10 Mistakes That Could Turn Off Book Buyers—Fast | Self-Publishing Relief

by | Other Helpful Information, Self-Publishing, Uncategorized | 1 comment

At Self-Publishing Relief, we know it’s a crowded book-buying world—and it’s getting more competitive every day. In 2018, over one million self-published books landed on the virtual shelves! With so many options for readers, self-published authors only have a few seconds to capture a potential online buyer’s attention. And how do you do that? You avoid costly mistakes that could quickly turn book buyers off.

10 Common Flubs That Turn Away Your Book Buyers

Unprofessional Book Covers 

Readers really do judge books by the cover. Using cover art that looks cheap, self-made, or unprofessional is the number one mistake a self-published author can make. If your cover looks like it’s made by an amateur, then readers will think the book must written by one too.

Book Cover Genre Mistakes 

A second way a self-published author can tank sales is by using a cover that doesn’t correctly represent the genre. A reader on a hunt for a fantasy novel won’t consider a book cover that features a couple locked in a passionate kiss—because that traditionally indicates a romance novel. Make sure your cover properly conveys what’s inside your book.

Cover Art Design Mistakes

Your book cover should attract attention even when it’s “thumbnail” size. If elements are fighting for space on the cover, then it is probably too busy. And be sure to review how the cover image looks at a reduced size. If it’s blurry, potential readers will be unimpressed and move on.

A Novel-Length Summary

Online book markets give you plenty of space to describe what your book is about. But the point of a summary isn’t to write a six-paragraph synopsis. It’s to deliver a sense of excitement about the story or subject so a reader will be intrigued enough to make a purchase. Start with a hook, end with a cliffhanger, and keep it short! Remember: Your book summary is a marketing tool to capture a potential sale—not a place to frame an excerpt or chapter of your novel.


A sales page that is riddled with typos or bad grammar gives the impression that your book will also be plagued with these same mistakes. Have your work professionally proofread before you upload it to the vendor book page.

Ignoring Formatting Options 

Many online vendors (including Amazon and Barnes&Noble) allow you to format your descriptions with boldface, italics, and distinctive numbering and spacing options. Take advantage of these formatting options to emphasize the most important parts of the description.

No Book Reviews 

A book that doesn’t feature a single review might have potential buyers wondering if anyone’s bothered to read it. Although it may be difficult to obtain reviews—even from your biggest fans—it’s important that you have a few posted directly after your launch. Encourage your fans and followers on social media to write reviews by explaining why book reviews are so important to an author.

Ignoring Bad Book Reviews 

A few one-star reviews aren’t going to kill your rankings. But if you’re constantly receiving low-star reviews, it might be time to revisit or rework the elements of your book that are causing readers to respond negatively. Most buyers won’t purchase a consistently low-ranked book.

Failing To Hook Readers With The First Scene 

Many readers open the “Look Inside” or download the “Read a Sample” feature to sample a book before committing to a sale. If your first five pages aren’t gripping, you could lose that reader to another author. 

Disregarding E-Book Vendor Book Description Page Options 

Most online book vendors offer special e-book features to help dress up your book pages. Kobo and Amazon (and soon Barnes&Noble) allow for series bundles offering your books in the order in which they should be read. If you’re hoping to promote a long series, this feature is a definite plus.

Also, Amazon, through Author Central, lets you add a number of elements to each of your book pages, including editorial reviews, “From the Inside Flap,” “From the Back Cover,” “From the Author,” and “About the Author.”

You’ve spent a lot of time writing your book. Self-published authors often spend nearly as much time marketing. Make sure you encourage book sales by presenting your book in the best possible light. Always use a professional cover, craft a gripping description, ask for reviews, and take advantage of all the book page options the e-book vendors have to offer.


Question: What elements turn you off most when it comes to choosing your next online read?

1 Comment

  1. Wendy

    “No book reviews”
    Duh! Everyone wants to have reviews–even mediocre are better than none. But how about GETTING them? My books get praise and requests for more–from people who aren’t internet-savvy enough to leave on-line reviews.


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