Okay, here it is. Everything I learned from self-publishing my first book, Stalker.

 

First of all, I read online about tons of other people’s experiences, and while I’m hoping to put all of my learnings here, I highly recommend you look around for the sake of thoroughness. That said, I hope you feel more informed about how to make your own decision going forward.

 

To start things off, I decided early on to work with Amazon. Yes, I know, they’re big and corporate and that makes them semi-evil. But to be honest, as an unknown writer on a budget, I need all of the tools they can give me. So, if you’re looking at LuLu (who doesn’t let you retain the rights to your work), then this probably won’t be much use.

 

The first tip is regarding the ISBN number. Fact: You need a different number for both your physical copy and your ebook, and these run $125 each, or $250 for 5 (something like that). So, Amazon makes it easy. Through their publishing subsidiary CreateSpace.com, you can use a number from them for free for the physical copy. The catch is that they’ll remain the publisher, etc. Also, by going through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, they’ll distribute your ebook for free, by using a distinctive KDP number, which saves you $125.

 

You retain the rights to your book in both circumstances, which was very important to me.

 

There’s another $99 ISBN number where the number is registered to you, but Create Space is still registered as the publisher. I chose to spend the money, and quickly set up my only little company, Natalie Saar Publishing. Honestly, it’s just a matter of filing paperwork, and is fairly simple. Also, you keep more of the royalties this way too.

 

Another benefit of going through Amazon is that they print the books for people as they order them. So, you never have to deal with printing or shipping EVER. Also, by using KDP, they give you two types of promos every 90 days. One allows your book to be free for five days, and the other allows your price to “countdown” which offers it at a discount for people as well. Both of these options allow the book to be featured in their respective sections on Amazon.

 

Now, the tricky part: uploading your book and designing your cover. I was given a very valuable piece of information about the cover by a friend of mine who is an agent: it’s going to be a thumbnail, so there’s no need for it to be elaborate. That said, it’s much harder than I thought it would be to make the cover you probably have in your head. You’ll need some kind of program that can not only make it look the way you want, but also save it as a PDF (do most programs do that? I don’t know. Apologies if they do and this sounds ridiculous!). Don’t forget to make the back cover as well. I made that mistake, and your book has to be taken down for 24 hours to approve the revised one. (If you are one of the 12-15 people who got the blank white cover, then lets just hope this book becomes famous and you’re all millionaires!)

 

You’ll also need to resize your document to fit the page size you want. To me, these are tedious, horrible things that I seriously hate doing… but I didn’t have the $250 to spend on Amazon’s design services. Since I didn’t go that route, I can’t tell you personally how helpful they are. What I CAN tell you is that even if you don’t pay for their services, the customer/publisher support is fantastic! They literally walked me through re-uploading the cover, step-by-step, for as long as it took. You can choose to look at your proofs online or have a physical one shipped to you as well.

 

As far as pricing goes, you just need to be realistic. Of course, I think my book is worth the $25 that other books in Barnes and Noble get, but that’s not how things work. I’m a new author, and my book comes in at around 70,000 words (it still comes in at over 300 pages). Normally, a new author needs 90,000-120,000 to get a deal because people want to feel like they got their money’s worth (or at least this is what I’ve read and been told). So, I chose to price my physical copy at between $11 and $12 (depending on if you get it off CreateSpace or Amazon). My ebook is priced at $2.99 because — and this is where you get your hopes up — if a publishing company sees really good sales numbers at $2.99 and higher, they’re likely to be more intrigued.

 

And CreateSpace has great prices for publishers to buy their own books for distribution!

 

So, the things you need to consider are:

Do you want to buy your own ISBN?

Is it important to you that you’re the publisher as well as the author?

Do you need help with your cover, and can you afford it design services?

What do you think is a fair and intriguing price for potential readers?

I hope you found this info helpful in your journey to self-publish. I’ve found it immensely rewarding, and am happy to help anyone who has questions. You can either comment, send me an email (natsaar at gmail dot com), or find me on Twitter (@nataliesaar).


Marketing my book will be the next phase, and I look forward to sharing my learnings with you then as well.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to write. I almost don’t even care what it’s about; as long as I’m writing, I’m happy. Thankfully, along the way I’ve been blessed enough to have friends and family who have supported me, and a life crazy enough to keep me inspired.

27 years later, I decided to publish my very first novel.

best-thing-ever

It’s called Stalker, but it’s probably not what you think. In fact, the first Amazon review on it labels it as a love story, which I didn’t anticipate happening, but hey, if people like it, that’s all I care about.

Anyways, I hope that explains my recent absence from this blog, after I just began regularly updating it again!

Luckily, I hope I can make it up to you!

