Self-publishing has opened up a door to so many new possibilities – both good and bad. It can open the door to establishing you as an expert in your industry or it can open the door to complete ruin. Needless to say that you’re going to want to get it right. I’m not saying any of this to scare you. On the contrary, I’m being honest in the hope that you will not repeat the same mistakes as so many others before you have already done.
First of all, let me say that self-publishing is an awesome way to promote a brand. It is one of the few methods that will allow you to promote and build your brand while simultaneously generating a small revenue stream. Branding is a process that often costs a lot of money but self-publishing will actually accomplish this while paying you royalties. Books are considered by many experts to be the new business card of the digital age. Publish a great book and you will instantly be seen as an authority in your field.
While it might be easier than ever to publish a book, there are some common mistakes that are repeatedly made by those new to the industry. Let’s take a closer look at these common mistakes that can sabotage your book’s success.
#1 Poorly Designed Cover
Books are judged by their cover. With so many new books being sold on the market, it has become more important than ever to attract readers with a superb cover. Not only should your book’s cover be awesome when viewed in its normal size, the thumbnail is equally as important. When a reader is browsing through a list of books, they are shown small thumbnails of each book’s cover. This thumbnail must grab their attention. So when designing a cover, always preview it in a smaller size, like 150 pixels wide. Ensure that the title and author name can clearly be read even when viewed in this small size. This is going to be the first impression that your book makes so ensure it makes a good one. Otherwise, readers will never click through to view the book’s description.
#2 Choosing a Poor Title
Sure, throwing a cute title on the cover of a book might seem like an appealing choice, but if it does not clearly spell out the book’s topic (and you’re not already famous) then readers are not going to be able to find it. Using highly searched keywords in the title is like giving a book a shot of adrenaline. It will kick-start the book’s success and make it easier to find. Since most new authors are not doing this, you will gain a huge advantage by following this one step.
#3 Not Hiring an Editor
This one is huge. The money you might save by hiring an editor will be lost in bad reviews and decreased sales. Misspellings and typos will lead to bad reviews that ultimately result in a severe loss in credibility. It’s also important to note that an author cannot edit their own book efficiently because they tend to read what should be written as opposed to what is actually written.
Hiring an editor should be looked at as an investment. If you’re not close enough to your book to invest in it, then how can you expect readers to buy it? Editors will also make suggestions as to the layout of the book that are sometimes overlooked by the original author.
#4 Poor Book Description
A book’s description must compel the reader to actually buy the book. In fact, description is an inappropriate word – it should be sales copy. Yes, that same word is often associated with internet marketing and seems unappealing to many authors. Regardless of how you feel about it, writing effective sales copy will lead to an increase in sales. If you are going to invest in your book, then editing and sales copy are the two best places to start.
#5 Poor Author Bio and Photo
You might be surprised at how many books that I edit where authors leave out their bio section. When I recommend that they include it, they often ask me “Is it necessary?” I give the same response every single time: an emphatic yes!
You need look no further than any bestselling book to see how important this is. It allows your readers to make a more personal connection with you. Also, the author photo you choose is equally as important. Don’t post a goofy picture – nor should you post an overly professional one. Try and find one that fits the genre you write in. For example, if an author writes in the golfing niche then they might choose a picture of them pin their golfing attire, holding a club.
#6 Including Too Much Useless Information at the Front of the Book
I see this quite often and some authors are adamant about leaving this stuff at the front of their book, but having too much clutter at the front of a book will lead to a decrease in sales. Packing items like a dedication, prologue, author bio, reviews, quotes, and even the table of contents means that readers will be viewing less of your actual book when previewing it. It’s okay to include some of this stuff, but if you have to flip through15-20 pages of this mess to reach the start of the book’s content, then you have a problem. You have to remember that a reader only gets to preview 10% of your book before buying it. If they are only seeing this mess then they are not likely to buy your book.
#7 Not Marketing Their Book
Finally, the countless hours that you have spent crafting your masterpiece will be wasted if you don’t promote it. First and foremost, if you do not have a website and Facebook account then get them both right now. They are both necessary. There is absolutely no way around it. I also recommend that you promote using other means as well.