Our Blog

Sisters Launch Debut Novels on Local Radio

Carmella and Alison McKenzie have just self-published their debut novels. They grew up in the sixties, where imagination was their iPad and the great outdoors was their television. Their creativity kept them entertained as they would make up games and recreate stories. Now they are both writing and self-publishing novels together. It started when Carmella was living in Cyprus for a short while and started to write. Alison became her editor and loved getting involved with the stories. It gave her the writing bug, and she decided to have a go herself. The two of them have found writing together great fun and enormously rewarding.

The sisters approached us earlier in the year with several novels and were brimming with ideas for future projects and series. We were very excited, and as a brother and sister team ourselves, it was great to work with another sibling double act. We wanted to create a brand style that would work for both sisters and their future works, as well as their first novels. Our designers went to the drawing boards and came up with a light, fresh style that reflects the commercial women’s market and the elements of the magical and unexplained that creep into these stories to add intrigue.

mckenzie sisters

This look we created for them has been carried across to their website – www.mckenziesisters.com – and social media profiles too. The sisters were delighted with the look of their books. Alison comments:

“I always knew our covers would have a different kind of picture on the front. I wanted to concentrate on the text with small images representing the story; the robin, clock and heart were part of my first drawing. Carmella wanted a slightly different look, a bigger picture, in keeping with the popular chick-lit style.

The designer was  able to keep both our ideas and yet bring the covers together with the same background colouring, and the fonts worked well. The fact that the author name font has continued onto the website helps promote the style that we are also using on our Facebook page, posters, adverts for Christmas fairs and other book promotions.”

Launching on Local Radio

local radio

The sisters were interviewed on the local station, BBC Radio Devon, last week. They discussed their books and what it’s like writing and working together. Carmella is no stranger to radio, having been on the air as a presenter for many years. She knows just how big an audience you can reach through local radio, so it was always going to be part of their marketing plan.

In these digital days, some authors can overlook more traditional avenues to promote their books, but local radio can really boost your profile and also publicise local events. For example, not only are the sisters having a big launch party in their local Waterstones, they are also doing numerous signings and charity events throughout the local area, which they wanted to invite listeners along to.

Catch up on the full interview on BBC iPlayer here – they come in around 1hr 20mins into the show: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05drp2c#play.

Carmella’s Top 5 Local Radio Tips for Indie Authors

  1. Do your homework. Get listening to work out which specific show you and your book would be the best fit for. Then you need to approach the station manager, or in the case of the BBC, the producer of the specific show you would like to be on.
  2. Prepare your answers. You don’t want it to sound rehearsed but you need to expect certain questions and have answers up your sleeve. You should be able to tell the interviewer what your book is about in a really concise, punchy way.
  3. Lighten up. It’s a good idea to have a lighter anecdote or something amusing about your book or your writing process so that if you feel the dialogue getting a bit too heavy or stilted, you can break that down with a chirpy story.
  4. Have a call to action. Know what you want listeners to do – do you want them to come to a launch event? Do you want them to visit your website? Make sure the interviewer has all these details in advance.
  5. Relax and enjoy it. It can seem intimidating but the interviewer is unlikely to take you off topic onto something you are uncomfortable speaking about. Just imagine it’s a friendly chat between the two of you!

About Haberdashery by Carmella McKenzie

Hannah has always been a bit of a dreamer. She loves nothing more than escaping into the pages of a bodice ripper, where the men are a darn sight more impressive than her husband, Michael. It would be fair to say her 5-year marriage was not living up to her romantic expectations. She channels her frustrations and creativity into her sewing and crafts some beautiful pieces. It started with her own wedding dress, which had a strangely magical look after she discovered a mysterious haberdashery shop and its even more mysterious owner, the quirky Fae Dorothy Grim.

A chance encounter with a tall, dark stranger sets a chain of events in motion, which turn her life around. Still spinning, she hurtles from one big life change to another. Can Hannah make, cut, sew and put a special finish on her own life?