Stalker is available in ebook form for two more days (until Friday) in the Kindle store (HERE) or if you want the paperback version, that’s available too (HERE).

Again, I can’t thank all of you enough! Even if you’ve only ever read one post on this blog, it gave me the encouragement to continue writing and moving toward my dream of publishing a book!

A quick note, I chose to self-publish using Amazon, and spent months researching the process. As a result, I learned a lot that I hope can help other writers as well, and I will be doing an entire post on that soon. I promise!

Thank you again! You’re all my heroes!

This weekend flew by, and now I’m in the throes of full-on Halloween prep mode. So, I was looking for a drink to help fuel me through, and I happened upon this drink, the moradita.

I wanted something with tequila, because while the calendar says it’s fall, the weather still thinks it’s summer, and to me, tequila is the greatest summer liquor. And, there are a ton of other great fall drink recipes HERE too.

This is what Saveur had to say about this delicious drink:

A jalapeño-infused, blood-colored tequila and beet cocktail, the Moradita (“Little Death”), is a fresh, nearly healthy-tasting drink with some real body and a balancing hint of elegant richness.

Cheers!

I love Greek food! It always tastes so healthy and fresh, and of course a lot of it is vegetarian. But for some reason when I was growing up, I always thought it was sooo gross when my mom would get Greek salads. I’m not sure why I couldn’t get onboard with that concept, but I couldn’t… until now.

I’m not sure what possessed me to make a Greek salad one day, but I did, and I’ve been in love ever since.

The original recipe I used has since been lost, so I found a different one and adapted it!

The last time I made it was for my Nana, so you know it’s good, because I only make the best of my recipes for the family!

This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa, who I love, but her recipes end up being pretty pricey. However, this one stuck with almost all of the original ingredients I used, especially when it comes to the dressing, which is amazing!

What You Need:

1 cucumber (sliced and quartered)

1 red bell pepper(diced)

1 yellow bell pepper (diced)

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, or a cup of your favorite chopped tomatoes

1/2 red onion (diced)

4oz (one container) feta cheese

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

1 head romaine lettuce (roughly chopped)

1 bunch kale (roughly chopped, optional)

 

For the vinaigrette:

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup good red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

What You Do:

Combine all of the ingredients for the salad in one bowl

Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar or something else you can shake… then shake it up!

Mix the two and serve!

 

Messiness – There’s a lot of chopping and mixing, so as far as salads go, this isn’t the most low maintenance, but its totally worth it!

Simplicity – It’s salad, not rocket science, so that’s the good news. The bad news is that you need a lot of different ingredients. But you may already have a lot of them in your home. To make this vegan-friendly, just don’t add the feta!

Budget – When in season, you can find the majority of these ingredients on sale. The only thing you’ll need to budget in are the olives and feta. But those shouldn’t be too much, and the olives will last for awhile.

Delicious Factor - I could eat this every single day of my life, and I basically hate salad.

P.S. You can find my lettuce-free Greek salad recipe HERE, for a slightly less healthy, but no less delicious option.

For a long time it’s been a dream of mine to go to the Bahamas, rent a gorgeous house on the water, and just relax. Take in the local sites, eat good food, and have a happy, healthy vacay.

Recently, two of my favorite Instagramers, A Bikini A Day‘s founders Devin Brugman and Natasha Oakley, gave me a new destination to dream of. No, I don’t know them, and this isn’t a promoted post, I just wanted to share some cool people and some amazing pics with you.

These two women founded A Bikini A Day, and have built quite an influential space in the swimsuit world. I only write all of this because I’m such a fan of women doing what they love, and working hard for it. And also women who support each other, of course! Seeing their Insta’s is a constant reminder that we can all do what we love someday.

Anyway, according to their captions, they visited Staniel Cay in the Bahamas, and now I absolutely have to go. Here are some of their most breathtaking shots from the trip. I have to be honest, they were one of the few things that kept me going during the draining last week.

Remember, work hard and your dreams can be a reality! Here’s proof Read More

If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m all about keeping things as simple as possible. It’s easier to keep life uncluttered, and allow me to spend time on my other projects.

So, when I found out the mimosa had a less fizzy, more potent counterpart, I was SOLD!

The first time I ever had a screwdriver, my Uncle Steve — who is one of the best bartenders ever — requested one for me while we were at the bar in Ouray, Colorado.

It was delicious, and I’ve been drinking them ever since. To make it, you just need orange juice and vodka. Seriously, that’s it! I half and half mine, but feel free to make your own proportions.

So, let’s raise our glasses and toast to Tuesday, because we still have a great week ahead of us!

P.S. I found this picture along with lots of other 2-ingredient drinks HERE.

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