Five Common Self-Publishing Mistakes

Have you joined the ranks of aspiring authors ready to take the next step to self-publishing in the digital age of publishing? If so, congratulations! But wait, before you rush off to press, there are some things you should do to prepare your book for successful self-publishing. The preparation step of the self-publishing process includes everything you need to do to your book manuscript before you deliver it to the book printer. This includes deciding your publishing goals.

For example, is your book a personal family history book that you plan to sell to a few friends and family? Or do you plan to mass-market your book to the world? After deciding your market then you should avoid the following common mistakes:

1. Failure to write a business plan

This is where your book publishing journey should begin. You don’t have to start with a 15-page document. But do create an outline of all the costs that you will encounter in the self-publishing process.

Outline your costs before publication, after publication and everything from the beginning costs to the shipping price of mailing a book. This is the time you decide whether you should print a small amount of books for family or set up a small publishing company by buying a block of ISBNs.

2. Failure to get ISBN Numbers.

An ISBN number is what identifies you as a book publisher. Currently, it is the only way you can be considered a self-publisher in the publishing industry. At the time of this writing, no one can give, assign, or sell you ISBNs except RR Bowker, the U.S. ISBN agency.

3. Failure to invest in book editing.

Don’t cut corners here. Invest in your book; get it professionally edited. Copy or line editing will bring your manuscript up to professional standard. Don’t settle for just having your family member take a look at your manuscript.

4. Failure to hire a book designer for book layout.

The book layout is what structures the content of your book and makes it look like a book. Again invest in your book project; this is not the time to settle for anything less than a professional look. If your book looks sloppy, it will limit its success in the market.

5. Failure to invest in cover design.

75% of 300 booksellers reviewed (half from independent bookstores and half from chains) recognized the look and design of the book cover as the most important part. They agreed the jacket is prime real estate for promoting a book. On that note, your book cover design has great importance. It can cause your book marketing campaign to fail or succeed. So, I encourage you to get your book cover professionally designed.

Are you ready to publish your book successfully? Did you consider all your options including a business plan and book cover design? Great! Now that you know how to set up your book for full speed ahead self-publishing, go ahead take the plunge. Don’t wait any longer. Start today. Your audience is waiting for YOUR unique message and viewpoint. Make it different. Make it count. Make it yours.

About the Author
Earma Brown, 14 yr author, book writing and publishing coach. Are you ready to publish your book successfully? Get FREE instant access to her Self Publisher’s eKit at http://www.selfpublishinghouse.net

Is Self-Publishing For You?

Have you ever wanted to write a book? The challenge of getting a publisher deters many would-be authors. But now your manuscript doesn’t have to be a dusty dream.

Once scoffed, self-publishing companies are now producing books that are indistinguishable from traditionally published books. They’re sold through all the major outlets, from Ingram (the major distributor to bookstores) to online retailers like Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.

Some of these books have sold so well their authors have been offered contracts by traditional publishers (ever heard of Rich Dad, Poor Dad?). Yet — get this — some authors are turning down contracts for the perks of self-publishing. These include higher royalties, faster production and greater control of production — since authors retain the rights to their books. Plus, self-publishing has become affordable, thanks to print-on-demand technology, which allows books to be printed a few at a time.

Tips for Successful Self-Publishing

Avoid self-publishing pitfalls with these tips from the pros.

  1. Make sure you have credibility on your book’s subject.
  2. Don’t rely on yourself for either cover design or editing and proofreading.
  3. Have a clearly identified target market that is both easy and economical to reach.
  4. Choose a reputable company.

Excerpt from article published in Biola University Magazine, Winter 2008.

Self-Publishing Your Book Is Easy

Here’s how it works. You choose a size for your book, format your Word manuscript to fit that size, turn your Word doc into a PDF, create some cover art in Photoshop, turn that into a PDF, and upload it all to the self-publisher of your choice.

If you succeeded in formatting everything correctly, you will get a book proof back within a couple of weeks (or sooner).

After you officially publish your book, you can make changes to your cover and interior text by submitting new PDFs, though your book will go offline (“out of stock”) for a week or two.

Caveat: Creating a book that looks professional and is indistinguishable from a book published by a “real” publishing house is very difficult and requires a minimum investment of a few thousand dollars (when all was said and done, usually around $7500, which includes about $2,500 in marketing costs).

Self Publishing: Is It a Waste of Time or a Viable Alternative

There are those who would have you believe that there is only one direction to go in. You are either a talented writer and you get published by a main stream publisher or alternatively you are an untalented wannabe and your only hope is to self publish. If you take the second route you will find yourself scorned by those who took the first route as not being good enough to make it in the real world. And for those who took the road less traveled, they often see the publishing establishment as being opposed to supporting new or niche authors.

Nonsense. The truth is a lot more complicated than that. It always is. The world is full of gray areas that connect us to the black and the white, waiting in their respective corners to start the next round. When it comes to publishing there are books that are good and books that are poor. Editors and agents would like you to believe that they are infallible and that without their input you will fail. Not true. If you go through the process properly you should be able to duplicate the quality required to succeed. It takes time and a will to achieve the very best quality for your product.

In fact I will be watching to see what all the new out of work editors and agents will be doing next. My guess is that they will be offering their services to – you guessed it, all those poor frail souls who want to self publish. And if any of those printed authors found their services were no longer required, do you truly believe that they would simply give up and go away. Of course not, they would be into Print on Demand faster than you could shake your fist at them.

Here are a few home truths about self publishing.

Pros

Self publishing allows you to retain full control of your book. What goes in and what you take out. You retain full control of all graphic and cover design. Each and every stage is controlled by you.

You can make a larger profit per book than you would with a publishing house and agent.

Your book will never go out of print. You retain copyright and editorial control.

You can control where your book is sold and for how much. No book club discounts or bulk buying discount for you to worry about. You can even sell it from the back of your car.

Cons

You must do all the technical preparation yourself before you can send your manuscript to the printer. This can be exhausting, not to mention quite difficult. The learning curve can be very steep for some people. There is a very real danger here that the quality of the book will suffer.

You must edit and proofread the book yourself or hire someone to do it for you. This is a critical element that must be properly done. Any mistakes here will ruin any chance for success.

You must market and sell the book yourself. Perhaps the single most difficult and frustrating task that you must master in order to succeed.

Most bricks and mortar booksellers will refuse to sell your book. There is often no way around this. These stores simply do not see you as a means for them to make a profit, and you must remember that they are in the business of selling books in order to make money. You’re just not big enough.

Conclusion

Regardless of public perception, print on demand is a highly practical and sometimes the only sensible route to take. When it comes to books, the market has changed drastically over the last twenty years. Bookstores no longer want to stock big thick hardbacks that take up space. They want slim novels that fly off the shelves.

Publishers want more and more to work with established names and year after year the advances that authors depend upon have been slowly drying up. New untried authors have little hope of defeating this industry wide tactic when even established bestselling authors are having trouble maintaining their existing advance level.

There is one further point to remember, not every book can or should be published by an established printing house. There are books which simply do not fit any known genre. They might also be so geographically specific that only people living in that region would have any interest in purchasing the book. These points have nothing to do with the quality of the writing but more the specifics of the marketing. The truth is that no one will touch a product they feel they cannot sell and more importantly make a profit from.

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