Four Publishing Mistakes To Avoid
Becoming an independent author begins with education. After spending months, or years, writing, the next step in bringing to life your manuscript is about making the right decisions. There are some key publishing mistakes to avoid and ensure that you are publishing a quality book.
Self-publishing has proven to be a minefield of doubt for so many. If you simply Google the pros and cons, you will likely find far more cons. This is because new authors are unsure what is and isn’t the right steps after writing their manuscript. However, there are companies and stages in publishing that if you join or follow, you can give your book a better chance of success than you may think. Just four years ago over a quarter of the bestselling eBooks on Amazon were self or independently published. Half of those were in the romance and fantasy genres. There are plenty of interested readers out there, however many self-published authors don’t get a foot in due to failing to bring on the professionals in their next steps to become a published author. In this industry, that is something an author cannot afford to do. So for those venturing into their first step of book publishing, here are four common publishing mistakes to avoid.
1. DESIGNING YOUR OWN COVER – A PUBLISHING MISTAKE TO AVOID!
Just don’t. Even if you have a really good idea or concept, have a professional design your book cover – and this includes your spine and back cover. Why? People say don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, of course we do. It is what attracts our attention. So it is critical that the imagery, colours, fonts, and placements are as professional and attractive as possible. This is also relevant to your back cover blurb, which requires good editorial input.
The first impression for readers is everything, and your book cover has to make a positive one on your potential audience. Book cover design is an art form and if you want your book to compete in the marketplace, it is best performed by professionals who understand how to represent your story as a piece of art. Avoid the publishing mistake of designing a sub-standard cover that turns readers away. It is something that can’t really be recovered.
2. SELF-EDITING – SHOULD I? SHOULDN’T I?
Self-editing is very important and it must be done. However, it doesn’t stop there. Nor does it settle on a friend who used to be an English teacher or a journalist friend. In the publishing industry, to avoid your book being disregarded in the marketplace, you must have trained and professional editors work on your manuscript.
A professional editor, or editors, is the most important investment you can make for your book. This applies in a structural sense and in a copy-edit sense as well. You can read more on editorial processes here. In fact, if you can bring 2-3 editors into your journey, you can feel much more confident that what is published will be of the best possible standard. Furthermore, if finding a good editor is a problem you don’t wish to overcome then look into publishing companies that offer a robust editorial process to ensure that your manuscript is given the respect it deserves.
3. SELLING YOUR BOOK THROUGH AMAZON
Amazon is important as they have clearly monopolised the market, however, they are not the only place available to distribute your book. By limiting your book to just Amazon, you’re missing out on a huge piece of the market as a lot of readers have decided to buy from other online stores like Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, Fishpond, even direct from the authors and publishers themselves. One of the critical publishing mistakes to avoid is to limiting your audience and each platform appeals to a unique set of loyal customers, so open your book to these readers too.
Also remember, listing your book online is critical but you still need to promote it. Just because it is available does not mean people are going to just know – you still need to promote – digitally, traditionally and creatively. This means building a marketing strategy and action plan that can lift the awareness of your book and drive sales. Furthermore, your promotional activity should be a long term commitment – months, even years. You did it with writing, you should do it with marketing.
4. I WANT IT NOW! YES, A DEFINITIVE PUBLISHING MISTAKE TO AVOID
Hmmm, right. So how long did it take you to write? Well, the publishing journey is a process too. You can’t rush it. It takes time to professionally edit a manuscript. It takes time to design a captivating cover and typeset the content. It takes time to print a run of books and most importantly, it takes even more time to market it – during pre-sale, launch and post-launch. It takes time to build an audience and convert them into book sales.
Despite the above being a fact, one of the most common publishing mistakes to avoid is to rush the process. Too many writers rush to release their books in time for some self-imposed deadline and end up putting unnecessary pressure on themselves, their team putting the book together and then end up releasing their book before it, or they as authors, are actually ready. It’s always better to take the necessary time to prepare your book and make certain all your ducks are in a row before the release.
At the end of the day, being a self or indie author is a lot like being a project manager. You’re responsible for every part of the process, and it pays to make sure you have the right people working on the right parts of the project. If you do not wish to take on that role and source professional editors, designers and marketers then we recommend finding a publishing company that can meet those needs and guide you through every stage of the process.
The first step, of course, is educating yourself about everything involved with publishing before you dive in. Then it is about due diligence when choosing a contractor or publishing company. This blog will help you prepare a check list so you have the right people or company on your team and that the publishing mistakes to avoid don’t even become a blip on your radar.