Sarah Stuart’s Guest Post: A Guide to Self Publishing on a Budget

Meet Sarah Stuart.


Sarah Stuart is an award-winning author and a book reviewer for Readers’ Favorite. Her passions are theatre, music, wildlife, history, and travel, all of which come together in the Royal Command series. She writes because she enjoys it, and as a commitment to ecology.100% of her royalties are donated to charities helping endangered species worldwide. Typically, this might be reforestation to provide suitable habitats. The settings of her books, the Western Highlands of Scotland, London’s Theatre-Land, and Europe, are vivid; Sarah has lived, or spent a considerable time, in these places, and she uses insider knowledge gained from working in theatres to create the showbiz setting.

5 Star Amazon Reviews:

“The characters are relatable and Sarah weaves a story linking them in ways that reveal their ambitions, weakness, pleasure and pain. And just as importantly the love and support they offer one another. Sarah also deals with the issue of forbidden love, presenting it in a way that has the pages flying by as hitherto perfect love is put to the test by close, interconnecting relationships crossing boundaries that threaten to ruin not only careers, but friendship and family. And she does it all in a crisp, elegant style that is her very own.”

The setting in book four Sweet Temptation: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Passion, includes a hospital setting, but reviewers’ reaction has been good. “Sweet Temptation is another compelling, sizzling romance spiced with detective work from an author who has created her unique signature for the genre with her exciting characters and strong plot lines. Sarah Stuart successfully establishes herself as a mistress of the romance genre.”

Author Links:

Guest Post: How To Self-publish Fiction When Your Budget Is Almost Nil
Editors and proof readers are worth their weight in gold: if you could afford them you wouldn’t be reading this. Now is not the time to be shy. Ask friends and work colleagues to read your book and be brutally honest about what they like or don’t like. Send copies by email; printing costs money. Thank them, but avoid promising to acknowledge them by name; it will prevent them from reviewing the published book. I know to my cost! They even banned the wife of someone I acknowledged; they had an unusual surname.
Create an Author Page on Facebook in the name you intend to use plus “writer” or “author”. E.g. Writer Jane Doe. Blog about your book to attract interest, but be careful to intrigue without giving away too much. Send friend requests to authors, buy their books, tell them how much you enjoyed them, and add a permalink to your review on Amazon. If you hated them, forget posting a review: keep quiet. After an interval, ask each if they would beta-read your book: some will. Email volunteers your book and brace yourself for criticism. Act on any made by more than one person.
Know your genre. Is everything you’ve included likely to be acceptable to your target audience? The Amazon “Look Inside” feature is free and very helpful, as are the book descriptions. Find the genre you think you’ve written, see what comes up when you try key words and compare it to your book. When you get it right, you’ll find many similar books.
Run a spell and grammar check on your document. Before you click IGNORE, Google any point of grammar that you don’t understand. Find at least one friend prepared to go through your story word by word. Whilst waiting, read it aloud; the eye sees what it expects to see. Use FIND on every name, and every common mistake you make, such as she’s when it should be she’d: “he’s” will pick up both sexes. Another tip for finding errors is to send the word document to your Kindle and enlarge the font. It makes you read every word, and helps pick up those pesky periods that should be commas.
Amazon publish a free book called Building Your Book For Kindle. It has simple, clear, instructions for formatting your document. Follow them; nothing looks less professional than an eBook without a working Table of Contents. Do NOT make the mistake I once did and forget to bookmark the Table of Contents; it looks perfect on the Amazon previewer but readers can’t find it. The only part you may ignore are the instructions to convert your Word Document to a PDF. Correctly formatted Word Documents upload more successfully.
Do not be tempted to “build a cover” on Amazon. Search out sites offering photographs and spend the “almost” bit of your nil budget, about $16, on a good one that you can use for a print book later. Use Photoshop, or any similar program, to add the title and your name. Use Facebook to ask opinions on your cover before you publish.
Uploading to Amazon, choose relevant key words: include those you used to establish genre. Spend time on your blurb (book description); it is your “shop window”. Choose the higher royalty level; you won’t be selling to Japan, yet. Do join KDP, and set a sensible price: high enough to show a worthwhile saving when you run a Countdown promotion, but leave the “free” option until you publish a second book for fans of your writing to buy.
Join Amazon Author Central and take advantage of everything you can. Editorial reviews look good and Readers’ Favorite, a very respected company, offer free reviews. The secret of attracting one of their reviewers is the blurb. It needs to intrigue, but don’t make it too long; reviewers have a huge choice of books. Think of the speed of twitter and make your points fast. You’ll be asked about sex scenes and strong language. There are two very good reasons to be honest. An offended reviewer won’t rate very high, but others may well be attracted by phrases like “graphic sex”. Readers’ Favorite don’t accept erotica but they love steamy sizzle. Note: Readers’ Favorite publish ONLY four and five star rated reviews, so there’s no risk.
Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: