Many knitwear designers sell instant download versions of their knitting patterns online. The most common platforms to do so are Etsy, Ravelry and Lovecrafts. Selling knitting patterns online on your own website is also an option for making money by selling your own knitting patterns.
A way to sell your own digital knitting patterns online that you may not have considered is by self publishing on Amazon. This is completely free of charge and you can set your own prices and clearly see how much you will receive from each sale.
I have several of my own knitting pattern designs and decided to have a go at self publishing at selling them on Amazon.
A year or so into this journey, and after making a few mistakes actually, I have decided to share my experiences with you.
Please read to find out how to self publish knitting patterns and books on Amazon, and some top tips to help you to save time and maximise your profits.
Introduction to self publishing knitting patterns on Amazon
I am a keen Kindle reader and one day whilst searching for free books I noticed a few knitting books and individual knitting patterns.
I had a few knitting pattern designs of my own, which I sell as a small part of my business. I decided to put them all together into a book and self publish it on Amazon.
Actually, I sort of did it wrong and had to republish it to make it right. The book is called Bits and Pieces and is published under a pen name. It is my mum’s name actually. Looking back, I wish I had just used my own name but it seemed like a good idea to use a pen name at the time.
Since then I have self published several more of my knitting pattern designs on Amazon. You can see them here. Actually, there are some non knitting books there too, including one recipe book. I like to learn and try everything out and was interested to see how non knitting books might sell on Amazon too (spoiler alert – the knitting pattern books outsell all other types that I have written!).
So how do you self publish knitting patterns and books on Amazon
Ok, the first thing you need to know if you would like to self publish knitting (or any topic) books on Amazon is bow you actually do it.
First of all, you need an Amazon account. From there, you need to open a KDP account. You will be guided through signing up here, and will have to fill in a tax form and provide bank details so that you can receive payments.
KDP is where you will upload your manuscript and book or pattern cover and set your prices etc. You will also use this platform to see how many copies you have sold and how much money you have made.
How to format your manuscript for self publishing on Amazon
Preparing your book or knitting pattern for self publishing on Amazon is of course the most important skill that you will need to learn if you want to see your titles for sale there.
You can submit a manuscript in a number of formats, namely Epub, Word document, or kpf file. I have only ever submitted kpf files and I believe this is the best way to produce Amazon friendly manuscripts.
All you have to do is download Kindle Create and then upload a Word file. The Word file must end in .doc or .docx.
If you have a Mac you can simply type your book manuscript in Pages and then export to Word. If you use Windows software you can simply save as a Word document (I believe).
Once in Kindle Create, it is really quite self explanatory how you go about preparing your document. What I will say is, don’t add any photos or things like tables of content to your Word document. This is exactly what I did wrong on my first attempt at self publishing a knitting pattern book. The photos looked awful because I added them to the word document and not directly into the Kindle Create app.
Your Word Document should be formatted with things like page breaks and headings. And I would try to avoid adding tables. Other than that, you can play around and add photos within Kindle Create. It is best to do it this way as you can see exactly how your book or knitting patterns will look inside a Kindle, or on E-reader on a phone or tablet.
Once you are finished, you simply click on ‘generate’ and will then upload the KDP manuscript to your KDP account. Again it is quite self explanatory and there is absolutely tons of help on the KDP website itself.
How to make a book cover for a self published book or knitting pattern
Your book cover is really important as it is what people will see in the Amazon store and it may make or break the sale of your knitting pattern book.
I personally use photos that I take myself and then edit it and add text in the Canva website. You can do this absolutely for free, although you can pay to upgrade and use more features if you wish to. I think the free option is quite adequate for most people.
You can also use images from places like Unsplash (free) or Shutterstock (paid) for book covers. You will need to check licensing agreements when using downloads from places such as these and make sure that you never use images containing faces without a proper model release form as a book cover. You also need to avoid images containing brand names and recognisable buildings and so on.
I use my own photos because I know there are then absolutely no copyright issues involved.
You don’t actually have to make a book cover to self publish on Amazon. As you upload your manuscript on KDP you will see an option to use the cover creator facility. You can click on this and allow Amazon to make your book cover for you. It is really easy and indeed I use this when I publish paperback versions of my books and knitting patterns.
Different ways you can sell your knitting patterns and books on Amazon
When yourself publish on Amazon, you can publish either Ebooks, paperback books, or both. The description above is for self publishing Ebooks. You should definitely do this, and if you want to, and your book is long enough (24 pages) you can also self publish a paperback book.
You can use exactly the same KPF manuscript to self publish your paperback book. This is what I have been doing. However, you can, and I think should, alternatively upload a PDF file for your paperback.
