5 Self-Publishing Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Posted on January 13, 2014


ImageMany individuals today are choosing to self-publish their books rather than using a traditional publisher. For some it’s all about the need of cutting cost, while others desire to keep all of their royalties and creative freedom. Whatever your reason may be for choosing to self-publish, there are some things to keep in mind, especially if you are treading on unfamiliar ground. When you have worked so hard writing your manuscript, the last you want to do is make publishing mistakes that will affect the outcome of your book.

1)      Thinking that Self-Publishing Easy- Thinking that self-publishing is easier than going with a traditional publishing company is a mistake that many make when entering the self-publishing world.  Self-publishing requires a lot of work, and a lot of your own time and money. When you are taken on by a publishing company, you are typically given an advance and they take care of all the details that go into producing a hard copy of your finished book.  But when you take on that responsibility yourself, you have to be the author, publisher, marketer and distributor unless you hire other individuals to take on these roles.  The companies listed on the directory of writersdigest.com (www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/get-published-sell-my-work/directory-of-self-publishing-companies) can help you find individuals to assist you with a few of the many roles that come with publishing a book. Knowing the amount of time and finances that are required to become a successful self-published author will help you decide if self-publishing is right for you.

2)      Having no audience base- Another mistake that people make when self-publishing is thinking that they can sell books without building a fan base. Do you have a community of followers that long to hear what you have to say? Web presence is a must! If you are not familiar with social media, then you need to learn how to use it, because it’s a great way to meet individuals and get your voice and ideas out there. Prior to debuting your book, readers should be anticipating its release. Someone needs to care about what you are writing about.  Connect with other writers and people who are interested in the genre you are writing for, as well as with your target audience to help the success of your book. In addition, consider your local area. Do you speak at local engagements and have a sphere of influence that anticipates your ideas? Becoming involved in events in your community should be on your to-do list if you are going to become a successful self-published author.

3)      Not understanding the costs– Self-publishing will cost you. Knowing these costs up front will help you in your decision making. When you follow the traditional route of publishing, the company foots the bill. But when you decide to take the company’s place, you have to figure out if you can make such an investment. There are self-publishing companies that provide necessary services such as editing, cover art and design, marketing and distribution. But do you have the finances for the initial investment, and if not, how will you get them?

4)      Not paying attention to the details- You may have heard it said not to judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately this is not how people work. Everything is judged by its appearance, and typically the first impression is the lasting impression. If something looks unprofessional, people usually believe that it must be unprofessional. Everything matters, from the cover art on the book to the font, images and colors used. The inside matters just as much, so make sure to dedicate time and effort to it. Find a professional graphic designer who knows what they’re doing rather than trying to do it yourself.  

5)      Having no marketing plan- You’ve diligently worked on your manuscript and now it is finished. It has gone through printing and now you hold in you hands the fruit of your labor. Your book is complete; however, what is your next step? Will you wait on that book to sell itself or will you devise a marketing plan?  Marketing is essential to the sale of your book. No one will buy your book if they don’t even know that you or your book exists.

These are just a few mistakes aspiring self-publishing authors make that create serious road blocks on their way to becoming successful. As with anything in life, take your time and do your research on self-publishing before you take the plunge, so you can decide if it’s the right option for you.  Once you’ve decided that it is something you want to do, be diligent and keep pushing forward. Knowledge is your best weapon, the more you know about the self-publishing industry, the more prepared you’ll be to handle whatever comes your way.

Rachelle Legentus, Writer and Editor, 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