You have probably heard the horror stories of people paying publicists, agents, or marketing companies to push their book, only to lose all their money and end up with nothing. You have also probably heard the horror stories about people who collaborate on books and end up cut out of the deal or having their content stolen with no legal recourse. Even though these are pretty nasty stories, they are not the biggest mistakes you can make when self-publishing a book. In truth, there are five key mistakes you should be trying to avoid when self-publishing (going it 100% alone).
1 – Publishing a Book
Publishing books is one of the most unprofitable things you can do outside of gambling or investing. That is an odd statement to make in an online magazine about independent publishing, but it is true. There are no official numbers on how many books are published and make no money simply because the numbers are too high and nobody is rushing to show off their unsold books. To clarify, you can make money from publishing your own books, but around 90% of people never make any money at all.
With that said, let’s address this mistake in its literal sense. The first mistake you are going to make is to publish your book, when the “First Thing” you should be doing is “SELLING YOUR BOOK.”
Before you publish, you need to sell. Take the example of the young woman who set out to interview 30 top businesspeople to get their advice. She was 100% sure her book was going to be a smash hit. She interviewed her first business mogul who ended the interview with the question, “How many copies have you sold so far?” She replied, “None, it isn’t written or published yet.”
In an act of kindness, the businessman asked her to reconsider writing the book, but she persisted in saying it was going to be one of the best business motivation books ever. Trying not to step on her enthusiasm, he asked her to pre-sell 20 books in advance of it being written. He said that if she could sell 20 books before even writing it, then he is convinced it will be successful and he will promote her books on his websites. He never heard from her again.
Before you even write your book, you should be able to sell it. Do whatever it takes, even if it means showing dramatic scenes from your iPad on Kitcast Kitcast digital signage screens outside your house. If you are writing fiction, then create a book trailer in the same way that people make trailers for movies. If you are creating a self-help or informative book, then offer people samples and a synopsis and see if you can get them to make pre-orders. Sell your book before you even write it, and your time will be better spent.
2 – Accidentally Using Copyrighted Images
The online freelance world is booming, which means amateur authors can hire people from around the world to create their visual images and their book covers. You may be a great writer, but it is unlikely you can make a professional-looking book cover or internal images.
One of the most common, and saddest, mistakes is using unreliable freelance designers and image creators. What they will often do is steal images and designs from places online and then “Frankenstein” them into your designs to give you what you want. Then, once your book is actually selling and you have some great reviews, you get a takedown notice because the fire decals on your front cover were copyrighted.
What’s worse are those images where you have to give attribution, which means your back cover has to promote a website or somebody’s design company. The sad part is that it is not your fault, you can specify that the freelance designer/artist should use only original stuff, but you have no idea if that person did or not.
This is a tricky thing to guard against. You can check out designers/artists online reviews, but you don’t know how many of them are genuine.
3 – Writing an Unenticing Book Blurb
This is one of those unintuitive counter-common sense things that fries somebody’s brains. After all, if you have just written what you think is a best-selling book, if you are the creative spark who just poured years of talent into several hundred pages, why wouldn’t you be able to write your own book blurb to be just as exciting and enticing?
The reason is the same reason why you do not like your own voice on a tape or why you look better in mirrors than on other people’s photos.
The problem is that having other people write it will probably fail to capture the heart and soul of your text. Your best bet is to repeatedly test your blurb on your own website. Keep changing and updating your blurb to see which sells the most units while remaining true to the text itself. Do not mislead in order to make sales. Simply hone your blurb until it performs consistently.
4 – Misunderstanding the Rules of Spelling and Grammar
If you are writing a fictional book, or even one that features anecdotes, you need to understand the realities of spelling and grammar. Having somebody look over your book to fix its ugly errors is fine. If you have used “Your” incorrectly, or if you have used “Less” when you should have said “Fewer,” or even if you have mixed up a few words like “Principle and Principal,” then these are the sorts of things other people can fix.
The mistake comes when sticking to spelling and grammar rules ends up sanitizing a piece of text. If your proofreader/editor were to stick to the rules of spelling and grammar with 100% zeal, then your text would read like a school essay.
You need to understand the rules of convention before you can correctly break them. This is fine, but a full understanding of how spelling and grammar works within your text is very important. Sometimes, breaking the rules is important for flow, personality, and readability. This is even more important when it comes to conversations within text since few people actually speak with a textbook adherence to grammar.
5 – Google Your Book Title and Your Pen Name
It is frightening how many times authors come up with great names for their books and great pen names, only to discover somebody else has used it already.
One of the silliest mistakes you can make is to discover it is already used later down the line when you have written the book, created an online reputation, and/or invested money into marketing.
Don’t forget that different platforms arrange themselves differently to the Google search engine. Probably the best example is the Google search engine and the Google owned YouTube. Let’s say that you have searched for Days Gone tips, while looking for video of the same name. You may find that it is result 320,000 on the Google search engine results, but is only result 33 on Google Videos, and then within YouTube itself, it is result 212.
In short, your book title and even your pen name may have been popularized already but finding it on the Google search engine results is tricky unless you run deeper searches on both Google’s various search engines, and on social media, online directories and other search engines.
Charlie Svensson is a fast and engaging freelance writer skilled in content writing and blogging. His favorite topics are education, social media, marketing, SEO, motivation, and self-growth. He has excellent adaptability of skills and is capable of reaching broad audiences.