11 Self-publishing Mistakes to Avoid to Become a Bestseller
Have you decided to take the self-publishing route? You have put in maximum effort and time in writing the book. So, you want the book to come out in the best way possible and to be well-received by the readers.
As authors, it is natural to think that writing is the crucial part but it is not the only crucial step. Many authors spend hours and days in writing and rewriting the book, but that alone doesn’t assure success.
When you decide to self-publish your book, you have to understand that it requires more effort and planning. It is a challenging process for many aspiring authors and they tend to make mistakes that hinder the success of their book.
The article will list the mistakes that you need to avoid while self-publishing your book.
1. Ineffective Book Title
It is one of the grave mistakes committed by authors who self-publish their books. They give a terrible title of the book assuming it is fancy and not so common. It might look lovely on the cover but it doesn’t serve the purpose. It doesn’t communicate well to the readers about the topic or content of your book.
When you have a bad title it invariably affects your book sales. Many self-publishing authors choose a title that sounds great. They don’t think what the readers want or what they are searching for. So, it is valuable to include the keywords they use for searching in the title.
Remember that a good book title grabs the attention of the reader, and it needs to be memorable and also easy to remember. You need to choose a book title that intrigues the reader and convince them enough to give it a try.
If you are writing fiction, you can be creative with the book title. But it is advisable to not fall into the latest trend of using fancy titles including the name of the niche.
With non-fiction, understand what your target audience wants and try including keywords. It will only boost your book sales.
2. Inadequate Market Research
There are thousands of books self-published every year and it clearly shows the competition available in the field. When you self-publish your book, there are high chances of your book being one among the thousands being self-published.
Most self-published authors forget this tough competition in the market and rush to fulfill their dream of being an author. In order, to sell your book, just writing great content isn’t enough. You also need to pay attention to what sells in the market.
Remember to do proper market research and analysis before you dive into the process of self-publishing. From various online retail platforms, find out what kind of books sell more, and what type of books are the reader’s choice right now. Also, try finding out why these books sell more online. Your market research should also include finding out who is the target audience for your book, and in what ways your book can reach them effectively.
As authors, it is natural to be wary of market research but it is inevitably one of the vital steps to get your book reach its target audience, and also helps to increase your book sales.
3. Bad Cover Design
It is a fact that everyone judges a book by its cover. It is the first impression for any potential reader and it needs to captivate them enough to buy the book. If the cover design of your book is bad, then automatically it affects your book sales. Hence, it is essential to have a cover that creates a best first impression and entices the reader.
Many authors prefer to design the book cover themselves. They invest their hard money on buying software and later spend more time learning it. Still, in the end, you are stuck with a cover that is amateur and not up to the publishing standards.
A book cover is an art in itself. Your cover should communicate the genre of your book to the readers, and make them want to know what’s inside. You need to pay attention to the color and font of the cover as well. As writers, you might not have a deep understanding of the essential factors for cover design.
Instead of wasting your time and money on learning and then designing a book cover, it is better to hire a professional cover designer for it. You need to hire someone who has experience designing your book’s genre. They will know the genre expectations, the specified cover dimensions, and design a professional book cover.
4. Not opting for Professional Editing
Editing is essential before you self-publish your book. A well-written book should be devoid of any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, incorrect details, and facts, and there shouldn’t be any content gap.
A well-edited manuscript makes your book professional and establishes your credibility as an author. No reader wants to read a book that is incoherent and full of errors, it only affects the reading experience but also questions your status as an author.
Many authors review and revise the manuscript on their own believing they can do a good job. But that is never the case. An experienced editor can do the best job and make your book look professional.
An editor not only proofreads your manuscript but also reviews the content and organization of the book. They can identify the mistakes, and give your book the structure and flow it needs. Their feedback will enhance the content and style of your book.
5. Poor Book Description
When you self-publish your book, every retail platform asks for a book description. It appears next to the book cover on the online platforms and it is the first glimpse a reader gets about your book. Hence, you need to provide a book description that is effective and appealing.
It is another area where self-published authors commit an error. They give a description that feels more like a rambling and runs too long, or sometimes it is left incomplete. When you have such a book description, the reader ends up not buying it or giving another chance.
Book description is the best way to make a good impression and a golden opportunity to grab the attention of the reader and convince them to buy your book. So, invest time and effort in writing an effective description for your book.
Keep in mind that a good book description has to be interesting, and relevant. Before you write it, read the description of other books in the same genre. It will give you an idea of the structure and also about what has to be included in the description. Make sure you keep some time for the research and writing of a book description.
6. Not Buying an ISBN
Many self-published authors don’t find the need to buy an ISBN assuming it is not highly necessary and costly. The cost of a single ISBN is $125, but if you buy 10 ISBNs together, it is going to cost you $250. Buying an ISBN is costly but it is essential when you decide to self-publish your book. In the case of Indian authors, ISBN is absolutely free, so there is no reason not to opt for one.
When you self-publish with any platform, you are provided with a free ISBN. Later, when you make any changes to the book, in terms of cover or design, then you need to update the ISBN separately for each platform that you want to sell. The end result of all these is that you will end up with multiple versions of print books and eBooks. And also, if you need to print your book, you need to buy an ISBN again.
