I think every author should read this guest post by Joel Syder. Joel is a consulting writer and editor at Dissertation Help and PhD Kingdom. He enjoys helping people pursue their career and lifestyle objectives and is a successful published author. His articles are also available at AcademicBrits.com.
Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs When Self-Publishing
Self-publishing gives authors the opportunity to earn a lot of passive income compared to other careers. The reality is, though, that an average self-published book will make less than $500 in its lifetime sales. Even if they are good books, many of them are suffering from self-publishing mistakes that prevent them from being more successful. By avoiding these mistakes, you can start building a steady monthly income.
1. Not Blogging
It’s quite easy to start a blog and it’s helpful for writers to stay on track with their writing habit. It’s also a great tool for marketing your books once you’ve published them. You can brainstorm ideas and what you want to write about, then post a chapter every week as an article on your blog. Once a few months have passed, you can combine all the articles into one book, format it, and you’re ready to publish. This strategy helps you stay on schedule and link your blog to your Amazon page for free marketing.
2. Not Planning
A lot of writers have given up on their books because they failed to plan and schedule their writing. It can be helpful to plan out your book and write a schedule to follow, outlining each chapter in detail. According to Taylor Prince, a book editor at Write My X and Brit Student, “if you’re writing a non-fiction book, look at reviews of books on similar topics and find out what readers would have like to see. By creating a detailed outline it’ll be easy to write each chapter.”
You may be tempted to edit your book yourself because you don’t have any friends or colleagues that are able to review it and you don’t want to pay for a professional editor. However, editing your work will make a big difference in how many sales of the book you’ll make. Even if the content is fantastic, having grammar mistakes and typos will lead to poor reviews and no sales.
4. No Cover
No matter how much people say not to judge a book by its cover, the reality is that people do. You need to get a nice, professional cover to entice people to read it. Get some different options and ask your friends and colleagues to pick their favorite. Better yet, make a blog post about it and ask your followers for their input.
5. Poor Amazon Page
You can put as many as 600 words in your Amazon page description and you can add sales content in many sections. It is important to use this space to convince readers to get your book. Amazon is just like Google and your description should help your book rank higher when people look for a topic related to your book.
6. Not Asking for Help
There’s no harm in asking for help from friends and family. Reach out to your network directly, one-on-one, and ask if they would review your work. It’s important to also ask during your official launch, and ask for purchases before reviews so your book starts ranking.
7. Not Getting Enough Launch Reviews
Reviews are a big factor in ranking your book even if they don’t directly influence it. As Georgia Harris, a publicist at 1Day2Write and Next Coursework, explains, “sales are the biggest factor but to get sales you need to make your book visible and well-reviewed. The magic number is over 10 reviews so you have a strong book, and these can be easily received from family and friends.”
8. Low Pricing
Most books shouldn’t be less than $2.99 on Kindle, because anything under that will only give you 30% of the sale, which isn’t worth it. One idea is to launch your book for $0.99 to get ranked on the paid chart, then after a week or so increase that price. The best range for financial success seems to be between $2.99 and $4.99 per book.
9. No Audio Version
You should also have a paperback and audio version because people are still willing to pay double for a book in paperback format. For audio, you can do it yourself and post it on Audible easily. However, it’s always best to hire a professional to read your book. There are services that let you work with professionals on a commission basis, so that’s an option to explore.
The final mistake is quitting the process after one failed book. The reality is, some books just won’t sell. If your first book doesn’t do well, don’t give up. Success rarely happens overnight and chances are that you need at least three books before anyone notices you.