A warm welcome to Sarah Evans, my guest today. Sarah has decided to take the self-publishing route, and talks to us about her experience, sharing some of the things she has learnt along the way. Welcome, Sarah, can you tell us why you made the decision to self-publish?
I’ve been writing for a few years and I’ve always enjoyed the thought of being a self-published author. I liked the idea that you can earn more royalties, rather than most of them going to the publisher, and that I could create something of my own design. Plus, it would save me having any more rejections!
As well as writing Christian non-fiction I also write knitting patterns. I’ve been knitting since I was a child so this was a natural progression. I publish individual patterns on Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/designers/sarah-evans ) but I always liked the idea of having a book published with my own knitting patterns for others to enjoy.
I’d been researching how to self-publish on Amazon and at first glance, it seemed like it was so simple anyone could it! For me, I didn’t find it simple at all, in fact, it was quite stressful, but I did learn a lot from the experience.
Self-publishing a book with pictures was much more difficult. I found that the size of the photographs was a problem as it made the file size of the finished document too high and because of the number of pictures inside, it makes the print copy of the book much more expensive than what I wanted to charge. I discovered that the quality of the pictures in the printed book are not of the same quality you find in traditional published books.
The text wasn’t properly formatted so parts of it was out of alignment. Of course, I’ve since discovered a great video on how to format books to Kindle, so I’m in the process of changing the whole layout of the book to make it look more professional and I’m reducing the file size of the pictures which hopefully will make a big difference. It’s all a steep learning curve and unless you do it, you can’t know how things will turn out.
Here are my tips to make your book a success:
- Correctly format your book to make it look as professional as traditional published books. Along with this I would recommend getting another person to read it for you just to make sure there are no spelling errors, that it makes sense, and that it flows smoothly.
- E-Books do not need an ISBN. I wish I had known this before getting myself one, as publishers can track the sales of your book if you use one. This obviously is great if you know that you’re going to sell more than 5,000 copies of your book. If, however, it sells poorly, then the publisher will see this and think that you’re not a big deal author. You do need an ISBN if you publish a paperback version though.
- The royalty side of things: if you sell your book for less than $2.99, £1.99 in the UK, then you only receive 35% royalties, but if you sell your book at the recommended price of $2.99, you receive 70% royalties. For further details please look on Amazon’s website.
- I would also advise you to pay for a professional to make you a book cover, unless you’re a tech wizard and can make your own. These can be bought on Fivver.com for a low price and you will have a great front cover for your book.
Now I have gone through the whole process I now know that my next e-book will be perfectly formatted, it will have a professionally made front cover, will be professionally edited, and there will be no pictures so it should turn out perfectly. I’m glad I went through the process as I’m now wiser about the process and I know the pit falls to avoid. 😊
Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Sarah. I’m sure other authors who are thinking of self-publishing will find your advice very useful.
Sarah is a Christian author and avid crafter. She has had articles published in UK magazines and her first non-fiction book was published by CWR in 2017, called Jacob, taking hold of God’s Blessing. She blogs regularly and you can find more about her here: www.sarahevansauthor.com
Connect with Sarah online:
Here are Sarah’s books. To buy a copy click here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Evans/e/B06XKR9R6F
Check back in next Saturday to read Jennifer Macaire’s publication journey.