Not wanting to be at the beck and call of traditional publishing houses, many writers, both new and established, are now turning to self-publishing to get their books into the hands of their readers. Keep in mind, though, that self-publishing has many important steps and can be complicated, so it’s important to get it right. The experts at Self-Publishing Relief know all the mistakes you should avoid as well as the best ways to create a book you can be proud to put your name on.
Self-Publishing Mistakes Authors Should Avoid
Not doing your research: From beginning to end, self-publishing can be a long, confusing process, and you’ll want to be sure you’re working with a company and platform that will meet your needs. Before you sign on the dotted line—do your research! Our self-publishing experts offer a great overview of the most popular platforms, KDP and IngramSpark, to help you understand their shared functions and important differences.
Forgoing proofreading: Your manuscript should be in tip-top shape before you even begin the self-publishing process. No matter how good your story is, having a finished book filled with typos and grammar goofs will result in poor reviews and bad word of mouth, which will affect your sales. Professional proofreading is best, but at the bare minimum, have a grammar-savvy friend or member of your writing group read through your manuscript. You may think you’ve read and reread your book so often you’ve caught every possible error. Trust us: Fresh eyes will catch the mistakes you’ve missed.
Skimping on the cover design: Your book cover is your most important point-of-purchase marketing tool. We recommend using experienced cover designers to create your book cover, since they’ll know what works for each genre and what style ideas are trending. While you don’t have to break the bank, cover design isn’t the place to try to save a few bucks. A cheap-looking, poorly designed cover screams low quality—and your potential buyers will carry that thought over to your writing.
Using a lackluster book blurb: After the cover design, your book blurb (story description) can make or break how successfully you entice would-be readers into clicking the buy button. Make sure your book blurb hits the important points of your story without being overly wordy. Two hundred carefully chosen words that end on a cliffhanger will be enough to engage your audience and leave them wanting to read more.
Disregarding proper formatting: Your manuscript document needs to be formatted to the industry-accepted standards for a book. There are lots of formatting tricks to be aware of, so turn to experts with experience in formatting (like those at Self-Publishing Relief) or spend some time doing your own research. Look at other books in your genre to get a feel for their layout. While there is a standard style, you do have some wiggle room to find what works best for your book.
Setting the wrong price: Sure, your book is priceless to you—but it’s important to set the correct price if you want to make any sales. Be careful not to set the retail price of your book too high or too low. If you don’t charge enough, readers may equate low price with low-quality writing. But if you charge too much, your audience won’t want to fork over so much money. Check out the pricing on similar-length books in your genre to get a good idea of the price range you should stay within.
Ignoring marketing: You can’t just hit “publish” on your book, then sit back and expect it to sell itself. Nowadays even authors who are traditionally published must be actively involved in promoting their book—and this is even truer for self-published authors. If you need some ideas for how to effectively promote your book, check out this article by our self-publishing marketing team for some inspiration!
Expecting immediate, overwhelming success: Don’t quit your day job just yet! Give yourself realistic expectations for how many books you will sell: the average self-published print book sells 250 copies. Knowing the facts will keep you from feeling discouraged and giving up.
Avoiding these common self-publishing mistakes will make the experience less stressful and the end result more sales-worthy. If you’d like help navigating the self-publishing process, our experts are ready to guide you every step of the way! Sign up for a free consultation today!
Question: Which common mistake do you think most self-published authors make?