Unfortunately, just like any sole endeavour, the route to self-publishing is littered with banana skins.
The ability to publish one’s own work is incredibly liberating and proves that you can do an awful lot without the supposed might of traditional publishers. Few authors treading this path, however, are particularly experienced in doing so. By its very nature, self-publishing isn’t something you do often; it’s the final piece of the jigsaw and comes at the end of months (sometimes, years) of writing.
We’re allowed to make mistakes. They help us grow, develop and become better people, but there are mistakes which can cost self-published authors dearly, and in this post, we’ve picked out four of the most common we’d love you to avoid!
Readers are a fickle bunch (we can say that, because we’re all readers!) - if the title of your novel doesn’t resonate with them or downright bores them into oblivion, they simply won’t give your piece of work a second glance.
Treat the title of your book with great care. Don’t rush into it and follow the email marketing rule of creating something that both promises and delivers on the content within.
In this day and age, it’s also important that the title can be easily transcribed in order for it to be shared on social media. Don’t try and be too clever or use words that are barely pronounceable; keep it short, snappy and avoid wordplay if you can - the world’s most successful novels are titled honestly and succinctly.
It’s a tough fact to come to terms with, but there’s no one worse to review your own work than yourself. You are your own worst proofreader
You’ll need to proof it, of course, but in the absence of a highly-paid editor, you’ll also need to call on the services of a friend or colleague who is wiling to give it the once over. They may find a crucial plot point that is non-sensical or the worst grammatical crime you can think of. You’re likely to miss both, so close are you to the project.
Who reads the blurb? Everyone! It’s the intro to your book and the one chance you have (after the title) to impress and tempt people to buy.
If you feel like you’re spending too much time on the blurb - that’s a good sign. It requires an inordinate amount of thought, planning and strategic placement of detail if it is to hook people in without giving too much away.
If it’s worth spending money on anything during your self-publishing adventure, it’s on the cover design. If you possess talent as an artist - great, you’re all set. If not, it pays to call on the services of a professional.
You don’t have to spend a fortune, but by investing in the visual aesthetic of your novel, you’ll draw in a far bigger and more engaged audience. People love visual material and react to imagery almost instantly. Make sure your book stands tall with a brilliant cover design.
Continue to make mistakes with your writing, ideas and marketing methods - it’s how you’ll learn to be a better self-published author - but make the above mistakes at your peril!
If you have gained experience in self-publishing your work and would like to share your own light bulb moments when it comes to the common pitfalls, please do get in touch, and we’ll feature the best on this very blog.
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