Posted on June 3, 2013


If you’ve decided that self-publishing is your route for getting your ideas out there for an eagerly-waiting audience, then you’ve probably already done a lot of research. You care about your book, so you’ve put a lot of thought into your means of publication. However, in your excitement to finally turn your dreams into reality and your manuscript into print, you may rush some steps of the process. After all the time you’ve invested, it might be easy to become impatient. Don’t! Remember that in the long run, extra care and time can mean the difference between a successful, quality book and a mediocre one.


Here are a few mistakes that could spell disaster for your writing efforts.

1.      Not editing/revising

Unlike with traditional publishing, self-publishing generally means a lot of the work rests on your shoulders. After you’ve finished a draft or two, it’s tempting to maybe tackle some feedback from a handful of readers and then simply skim through your manuscript once on your own. Sitting down and doing an intense read-through of one’s own work can be the most tedious process of writing; you already know what is going to happen or what ideas are going to be presented before you even read them. You can easily miss errors or unclear text because you were the author. However, the efforts are never in vain. Ask trustworthy friends, peers, and family to scour your manuscript for you. Read your own work aloud; read it more than once. You are the final authority on your work; only you know exactly what tone and style you want to present your readers in your book. Don’t revise your book half-heartedly!

 2.      Not planning/promoting

Having a plan when you are the one in charge of publishing is vital. If you don’t already have clear-cut steps in place for how you are going to promote your book and who you are going to target it toward, you’re plunging into the marketing world blindly. You have to know your audience, and you have to know the best avenues for attracting them. Is your audience young? Then set up a Facebook page to grow a fan base of readers who can “like” your work even before you’ve published it. Ask your family and friends—the ones who’ve read your book and know what it’s about—to spread the word. If your manuscript concerns a more ongoing topic, such as how you’re building your ministry or how to achieve success in the business world, start a blog. Write short articles about related topics so that you have an audience reading “samples” of your writing and ideas for free before you ever ask them to invest money in your larger project.

3.      Not putting effort into design

Though we often repeat the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” we rarely live by it. How often have you found that an attractive book cover catches your eye, so that you pick it up, read the book description, and then decide if it’s a topic or plot you’re interested in? In the same way, dull covers or designs with little or nothing to do with the book’s content can severely detract from its appeal. It’s easier for the eye to skim over it on a shelf or for us to scroll past it online. Though you don’t have to design or choose the catchiest, most complex cover design or formatting for your book, you should take time to pick out the right one. First impressions are important. Not only that, but choosing a great cover shows that you care about your book enough to want something great—and that enthusiasm will show and become contagious to your audience.

 4.      Not purchasing an ISBN

An International Standard Book Number is an important investment if you want to make sure your book is able to reach a large audience easily. Having a unique ISBN means that your book can easily be searched for and found by anyone who has it. You might share names with dozens of other authors; you might even select a book title similar to others out there; your topic might be one that is widely-written about; but if you have an ISBN, you have a guaranteed way for your audience to search for your book, and yours alone. Assigning your book an ISBN makes the marketing process and the selling process—no matter which or how many booksellers you may choose to go through—much easier.

 5.      Not being prepared to invest money

This might go without saying, but publishing your book is going to cost some money as well as time. Some writers choose self-publishing as an option simply because it is cheaper than traditional publishing. Although this is a valid and acceptable reason, writers still need to keep in mind that publishing is still going to cost a small chunk of money. You have to be ready to spend at least several hundred dollars to produce a quality book, even if you don’t choose a publishing package that provides special services, like editing or design. If you don’t want to invest much in your book, you can’t expect much return. Determine a reasonable amount that you’re willing to spend, and stick to your budget—but remember that it pays to not be stingy.

When self-publishing your book, you have to remember that the process is an investment. Every hour spent tediously proofing your manuscript for the twelfth time, every moment of research, and every day used to promote your book—are all purchasing future success. The more effort you put forth, the higher chances you’ll have of reaching and interesting a broader audience.

Rachel Schade, Editor and Writer, Asta Publications

 Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

Posted in: Publishing