Uploading a KDP cover to the Amazon Paperback builder

The first time I tried to upload a KDP cover for one my books, it took 3 days to get it right. Yeah, three whole days before things finally worked and I stopped hurling abuse at my computer screen in frustration. The second, about three hours. I believe now I’ve finally worked out the steps to make the Amazon KDP Cover Uploader so much of a less frustrating exercise (especially when working with Photoshop)…

Originally published over at my previous blog Adventures of Almigo, this post has found it’s new home here as it’s still helpful and that’s exactly what this blog is shooting for!

Firstly, what are the dimensions for KDP cover size in Amazon?

This question has popped up in my search history a lot since I first published this article, so to save yourself an extra Google: 

2560 height by 1600 width in pixels

This is the ideal setting when you’re loading up a fresh new blank page in your choice of design program (ie photoshop.) A top tip if you’re using photoshop is to save these settings as a template, saving you from having to search up on them again and again (which I have done on a few occasions but not anymore!)

The problems, there have been many along the journey!

-The PDF’s I’ve been uploading to get my KDP cover up and running have either been too big, or too small and even when the Amazon programs tries to help, it’s far off the mark. The cover should go past the red lines but I either get sections of white (see above) or it’s so laughingly oversized, you can’t see the title. 

-I tried online PDF converters but still had the same problem.

-Sometimes when I’d open up something I’d measured in Photoshop (opened it in paint for example) then the measurements will still be incorrect. Why? No idea.

-Even using the measurements Amazon provided, it would still tell me I was using the wrong ones when it finally finished processing the upload. That’s handy!

The Solution! How to get your Amazon KDP covers working happily!

1. Download the official Amazon Cover Guides/Amazon KDP Cover Templates

Go to https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/cover-templates, choose your Trim Size, plug in your page count (you can get this from your Amazon book sales page) and then select your paper type. Then you can download your cover template.

2. The zip file you get for your KDP cover will contain a PNG and PDF of the cover dimensions you’ll need. When working with Photoshop (esp CS6) make sure you use the PNG file. I had nothing but problems working with the PDF file. Throw it away, delete with mad abandon, you won’t need it.

3. Lay out what you need and don’t forget to hide the guide file when you’re finished (unless that’s part of your cover now). Make sure you flatten everything in the image before you save.

4. Save as a Press Quality PDF (untick all the Photoshop options like Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities) which you can now load into Amazon KDP. Even if it doesn’t fit the first time, you can still select the option for the program to try and fit it for you and that should do the trick.

KDP cover

(Everything now fits in the cutoff zone and I am beyond happy it didn’t take me three days to get to this point..)

5. While the cover looks good, make sure all the pages fit too. A quick flick through randomly over a couple of pages should show you if anything is out of place. Now you can hit the apply button and finish off the rest of the details needed to get your book into a physical copy!

Now I can get back to writing my next book!

(If this worked for you too, let me know below because I always appreciate hearing when I’ve come up with something useful 🙂

If you liked the look of Hack Space, it along with the other two books in the Adventures of Hack Trilogy are now available on Amazon!

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