How to Format and Publish a Children’s Picture Book for Kindle

Pay someone to do it, or follow these steps:

Note: I’m assuming you already have the print version of the book in InDesign, or at least PDF or JPEG. I’m also assuming you have basic web navigation/filling out blanks skills.

1) Download the Kindle Kid’s Book Creator from this page. That’s right, it’s not the normal Kindle book creator. I spent hours trying to make the normal Kindle book creator work, and it’s just not meant for children’s books. I’m a blonde, I should have figured they wouldn’t make it THAT hard. But they don’t make this fact very obvious at all. So there IS a special formatting program for both children’s books and textbooks as opposed to normal trade books.

2) Once you’ve installed the Kindle Kid’s Book Creator, followed the directions to importing your book, and created the text call-outs, you’ll be able to save for publishing. You’ll end up with a .mobi file. Note: I customized my pages, text sizes, and change layouts to make it better for Kindle. So if you have an interior designer, don’t shut them off once the print version is done! You might need them to help you with the Kindle version. I changed page size to more closely match the Kindle reader size. Also, since quite a bit of my book was in full, two-page spreads, I had to make it look good displaying as a single page (i.e. I put the text on one side and the artwork on the other, or split up the artwork between the two pages). This took a lot of time but was worth it, in the end, to see the beauty of the book in the finished form.

3) Head over to the Kindle Direct Publishing section of Amazon. Sign in or follow the steps to creating an account. I’ve been messing with this for years, so I really don’t remember if I had to add on much for my Kindle publisher’s account or if it’s just my normal Amazon account. Head to the dashboard, where you will see all the buttons and links for creating a new title. Follow the instructions.

4) 35% or 70% royalty? I spent a lot of time looking and comparing the differences between the two. Why would I ask for a lower royalty if I could have 70%?!?! Basically it comes down to rights, pricing, and availability. If you don’t have the full rights to the book (if you’ve already given rights to a publisher, you aren’t the original author, etc), or you can only sell it in certain countries, you might not be able to get 70% royalties. If the book is primarily public domain work(s), you can’t get 70% royalties.

You are limited to a $2.99 – $9.99 price range with 70% royalties, whereas you have a range of $0.99 – $200 for 35% royalties (although size also factors into this one). For the full specs on pricing and royalties, click here.

The other factor is delivery cost. With 70% royalties, you also get charged the delivery cost of the book ($0.15/MB). When calculating, remember that your final Kindle book will be even fewer MB than the .mobi file you’ve come up with. I chose 70% royalties, because I can, set the list price at $3.50, and will be getting $1.89 per sale, because it’s a very art-heavy book.

Note: Among other things, before you publish you might have to fill out tax and bank info for your earnings.

Hope my hours of figuring this out helps someone! Let me know if you have any questions!

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