This heart-warming tale will have you rooting for Hannah as she stitches together her new life.

About From The Future With Love by Alison McKenzie

An invite from her best friend to spend the summer in Scotland, and celebrate her twentieth birthday, is just the thing Robyn needs to put some positivity back in her life. On the long drive from Devon, she is strangely drawn to a man she finds collapsed and bleeding in the middle of a wheat field. There is something about this dark-haired, dark-eyed stranger that’s more than mysterious.

The last thing Robyn expects is to become entangled in a romance before even crossing the border, but she feels an inexplicable connection, and perhaps Shay, feeling it too, or due to his bang on the head, starts dropping hints about life in another time. From the Future, With Love is a love story with a time-travelling twist, and a reminder that today’s actions have future consequences.

For a free chapter of each book, head over to their website: www.mckenziesisters.com

Just Launched: Elvis in London


Alice Beneyto has been a life-long music fan, and listened to the radio constantly with her brother when growing up. Her early (and diverse) record collection included the likes of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. Recently, she became interested in and perplexed by the modern obsession with fame and celebrity, and it is that that inspired her debut novel: Elvis in London.

Alice came to us with a finished manuscript, but needed help with the cover design, as well as producing an eBook and paperback. Our designers got to work straight away, to create something iconic and bold that would instantly be recognisable as Elvis. Then we typeset the text, using the same fun font on the cover for the chapter headings, before creating the paperback and eBook editions for her.

To have all I Am Self-Publishing’s know-how under one virtual roof was reassuring and essential for me as a debut author. There are so many things to take into consideration for what the book actually looks like, from the cover illustration to the typeface and paper quality, and I Am Self-Publishing guided me through the choices. It is worth investing in their expert support. You’ve put all that effort into writing a book, you want it to look first-class once it’s published.” – Alice Beneyto

About Elvis in London

Elvis In London

In many ways, Eddie is an average working class Londoner. He’s into music, partying, and his motorbike. He is laid-back, charming and knows the streets of Soho inside out. And he has a sensational secret. Winning an impersonation competition as Elvis Presley changes Eddie’s life. He is fast-tracked to fame. The media can’t get enough of him and neither can his fans. His electrifying gigs become the hottest tickets in town, and he gets hooked on the power he commands over an audience.

Eddie is torn. The bigger his fame and ego grow, the harder it is to keep his secret. But if he tells the truth, will anyone believe him? Will the media and his fans still adore him? For Eddie is the reincarnation of Elvis Presley.

One bad decision and he could lose everything and everyone he loves. This fast-paced novel will make you laugh, sing and question the cult of celebrity worship.

Buy it now on Amazon

Find out more about Alice Beneyto on her website: http://alicebeneyto.com/ or check her out on twitter @alicebeneyto



How to Price Your Self-Published Book

How to price your self-published book All you need to know (2)There are a lot of factors to consider when you price your self-published book. Of course, you want to make the most possible, but you don’t want to be uncompetitive. It’s a delicate balance. So before we talk numbers, here are a few things you need to think about.

Questions to ask yourself before you price your self-published book


1: What is your publication goal?

Are you trying to reach as many readers as possible, get as many reviews as possible or spread a message, in which case, you would be happier selling at a lower price if it enabled you to have a larger audience. Are you using your book to grow your brand, and get people interested in you and buying some of your more expensive products, e.g. a life coach who has written a book to get known and get more clients, in which case, you can afford to price it cheap. Are you writing a series; if so, you might want to price the first book lower than the following books to get people hooked. Are you writing to achieve a financial goal? Think about why you wrote and published this book and have a pricing strategy that supports that.

2: How competitive is your genre?

If you have written in a very commercial genre such as crime fiction or romance, you will have a lot of competition and your potential buyers will be price sensitive. If you are an expert, writing about a specialty that not many other people have covered, then you can charge a bit more as you don’t have so much competition. Spend some time snooping on Amazon (always a worthwhile activity for a self-published author), check out the charts you would ideally like to rank in, drill down to the sub-charts and check out what sort of price books like yours are going for. Note, I’m talking about the RRP here, not the discounted price.

