12 Tips for Self-Publishing Your Own Book

12 Tips for Self-Publishing Your Own Book by Kristin Omdahl

Over the last 18 years I have written 21 books about knitting and crocheting. Nine years ago, I parted ways with traditional publishing and began self-publishing my books.  The culmination of the experience of working with teams and the intense desire to learn new things gave me the courage to self-publish my books. I have learned quite a lot since I took that first plunge and continue to learn more every day!

I took online classes in Adobe InDesign to learn book layout, Adobe Illustrator to make knit and crochet charts, Adobe Photoshop to learn photo editing, and invested in photography equipment to take my own photos. I hired editors for technical editing as well as copy editing (you can’t proof your own writing). And ultimately, I simply stepped outside my comfort zone, tried new things, made some mistakes along the way, but never gave up.

I also had a unique perspective as an established author who spent many years at book signings and meet & greets to learn what the customers liked (and didn’t like) about my books and knit and crochet books in general. In my quest to always improve, I implemented some of their feedback into my self-published books to make them even better! For example, many customers told me they had difficulty reading the small text in many knit and crochet books. When I started self-publishing my books, I increased the text size dramatically for a much easier experience for my customers. And they love it!

Here are my top 12 tips for self-publishing your own book!

  1. Find a unique perspective that stands apart from the competition.
    I learned many years ago in traditional publishing that you must sell your idea in the book proposal stage by proving that your idea is relevant and stands apart from the other books already in existence. Although it is not necessary to write an elaborate book proposal when self-publishing, you should still ask yourself this question. For example, when I wrote Crochet Power, I knew that there were already tons of stitch reference books on the market. However, by teaching how to use the stitch patterns in 4 difference construction styles, I was providing a type of reference tool different than others, and therefore deserving of a space in the market.
  2. Plan, plan, plan and plan some more.
    Now that you know the type of book you want to write, it’s important to begin to plan in more detail what it will include.  How many patterns? What type of style do you want? Begin to create detailed checklists for every aspect of the book.
  3. Set goals with realistic (and flexible) deadlines.
    When I start a book, I have a very, very long to-do list. While it may look overwhelming at first, each time you can check an item off the list, it is rewarding! Also, be aware that things don’t always go to plan. Sometimes you have to improvise, come up with an alternative plan or adapt to changes. Expect delays. And don’t give up!
  4. Choose a good editor or editors.
    Finding good editors is important for many reasons. Quality of work is very important, but so is price, flexibility and compatibility. I have worked with many editors over the years and while quality of work is ultimately the most important attribute of a good editor, finding someone you can afford and get along with well are really important, too.
  5. Focus on a good cover art design.
    Look at other books for inspiration, inside and outside your genre. If this is a strong suit for you, design it yourself. If not, hire a designer to create a beautiful and captivating book cover art design. Will your book be sold on physical shelves or online only? How will you grab the attention of a potential buyer from the spine on a shelf or from a 2-inch square tile scrolling on a website?
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    You may not be ready to complete every part of this process yourself.  It is better to be honest about your strengths (and weaknesses) and ask for assistance when you need it.  Not a great photographer? You can certainly learn to improve your skills, but if you need photos now, ask for help!
  7. Compare prices and services before investing in any help.
    Always do your research before committing to any online service. Not only is price important but comparing what you get for your money is important, too. Let’s say you are shopping for cover art designers. One quote is for the artwork and all image sizes you will need (high res for printing and web friendly images), editable files and up to five (5) revisions. And another quote is much cheaper but doesn’t come with all the above-mentioned files and only 1 revision. Whenever possible, consider the best value, not just the best price.
  8. Learn about ISBN numbers and copyright.
    There are paid options and free options. Do your research and decide what is best for you. But remember, nothing is actually “free”. For example, Kindle Direct Publishing includes the ISBN number when you self-publish with them, but it is for a commitment that you only publish with them exclusively.
  9. Market your book!
    Learn about marketing. Join marketing groups. Ask for advice. Come up with a plan. Be consistent. And don’t give up!
  10. Network with others.
    Join groups with other authors or bloggers and influencers in your genre. Ask people to review your book. Offer to give interviews. The more people you can get to share the word about your book, the better! And remember, asking is free. The worst they can say is no.
  11. Research publishing and printing options.
    I prefer print-on-demand and small run printing to keep my costs low. I usually offer both a paperback book and a digital eBook option and price them appropriately. Choose the options that work best for your budget and your customers. If you offer both paperback and eBook you can bundle them together for an enticing offer, too! Who doesn’t love a good deal?
  12. Congratulate yourself!
    You did it! It requires a lot of hard work, wearing multiple hats, and perseverance to self-publish your own book! Pat yourself on the back, and here is virtual hug from me, too!

Shop Kristin Omdahl Books HERE

Kristin Omdahl is the best-selling author of dozens of knit and crochet books; designer of almost 1000 knit and crochet patterns; and producer of award-winning videos. You can join Kristin LIVE 5 days a week for The Kristin Omdahl Show on YouTube and browse through thousands of tutorial videos there, too. Kristin donates a portion of every sale to help survivors of domestic violence. Learn more about Kristin’s charity, Project Kristin Cares HERE.

Shop Kristin Omdahl Crochet Patterns HERE

Shop Kristin Omdahl Knitting Patterns HERE

I would love to see your creations. Just as much fun as making these myself is the satisfaction I get from seeing my designs come to life and other knit and crochet fans wearing them too. There are now 2 ways you can share what you have done!

  • I have recently added a wonderful new interactive section to the website which I invite you to take part in, it has been a smashing success and such fun so far. It is the new “Share Your Project” section. You, my creators, can upload images and descriptions of your creations to share with the ever growing community! To upload simply click here. 
  • If you want to continue the party, join the KO Community Forums on my website. It is 100% PRIVATE! You can start or join forum posts, and even direct message others, too. Join the KO Community forums HERE 

Additionally, I host a livestreaming podcast, vlog or show weekday on my YouTube Channel called The Kristin Omdahl Show. You can join the audience and even ask me questions LIVE! I often do a show and tell, or quick demo and I always interact with the live audience. It is a lot of fun!

You can browse through over 1000 previously recorded episodes HERE: The Kristin Omdahl Show Playlist. Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get reminders when the next episode airs LIVE.

You can also Refer-A-Friend and get rewarded, too! Learn more HERE

I look forward to seeing what you create!




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