Monday, January 24, 2011

Guest in Progress: Becky Wolsk's Guide to Self-Publishing, Part 2

There was such interest in the first part of Becky’s post last week about self-publishing, that I thought I’d better run Part 2 sooner, rather than later. Remember, there is more information on Becky’s fabulous blog: And please read more about her books here:

A Guide to Self Publishing, Part 2
By Becky Wolsk



I hired a professional photographer, Marissa Rauch, to take my picture for the back cover and for my promo postcard. The cost of hiring a professional photographer was worth it—my cover looks professional in large part due to her photo.


Amazon’s main CreateSpace site has some information on Kindle publishing, but if you’re interesting in publishing Kindle editions, it is better to go directly to their Kindle publishing site. They call it Kindle Direct Publishing (*

* Note: KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING is the new name of what used to be DIGITAL TEXT PLATFORM. Amazon says all services remain the same.

The customer service representative who phoned me to set up my Kindle conversion was smart and knowledgeable. As importantly, she was easy to reach for follow-up questions via email. I’m grateful to CreateSpace for enabling me to email her directly, instead of having to go through the anonymous roulette of a general tech support email address.


I quickly designed my promotional postcards thanks to the easy interface at This printing company is eco-friendly. I have no personal connection to them, but I hope Pixxlz will thrive so they will always be available if I need to do more promotional printing. I used the author photo from my back cover for this promotional postcard, in addition to photos of my book covers.

I didn’t buy bookmarks or any other type of promotional swag, and I don’t think I will--not that there’s anything wrong with them (to paraphrase Seinfeld).

I send out a huge number of holiday cards every year, and I included my promotional postcards in those envelopes so I wouldn’t have to do a separate mailing. On the back of the postcard, in the area that normally says “Place Stamp Here,” I put “Please Spread The Word.” I’m proud of that tweak.


Per novel, all I had to pay CreateSpace up front was an optional $39 for a Pro Plan (this gives me a better royalty rate). I also had to pay for my proofs, and I had to order several proofs because I make several mistakes that I had missed during the proofreading stage.

Since the books were published, I have spent a few hundred dollars ordering them for close friends and family, and ordering complimentary copies for bookstores and for promotional purposes. I get an author’s discount of $4.50 when I buy the books. Amazon’s list price is $12 for the paperback, and $8 for the Kindle version. I make $2.80 in royalties for each paperback, and $5.60 for Kindle editions because ebooks are cheaper for Amazon to produce. At this time, I do not have a distributor, and I haven’t researched that process much because it’s too expensive for me right now to pay for a distributor.

I didn’t pay any costs for my interior file because I used Microsoft Word to format it, and my Mac makes PDF conversion easy and free. I paid about $175 in cover file costs, not including the cost of a professional photographer.

With regard to Kindle conversion, I paid Amazon $70 per novel to do it for me, because I was exhausted from paperback formatting. I simply uploaded the same PDF interior and cover files that I had used for the paperback versions. I don’t know how much it would cost to only publish an ebook through Amazon, since I already had files ready from my paperback formatting.

Since my novels have been released, I find self-publishing to be as rewarding as if I had published with a well-known New York City publishing house. In fact, self-publishing rewards me more, because I’ve done it myself and I am my own boss. In closing, I want to thank Leslie for letting me guest-blog. Guest-blogging is an enjoyable, collegial way to promote one’s work.

For more information and a complete bibliography of helpful sites/resources:

About: Becky Wolsk writes and quilts through her cottage industry of Text Isle Patchwork. By November 1, 2011, she will self-publish The Text Isle Patchwork Cookbook, most likely through CreateSpace. You can visit her online portfolio at Her blog,, focuses on writing, quilting, and cookbooking. It also provides weekly book reviews, mostly of forgotten jewels and other books that deserve more attention. Becky lives in Washington, DC with her husband and daughter.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.