6 Self-Publishing Don’ts

Unfortunately, some people have a negative perception of self publishing. This is because some self-publishing authors make detrimental mistakes that prevent their books from being taken seriously. If you want to be seen as a professional author with a successful book, be sure to avoid these six self-publishing don’ts:

1. Don’t attempt to create print-ready files if you don’t already possess that particular skill set.

You’re a writer; not a book designer.  Leave this task to the professionals and focus your time on writing and promoting your book.

2. Don’t skip the professional copyediting.

No matter how great of a writer you are, you cannot edit your own work! It is too easy to miss mistakes because you are too familiar with your work. This task requires a professional.  It is worth paying for professional editing services .

3. Don’t skip the custom cover design.

Most readers judge a book by its cover, so having an eye-catching, quality cover that professionally represents your book is essential. Most template covers will look and feel like a cookie cutter design, even if you make small changes to it.  Invest in a professionally designed, dynamic custom cover unique to your book.

4. Don’t forget the back cover text.

Once you are ready to self-publish your book,  one of the first things you’ll be asked for is your back cover synopsis and author biography. Don’t just throw something together without much thought!  Readers will look at this and determine whether or not they should buy your book.

5. Don’t rush.

Sure, you are excited to self-publish your book, but don’t rush. Producing a quality book  takes time. Be patient now, and you will be glad you did once you have a book to be proud of.

6. Don’t give up.

Some authors get so overwhelmed by all the options available to them when choosing a self-publishing company that they just give up. That doesn’t have to be you. Do your research, spend some time thinking about the decision, and then trust your gut. Don’t let fear stop you.

There are many great self publishing success stories! You can be one of them by avoiding these mistakes.

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.

Take Your Time Self-Publishing

Many authors I know are anxious to self-publish their book. In fact, many of them choose self-publishing because they can see their book in print much quicker than if they used a traditional publisher. While speed is one of the many perks of self-publishing, I ALWAYS encourage my authors to take their time. If you want to publish a quality, professional book, do not rush! Instead, remember these five tips.

1) Be realistic about deadlines.

It is never a good idea to rush your writing in order to meet a deadline. You will not produce your best work if you are focused on finishing by a certain date instead of striving to write a good book, no matter how long it takes. While it is a great idea to set realistic writing and publishing goals, too tight a deadline can be damaging to the quality of your book.

2) Proofread, and consider professional editing.

No matter how great your story or ideas are, if your book is tainted with numerous grammar, spelling, and style errors, readers aren’t going to take your book seriously. To be considered a professional writer, you need to publish quality work. This means you need to take the time to proofread your book several times, and it is always a good idea to hire a professional editor. It is difficult to catch all the errors in your own work, so it is best to have another set of eyes review your manuscript.

3) Research before publishing.

Choosing a self-publishing company is a big decision. Each company offers different packages, features, prices, and support, and you need to decide which company will best complement your needs and goals as a writer. Don’t just randomly choose a self-publishing company. Spend time researching your options, and pick the one that is best for you.

4) Don’t get too far ahead.

While thinking about marketing and promotion before your book is published is a good idea, don’t get too far ahead of yourself. I don’t recommend scheduling marketing events before you have a book to take with you to the event. Go ahead and create a marketing plan, but wait until your book is ready before doing too much promotion.

5) Just enjoy it.

Self-publishing a book is an exciting adventure. Rather than rush through the process, take the time to enjoy it.

Rushing the self-publishing process will result in a less than perfect book. Take the time to make sure every aspect of your book is exactly what you want. Leave time to allow professional editors and designers to do a quality job, and take the time to enjoy the journey of becoming a self-published author.

 

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps, publishing consultants and marketing professionals; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams and on assisting authors with marketing and promoting their book once published. 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.

The Cost of Self Publishing

In trying to contemplate the “most asked” question by authors considering self publishing, it is difficult to narrow it down to just one question.  There are several questions that self publishing authors frequently ask. Since I only want to focus on one question in this blog post, I decided to address the common question, “How much will it cost me to self publish my book?” (Don’t worry, I’ll address the other common questions in future posts.)

Authors considering self publishing often want to know how much it will cost to publish their book. My first response: That’s a loaded question.  The answer varies greatly based on the goals and budget of each individual author.

While there is no one size fits all price for self publishing, there is some information that all authors considering self publishing should know before figuring out how much their self publishing project is going to cost:

1) It’s an investment.

You can’t think about the money you will spend on self publishing your book simply as an expense. Instead, think of it as an investment. By putting money into your project, you are creating a book that has a value and will earn a profit. Unless your goal isn’t to make money off the book (yes, some authors have goals other than earning a profit), you need to think like a business person and remember the cliché, “To make money, you must spend money.”

2) Think about what you are getting.

Rather than focusing just on the numbers, you need to think about what the money you are spending will get you. For instance, paying for a customized cover is getting you a unique cover design that will help draw readers to your book and will literally be the face of your project. After all, research shows that readers decide within eight seconds whether or not to purchase a book. Similarly, paying a copy editor will get you a clean, professional manuscript. If there is one service that I suggest all self publishing authors invest in, it is editing!

3) Plan to make a profit.

