Many writers—even successful, traditionally published writers—have jumped on the self-publishing bandwagon. The experts at Self-Publishing Relief know you can get your book into the hands of your readers much more quickly through self-publishing than through the process of traditional publishing. And the potential quality of self-publishing has improved to the point that it no longer carries a stigma with readers—in fact, it can be hard to distinguish a self-published book from one that’s been traditionally published! But even with all the latest advantages, making sure that a self-published book doesn’t look self-published falls squarely on the author’s shoulders. This advice will help ensure your self-published book can match a traditionally published book on any bookshelf.
Make Sure Your Self-Published Book Doesn’t Look Self-Published
Proofread, proofread, proofread! Don’t rely on auto-correct to catch your mistakes. Take the time to check, double-check, and even triple-check your work! Typos and grammar mistakes are a sure way to get low-rated reviews and bad word of mouth—which can send your book sales plummeting. Don’t let an otherwise stellar story suffer because proofreading errors are mentioned in the reviews! Not only do pages riddled with errors announce that your book is self-published, but they also make it clear you didn’t care enough to have it properly proofread. And that sense of low quality will be carried over to opinions about your work.
You can ask grammar-savvy friends, family, or other writers to review your manuscript, but the best option is to hire a professional proofreader.
Format correctly. Your manuscript document needs to be formatted to industry-accepted standards. And be sure to use the same formatting style throughout for chapter titles, margins, and page breaks. You might think that using a different font size or zany typeface will make your book stand out. It will—but for all the wrong reasons. A traditionally published, professionally formatted book has text in one easy-to-read typeface like Times New Roman. If you want to be sure your book doesn’t look self-published, follow the industry standard for your genre.
Ace the back cover copy. If your book blurb seems amateurish or your author bio includes information that’s irrelevant to your writing career, it will be obvious that your book is self-published. An editor at a traditional publishing house would never let those types of faux pas make it onto the back cover. A professionally created back cover typically features an enticing book blurb and a brief author bio. The book blurb should hook your readers’ attention without giving away the entire story or ending. Keep in mind that a flat, unenticing book summary will cause potential buyers to move on to someone else’s book.
Your author bio should also engage your readers and touch on the highlights of your writing life. Readers will be interested if you’ve won a Pushcart Prize nomination or a Best of the Net, but they don’t need to know you won the second-grade spelling bee.
Use a quality author photo. If the headshot you’re thinking of using for your back cover is blurry, grainy—or it’s an old photo of you in your best ’80s perm and puffy sleeves—you need to schedule a photo session with an expert photographer and update your image. This article is packed with smart tips for a great author photo: Say Cheese! 8 Modeling Tips For A More Flattering Author Portrait Or Headshot.
Outsource your book cover design. A poorly designed cover can be the biggest giveaway that your book is self-published. Unless you’re a skilled graphic designer, you should have an expert create the book’s front cover. The cover is your most powerful point of purchase marketing tool. If your book cover is poorly designed or doesn’t utilize the correct genre tropes, it will be obvious it’s self-published, poorly researched, and that you cut corners. And a poor-quality cover will convince buyers that it’s also poorly written.
Improved design, production, and paper quality, along with the quality of the writing available, have boosted the popularity of self-published books with the buying public. And in recent years, more book buyers became comfortable shopping online, thereby lessening the traditional publishers’ benefit of a presence in brick-and-mortar stores. If you want to be sure your book passes the test for high-quality self-published work, let the experts at Self-Publishing Relief help! We’ll guide you through every step of the process so that your finished book is one you’re proud to put your name on. Contact Self-Publishing Relief today for a free, no-obligation consultation!
Question: What is the biggest giveaway that a book is self-published?
Great suggestions! I feel good about what I’ve done most recently, but surely made typeface faux pas in earlier works. I’m inclined to believe my skill at self-publishing is improving with each new work.