3: Where will your book be sold?

If you’re working with us, we will set you up with a Create Space account so your work is available on all Amazon sites, and also an Ingram Spark account so your work is available to hundreds of other retailers off and online globally. However, some authors like to cut the middle man out and maximise their profit by selling books directly, e.g. via a PayPal cart on their website or at seminars and events. Do you have plans to sell your book directly?

How to price your self-published book on Create Space


I’m going to walk you through the whole process. Before you start, you will need to know:

  • the size of your book (usually 5 x 8 inches)
  • how many pages your book is
  • whether the insides are colour or black and white

Now head over to https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/ and hit the “royalties” tab. Plug in the data above and the calculator will tell you how much you will make (your net profit) at each price point. This is after Amazon have taken their cut and the cost of printing your book has been covered.

how to price a self-published book

It’s pretty straight-forward. The idea is you put a few different prices in to work out what you would make at each price point. In my example above, I tried £7.99, £8.99 and £9.99. The price in the Royalty column is what you will receive for each copy sold in that currency, i.e. how much Amazon will pay you. The one at the top, USD, is slightly more complicated because you have 3 options: Amazon.com (this is the important one and where you’ll sell the most), eStore (this is the Create Space store, in reality, most people will buy your book via Amazon, not this, but you could share links, e.g. on your website etc. to make a bit more per sale) and Expanded Distribution (this is Amazon’s larger network of retailers but you will make more money going to the same retailers via Ingram Spark, so if we are setting you up with an Ingram Spark account, ignore this).

After completing this exercise, you should have a good idea of what you want to price your book at and are ready to move on to the next stage.

How to price your self-published book on Ingram Spark


This process is slightly more complicated and will require the same information as before, plus:

  • lamination – this is whether you want a matte or gloss finish on your cover
  • interior colour and paper – is your book being printed in colour or black and white and is it going to be printed on white or cream paper (cream is best for most black and white printing, white is better for colour)
  • wholesale discount – this is the discount you want to give Ingram Spark. They take a cut of the retail price, otherwise they would not be able to offer it to retailers below the RRP, and they wouldn’t make any money themselves. The lowest you can set this to and still have your book sold through their whole network was 35% at the time of writing. That means if your book is £10, you let Ingram Spark sell it to the retailers in their network for £7.50. If you plan to be stocked by large bookstores such as Waterstones, you may need to increase this to around 50%.

Ready? Go to https://myaccount.ingramspark.com/Portal/Tools/PubCompCalculator? and fill in the details just as you did with Create Space but adding in the lamination and wholesale discount above. Lastly, you’ll need to enter your price and choose your market; in my example, I have chosen the UK.

how to price your self-published book Ingram

So you can see you would make slightly more per sale on Ingram Spark than on Amazon in the above scenario. In reality, most of your book sales will probably be through Amazon, they are the biggest retailer in the world after all, so let that guide you. Choose one price and use the same one for both Create Space and Ingram Spark.

Pricing FAQS

Why don’t all retailers sell my book for the price I set?

In the UK, retailers are now legally able to sell books for whatever price they want. This is also true of some other countries. You have probably seen book price wars, e.g. when a big book comes out like the latest J. K. Rowling, retailers are desperate to get your custom so heavily discount the book. There is nothing you can do about it – they won’t notify you – and in any case, it doesn’t affect how much you make – they are taking the discount out of their share, not yours.

Can I change the price?

Yes, it’s quite simple to change the price (RRP). Firstly, you will need to get your designer to change the price on your cover files. Then all you will need to do is log into your Create Space and Ingram Spark dashboards to alter the price and upload the new cover files.

Do I need to put the price on the back of the book?

You don’t have to, but it makes you look much more professional if you do.

I hope you have found this article useful and it has given you a quick lesson in book pricing. If you have any other questions on how to price your self-published book, please leave them in the comments box below and I’ll answer them ASAP.