Self-Publishing Mistakes You Can Avoid

If you’ve spent much time with your latest manuscript, you may have begun to notice that certain errors are both easy to make and easy to miss when revising. This is true of the self-publishing process. If you want to be taken seriously as an author, a professional author with a successful book, there are some common mistakes you can easily avoid when self-publishing your book.

Here are five recommendations to get you started:

1) Don’t feel pressured into formatting the interior yourself!

Just as our beloved Dr. McCoy on Star Trek had to remind his fellow adventurers often that he was a doctor, not a physicist (or engineer, or bricklayer, or a myriad other things), let us remind you that you’re a writer, not a book designer. (Unless you actually do design books for a living. In which case, move on to the second point.) There are few things as time-consuming as researching the stringent requirements of each publishing medium (print and digital) and then finding the software and the time to do it right. When it comes to book interiors, it’s best to leave this task to the professionals and focus your time on writing and promoting your book.

2) Invest in a Professionally Designed Custom Cover.

Most readers do, in fact, judge a book by its cover, so having an eye-catching, quality cover that professionally represents your book is essential. Most template covers will look and feel like cookie cutter designs with no effort put into them, even if you make small changes to it. It’s worth your while to invest in a professionally designed, dynamic custom cover unique to your book.

3) Don’t (just) edit the book yourself!

No matter how great of a writer you are, or how excellent of an editor you are of other peoples’ works, you cannot edit your own book! It is far too easy to miss mistakes because you are too familiar with your work, even if you take all possible precautions, like reading the whole manuscript aloud to yourself. No: when it comes to editing, this task requires a professional. And even if you are a professional editor, it requires someone who is not you and who will not be bogged down by the human brain’s predilection to fill in gaps when it knows where a story is headed. Those gaps may not matter to your subconscious, but they will most definitely matter to your readers! Pay for top-notch editing services in addition to your other beta readers, if you can; this means using a professional editor and not your sister-in-law or next-door neighbor.

4) Don’t neglect the back cover.

Once your manuscript is ready to go, as well as your front cover and interior formatting, and you are in all other ways ready to self-publish your book, one of the first things you’ll be asked for is your back cover synopsis and author biography. This isn’t something which can be rushed, unfortunately, so take a moment to slow down and breathe. Don’t just throw something together without much thought! Readers will look at your back matter and determine whether or not they should buy your book. Everything counts, from an ISBN number to a well-edited synopsis to a visually appealing author photo. Consult an expert if you need one!

5) Last but not least, don’t rush.

This may be the last recommendation on our list today, but it’s most definitely not one to be tacked on like an afterthought. In fact, learning how not to rush through the process may be the most important of all of the points we’ve included here today! Sure, you are anxious to self-publish your book (and we’re eager to help you do so speedily as well), but don’t rush. Producing a quality book, one with a great cover and copyedited pages, simply takes time. It’s a reasoned process! Be patient now, and considered in all of your decisions, and you will be glad you did once you have a finished, published, beautiful book to be proud of.

There are many great self-publishing success stories! You can be one of them by avoiding these mistakes and following the recommendations. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish your manuscript and get it ready for publication.

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