5 Horrible Mistakes Self Published Authors Make

Saw this on twitter, thought I’d share. These are some good points:

The Following is by Laurence O’Bryan:

hands pointing towards business man

Self publishing is a golden opportunity. For the first time in history authors can reach readers without going through the traditional publishing system.

But many self published authors are making horrible, beginner-type-mistakes, which will cripple their book sales. Here’s my take on these mistakes:

1. Not getting outside help. Writers can’t generally be editors, cover designers and marketing experts, as well as being writers. Not if they want to do these jobs well. And asking a relative or close friend to do these jobs for you is probably worse than doing it yourself. Your judgement typically goes out the window when someone close to you does something for you. If you won’t spend money on getting experts your sales will be poor. I know there are occasional exceptions to this, but they only prove the rule.

2. Having unrealistic expectations. Most books, up to ten years ago, sold hundreds of copies. Only 1 in 300 traditionally published books, which got good editing, covers and marketing support, became bestsellers in the past. Publishing became a giant game of throw-it-up and see-what-sticks. With printed books it became ever growing and almost criminally wasteful, when you consider the dirty secret that most of the books you see in book stores are destined to be pulped. Now that game is in decline. If you do get editing, covers and marketing right, you might expect reasonable sales, but publishing is always a gamble, so never risk more than you can afford to lose. Great books don’t always sell well. And Print on Demand is way better than ordering books to store in a front room and then a back room – forever.

3. Not building an email list of people who might be willing to read and review your book on Amazon. This is one of the main reasons traditional publishers take so long to publish a book. They often send review copies out to a large group of their reviewers three months in advance of publication. This policy ensures that positive reviews will be posted day one after the book goes up on Amazon. Self-published authors should consider the day a book goes live on Amazon as a soft launch. The day you have five reviews is the day your book gets launched. The day you have ten is when it can hold its head up. The day it has fifty is the day you can expect Amazon’s algorithms to start presenting it to readers near the top of a list of books someone searched for. Congratulations!

4. Not focusing on what makes your book different. Whatever you write, you need to find something unique about your book. That you’ve written a good me-too book, like many others in its genre, is simply not good enough, unless you are happy with poor sales. Sensational writing, words that jump from a page, a heart-stopping plot, and real recipes from your grandmother in a village in Sardinia, where many people live to be 100, are all potentially unique aspects of a book, which will help you find readers.

5. Not believing in yourself. Self-belief is critical to long-term success as a writer, as in many walks of life.  Writing is a profession where those who believe they can and who don’t give up, succeed. Perseverance and a willingness to learn, to edit the whole book again, for the twenty-seventh time, are necessary characteristics for a writer who is determined to become a success. Adopt these characteristics and your path will open up. In the past, it took most writers about ten years to find a publisher, from starting to write. Each year was spent improving, honing, learning. Be prepared for a long journey. If you love being creative with words, don’t give up because the road is hard. Use the journey to prepare for what lies ahead.

Finally, when you have done all of the above, you will know that you can move on. To the next book. And then the one after. Most books lead to another. One of the joys of writing is discovering what else lies inside us, waiting to be born.

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8 thoughts on “5 Horrible Mistakes Self Published Authors Make

        1. Cool beans. I’ll check out your pages. Just so you know, I offer free book reviews to Self-Publishers. If you’re interested, I’ll send you a copy of my policy and we can network.

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