Common Self-Publishing Mistakes

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by Editor In Chief Tanya De Haan

So, you want to be an author and self-publish? You have done all the hard yards in writing and perhaps even illustrating your book, but like every new venture, self-publishing can be a minefield, so you need to know what to do and what NOT to do to get it right.

Every self-publisher can benefit from knowing the most common mistakes to avoid and how to avoid them. Here are our top 10 tips for what NOT to do when self-publishing your next book!

Mistake # 1
NOT GETTING AN EXPERT TO DESIGN YOUR COVER

Just because you can write does not make you are an expert in cover design so pay someone who is to do the job for you. A good cover design is one of the most important tools to selling your book and gaining exposure so this is not an area to cut corners. No matter how fabulous the content your book will not sell if it has a poorly designed cover.

Mistake # 2
FAILURE IN NAILING YOUR TITLE CHOICE

Many self-publishers focus on what title they think sounds great and not on what their audience may be searching for and this is a big rookie error. Think about your target audience and potential key search words when deciding on your title.

Mistake # 3
POOR EDITING

Just because you are self-publishing does not mean that you can get away with poor editing. If you have not taken the time to first edit your book yourself and then secondly paid a professional to edit it for you then you are likely to be inundated with book returns and poor reviews. Without good professional editing your book will have very little chance of succeeding in the fiercely competitive world of self-publishing.

Mistake # 4
NOT OPTIMIZING YOUR BOOK DESCRIPTION

Next to your books cover design its description is the next most important tool in selling your book. Too many people rush their book description and get it wrong. Take your time and read lots of other book descriptions in the same genre of your book to work out which descriptions have the most impact.

Mistake # 5
BAD TIMING

You would be surprised at how many people make the common mistake of publishing their book at the wrong time. Books on politics after an election, books about Christmas released after Chrissy day. Look at your calendar and put some thought and planning into when is a suitable time to publish your book that will generate as much excitement and hype as possible. If it means delaying the release for a few months then so be it as timing really can mean everything!

Mistake # 6
INCORRECT PRICING

Pricing your book can be tricky because pricing it too high might mean that no one buys it but pricing it too low might increase your sales but will mean that you are not selling your book for what it is actually worth hence devaluing it. Research what other books in your genre and word count are selling for and price your book in line with them.

Mistake # 7
NOT MARKETING IT PROPERLY OR USING YOUR NETWORK TO FLOG IT

If no one knows about your book, no one will buy it. These days, the digital world makes it easy and inexpensive to get your book out there. Come up with a marketing strategy and a plan and stick to it. Remember that nothing beats word of mouth so ask your friends and family to spread the world on their social media accounts and help get your book exposure.

Mistake # 8
WRONG FORMATTING

Every bookseller has different technical requirements that need to be observed so be sure to check their guidelines before your format your book. It is important to also make sure that you have a clean and simple manuscript and have paid attention to simple things such as paragraph and section breaks and uniform line spacing. It sounds really basic but a well-crafted manuscript provides a much more seamless reading experiences and this is always appealing.

Mistake #9
INSUFFICIENT MARKET ANALYSIS

Forbes estimates that between 600, 000 and 1, 000,000 books are self-published every year, which means that there is a LOT of choice out there! In order to get maximum leverage out of selling your book you need to do some research into WHAT type of books people are buying. There is no point in writing a book about something that no one wants to read about!

Mistake # 10
GIVING UP IF YOU DON’T SUCCEED THE FIRST TIME

The fact is, when it comes to writing and publishing, the key is persistence. Every project or book is an experience and a learning curve, so don’t be deterred if at first you don’t succeed. Pick up the pen and try again!

What is most important when it comes to publishing a book is that you don’t rush the process. You have not put all this time and energy into creating and writing something to blow it in the final stages due to impatience. Take your time and go through the self-publishing process properly and avoiding these 10 traps will certainly help you get one step closer to achieving your goals as an author.