Many self publishing authors focus on how much is this going to cost them now, instead of thinking how this can make them money in the future. If your goal is to make a profit from your book, you need to create a solid marketing plan. Think of your book as a business. Would you start a business and then not advertise it?  Of course not!  So why would you publish a book and then not market and promote it?   So when you create your self publishing budget, you need to factor in the cost of marketing and promoting your book.

That said… 

In my years of experience in this industry, I would say the average cost range to self publish a marketable book is $2,500-$3,500.  This allows roughly $1,500 for a good publishing package with a custom cover design, plus $500-$1,000 for professional copyediting, plus $500-$1,500 for marketing services.  You will likely spend more on marketing and promoting the book down the road, but this provides a good snapshot of the upfront expenses.

Like I said, there is no one size fits all price. Some authors will spend more than others. The key is to look at your goals, needs, and plans when creating your budget, and don’t forget to consider the value of the investment you are making. Remember, you can’t make money, if you don’t spend money.

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.

5 Self Publishing Mistakes You Can Avoid

Unfortunately, some people have a negative perception of self publishing. This is because some self publishing authors make detrimental mistakes that prevent their books from being taken seriously. If you want to be seen as a professional author with a successful book, be sure to avoid these five self publishing mistakes:

1)Doing the interior yourself –  You’re a writer; not a book designer.  Leave this task to the professionals and focus your time on writing and promoting your book.

2)Using a template cover –  Most readers judge a book by its cover, so having an eye-catching, quality cover that professionally represents your book is essential. Most template covers will look and feel like a cookie cutter design, even if you make small changes to it.  Invest in a professionally designed, dynamic custom cover unique to your book.

3)Editing the book yourself – No matter how great of a writer you are, you cannot edit your own work! It is too easy to miss mistakes because you are too familiar with your work. This task requires a professional.  Pay for top-notch editing services – this means using a professional editor and not your sister-in-law or next door neighbor.

4)Skipping the back cover –  Once you are ready to self publish your book,  one of the first things you’ll be asked for is your back cover synopsis and author biography. Don’t just throw something together without much thought!  Readers will look at this and determine whether or not they should buy your book.

5)Rushing – Sure, you are anxious to self publish your book, but don’t rush. Producing a quality book (one with a great cover and copyedited pages) takes time. Be patient now, and you will be glad you did once you have a book to be proud of.

There are many great self publishing success stories! You can be one of them by avoiding these mistakes.

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.

Three Types of Copyediting Services Available to Self-Published Authors

Every author needs an editor. No matter how great of a writer you are, it is impossible to review your own writing objectively. Because you know your story and writing style so well, it is too easy to overlook simple mistakes or inconsistencies. Plus, copyediting requires special skills. Copyeditors are experts in the Chicago Manual of Style (and other style manuals). They not only look for grammar and spelling when they review your manuscript, but they also make sure your manuscript meets your industry’s publishing standards. This is essential if you want your book to be taken seriously.

When hiring a copyeditor, you will need to decide what level of editing is best for your manuscript. Often the editor (or editorial staff, if you are hiring through a company) will review your manuscript and tell you which level of editing is best for your book. Before beginning this process, it is a good idea to understand the various levels available to you. Here are the three types of copyediting services available to self-published authors.

Basic Copyediting

Basic copyediting is a good choice for authors whose primary concern is correction of style and mechanics. Basic editing does not include fact checking, sentence restructuring, or suggestions to improve flow, aesthetics, or voicing. Corrections you can expect with basic editing include:

• Typographical errors

• Misspelled words

• Grammatical errors

• Punctuation

• Homophone confusion

• Style consistency

• Standardization of spelling and capitalization

• Consistency of specific or repeated references

This is the most popular level of editorial service and is appropriate for all genres.

Moderate Copyediting

Moderate editing is a good choice for authors who would like to improve the flow and aesthetics of their work as well as improve the basic style and mechanics of their manuscript. Moderate editing will usually include restructuring of awkward sentences, elimination of redundancies, and attention to inconsistencies of tone or voicing. Moderate editing often includes some fact checking, such as confirmation of brand names, proper names of historical figures or locations, etc.

This level of editing can be tailored to your particular needs or concerns. If you are not sure whether your manuscript needs moderate editing, talk to the editor or editorial staff. They can look at your manuscript and make suggestions based on common mistakes they see.

Extensive Editing

Extensive editing includes mechanical and style corrections as well as sentence restructuring, attention to aesthetics, and some fact checking. More than any other type of editing, extensive editing is custom-designed to meet the specific needs of your manuscript and your goals as an author. Extensive editing may include project development, such as tracking and critiquing story arc and character development. If your project is nonfiction, you may want your editor to give input as to the effectiveness of your organization or the strength of your arguments. Your editor may give reader commentary as well as mechanical and style corrections.

Extensive editing is often a good choice for first-time authors who have not had a chance to workshop a manuscript with a writing group. It can also be an excellent choice for authors who are too close to their subject matter to objectively assess the effectiveness of their writing – a challenge experienced by many memoir writers. Extensive editing can also be an acceptable solution if English is not your native language, in which case your manuscript may require a higher level of text polishing.

If you are interested in copyediting services, there are many ways to find great copyeditors. One option is to find out if your self-publishing company offers copyediting services. You can also search for copyeditors online, post a project listing, or ask for references.

I’d love to know, which level of copyediting do you plan to purchase for your self-published book?

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.