By Susan Neal
As an attendee of Christian writer conferences since 2014, I understand the disappointment of not having a publisher choose your manuscript. There are many other writers who feel the same way I felt—disappointed.
However, as a follower of Christ, I believe God inspired me to publish Scripture Yoga to assist other Christian yoga teachers to speak Bible verses over their class participants. I wanted to provide a godly environment for Christians who choose to participate in yoga classes. In this article, I will explain how I self-published an e-book and print book for around $700. In the next blog post, I will share how I obtained a #1 Amazon ranking.
After my manuscript was written, I edited it on Grammarly.com. This site keeps track of your most frequent grammar errors and provides feedback for improving your writing. Through the search feature, I eliminated passive and unnecessary words.
I’m also a member of Word Weaver’s International and our group meets monthly to edit each other’s work, so much of my manuscript had been reviewed by this group. I used Edit911.com to edit Scripture Yoga. This service has Ph.D. level editors who provide a quick turn-around time. This website features an instant quote based upon a manuscript’s word count.
Next, I needed to format my book as an e-book for Kindle, and a print book for CreateSpace and IngramSpark. I was very pleased with Word-2-Kindle.com. They include unlimited revisions. However, a technically inclined person could format their manuscript and save on this expense.
I determined the keywords I would use to describe my book on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), CreateSpace, and IngramSpark. A keyword planner is available on https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home. Click the item “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.” Enter your product, website, and category then click “get ideas.” A spreadsheet with keywords and the average monthly Google searches is provided. From this information I chose seven keywords.
Next, I needed to choose the Kindle and Amazon book categories. Categories are listed on Amazon.com. To find the categories I clicked on the left side of the search bar and selected “Kindle Store.” Then I searched for “yoga books.” On the left side of this search page, a listing of Kindle Store categories appeared. I chose two categories for Kindle.
To find the categories for CreateSpace I entered “books” on the left side of the search bar instead of Kindle Store, and searched for “yoga books.” The print book categories appeared on the left side of the page. Again, I chose two categories for my print book.
It is best to choose one broad and one narrow category. The broad category provides exposure to a large population of readers. The narrow category allows the book to increase in ranking which helps it to become an Amazon bestseller in this category.
For the book title and subtitle—I looked on Amazon to see if there were other books with this title, and I checked out competitive book covers. I needed a separate cover for my e-book and print book. I had my covers created on Fiverr.com. If you choose to use Fiverr, look at the vendor’s customer reviews and other book covers they have published to determine if you like their style.
For the Kindle book, I did not need to purchase an ISBN because Kindle provided an ASIN for free. However, a print book needs an ISBN, so I bought my number on Bowker.com. I planned on publishing another print book and a card deck, so I purchased a package of ISBNs because it was more cost-effective.
When I was ready to publish my book, I made sure I had the book cover, formatted manuscript, ISBN, key words, and categories. I set up a KDP account on KDP.Amazon.com, and I chose KDP Select for the first three months because it allowed me to put my e-book on sale during my book launch which is key for obtaining a high Amazon ranking.
Three months later, I unsubscribed from KDP Select. Once my book was downloaded to KDP, within 24 hours, I received an email stating the book was ready to be reviewed. I logged into my Kindle account and reviewed every single page ensuring it was formatted properly before I pushed the publish button.
I wanted to publish my print book on both CreateSpace.com (Amazon distribution) and IngramSpark.com (Apple, Barnes & Noble, and many more distributors). I set up my accounts on both platforms and loaded my formatted print manuscript, and book cover. Then I entered keywords and selected categories. On CreateSpace, I didn’t check the box for expanded distribution because this designation would preclude the book from being published on IngramSpark.
Before I pushed the publish button, I previewed every single page in the online previewer, but I did not publish it yet. Instead, I ordered a print book which was mailed to my home. When it arrived, I previewed every single page making sure everything was formatted properly. When I was satisfied, I went into my accounts and pushed the publish button. I was finally an author of a print book—my God-given dream finally came true!
Now that I was a self-published author I needed to set up my Amazon Author page on AuthorCentral.Amazon.com. I entered my author bio and headshot. This information appears at the bottom of my Amazon book page. I also claimed my Kindle and print books so they would appear on the same Amazon page.
Below is the cost of publishing my book.
Breakdown of Cost
$49 Kindle Formatting
$129 Print Formatting
$40 E-book and Print Covers
$718 Total Cost
Now I’m no longer disappointed. Instead I’ve been reappointed: as the author of a print book. My God-given dream.
Writing Prompt: What has God inspired you to write and publish? What is holding you back?
Susan Neal-RN, MBA, and MHS has a passion for inspiring others to be healthy and grow in their faith. Her article, Eatin’ in Eden was published in Clubhouse magazine. She published two books, Scripture Yoga and Yoga for Beginners. Her hospice C.D., Bedside Encouragement: When You Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye, two Christian Yoga DVDs, God’s Mighty Angels and What the Bible Says About Prayer, and two Christian Yoga Card Decks, “Fruit of the Spirit” and “How to Receive God’s Peace” are available on Amazon.com and ChristianYoga.com.
Susan’s two digital products, Eat to Live with a Low-Carbohydrate, Low-Glycemic, Anti-Inflammatory Diet and How to Prevent, Improve, and Reverse Alzheimer’s and Dementia are available at ChristianYoga.com and Gumroad.com. Susan is a member of Word Weavers International and has been interviewed on Moody Radio, Blog Talk Radio, and Premier Christian Radio of the UK.