.

I have researched this for you (talked to CANVA directly) and these pics are licensed to YOU once you pay the big fat whopping $1 dollar fee!

So you don’t have to worry about any copyright issues when you use these pics on your covers.
When you are done adjusting your front cover, you can input the information on your back cover. This is super simple in the cover creator: just click in the fields and enter your text. It automatically adjusts the font size as you type.

Also, you can leave the field blank to DELETE the box.
If you want to add a photo of yourself it’s as easy as clicking the box and uploading your profile pic:
Also, if you don’t want any pics on the back cover, there is a “LAYOUT” tab. Here you can choose the positions of the boxes and pics, or choose NO pics. (Note: the barcode box in the lower right corner is mandatory— it will stay there.)

My other favorite free tools to make the cover are definitely Inkscape and Gimp, but they have a learning curve.

When you are done creating your cover you must 1.) SAVE it and then 2.) PREVIEW it to get to the next step:

Once you are in the PREVIEW step, -IF- you approve of your cover then SAVE and SUBMIT it! Otherwise hit the “Start Over” button:

Once we are done with this step we finally come to the all important BOOK PREVIEW step.

5. Preview, Review, and Approve Your Book

Yippee! We finally get to preview our book!
Once in the previewer, you should 1.) read all of the errors and correct them.

In this example an image is outside of the margins, which blocks or “greys out” 3.) the “Approve” button.

Also super helpful here is the 2.) “Thumbnail View”.

With this we can get a good overall view of our book and see if there are any BLANK PAGES really quickly.

This is important. You PAY for those blank pages (!) and they make your book unnecessarily expensive. Every page is approximately 3 cents of your end-price but varies highly according to your chosen paper size and quality, and overall page-count.

The thumbnail view is my first stop:
Correct all of the listed ERRORS in 1.) above.
You can use the little tiny “Next Issue” hyperlink at the bottom of the pane to go through the errors one-by-one, and the previewer will actually show you the problems with a little exclamation mark in a triangle:
You will have to go back to your original manuscript in Google Docs (or your chosen word processor) to correct the errors.
I work like this: I have the KDP Previewer open in one window, and I make the corrections on my document in another window, or separate computer screen or laptop in real time.

Then you must “Exit Previewer” (button in lower right corner) and RE-UPLOAD your manuscript like in the previous step.

Then do the process over again.
If you have chosen to use the templates I provided you will have no problems with the margins or gutters or footers and headers.

However if you have added pics “sloppily” then you may indeed get the error message as I did above in the example. 
Go back and re-insert a smaller pic in your manuscript, OR, even better, just grab the offending image by the corner and resize it right in your manuscript (This works in Google Docs and Microsoft Word). 
This is my preferred method as I make sure to only upload images that are 200 dpi or more, and resizing them in the document is therefore OK.

Remember: we are operating on the “What You See Is What You Get—WYSIWYG” paradigm, so we could upload pics at 600 dpi if we wanted to, and as long as the document looks good, the PDF will also look good; and that is what we upload to KDP Print.

After you have uploaded your CORRECTED MANUSCRIPT, and if you have indeed corrected all of the errors, you can [P]REVIEW it again, and then you get to hit the APPROVE button!

Now you get a nice summary of your book and its printing costs, after which you can hit “SAVE AND CONTINUE”:
Proceed to the next section—PAPERBACK RIGHTS AND PRICING:

Here we can choose to publish EVERYWHERE Amazon publishes, or individually choose the countries we want to publish to:

Finally—we are almost done—we get to set the price of our book!
Here we input the price of our book:
The minimum and maximum prices are given just below the field.

You will also see the prices and royalties from the other Amazon stores in this field.

These and the other fields will update in real time according to your price.
Also, the option “Expanded Distribution” has a checkbox just below the price field. 
What this is, is an option to make your book available to even more bookstores, like Barnes & Noble.

Problem is: Expanded Distribution just does not move (sell) any books. 
Additionally your royalties are lower for Expanded Distribution. Try this option if you want, and, here is more information about it on Amazon:
Once you have entered your chosen price in the field you can finally “Publish Your Paperback Book” AND order proof copies!
Once you hit the button you will get a “Success” message.

Now all you have to do is HURRY UP AND WAIT!
You should receive a nice email from Amazon within 48 hours:

CONGRATULATIONS! Your book is published on Amazon!

There you go my friends. I hope this tutorial has been helpful for you.

BONUSES: Get the Checklist and Templates Here!

You can get your free KDP Word.docx and Google Docs templates here, AND the checklist for FREE at this link: 


Where do you go from here? More Resources!

Need some help with your cover?  
Here is a super affordable course that shows you the quickest and easiest way to make a cover for CreateSpace -OR- KDP Print!
If you would like more help, here is a super detailed online course with tons of videos showing you EXACTLY how to publish your book on KDP Print.
  • You also get 1:1 help from me by Email so you are GUARANTEED to publish your book.
  • Get it here for HALF-OFF:
This is a short-time limited offer!

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