If you’re working on a self-publishing project, you’re probably not one for following other people’s rules. Choosing your own path and establishing your own style is a must for any creative professional. But when it comes to the practicalities of getting your self-published book out into the world, there are a few golden rules we suggest you stick to—so that you avoid these 5 common self-publishing mistakes.
1) Don’t Skimp on the Cover
You’ve spent hours, days, even weeks picking the perfect images and tweaking your layout. But no-one’s going to see all your hard work if they don’t make it past the front cover. Your cover is your book’s first impression, and it could be the difference between making a sale and being left on the shelf.
Start by thinking about what you find interesting in a book cover—try browsing bookshelves for a little inspiration. Here are some of our personal favorites from 2017. Also consider what you want your cover to say about your book. Is there a single image that sums your message up? If so, you could opt for a Hardcover ImageWrap for full impact.
DO check out these top tips for a stand out book cover.
DON’T just pick your favorite image.
2) Triple Check Everything
Proofing your book is an absolute must because we all make mistakes. Imagine submitting your book to print and spotting a glaring typo on the first page. To avoid this self-publishing mistake and nightmare scenario, triple check every aspect of your book. Not just the spelling and grammar, but also your book’s layout, the flow. Check for consistency in narrative and typography. Double-check your pagination—make sure nothing is cut off or orphaned.
We recommend getting someone you trust to double check, too. You’ve been working on your book for weeks—you know what it should say and annoyingly your brain will show you what you want to see. A fresh pair of eyes can spot errors that might otherwise have been overlooked.
3) Do Your Metadata Right the First Time
There are millions of books for sale out there, so making sure customers can find yours easily is key. That’s where metadata comes in. Metadata is the information used by retailers like Amazon and search engines like Google to organize their listings, including where they list your book. Creating an accurate, focused book description that uses relevant keywords, is vital for your book to show up in the right places. Vague or incorrect metadata will mean your book languishes in the wrong category and at the bottom of search lists, making it difficult for your customers to find and buy.
DO check out these top tips for optimizing your metadata.
DON’T skip over this step or make mistakes here. They’re very hard or impossible to redo and fix later.
4) Make a Plan to Market Your Book
So, the final tweaks have been made and you’ve hit publish. Your book is up for sale. Now sit back and let the sales roll in … right? Wrong! To make a success of your self-published book, it’s time to put your marketing plan into action. Your social media channels, blog, and author website should all be geared up to promote your book, far and wide. We know that marketing isn’t everyone’s forte though, which is why we’ve teamed up with the professionals at Reedsy. They’re bursting with expert tips and ideas to help you spread the word.
DO use the Blurb Preview Tool to link customers from your blog, social media, and website to your book.
DON’T be shy about blowing your own trumpet.
5) Consider Order-fulfilment Services
Advancements in self-publishing technology mean that you no longer have to sell your book from a stockpile in your garage. The lower up-front cost (and space saving) of the print-on-demand system means that books are printed only when customers order your book and it’s shipped directly to them. That’s not to say you’ll never need to place a large order. If you’re attending a relevant speaking event or conference you’ll want to have a pile to hand out. But by using Print on Demand, you can place a larger order whenever you need to, meaning the copies you share will be fresh off the press.
DO talk to Blurb’s Large Order Services team if you’re ordering more than 100 copies to find the best print solution.
DON’T overspend on a print run you can’t move.
Have you made any self-publishing mistakes? What advice would you give first-time self-publishers? Let us know in the comments below.