The difference between wanting to write and having written is one year of hard, relentless labour. It’s a bridge you have to build all by yourself…The only way of making this perilous passage is by looking at it as a pilgrimage. – Shatrujeet Nath
The best we can do is write words from which a kind of truth emerges. – Muriel Spark

How to upload your paperback cover to KindleDP

After uploading How to upload your paperback cover to KindleDPyour manuscript to Kindle Direct Publishing, the next section involves uploading your book cover. This occurs on the Paperback Content screen.

Save your cover as a .pdf. The cover should be no more than 40 MB in size. Kindle actually will take covers up to 650 MB in size, but the loading takes forever, and you’ll suffer frequent crashes. In any case, there’s no reason for your cover to be more than 40 MB, as it will look great at even smaller sizes than that. 

Where you upload your cover at Kindle, you have the option to create a cover or to upload your own. Since you’ve already created the cover, check the second option.

Once you’re done, a yellow oval that says “Upload Your Cover” pops up on the screen. Before clicking it, look at the question below it that asks, “Does your cover include a barcode?” You probably will leave leave this unchecked; if you do, Amazon will place a barcode on the back cover for you. If you’ve already bought a barcode and placed it on your back cover, check the box.

Next, click the yellow oval that says “Upload Your Cover” and find your cover.

The uploading will take several minutes. The more color pictures that are in the book, the longer it’ll take.

After KindleDP uploads the cover to its site, “processing” occurs. This also can take a few minutes.

Bots at KindleDP quickly check your cover for the basics. If it’s too large in size or the dimensions don’t fit KindleDP’s requirements, it’ll probably be rejected. Unfortunately, KindleDP isn’t very good at telling you why it didn’t like the cover. If you’ve followed all of the guidelines in this book, though, it shouldn’t be rejected. If it is, you’ll need to figure out why and then fix it. 

Some common reasons KindleDP rejects paperback covers include:

  • Wrong dimensions – You’ll need to build a new cover unless you’re off by fractions of a fraction of an inch. Then you might be able to fudge it by stretching the cover to fit the space, though doing so is problematic, as you’re risking distortion of the artwork and lettering.
  • A bleed area wasn’t included – The actual size of the book cover won’t work. You have to include a bleed area. If you’ve used a lone color as the background of your photo, you can make a new document that is in that color and is the correct size of the cover with a bleed area. Then use guides to mark off the bleed area and place your original cover in that new created box. If photos go to the edge of the cover, however, you’ll need to start all over.
  • A bleed area was a frame around the actual cover – Sometimes authors “fix” their rejected covers by placing a frame for the bleed area around the actual cover. That won’t work. The photos used on the actual cover also have to fill the bleed area or end well before the margins.
  • Text is too close to the cover’s edge – The title, byline and tag line all need to be at least 0.375 inches from the margin. KindleDP can be very picky, so if you’re 0.374 inches away, you might get rejected. I always recommend keeping your text a half-inch away from the bleed area.
  • Title and byline doesn’t match what you’ve already entered when uploading – Check the title and byline entered on the Paperback Details page. It should match what’s on your cover. If you bought an ISBN from Bowker, check it to make sure that your title and byline match your cover. If any of these don’t match, whichever one was in error needs to be corrected.
  • Pixilated artwork – The artwork is too small. Any artwork placed on the cover should be at least the same size as the space it will fill and be 300 dots per inch (dpi).
  • Printers marks placed on cover (includes color bars) – Some cover designers place lines, what look like targets, and small colored squares on the edges of their covers. They’re used to ensure your image lines up with the paper it is printed on. KindleDP doesn’t need these printers marks to line up your cover, though.
  • Copyright issues with artwork – Sometimes artwork contains metadata that establishes it’s copyrighted. If KindleDP notices this, it won’t allow you to print photos or illustrations that you don’t own.

There are other arcane reasons why the cover might be rejected. Usually KindleDP will send you an email explaining why it did not accept it, though the reason given often sounds like gobbledygook. You may need to do some online research to figure out exactly what KindleDP means.

Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an era where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.