Updated: Feb 8
Welcome to our latest Author Success Story!
When it comes to publishing your first book, at some point, we've all thought to ourselves, "I just wish I knew someone who's done it, so I could ask them questions and see what it's really like!" Well, wish no more!
Meet Katie Weaver:
Katie Weaver is a mother to 5 (4 boys and 1 girl), wife, author, illustrator, graphic designer, and entrepreneur. Katie is a stay-at-home-mom by day, and uses the evenings to chase her own dreams. In addition to marketing her own book, When The Sky Roars and illustrating Cindy Grant’s next book, My Bumpy Lumpy Belly Button, she is currently working to open a brand new mini-book store called The Itty Bitty Book Nook in Denver, Colorado where she and her family will soon live.
Title: When The Sky Roars
Release date: August 2021
Illustrator: Katie Weaver (herself!)
BUY HER BOOK HERE: https://oakiebees.com/products/when-the-sky-roars
AHA: Hi Katie! So what inspired you to become an author?
Katie: The money and the fame, obviously. Just kidding. ☺ I got the idea in my head a few years ago and thought it was something that I might really enjoy. I, foolishly, thought it would be “easy” initially. It has been an enormous amount of fun learning about the self-publishing industry and meeting many new friends along the way. Writing and tossing several terrible manuscripts prior to When the Sky Roars wasn’t much fun (the ‘tossing them out’, part). I followed through with becoming a published author because I fell in love with the business and the people here, but that’s the answer to a different question.
AHA: The people of publishing are definitely the best! Was there a particular reason you chose to self-publish instead of pursue traditional publishing?
Katie: Because I’m an impatient control freak! That’s my honest answer. ☺ But also, because, I believe, there’s a lot more money to be made when done properly… and I keep all the control over my work and vision.
AHA: What is your background/experience in writing, if any?
Katie: If I were applying to be a writer, back when I was becoming a writer, I would have written in something like “I’ll just figure it out as I go." And that’s usually how things go with me – figuring it out as I go. But with writing, I’ve found that I rather enjoy it (and love to torture myself by writing in verse) and desperately wanted to be good at it, not just put out every day, mediocre stuff. So I’ve been putting in the work, learning from many inspiring people, and I’ve been fortunate enough to get to soak it all in… and learn as I go.
AHA: How long did it take you to publish When The Sky Roars?
Katie: From the day I finished my first draft of my manuscript, to the day I sent it to the printer was 6 months. (I did my own illustrations while pregnant with my 5th baby… her arrival was my deadline, and I finished the book 4 days before she was born.) Then I waited 6.5 months for them to be printed overseas. And it was the longest. Six. Months. Of. My. Life.
AHA: I can imagine! Is there anything you wish you would have known before you started?
Katie: How important it is to walk away and come back to your work with fresh eyes–you’re able to see things you couldn’t when you’re “in it." Don’t fall in love with your words, it’ll only break your heart when they get cut. Don’t intentionally off-center your name so slightly that it looks unintentional on your book cover… that’s just me? Oh, ok.
AHA: Has the publishing process been easier than you anticipated? Harder? In what ways?
Katie: Looking backwards, it feels like I completed a marathon. Though, I hear the first book is the only one that feels this way, the others are less exhausting to bring to market. I’d tell you, I never really “looked up”. I always tell my kids to just put your head down, stay focused, look up briefly every now and then to make sure you’re still on the right path, but don’t focus on how much further you have to go. It’s the easiest way, I think, to reach a goal (or do dinner dishes).
AHA: When you first started, how did you measure success? Has that benchmark changed?
Katie: I don’t know that I thought much about what success would look like in the beginning. I can tell you now, though, that I see the areas in which I need to improve and I’m working on it every day. I think my success, at this point, is measured by growth…in learning new things, sales, profitability, and meaningful connections.
AHA: If you could give one piece of advice to someone hoping to self-publish, what would it be?
Katie: Don’t skimp on good illustrations and good design. If you have subpar illustrations and book design, whatever investment you’ve made will likely never be recovered. Children’s books are mostly visual. Your illustrations, book design and cover design will sell your book long before your words will.
AHA: Wise words! Speaking of investments, how did you fund your first project?
Katie: So… I illustrated and designed my own book. However, I only did that because I had experience with book illustrations and graphic design. I don’t recommend that if you don’t have those skills on a professional level. I ran a Kickstarter to fund the purchase of my first print run, which was 5000 copies of my book. Had I needed funds to cover illustrations and design, I would have either printed less or set a higher goal, to get more cash.
AHA: 5,000 copies is a lot to sell! What marketing strategies have been the most effective for you?
Katie: Social media connections and in-person vendor events/craft shows, where I’m able to make a connection face to face. Sadly, with a large family, it’s hard for me to commit the time for these things and therefore, I’m trying to tackle Amazon ads and get them to work for me.
When The Sky Roars
POD or offset print run?
hardcover, paperback and eBook
Total Investment: (All amounts are rough estimates provided by the author and should not be considered 100% accurate or used as estimates for your own project. Do your own research!)
$14,000 (includes editing, ISBNs, printing, and website)
Total Number of Books Sold To Date:
2340 hardcovers and 975 paperbacks
Inspired by Katie's story?
Ready to start your own publishing journey?
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