Thursday, June 14, 2012

5 Common mistakes to avoid when self-publishing




New authors are often chomping at the bit to get their books out into the market. I understand this. I was there once, and it led me to make many mistakes as I stumbled through the murky waters of self-publishing. Back then there were fewer resources out there to inform the new and uninitiated.  Fast forward to today, after publishing many more books, I’ve begun to share the knowledge I’ve learned through trial and error.  Go Publish Yourself is a handy-dandy little guide that can help you avoid many of the common mistakes as you work to publish your novel.

So, let’s take a quick look at some of the most common mistakes to avoid when attempting to self-publish.

1 - Forgetting To Write A Budget
Something that most new authors don’t know until they’ve already jumped in feet first; it’s easy to go broke trying to publish your first book. So before you take any steps in the production of your book, sit down and create a budget.
Your product (your book) is a direct reflection of the work you’ve put into it and the money you’ve put into producing it. While it is important for you to produce the best-looking book you can, you still have to remain cost-conscious. You have to find the balance between quality and affordability.
Though self-publishing suggests DIY (Do It Yourself), most of us are not able to do all of the things required to create a book. That’s okay. In most cases you won’t be able to do it all, and for some things, like editing, you shouldn’t. You’ll probably have to contract out for things like cover art, editing, layout (in some cases), and so on.
All the money you spend toward the production of your book is a gamble. Remember this. There is no guarantee your book will sell, no matter how much money you throw into it. I’m not trying to suggest that you won’t make any money on your book, but you do need to be very realistic in your goals and keep a very level head where costs are concerned. You should never go into these separate contract works with a blank check mentality. Spending $500 on a book cover might not be the smartest decision, even if the artwork is spectacular. That $500 will have to be made up in sales (along with all of your other production costs) before your book can begin to make you money. All costs need to be weighed out carefully. You should always be on the lookout for “the best bang for your buck.”

2 - Skipping The Editor
Self-publishing originally received its dirty image because of the lack of quality associated with it. In the early days of self-publishing, access to quality editors was expensive. Authors who couldn’t afford good editing couldn’t produce a nice clean product. That reflected badly on the author and self-publishing in general. Now that self-publishing has become more popular, so too have freelance editors. And they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Quick Tip - Don’t use a freelance editor who doesn’t offer a free sample. If you can’t “try before you buy,” then don’t use them.
And, No, your mom, sister, friend, critiquing partner, or beta reader, no matter how much of an avid reader they may be, is not an editor. Hire a real editor.

3 - If You’re Not An Artist, Don’t Do The Cover Yourself
We’re writers; that doesn’t mean we’re graphic artists. It’s okay to NOT be a graphic artist. If you don’t have the skills to do it, don’t do your own cover.
Yes, people do judge a book by its cover. Book browsers will only give a book a few seconds’ glance. A good cover can draw potential readers in, whereas a poorly designed cover can send them running for the hills. It is for this reason alone that you should consider hiring out for the cover art work.
You could purchase a royalty-free photo and slap your name and book title on it, but is that going to wow a reader who is browsing book shelves? 9 times out of 10 the answer here is no. And that’s ok. Just like with editing, cover art is a lot more widely available now. It doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to get a beautiful cover.  And again I’ll point you to my handy website guide.


4 - Forgetting The Marketing Plan
Who are you going to get to buy your book? Friends and family will only take you so far, and many of them are more moral support than financial. Don’t be surprised if only a select few members of your friends and family actually purchase your book. Hey, it happens.
Forgetting to write out a plan of action leads many new authors to using the spam approach in their efforts to reach new readers. That kind of marketing just pisses people off. This is why you need to sit down and set out guidelines, on paper, to establish who your audience is and how you plan to reach them. I do offer a sample marketing plan in Go Publish Yourself!

5 - Hanging Your Hopes All On One Book
Not every book is going to be a bestseller! Let’s just rip that band-aid off right now. That means that no matter how much you throw into a book and its marketing, it may not make it big. Try your best and do everything you can, but don’t sink all of your hopes into just one book. An author’s career is based on all of their work, not just one title. So keep on writing while you work to promote your first book.


To learn more, pick up my latest release, Go Publish Yourself!




Go Publish Yourself!
Self-Publishing made simple. Get your polished novel ready for Kindle, Nook, or Print in thirty days or less.

Avoid the common stumbling blocks and get on the road to successful self-publishing. This handy dandy guide, filled with insider’s tips and tricks, will unscramble the world of self-publishing into simple, easy-to-follow steps.


What’s in the book?
Common Misconceptions
The Business of Self-Publishing
Basic Costs & Budgeting
Publishing Formats: Epub, Kindle, Smashwords, & Print
Cover Art
Interior Layout
Pricing
Printing and Distribution
Marketing Basics: Platform Building, Book Signings, Blog Tours, etc.

And much more!


Don’t make rookie mistakes. Learn from an insider!
Katie Salidas is an author with several successful self-published titles. Each of her titles was created in the DIY (Do It Yourself) style, without the aid of author service companies. Through trial and error she has gained the knowhow to successfully publish print and ebooks. Go Publish Yourself! has that knowledge assembled into an easy-to-use format, packed with no-nonsense tips and quick and dirty tricks, so you can take your novel to the next level.

So, what are you waiting for? Go Publish Yourself!

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