Self Publishing Mistakes People Make

If you’re about to self-publish your first book, you can make a handful of mistakes that can mean the difference between a successful publishing venture and a total bomb. Careful planning and implementing your own common sense are two ingredients that can help guarantee your success.

Not Targeting Your Audience Appropriately
New and experienced self published authors alike make this mistake over and over again. They focus too much on what they want to write and publish instead of finding out what their audience wants or needs. Don’t be self absorbed. Discover what your targeted reader wants or needs help with. Then write a book they read from front to back and tell all their friends about. They will love you for it and read everything you write. To top it off, your book will make you famous and sell beyond your wildest dreams. All because you put aside what you wanted to write and gave your audience what they wanted to read.

Inaccurate Information and Poor Writing
Providing inaccurate, incomplete, outdated, or misleading information to your reader damages your credibility and takes away value from your book. Avoid this mistake by doing proper research. Even if you’re writing fiction, you want your plots and characters to be realistic or believable. Proper organization makes your book easier to read. The content flows in a more logical order and it’s easier to understand by the reader. The trick to developing a well-organized book is to begin by developing an extremely detailed outline before you start writing. Just because you’ve decided to write a book doesn’t automatically mean that you’re a talented writer. Many authors spend years fine-tuning their craft. If you feel that you don’t have the skills to create a well-written, full-length manuscript, seriously consider hiring a co-author who’s a professional writer, a ghostwriter, and/or a really good editor to work with you.

Too Long Mistake
Fast paced technology competes for book readers’ attention. According to the National Endowment for the Arts reading has been in decline over the last decade. The overall findings say Americans and even people worldwide are reading less than ever. Millennium readers want information in a quick and easy to read format. If you are long winded, you may be boring as well. You might not get another opportunity to capture the attention of your readers. So write and publish a short book and make it count. Shorten your sentences and paragraphs to get started writing a compelling book. Your book writing coach shudders to think about all the long boring self published books that are on the market these days. So, slash your monster big book into 2 smaller books and began to pull your readers in like a magnet to read your work.

A Lack of Attention to Detail and Editing
A well-written book contains absolutely no spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, inaccurate information, misprints, incorrect details (such as incorrect names, phone numbers, Web sites, statistics, chapter references, facts, or figures) or mislabeled figures and captions. In addition to proofreading your own work, hiring a professional editor to review your manuscript before it goes to press is crucial.

Inefficiently Using Money and Resources
As a self-published author, all the expenses related to creating, editing, laying out, printing, distributing, advertising, marketing, and promoting your book come out of your pocket. Careful budgeting and knowing what expenses you may incur during each stage of the self-publishing process helps you best utilize the money that you have available when it comes to publishing your book.

Unprofessional Mistake
Professionalism inspires your readers to trust you. In a like manner, un-professionalism damages your credibility as a self published author. When your readers can expect a quality well written book to educate or entertain them they will look forward to reading everything you write. Stick to your good writing habits. Stay professional. Create a professional looking blog or website to sell your book. Do your best with your sales copy or simply hire a copywriter to put your best foot forward. Avoid careless errors. Use simple self-editing techniques to write copy with fewer errors. Then get feedback from your peers or a professional. Don’t relax until your well written book is well-edited.

Implementing Poor Cover Design and Copy
Having a well-written book with a poorly written and designed cover or a bad title has a negative impact on sales. Conversely, having an amazing cover and catchy title on an otherwise average book may dramatically improve sales. And hiring a professional graphic artist or experienced book cover designer to create your book’s cover is an essential piece of your puzzle. Unless you have professional graphic design experience, hire someone who does!

Choosing the Wrong Printing Method
For many self-published authors, Print-On-Demand (POD) publishing offers the perfect solution. It’s inexpensive, relatively quick and allows virtually anyone with a good book idea to get published. POD has many benefits, but it’s not the ideal publishing solution for everyone. Other traditional printing options, such as offset printing and eBook publishing opportunities, may be more appropriate based on your goals.

A Lack of Comprehensive Distribution
In addition to writing an awesome book and heavily promoting it, the third key ingredient for success is making sure that your target audience can find and buy it. Based on how you’re going to publish your book, figure out the best and most achievable distribution methods, and then make full use of them.
Wasting the potential of online distribution

A comprehensive and well-timed advertising, marketing, and public relations campaign is crucial for a book’s success. If you don’t have the advertising, marketing, and PR savvy to create, launch and manage an effective, well-planned, and comprehensive campaign, hire experienced experts to help.
Bad timing throughout the self-publishing process

As you complete the various steps in the publishing process, pay careful attention to scheduling, lead times, and deadlines. Rushing steps, cutting corners, or taking shortcuts is a surefire way to failure and making costly mistakes. Timing also refers to when your book actually gets published and becomes available to readers online or at retail. Is there a specific date, season, holiday, or time of year when interest in your book may be stronger? Choosing the most appropriate release date is essential, especially if the book somehow ties into or relates to a specific date, holiday, or season. Most people aren’t going to buy a Christmas cookbook in July.

5 thoughts on “Self Publishing Mistakes People Make”

  1. Roger Angell, esteemed author and fiction editor at the NYer mag, came to speak at my NYU writing class a few yrs ago and asked me to write one thing on the board for the students: “Remember the reader.” Writers, remember this! Thanks for this post, Chris. — Jill Dearman

  2. Roger Angell, esteemed author and New Yorker magazine fiction editor came to speak to my NYU writing class a few years ago. He asked me to write just one thing on the board: \Remember the Reader\ — writers, remember this! Thanks for this insightful post, Chris. –Jill Dearman

  3. Patricia: Very true. Many authors make the mistake of signing up with “fly-by-night” publishers. While their work is published, they don’t usually get paid for it.

    Jill: Thanks Jill for your comment. When writers start writing, they need to analyse what their readers would like to read. Very important if an author wants to transform his work into a best-seller!

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