Self-Publishing Pitfalls and Common Mistakes by Kathy Shanks

Self-publishing has opened up exciting opportunities for authors to share their stories and knowledge with the world. However, it’s not without its challenges, and navigating the self-publishing journey can be daunting, especially for newcomers. To help you avoid some common pitfalls and make your self-publishing experience smoother, this article will highlight key mistakes to watch out for and provide strategies to steer clear of them.

Skipping the Editing Process

Publishing a book without professional editing is actually very common. Editing goes above and beyond mere spell-checking. Editing is vital because it ensures the quality, clarity, and professionalism of your writing. It corrects errors, and maintains consistency in style and formatting.A well-edited piece is more likely to hold readers’ attention, convey your message effectively, and enhance your credibility as an author. It can also help you meet publishing standards, navigate legal and ethical considerations, and ensure accuracy in non-fiction writing. Ultimately, editing is an essential step in producing a polished and impactful piece of writing, whether you’re self-publishing or seeking traditional publishing opportunities. A poorly edited book will attract negative online feedback, which can be the death of online book sales.

Neglecting Cover Design

Don’t underestimate the damage a poorly designed cover will have on your book sales.

Hire a skilled cover designer who can create an eye-catching and genre-appropriate cover that attracts readers.

Rushing to Publish

Be patient and take the time needed to revise and polish your manuscript to its best possible version. The opposite side of this pitfall is ‘waiting too long to publish’. Whilst you want to create a professional and polished product, don’t allow your search for perfectionism OR imposter-syndrome hold you back.

Ignoring Market Research

Conduct thorough market research to identify your audience and tailor your writing and marketing efforts accordingly. This is a harsh comment for many, but your mum or your sister are NOT market research. Don’t be afraid to ask strangers for their opinions and use beta-readers before you go to market. You won’t be disappointed.

Thinking an Amazon Listing is the Answer to Marketing

You put your book on Amazon, and watch the sales come in… right??? Wrong! Firstly, have you done everything you can to maximise your organic reach – research profitable keywords, optimise your title and cover, create an effective book description. Don’t leave this part to chance. You’ve spent hours going over the writing… don’t half-a$$ the upload… It’s important! You can’t sell books if nobody is seeing your book come up in their searches.

Launch Day is the End of the Journey

Sorry, but Wrong! There’s 2 days that authors think are the ‘end’ of a process. The end of your first draft is not the end of your writing journey (there’s more editing & writing to be done!). And, the launch of your book is not the end of the author-journey. After its launch day you must continue to sell, promote, share, and talk about your book. Nobody, no matter how you’ve published, will be as big an advocate for your book as you. Traditional publishing may get you here, but after that you’ll still need to put in the hours to get your book noticed. 

Neglecting Your Author Brand

Don’t overlook the importance of building an author brand. Invest time in establishing your author identity. You don’t have to build an author website, but building a presence on social media is a must!

Overpricing or Underpricing Your Book

Research competitive pricing in your genre and consider your book’s length and market position when setting the price. Use pricing as a marketing tool – run lower launch prices to boost sales and organic reach on Amazon, run ‘free’ days and bring outside traffic to your amazon listing. Be prepared to make changes to suit strategies.

Lack of Patience

Expecting instant success and giving up too soon? Understand that self-publishing success often takes time and perseverance. Keep writing and promoting your work. Many authors have multiple books or a full series before reaching their audience.

Trying to do it all yourself

This is a big one for us as we pride ourselves on helping you avoid all these pitfalls. We really enjoy working with our clients on their books and providing the services that suit their skills, their needs and their budget. Trying to do it all yourself is a steep learning curve and can cost you thousands in mistakes. By all means – learn the process, enjoy the experience! But don’t let your need to do EVERYTHING take over your enjoyment of writing or the fun in publishing. Engaging skilled assistance will simplify the process and help you publish faster.

Self-publishing is a rewarding journey, but it’s essential to be aware of potential pitfalls that can hinder your success. By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing the suggested solutions, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the self-publishing landscape and increase your chances of achieving your writing goals. Remember, learning from your experiences and continually improving your craft is a fundamental part of the self-publishing process.

Book a 20-minute free consult with us, and let’s see how we can help your book dream come true,

Kathy Shanks

Kathy Shanks is the pioneer of Turtle Publishing and assists writers with editing, design, illustration, self publishing, optimisation for selling on Amazon, interior formatting and overall book writing support! An amazing service all under the one roof.

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