The main purpose of an ISBN is to establish and identify one edition or title from one specific publisher and that particular number is unique to that very edition. Using ISBNs are actually helpful for the publishers as it allows them for more efficient marketing of their books or products.
So, it is highly useful for new authors to buy an ISBN for self-publishing their book.
7. Choosing a Wrong Price
There are instances where you have compelling content and an amazing book cover but still, your book doesn’t sell well. One of the reasons for it might be the wrong pricing of your print book and eBook.
Pricing is an important decision to make when you decide to self-publish. Deciding the price is a tricky business because there are no set rules to follow. Being a new author, it is natural to get confused in the process.
When you are a new author, you cannot price your eBook high because people might not feel it is worthy of the price, and you can’t price it too low because it might make readers feel it is cheap. So, you need to price it accordingly. You need to know how to price your eBook correctly.
You ought to research the price of other books in the same genre and also check the page count of these since it influences the pricing. Also, understand that pricing differs for print books and eBooks.
If someone orders a paperback, make sure you don’t charge a high shipping cost since people might not be ready to pay too much for it.
8. Selling Only through One Distribution Platform
It is a fact that Amazon is the dominant platform to distribute your book. But, it is not the only platform. When you decide to sell your book through one distribution platform like Amazon alone, you are missing out on the opportunity to reach more people.
You need to consider other platforms to distribute your book as well. For instance, there are eBook distribution platforms like Smashwords and Draft2Digital that help your book to reach various retail outlets.
Don’t make the mistake of sticking to one platform to sell your book, since you miss the huge part of a loyal audience of other platforms. When you sell through multiple platforms, it invariably increases the availability of your book, and also your sales.
9. Not Collecting Feedback for the Book
When you self-publish a book, you might be highly confident about the content. As authors, you take pride in the book you’ve strived to create. With that confidence, you get your book published, and the result might not be as you expected. Your book might not have much readership or fans like you desired.
It is because your book wasn’t read by anyone else before it was self-published. You need to make use of beta readers before your book goes to the market. It is not enough if your friends or family read and give feedback. You need people who will give you structured feedback that will help improve the quality of your book.
Beta readers are a group of people who will read your book and let you know if the book is enjoyable or not. They also give feedback regarding the content and also the changes you need to incorporate. You can find beta readers in communities such as Goodreads Beta Reader Group, and Beta Readers & Critique Partners.
You can also use BetaBooks. It is a good tool to organize your beta readers’ feedback and find new ones. It helps you to keep track of the feedback and readers, and also respond directly to your readers.
Getting feedback is a critical step for authors. You need constructive criticism that will help you grow as an author and also help you create and publish a professional book.
10. Inefficient Marketing Plan
It is ideal to assume that readers will find your book and then have a fan base. It doesn’t happen in reality. If you don’t talk about your book, no one will know about it. Many self-published authors make the mistake of not marketing their book well. If you don’t do that, your book won’t reach the maximum number of people.
Marketing is the key element to help promote anything. Marketing can get lots of exposure for your book and you as an author. Authors need to make use of Facebook, Twitter, etc so that the book can help reach all readers of the world.
You put in so much time and effort to write and create your book, the same way it takes time to promote your book as well. It is important to have a proper marketing plan to get your book to reach a wide audience. Employ different strategies to promote your book, like making use of social media platforms, and write blogs on relevant topics.
It is also essential to build an author website since it establishes your credibility, it is a place to know about you, and also build a proper reader-base for your books.
Even before you self-publish your book, engage with potential readers of the genre, and let them know that a book is about to be out soon. Have a proper promotional plan in place to market your book.
11. Rushing the Process
There are authors who are in a rush to write and publish their books. It is never beneficial, neither for the author nor for the book. A good book takes time. You can never be in a rush to create a book since it only results in publishing a terrible unprofessional book.
Firstly, let us understand the fact that writing well takes ample time. If you need quality writing, it takes time and effort. The core of any book is the content, so it needs to be proper. So, take enough time to produce quality content.
Secondly, take enough time to revise and edit your book. Once you finish the first draft and revision, don’t hurry to the next step of designing. Take a break after writing, and then get back to the manuscript. Read it again and ensure it is devoid of any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and there is no content gap. When you read it again, you will find places where you can enhance the content, so do that.
Thirdly, coming to the design part of the book. Take your time to design the book and cover. If you are hiring a professional cover designer, research well, go through their portfolios, and find the best person for it. Before you hire them, do your part and find out what you want in a cover, and communicate that well to the cover designer.
Finally, make sure you have given everything right. Triple check all the details and get your book completely ready for self-publishing.
The main reason for many authors choosing self-publishing is the creative freedom it provides. The creative freedom also means double the responsibility. You are the person who is in charge of getting your book into the world, so you need to do the best.
You are responsible for each step in self-publishing, so make sure you take each decision carefully. You can hire professionals for editing and cover design, or you can choose publishing plans that will help you with designing and publishing your book successfully.
Learn about self-publishing, know the requirements well, and then get into the process of self-publishing your book. Being aware and having the information prior makes the process easier for you. In this way, you are prepared and don’t have to be startled by last-minute surprises.
You would have put your heart into writing a book, and spend countless days working on it. So, you need to give the book the reach it undoubtedly deserves. Take your time, avoid these mistakes, and self-publish your dream book.