If you are new to self-publishing, you might run into a few problems. Here are some easy fixes for you.
When you do something for the first time, it doesn’t always work out exactly as you might have planned. Publishing your first book is a very exciting time, but errors and problems can and often do happen.
But don’t panic. You can usually fix most of the common issues that come up after publishing without too much effort.
Some problems can be a result of rushing into publishing. While others can happen because you didn’t know how things worked.
But the good news is that there are very few things that you can’t fix or resolve after publishing.
1. You have two book sales pages on Amazon
When you publish with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), your book will be on its own sales page. If you only publish a Kindle ebook version there is no problem. Your book will appear within 24 hours.
If you publish a Kindle and a paperback version with KDP or Createspace, Amazon might not combine your two book pages.
Many new authors are unaware that this is not normal. Two separate sales pages will create huge problems and confusion for you and your potential book buyers when you promote your book.
You must have one page, so you can promote your book with only one link.
All versions of your book should be listed on only one sales page with price boxes, as shown below, displaying each version.
If you have published two versions of your book and they are not listed on the same page, contact KDP support through your dashboard.
Include the links to your two Amazon pages in your message and ask KDP support to combine them for you.
KDP normally completes this action within 24 – 48 hours.
2. Oops. There are typos and errors in my book and I forgot to add a sub-title!
Very often, in all the excitement of publishing your new book, things can get overlooked. Typos happen in the best of books, and small errors can escape even the sharpest pair of eyes.
Your book has some errors that you or someone else notices after going on sale. Perhaps you forgot to add a credit for the book cover image, or neglected to add page breaks between chapters of your ebook.
You only now realise how important your selection of categories and keywords are, but you selected them in a rush and your book is lost in a broad category.
You only now realise that a sub-title is very good for helping readers find your book with Amazon Search.
All of these issues can be fixed very quickly.
If you want to correct typos and errors in the text of your book, make the necessary edits in your manuscript. Then upload it and re-publish it on all your publishing platforms.
You can also change your categories and keywords at the same time, or you can do it as a separate re-publish.
If you want to add a sub-title, check with each of your publishing services. Some allow a simple change to be made in your book details, but others, like Apple, insist that the sub-title must appear on the cover.
In this case, you will need to add your sub-title to your book cover and upload it again for re-publishing. If you used a professional cover designer, they are usually prepared to help you with this but may charge you a little for the alteration.
3. You didn’t work on gaining book reviews before your book went on sale
There is nothing as frustrating as seeing zero book reviews on your book page. Reviews sell books, and selling books will get reviews. It’s a catch 22 situation.
Before publishing it is always best practice to organise reviews that will appear shortly after your book launch. But you didn’t know or forgot about this and now it’s too late.
It’s very hard work. You need to beg, grovel and plead for beta readers to help you with this. Plus, you need as many as you can get because not all will fulfil their promise. But it’s too late now.
Solution. But not so easy
No, it isn’t too late. But you will need to play catch up.
You need to have free copies of your ebook to send to beta readers. Start the process of begging, grovelling and pleading with friends, associates and your online social contacts to find willing beta readers.
Offering your ebook for free on Amazon for five days is a short lottery which rarely works now in getting reviews. You need to get personal and ask people directly.
Getting your free copies.
If you published on Smashwords or Draft2digital, download a copy of your ebook in both epub and mobi formats from your book page on either platform.
If you published on Amazon only, it does not offer this service. You will need to make your own ebook copy by converting your Word manuscript to both ebook file formats. You can find detailed instructions in this article on how to convert Word to epub and mobi.
Once you have your free ebook in both formats, you are ready to send out as many as you can. The more the better. It’s hard work, but you will get some book reviews out of it all.
How do I know? Because I have just been through this exact same process with the launch of one of my books in audiobook. My publisher got my new book up and on sale and then sent me my promo codes to give away free copies. So I went to work. And the good news is that after a few weeks, the book now has a nice little list of reviews.
You can read more about how to find beta readers in this article.
4. Sales are flat or non-existent on all retailers
Not every new book sells well. In fact, only a very small proportion do, and they are usually titles by established authors.
If your new book has been on sale on multiple ebook retailers for a few months and sales are disappointing, what can you do?
There are no magic silver bullets to fire because selling books is a tough business.
While I am not a lover of Amazon KDP Select, there are times when it can help in giving a book a little nudge in the right direction.
But before you rush to enrol, make sure you have a handful of reviews on your book on Amazon. Refer to problem 3.
Enrolling your ebook in KDPS will make it available on Kindle Unlimited. This can help in gaining page reads and earning some royalties. It could also help in getting a few more precious book reviews.
You can also use the five days when you can make your ebook free on the Kindle Store. This can help your sales ranking a little in the short term.
Try one enrolment period of 90 days to see if it helps in attracting page reads and ebook buyers. You can always go back to open distribution at the end of the period. See this article for details about entering and exiting KDP Select.
5. Your book cover is not that appealing. Sorry.
Book covers do sell books. Fantastic book covers can even help sell awful books. But an awful cover won’t help sell a great book.
You tried to save money and made your book yourself in Word, Paint or on Canva. Or perhaps you had a friend or relative do it for you for free.
If you look at your book cover (honestly) in thumbnail view among other books in your genre, does it really stand out, pop out, catch the eye and beg to be read? Look away and then look again and pick the first cover that catches your eye.
Ask friends or family to do the same.
If your book cover wasn’t the first choice. you need to change it. But look at which cover was most people’s first choice and note what is different.
This is a passage from another article on our site referring to analysing book covers. The whole article is here.
Your book cover
You know you need a great book cover and probably have one. But have you considered that the colour or font might be a problem?
Look at the top ranking books in certain genres. You will see that there is often a commonality about colours. For instance, science fiction books are generally dark, and very often blue.
For romance, pastel colours are predominant. For mystery and thriller, heavy and dark, with black shades are common.
What about your title font? Romance titles use a lot of fancy script fonts, whereas mystery and suspense use bold san serif fonts. But paranormal and fantasy often use fine serif fonts.
Compare your cover with the 50 top-selling titles in your genre. See if you can make your cover better suited to what readers expect.
Easy solution for a price
The quickest and easiest way to get an eye-popping book cover is to buy from or hire a professional book cover designer.
You can choose between a pre-made cover, which is the most economical way to go. Or you can have a cover custom designed, but this option can range from reasonably priced to very expensive so shop around.
A book is never a lost cause with self-publishing. There is always something that can be done to improve a book or to rectify mistakes. In some ways, it’s a process of continual improvement and making tweaks to help a book sell better.