Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Top Ten Mistakes Writers Make When Self-Publishing a Book

In twenty-five years I’ve written twelve books. The first ten were traditionally published. However, when the publisher of my book called Enchantment couldn’t fulfill an order for 500 ebook copies, I decided to self-publish my next book, What the Plus!
This experience taught me that self-publishing is a complex, idiosyncratic, and challenging endeavor—as Steve Jobs said, “There must be a better way. ” I wrote my latest book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, to simplify and optimize the self-publishing process for others.
Along this journey, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten mistakes that writers, myself included, make when self-publishing a book. Here they are so that you can at least make new mistakes— if not avoid mistakes altogether.

1. Writing for the wrong reason. The most common wrong reason to write a book is to make a lot of money. Statistically, you’re heading for disappointment. Instead, you should write a book for good reasons such as you have something valuable to say, you have a cause you want to further, or you want to meet the intellectual challenge of writing a book.

2. Not hiring a professional copyeditor. When I turned in the final copy of APE, I thought there were no mistakes in it. The copyeditor found 1,400—that’s right: one thousand four hundred. Writing and copyediting are two different skills—just like the best salesman doesn’t make the best sales manager nor the best player make the best coach.

3. Designing your own cover. The cover is one of the most important marketing pieces for your book, so hiring a great graphics designer is money well spent. The beauty pageant that is Amazon web pages displays fifteen to twenty covers at a time. With a graphic the size of a postage stamp, you need to entice people to click.

4. Not building your marketing platform in advance. Self-publishing is not a serial process where you can write a book and then worry about marketing it later. You need to start building a marketing platform as soon as you start writing because the process takes a year. You should already have thousands of followers on social media on the day that you ship.

5. Using a word processor other than Microsoft Word. Admittedly, Word is a beast, and you will need to wrestle it to the ground. There are cheaper and more elegant word processors, but nothing has the paragraph styles capability of Word nor the universal acceptance from the reviewers, testers, editors, designers, and resellers that you’ll use downstream.

Full article at DBW


Melinda Szymanik said...

"$10,000 to 15,000 for PR is a good investment"???? Did he not read is own number 1?

transpressnz said...

"You should already have thousands of followers on social media on the day that you ship." - It would be wise to assume that no more than 5% of them will actually buy your book.

Anonymous said...

This article is fabulous - finally some sensible advice! I've heard so much rubbish over the years - one of the worst was at a NZSA seminar and being told authors should spend no more than $20 (!!!) on cover design and you can waltz into Whitcoulls and they will accept your book and it will set on the shelf next to commercially published books.