11 Mistakes New Self-Published Authors Make

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11 Mistakes New Self-Published Authors MakeCommon mistakes that newly self-published authors can make.

Succeeding at self-publishing is not easy.

However, some of the mistakes that new authors often make, can make success even more difficult.

Avoiding the following mistakes will give you a far better chance of success.

The most important point that many new authors fail to understand, is that once you are self-published, you are an author.

With that comes being open to criticism, and there is no way to hide and avoid it.

You will get good and bad reviews, and your book may succeed, but will more than likely fail to sell in any great numbers.

That’s publishing. It’s a gamble, and the truth is that publishing, especially fiction, has always been a gamble.

So, how can you put your best foot forward and avoid looking like a new author who has no idea what they are doing?

Here are 11 self-publishing mistakes to avoid at all costs.

1. You didn’t proofread your bio.

Many new authors are so excited about getting published for the first time, and in their rush to tell the world, they quickly write a bio for social media but forget to do a spellcheck and proofread.

Spelling and grammar errors in an author’s bio are an absolute kiss of death.

If your bio has errors, what is your book going to be like?

An author checks every single word they write, no matter how few, or where they write them.

2. You protected your social media accounts.

If you think protecting your Twitter account will allow you to control the world, you are dead wrong.

Not only that, you are telling potential followers (readers) to go away.

If you are an author, you cannot close off a single avenue for readers to find you and your book.

Blocking users and protecting your Twitter account is silly. Followers cannot do anything to you.

Well, except that they can all buy books.

3. You know everything now.

Sure, you are a new author so now you don’t need to read, research, learn and improve.

If you are not learning every day, you are not an author.

4. You extend the truth.

Well, let’s be frank here.

If you tell the world that you are an award-winning and NYT bestselling author, perhaps you should have a high book sales rank, lots of reviews, more than 100 followers on Twitter and a few more than 50 Likes on your Facebook Page.

People are not dumb, and they can spot exaggeration, if not outright lying very easily.

Not a great start in gaining book buyers.

Honesty works just as well, and it’s easier.

5. You can’t be everything.

Okay, you’re an author, so why tell the world that you are also a hairstylist, an Avon rep, a car salesman, a SAHM or help desk assistant?

You’re an author! Again. You’re  an author!

Be one, and forget the boring real life daily details.

6. You are a debut author.

Debut is a great word if you want readers to be warned off.

It says that you are new, and probably a terribly inexperienced author.

Just be an author, and forget the clichéd adjectives.

7. You keep saying that you are aspiring.

If you have self-published and have a book available on Amazon, you are no longer aspiring.

Perspiring, perhaps, but aspiring is an adjective that really says that you have no confidence whatsoever.

Drop this adjective at all costs.

In fact, drop all the boring clichéd adjectives that 1,000’s of other inexperienced authors use.

Be an author and be original.

8. You are not writing your second or third book.

Okay, you have self-published your book. Now what?

Flogging one title can become extremely tiresome, for you, and all your contacts that you are belting around the head every day with your one book.

You’re an author. Write more books!

9. You made your own book cover.

It shows, and it stands out like a sore thumb as an amateur book cover.

Get a professional on the job and give your book a decent chance of success.

It doesn’t cost a lot to buy pre-made ebook covers, and even a bespoke designed cover won’t break the bank.

But a terrible homemade cover will break your book sales potential.

10. You didn’t use an editor.

It’s only self-publishing, so why bother with an editor?

Well, it’s up to you, but almost all books that sell well have been expertly edited and proofread.

It’s your choice.

11. You rushed into publishing.

This is the single biggest reason why so many self-published books fail to sell.

Rushing into hitting the publish button after finishing the first draft of a manuscript is a sure fire way to total disaster.

Wait, edit, get beta readers, get an editor. Wait again. Edit, read, edit, improve and get more beta readers.

Wait until you have built a solid social media base and have a great blog working for you to promote your forthcoming book.

Wait until you have everything right.

Publishing is not a race. Remember that most publishers take a year or more to prepare a book for publishing.

Granted, you’re self-publishing so you have an advantage. You can probably do it in nine or even six months.

This list could, of course, be much longer, but these eleven traps are a good start.

Be an author.

Be prepared.

Be original.

But most of all, be meticulous.

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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

12 thoughts on “11 Mistakes New Self-Published Authors Make

  • Number 10 should be right up there at the top. You absolutely need an editor. Not a “second set of eyes” to proof your work. It’s worth the investment to hire a professional editor.

  • Would you call this a fairly complete list of the things one will spend six months working on after “finishing” a novel?

  • “You’re an author! Be one, and forget the boring real life daily details.”

    Yes – unless your day-to-day job is relevant to the book. If your book is called ‘How to Be The World’s Worst Car Salesman’, mentioning your job as a car salesman establishes your authority on the topic.

  • 6 and 7 are the two big mistakes I’ve made. I should not have said ‘I am a new author’ or ‘this is my first ever novel.’ I am an author and I write books. Thanks for ypur brilliant advice.

  • Agree with all you say here.

    *there’s a typo on point 8 title.

  • Wonderful tips. Thank you. I love your site

  • Thank you, Ellen. Happy to hear you find our site worthwhile.

  • This is the same regurgitated advice found within every so-called article on newbie self-publishing mistakes, and completely pointless advice to be tossing around after-the-fact. It would be a more productive use of your time and website if you advised people what mistakes to avoid ahead of time whilst on their journey to publication.

    But then again, that would be nothing new either, since there’s thousands of articles already on the subject on the thousands of blogs that all offer the same few tips.

    There’s no such thing as “new” writing and publishing advice, just the same-old same-old regurgitated nonesense on all blogs these days. Where have the informative and interesting websites gone? Too many blogs and too much repetition on the same topics makes for a redundant and boring read.

  • I just found you and love your information! I a published author but still very green in marketing. Thank you for your insights! P.S.


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