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8 Horrid Mistakes Self Published Authors Make

14 April 2016

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Self-publishing can be a rewarding experience, but not one that should be taken lightly. There are a multitude of different considerations you'll need to make on your journey to self-published author and we've seen all too many good books fall way the wayside. This week we take a look at some of the common mistakes self-published authors make and how you can avoid them!

1. Poor Cover Design

Your book cover is the most important part of your book, especially when selling online. “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” goes out the window. People are drawn to covers that are well-thought out, easy to read, and representative of the type of writing beneath it. Finding a background image off google images is not only copyright theft, but it tends to look like a computer desktop too. There are tonnes of graphic designers out there, even on sites like fiverrr. Making sure the title is readable is a given, especially when you consider that online, your book cover will be shrunk to thumbnail size on most sites. -

resizedimage767199 bad book covers

2. Naff Title

What does your title say about your book? Does it refer to the topic? If people are using websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble like they would a search engine, is your one-word title going to be found? Indie Book Launcher suggests “The problem with a one-word title is that it can apply to a lot of books, because it's not very specific.” -

Of course, there are some title generators out there online (some are better than others!) which will allow you to input adjectives and objectives and spin out a few ideas. We tried one at which threw out a few suggestions.

resizedimage770258 titlegeneraor

3. Very Little Editing

Bad reviews often hinge on grammatical errors, typos and mis-spellings and will lose an author credibility, so it’s important to ensure your book is edited correctly. Books that aren’t edited tend to waffle on a lot and make it harder for the reader to maintain interest. Planning your book and being ruthless with the unimportant stuff can dramatically improve the read. Employ an editor. There are different types of editors, Content, Copy & Proof (and probably more), so ensure you’ve selected the right one for the job. -


4. Poor Book Description

Your book description appears next to the cover on most online book stores and is a fantastic opportunity to market your book. Giving up after all your hard work by conjuring up a few sentences about how good it is just won’t cut it. You can employ a copy editor to write this for you if you’re burnt out, but don’t overlook this key factor that will help it sell. You’re now not a writer or author, but a marketer - get into the mindframe of the salesman and really show it’s value. Testimonials from industry leaders, excerpts from key moments & a good sales pitch are key. Searching the net for inspirational bad writing lead us to find the perfect book, and one you definitely DON'T want to feature in! - In Search Of The Worlds Worst Writers

worst writers


5. Too Little Author Bio

Again, this section can often be overlooked too, yet it’s one of the areas every book lover reads when picking up a book. You want to feel a connection with the author, or intrigue or to find out what has lead them to their work. It’s about creating value and authority. Show why you’re the perfect person to write this book!Include your professional background, education, travel experiences. If there's an option to include a photo (there usually is), make sure you're facing the camera and avoid trying to be 'mysterious' as people will want to know as much about the person who has written it as possible, maybe even feel some sort of connection! -

resizedimage767199 bad bigo

6. Too much Front Matter

It’s tempting to add dedications, prologue, reviews, biography right at the front, but for the reader, flicking through pages and pages before they get to the start can be frustrating. This applies more so when buying books online. If websites offer a sample, it tends to be the first bunch of pages, meaning they get very little of your story. A better option for e-books would be to include these at the back and create a single page of links to them at the front. Here’s how a books structured traditionally -

front matter

7. Poor Marketing

Self-publishing comes with much more responsibility than getting it printed. You’ve got to have a plan. Printed media such as business cards, posters are a great start, but think about the bigger audience - it could sell worldwide with the right tools, and they won’t see it from a poster at your local bookstore. Create media exposure, do interviews, send press releases and find ways to promote it based on real events, trends and topics. Get reviews too - these are a great way of saying ‘this book is awesome and you should read it’, especially if the review comes from someone who is respected in the industry. Here’s Jane Friedman’s tips: - You might want to consider getting a book marketing package that will not only help you plan the release with help to plan social media posting and networking, but will give you an feel for the multitude of avenues you could take. Gone are the days of just putting something on the internet and sitting back hoping it sells. 


8. Over-estimating sales

It can be tempting, especially after the countless hours you’ve put into something, to spend as much as possible on hard copies of your book. The reality is, that there’s a lot of work to do in book selling and you don’t want a living room full of boxed books that simply aren’t shifting. Research the demographics of the types of people you’d expect to read your book. Find out what’s popular in the same genre and do a comparison with your own -is yours better? is their book gaining lots of links online? Are people talking about it in forums or on social media? Do a test sale using a digital version (which is a one-time expense) and spend time marketing that, gaining feedback and assessing the market. Order an amount of books that you know you will be able to shift through personal connections, events & talks - you can always order more if demand increases and still take a deposit or full payment for back orders.

 resizedimage767199 stack ofbooks

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