What Not to Do When Self-Publishing

There are a few things that separate successful self-publishing authors and could-have-been-successful self-published authors. If you want your book to succeed, avoid these common mistakes.

1. Formatting

There are specific requirements for properly formatting your book. Authors who try to do the formatting themselves may be disappointed with how their book turns out. To ensure your book is formatted properly, enlist the help of your self-publishing company. They will tell you exactly what to do and provide assistance to make sure the formatting is done right.

2. Front Cover

You may be tempted to save money by using a template cover. This can be very costly to your success. Despite the cliché “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” most readers do! You want a unique, professionally designed cover that captures the essence of your book and encourages readers to buy it.

3. Editing

Another area authors often try to save money is editing. They think that self-editing is the best option, but even the best writers can’t rely on self-editing. It’s just not possible to catch all of the mistakes and issues when you are so attached to the project. Always have a professional editor review your manuscript before publishing to ensure your book is the best it can be. Too many mistakes can be costly to your reputation as a professional author.

4. Back Cover

The back cover is just as important as the front cover! Do not rush through this step. The back cover helps hook the reader and plays a role in online search results. A professional copywriter and editor can help make your back cover copy great.

5. Time

Do not rush! I know self-publishing is exciting and I know it’s important to many authors to have their books published by a certain date, but successful authors know the importance of taking their time to do it right. Spend time revising your manuscript. Put a lot of thought into the title and cover art. Be patient enough to allow an editor to review your book. Spend time planning your marketing strategy. While I don’t want you to get so caught up in making everything perfect that you never finish your project, I don’t want you to rush the process and regret the quality of the book you produced.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

4 thoughts on “What Not to Do When Self-Publishing

  1. #5 is probably the hardest to come to terms with. My latest book is the one I’ve had the most outside help with (formatting, editing, etc). With that, I was forced to slow down based on the schedule of those helpers. But, it also allowed me to make sure the book was as close to perfect as possible.

  2. Nice post. Thanks! Just a question with regards to formatting. In South Africa if you self publish it usually means that you are doing it yourself. What do you mean by “To ensure your book is formatted properly, enlist the help of your self-publishing company.”

    1. Hi Gary! Thanks for following! You’re right, the term “self-publishing” can have different meanings. Some authors do choose to truly publish their book completely on their own — they create the print-ready files, find a printer, get a first print run of 1000’s of books, arrange for distribution and then fulfill the books orders themselves. It’s doable, but quite a headache for most authors who don’t have the skill set or time to do this all on their own. Fortunately, there are many full-service self-publishing companies available to assist with all these steps and take the burden off the author. Those companies have professional book designers and cover designers who will create the print-ready files for the author, so the author doesn’t have to worry about whether or not the file is formatted properly. You can just submit your manuscript in a Word (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) without worrying about font size, margins, spacing, page size etc. How nice is that?! Best of all, these companies offer print-on-demand so you don’t have boxes of book you have to store and handle. Hope that answers your question, Gary. Have a great day!

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