How I Self-Published a Travel Journal/ E-Cookbook

I did it! I self-published Cuba: A Travel Journal with Recipes in e-book. With lots of photos.

I had been wanting to publish this book since returning from Cuba in February. The journal chronicles, via stories and photos, my eight-day trip through Cuba with my husband and a small tour group. It also includes Cuban recipes I had cooked and tested during quarantine after my return to Utah, along with their photos.

Previously, even using Vellum, I couldn’t get the photos big enough on my device. So I sat on the manuscript for a while until yesterday… when I remembered that I had formatted a different memoir so the photos would be large enough on Kindle.

I checked out that book, and sure enough, I knew I could replicate it for this project. Best of all, it only requires Word (for the document) and a photo editing program like Gimp or Photoshop (if you decide to DIY the cover).

This is what I did:

1.I formatted the final, polished document on Word. I set the margins to Narrow (.5 inches on all four sides) and the document size to 8.5×11 inches. I set the font size to 12 pt.

2. I marked chapter headings as “Heading 1” in a bigger font so that I could pull them into the Table of Contents later.

3. I had compressed the photos on the free online app Compressjpeg dot com previously and had already inserted them where I wanted them in the text. For the new document size, I pulled the edges of the photos so they aligned with the text along the margins.

4. In my Word file under References, I created a Custom Table of Contents and chose show level “1” under General.

5. I planned out the series branding and created a cover on Gimp. I almost considered a pen name to keep these separate from my fiction, but I am only allowed three pen names on Amazon and I was afraid I would max them out too quickly.

6. I opened my Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account and added a new e-book. I checked out comparable titles on Amazon and picked out suitable categories. I pulled some copy from my manuscript and wrote a short blurb, mentioning titles of the rest of the series.

7.I uploaded the cover and Word file onto KDP. I launched the previewer, made the changes I needed on the Word document and re-uploaded it again to KDP.

8.I set the price to $2.99. Even though the photo-heavy file ended up a little more than 3 MB, the delivery fee wasn’t too bad, just 80 cents or so per e-book.

9.I hit “publish” then enrolled it in Kindle Unlimited.

That’s it! Read Cuba: A Travel Journal with Recipes here.

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