This is because you can design it to your own taste and make it look much prettier than in a KPF file. I am going to do this in the future. It takes more time than using the same file of course, but I think it is worth doing.
You will need to make sure you have margins of around 1.5cm all around your PDF pages otherwise it will be rejected, but other than than I think it is pretty simple to submit a PDF file and have it accepted for publishing on Amazon.
Issues with self publishing paperback knitting patterns on Amazon
When you self publish a knitting pattern or knitting book, you may indeed wish to include photos. Now, these can look quite rubbish on a Kindle. I think readers generally accept and expect this though and I don’t see it as a problem.
You can make them look better by showing say your knitted scarf with a white background, or with the background removed. I haven’t done this and it is one of my big mistakes. The photos in my books look really sub optimal, especially in the paperback books.
That is because I published the paperback books in black and white. I did this to keep the cost of the books for the customers down. It is a lot more expensive to self publish a colour paperback book, and you then have to price it higher to make any sort of a profit.
Amazon will print your books for you, you see, and deduct the printing costs. I didn’t feel my knitting books were big or brilliant enough to sell at a high price and so I selected the black and white paperback version (you can’t later change to colour).
I also used the same manuscript as the Ebooks to save time, and because I didn’t know any better, and I really don’t think that my paperback knitting patterns look very good. They are cheap, and I have some good reviews. However, there have also been some not so good reviews, purely because the photos don’t look good.
I think that submitting a PDF file with nice looking photos, in colour, is the way to go when self publishing paperback books. However, the means your price will be higher and sales may be lower. It is a balancing act I suppose.
Some questions and tips about self publishing knitting related books on Amazon
There are a few questions that I had when I started on my amazon self publishing journey, and count find an answer to
Do people buy knitting patterns on Amazon?
Absolutely yes! People definitely do buy knitting patterns and knitting books on Amazon, and lots of them. I am pretty sure that you can make quite a lot of money from self publishing, if you do it right and really set your mind to it.
I admit that some of my books haven’t sold a single copy. This is an example of a knitting pattern of mine that has never sold. Three of my knitting pattern books sell regularly. I haven’t really made much money, though. Thats because they are priced really cheaply, and because it is still early days.
I also haven’t devoted much time to marketing the knitting patterns that I have self published on Amazon. If you want to really make some money by doing this, you need to be pinning, instagramming and generally getting links and interest out there on the web.
You can also pay Amazon to advertise your books for you. I haven’t done this yet as I’m not entirely satisfied with any of my publications…yet!
Can you sell single knitting pattern designs on Amazon?
You can sell individual knitting patterns as you would do on a platform such as Etsy, yes. You will however only be able to sell these as Ebooks because you need 24 pages to be able to self publish a paperback book.
I have seen some individual knitting patterns selling quite well on Amazon. This is where the designers clearly have a following and fan base who have bought up their individual knitting pattern collections.
What I have also noticed though are some reviews where people have been disappointed that their purchase was only one knitting design. I think this is because the mazon platform is associated with books and the customers were expecting exactly that – a book. People don’t always bother to read descriptions.
I have also seen a couple of bad reviews on individual knitting patterns because the customers thought they were buying the actual knitted item. That was, I believe, due to an unclear book cover. You can’t just upload a photo with no clear text as your book cover, or exactly this will happen.
Any tips for making a success self publishing knitting patterns on Amazon?
I would like to say a couple of things about what I have learnt that I think will really help you to make a success of self publishing knitting patterns on Amazon.
First of all, when you self publish an Ebook, make your price 2.99 or more. This is because you can then run countdown promotions for your book which will make it more visible and enticing to readers. If your price is already really low, there is nowhere to really go with it after that.
Secondly, when you upload your manuscript you will be given the option of whether to not to add your Ebook to KDP select. By ticking yes, people who pay for Kindle Unlimited can read your books for free and you will be paid for each page turn. So I would tick this box.
Thirdly, I would publish sets of 6 or more patterns as paperbacks. I sell far more paperbacks than I do Ebooks. Knitters like to have something on paper in front of them as they knit. To upload a PDF file with 24 pages, you will need a lot more than 6 patterns. The KPF file can be made large enough by adding lots of photos and 6 patterns will suffice.
Thanks so much for reading this article about self publishing knitting patterns on Amazon. I hope you found it helpful.
There is a great deal of information about self publishing out there on the net if you wish to learn more. I would have a good look at the Amazon KDP website itself if you are interested in this topic. It is choc full of really useful information.
Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have regarding self publishing on Amazon. I will do my best to help.
Have great day!