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Self Publishing Mistakes

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, February 27, 2013

While self publishing has increased dramatically over the last few years, there are still some mistakes that self published authors make. Here are the top 10.

1. Writing for the wrong reason. The most common wrong reason to write a book is to make a lot of money. Instead, you should write a book for good reasons: 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. 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. 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 program 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 programs, 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.

6. Inadequately testing your ebook. Do not assume that if your ebook looks right on one platform that it will look right on all the others. You can’t even assume that if your book looks good on a Kindle tablet that it will look good on a Kindle app. The only way to truly know is to examine your book on each platform.

7. Selling only an ebook version. The ebook format is growing in adult fiction. If you write for any other genre, you should still produce a paper version.

8. Depending solely on social media and word of mouth. Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are powerful and inexpensive marketing methods, but old-fashioned PR is still necessary. There is no doubt in my mind that spending $10,000-15,000 on a PR campaign is a good investment.

9. Not tapping the crowd. A crowd is a beautiful thing—there are always people out there who know more than you do and who are willing to help for the intrinsic value of helping. Tap the crowd for feedback at three stages: outline, first draft, and final draft. The crowd has pointed out thousands of mistakes and suggested hundreds of improvements.

10. Having only one plan. There are at least three plans to getting your book published: Plan A is to find a traditional publisher; Plan B is to self-publish; and Plan C is to implement Plan B in order to attract a traditional publisher and reinstate Plan A. There is no right and wrong; there is only what works for you and what doesn’t, so be flexible.

For information in self publishing, contact The Country Press.

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