Exactly how I create PDF, Kindle, and Printed versions of my products and how much I make for each format

This week, I accomplished a mega goal I set for myself. I am pleased to announce that my first printed pattern is now available. The Giant Dresden Christmas Tree Skirt is available through Amazon.com.

Are you a pattern designer interested in learning more about how to publish your own printed patterns?

I'd love to tell you more! Keep reading!

I started out creating just the PDF pattern that I sell through Gumroad. I like Gumroad because they handle VAT in the EU for me.

Creating the PDF required my time to sew the sample, create the illustrations, and the text plus the cost of materials to create plus I paid out of my own pocket for photography and page layout.

When I sell a $10 pattern on Gumroad, I make $8.90. The fee Gumroad takes covers credit card processing and that VAT (value added tax) in the EU.

My first product, Quilty Math Workbook, is only available via Gumroad.

Next, I created a Kindle version which took an additional amount of my time to do the formatting and, while you can create a Kindle book from a Word or Google Docs file, I use Scrivener which is a software I purchased for a one-time cost of $44.99. I like Scrivener because it's easy for me to create a much cleaner and neater looking Kindle book. If you want to create your own Kindle book, you can get started here.

Kindle book pricing is interesting in that if you set your price between $2.99 and $9.99, you make 70%. If your price is lower than $2.99 or higher than $9.99, you only make 35%. I like nice easy round numbers, but 70% of $9.99 is a lot more than 30% of $10 which is why my Kindle book is a penny cheaper.

When I sell a $9.99 Kindle version of that same pattern, I make $6.94. I make less on each copy of the Kindle pattern, but it only takes me about one additional day of work and no additional out of pocket cost and my goal is to reach more customers through Amazon (they have an amazing recommendation system) that I wouldn't reach otherwise.

My second product, Half and Half Quilt Pattern + eBook, is the first product I made available through Kindle.

I used a similar method to make an ePub version available through Kobo. Honestly, I've only had one Kobo sale total but after I set up the pattern in Scrivener it only took me a few minutes to make an ePub from what I had created to make my Kindle version so I think it was worth the time and hope to sell more copies there eventually.

The most frequently asked question I get is "Can I get a paper copy?" I really don't want to deal with storing inventory and shipping out physical stuff so, until now, that answer was always no.

But then, I discovered IngramSpark!

IngramSpark will print books on demand and if you use their extended distribution system, your on demand books will be available through Amazon.com.

IngramSpark is very similar to Amazon's own CreateSpace, in fact, CreateSpace even uses IngramSpark's distribution system for their extended distribution.

CreateSpace has no upfront costs for publishers who want their printed books to be available only through Amazon.com (they make their money by taking a cut when you sell a book) but I couldn't use CreateSpace because they have a minimum page count of 24 pages for a 8.5 x 11" book and my quilt pattern is shorter than that.

IngramSpark does charge a $49 set up fee and I had to purchase an ISBN number (I paid $85 through IngramSpark), but their minimum page count is only 4 pages. (Setting up the cover file may be a little tricky for the average user, I worked for several years specifically doing prepress at a printing company so it was second nature for me but you may need to hire someone to do the cover set up for you.)

Exactly how I create PDF, Kindle, and Printed versions of my products and how much I make for each format
Exactly how I create PDF, Kindle, and Printed versions of my products and how much I make for each format

When I sell a $10 copy of my pattern through IngramSpark, I make $4.52 (IngramSpark also makes money by taking a cut when you sell a book and the cost of the printing, for which I selected all the premium options to ensure my customers get a quality product, comes out of what the customer pays for the book).

It'll take me 30 printed patterns sold to make up the cost of the set up fee and ISBN number, but I'm very optimistic that with the number of inquiries about printed patterns that I get, I'll be able to start turning a profit quickly.

My third product, Giant Dresden Christmas Tree Skirt, is the first product I have available in printed format.

I make less profit per copy with each format (PDF then ebook then printed) but I hope to reach more customers with a small additional investment (time, money, or both) each time I can offer the pattern in an additional format with the end goal of maximizing how much I can make from designing the quilt and writing the pattern.