So you finally finished your book and you are ready to hit publish – or so you think. You log into your Amazon account, navigate to Kindle Direct Publishing and within 20 minutes your book is pending to be published.
Great! Now you are on your way to become a famous author! Maybe you can be the new Stephen King or JK Rowling? Who knows?
Although a congratulations is in order – finishing a manuscript and a book are both big things to accomplish, you might find that hitting publish right after finishing your book might not have been the best idea.
Publishing a book is so much more than just hitting “upload”. Many authors make common mistakes that are easy to avoid BUT can hinder your book sales and thus your income.
I have made a comprehensive list of mistakes to avoid when publishing your book.
Not hiring a professional book cover designer
“I can just do it myself” or “I think my friend has Photoshop on his computer, I can just ask him!” are two irritating little sentences I hear almost every day. Many authors love to skimp on their book cover design – even though a bad design can literally tank their book and their sales.
First impressions are the most important when it comes to sales. The first impression a reader will have off your book will be the cover. That is why it is important that your cover looks professional and inviting. Putting some text on a picture in MS Paint does not cut it anymore, and using the kdp cover editor is even worse.
I know a lot of authors recommend using Canva for book covers – but canva has its limitations when it comes to design and not many authors can make it look neat and crisp. I would recommend Canva for marketing materials, but please do not make your book cover on Canva.
In fact: Please do not try to make your book cover yourself unless you have extensive designing knowledge. Colours, characters, backgrounds and lettering all play an integral part in the design of a book cover and thus it is very important to let a professional design your cover.
Premade covers do not have to be expensive. You can easily find a premade cover for $20 or less.
You did not optimize your book description
When you write your book description you need to take care of both hooking the reader and making sure your book is searchable! What does this mean?
Well first of all that your book description or your book blurb needs to be very interesting, mysterious and it needs to make a reader want to read more.
But you also need to keep in mind that the search functions of book shops work like a search engine. They look at the description of books and than match these to the search terms or keywords used by the customer. For instance when you wrote a cookbook about chicken called “bird in the hand” (which is a great cookbook about chicken by the way) but you never mentioned in your blurb that it is a cookbook focussed on chicken dishes, your book will not come up when a customer looks for “chicken cookbook”.
So how to optimise your book blurb when you are writing fiction? Well when looking at self-published bestsellers you might notice that many of them have a description of some sorts after their blurb. This means that the blurb is the very first thing the customers see, while the description helps the website and the search function categorise the book and match it to search requests.
You did not do any market analyses
When you just want to write your story and you don’t really care about sales, that’s okay… but I guess that if this was the case you would not be reading this article 😉
When you write a book you probably want people to read the book. You probably want to make a pretty penny of your writing or even become a bestselling author?
Well, that is where market analyses comes in the picture. Before writing and marketing your book you need to be sure that there are people that actually want to read your book. Otherwise, your book might be the best book in the world, if nobody is interested in reading it, you will not sell anything.
So before you start, try to do some market research in your niche. What attracts people. What kind of main characters do people like to read about? What subcategorie in your niche is on the rise? And what do the covers of these bestselling books look like?
Try and get a complete image of what readers are looking for in a good book and then try to write that good book!
Not hiring an editor
When you self-publish you need to do or finance everything yourself. This means that a lot of authors tend to slack on hiring an editor. That is a big mistake!
“I can edit the book myself.” Or even worse: “My friend studied English, she will edit the book.” … I hear them every day. Where this kind of bullshit used to make my blood boil, I now try to stay calm and explain that in doing so they might hinder their book sales and ultimately their efforts in becoming a full-time of best-selling author.
The editing process is not just finding and correcting spelling mistakes, it is writing and rewriting sentences, making sure your story makes sense and eliminating boring or superfluous scenes. A professional editor can help and support you throughout this whole process. They know what customers are looking for, they can help you sculpt a professional and well-written book.
But what happens when you don’t hire an editor?
Well… customers will pick up on this. In fact, I have reviewed a few books in the past that were not professionally edited and they were horrible! Many customers will go out of their way to leave comments about spelling mistakes or editing ultimately damaging your ability to sell the book.
Not marketing your book
There seems to be this common misconception that if your book is good, it will market yourself. Where does this myth come from? How do I convince people that this is utter bullcrap?
When you want to sell copies of your book, people need to know that your book exists. You can’t buy something you do not know exists. That is why marketing your book is very important and gives you an instant edge over authors that do not want to market their book.
There are multiple ways to market your book: through bloggers, through social media, through ads… I would set aside a certain amount for marketing each and every month in order to give your book a sustained momentum. Try to divide your time between blogger outreach, posting on social media and running ads.
If you need help with marketing your book I can highly recommend contacting thebookmarketingexpert.com