Monday, April 15, 2013

10 Self-Publishing Mistakes

With Smashwords, Pubit, and Kdp, it is easy to self-publish. YAY!

However, it is not easy to be successful at self-publishing. What are the mistakes people make when they self-publish?

1. They publish too soon.
Just because you finished the first or second draft doesn't mean you are ready to publish.

2. They think self-publishing is free
Expect to spend money to self-publish. Editing and covers cost money.

3. They don't have a bunch of strangers read their books and give honest feedback.
Your family usually can't give you good feedback. You need a bunch of strangers to tell you the truth. And listen.

4. They don't hire a plot editor
You need someone to check through your book who is a professional. All traditionally published books have editors- you need one too.

5. They don't hire a copy editor
Once you've made all your plot changes, you must hire someone to do copy/line edits. Even with a copy/line editor, there will be a few lingering mistakes. Don't leave this to chance. Have the cleanest book possible.

6. They slap a sub-par cover on their book
Do you know how to use Photoshop? Are you great at it or just okay? Just okay doesn't cut it. Your cover is what sells your books. You better make sure yours is great and not only to your eyes. Ask strangers. Hire a cover artist if your cover doesn't take their breath away.

7. They don't get at least 10 reviews before they hit publish
When you hit publish, you need to get reviews and fast. The best way to do that is to get about 20 people to read and write a review they send to you before your book is published. Then, the day you publish, you send a copy of the review along with link to your book page to review it. That helps give you credibility.

8. They spam everyone over and over again instead of using a team to announce their release 
People like to hear from you once or twice, but no more. You need to gather a team of 20 or so people who will announce everything for you.

9. They expect to be a millionaire with their first book
It may take a year for your book to take off. It may never take off. It may take off when you've written and published your third novel. It may take off right from the start. Make sure your expectations are set 2 years from the time you start. Expect nothing but work for everything.

10. They expect everyone to love their book
There is not a single book that appeals to all readers. Make sure you realize this and market to the right people. The best way to get bad reviews is to get the wrong people reading your book. Market smart.

Make sure you do it right if you choose to self-publish. It can be the best decision of your life or not. You decide by doing it correctly the first time.

Are you tempted to self-publish? Why?


Krista said...

Not only am I tempted to self-publish by I am planning on it. The biggest reason is time. In order to submit to a decent amount of publishers and agents would take years.

Renae W. Mackley said...

Great info, Cindy. I especially liked #10. Thanks!

Ethan Krane said...

Wow, perfect timing for me. I recently decided to self-pub my first book, for some of the same reasons that Krista mentioned, and others, so the advice is timely. I printed it out.