7 Mistakes that Ruin a Writer’s Self-Publishing Efforts – Micheal Gilmore | Guest Post
Can you tell the difference between a successful self-published author and the one who doesn’t make it? It’s not about the literature. It’s more about character, persistence, and proper promotion. For those who don’t want to bother with publishers, self-publishing seems like the right solution. It’s cheap, easy, and everyone can do it. That’s the first mistake we’re making: underestimating the challenge.
Sooner or later, most self-published authors make mistakes. That’s not something to be ashamed of. If we recognize those mistakes and avoid them in future, we’ll only become stronger. As for the recognition, check out the most common mistakes that ruin a writer’s effort to self-publish a successful edition.
1. Failing to Estimate the Needs and Wants of the Audience
No, the audience isn’t ready to accept any self-published writer. You may try to publish your most intimate thoughts without being worried how the audience would accept them, but that approach doesn’t guarantee success as a writer.
Before you know your audience, you need to know yourself. What do you want to write about? Is apocalyptic romance your thing? Once you identify your genre, you’ll have to explore the reviews on the most popular and less popular books in that category. What flaws do people recognize? What do they want to read? The answers to those questions will lead you to a win-win solution: you’ll write what you and your audience want.
2. Failing to Write for All the Right Reasons
Why are you publishing this book? Is it because you feel a constant urge to write and you want to share those words with the audience? Is it because you want to know what the readers think, so you’ll use their feedback to become better at what you do? Those are good reasons for writing.
If, however, you’re writing just because you see self-publishing as a quick way to make money, you’re heading for a huge disappointment. We’ve all heard the stories of self-published authors making a lot of money. However, you shouldn’t forget that these people write for all the right reasons and deliver what the audience wants to read. The money comes as a side effect.
3. Not Hiring a Graphic Designer for a Nice-Looking Cover
Lousy covers seem to be a standard in the self-publishing industry. Kitschy women and tasteless colors. It seems like the writers are underestimating both their efforts and the taste of their readers. If you really want to earn the respect of the audience and attract people to buy your book, then you need to hire a professional graphic designer who’ll give you few options to consider.
Check out Amazon’s top-selling list of Indie books. Browse through it without reading the headlines and observe your reactions. Which covers get your attention? The ones that evoke professionalism and effort, right? That’s the effect you want to achieve with the appearance of your book.
4. Failing to Invest in Marketing
Many people understand self-publishing as a serial process of writing and publishing with nothing in between. They write books and worry about promotion later on, when they realize that they are not making any sales just by putting their work out there. If you want to become a successful author in this industry, you have to invest in proper marketing early in the process.
Do you have any followers on social media? How many? You need more; thousands! The easiest option is to hire a content marketer who will take care of the promotion for you. They will make sure to connect with the right audience on all social media and publish promotional content about your work and you as an author.
The other option is – DIY. However, you have to be aware that marketing is a serious process that demands some education.
Start by investing in yourself. You can take an online course on content marketing and learn everything there is to learn about making the right steps when promoting your books. Then, the process can begin.
You’ll start by building social media profiles and investing in paid advertising. You want to attract your target audience and connect with them by sharing blog posts, comments on books you’ve read, and updates on your work. They will comment, you’ll respond, and you’ll build a relationship that lasts.
Your activity on Goodreads is super important. It’s the social media for writers and readers. You need to become an authoritative member of the community by leaving insightful reviews of every book you’ve read. If you’re a valued member of the community, people will be more interested to see what you have to offer.
Then, you’ll start promoting your own work. You’ll write guest posts for popular blogs, you’ll try to get influencers to interview you and promote your books… you’ll do everything to get the message through to a wider audience.
Avoiding any of these steps would be a huge mistake. When you think about it, marketing is a full-time job and it barely leaves you time for what’s really important: writing. That’s why it’s a mistake not to hire a serious content marketer. That’s an investment, but think of all the value it will bring.
5. Failing to Get and Learn from Feedback
The audience has all answers you need. Are you wondering if people would like a character who’s compulsively jealous, but kind at the same time? Ask! It’s a mistake to publish the book and only then wait for the feedback.
You can benefit from your target audience early in the process. When you’re writing the outline, think about its weak spots. What might the audience critique? Connect with them on social media and ask the right questions. Needless to say, you won’t be giving away the plan for your book. You’ll only give the right dose of information to intrigue them. When you have the first draft, ask a special person to read it and tell you what they think. This has to be someone you trust. Tell them to be as harsh as possible and don’t get mad if you don’t like their criticism. Use it to make the book better.
6. Focusing All Efforts into a Single Book
When an author publishes the first book, they are completely obsessed with it. They are entirely focused on promoting it and achieving more success. Yes, promotion is necessary, but you shouldn’t allow it to consume your full focus. Remember what you are: a writer.
Do you know what the best marketing technique is? It doesn’t involve being obsessed by social media marketing for a whole year after publishing a single book. It’s simple: hire someone else to take care of promotion and write another book! That’s what gets the sales rolling.
7. Not Hiring a Professional Editor
It’s amazing to see how many authors are ready to publish their first or second drafts. They do a simple proofread, fix few mistakes, and rush to share the work with the world. Do you know what that is? It’s called underestimating the readers. Just because some readers want to give a chance to self-published authors doesn’t mean they like reading flawed draft versions. They still need high-quality literature, the kind you want to produce.
Every writer needs an editor. Every single one.
Did you recognize yourself somewhere in these mistakes? If that’s the case, there’s a simple solution: don’t make those mistakes in future. Make sure everything is perfect for the next book you publish. Find out what the audience wants; hire a marketing specialist, and editor and a graphic designer; learn from the feedback, and keep writing. That’s the recipe for success in self-publishing.