Tuesday, May 1, 2012

5 Common mistakes to avoid when self-publishing

Many of us stumble into the world of self-publishing with not much of an idea of what we are getting ourselves into.  We have to figure out formatting, websites, blogging and marketing, all of which makes the writing process a piece of cake in comparison.  Katie Salidas, author of the very handy Go Publish Yourself, shares the 5 common mistakes to avoid when self-publishing.
5 Common mistakes to avoid when self-publishing

New authors are often chomping at the bit to get their books out into the market. I understand this. I was there once, and it led me to make many mistakes as I stumbled through the murky waters of self-publishing. Back then there were fewer resources out there to inform the new and uninitiated.  Fast forward to today, after publishing many more books, I’ve begun to share the knowledge I’ve learned through trial and error.  Go Publish Yourself is a handy-dandy little guide that can help you avoid many of the common mistakes as you work to publish your novel.
So, let’s take a quick look at some of the most common mistakes to avoid when attempting to self-publish.

1 - Forgetting To Write A Budget
Something that most new authors don’t know until they’ve already jumped in feet first; it’s easy to go broke trying to publish your first book. So before you take any steps in the production of your book, sit down and create a budget.

Your product (your book) is a direct reflection of the work you’ve put into it and the money you’ve put into producing it. While it is important for you to produce the best-looking book you can, you still have to remain cost-conscious. You have to find the balance between quality and affordability.

Though self-publishing suggests DIY (Do It Yourself), most of us are not able to do all of the things required to create a book. That’s okay. In most cases you won’t be able to do it all, and for some things, like editing, you shouldn’t. You’ll probably have to contract out for things like cover art, editing, layout (in some cases), and so on.

All the money you spend toward the production of your book is a gamble. Remember this. There is no guarantee your book will sell, no matter how much money you throw into it. I’m not trying to suggest that you won’t make any money on your book, but you do need to be very realistic in your goals and keep a very level head where costs are concerned. You should never go into these separate contract works with a blank check mentality. Spending $500 on a book cover might not be the smartest decision, even if the artwork is spectacular. That $500 will have to be made up in sales (along with all of your other production costs) before your book can begin to make you money. All costs need to be weighed out carefully. You should always be on the lookout for “the best bang for your buck.”

2 - Skipping The Editor
Self-publishing originally received its dirty image because of the lack of quality associated with it. In the early days of self-publishing, access to quality editors was expensive. Authors who couldn’t afford good editing couldn’t produce a nice clean product. That reflected badly on the author and self-publishing in general. Now that self-publishing has become more popular, so too have freelance editors. And they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Self-Publishing Website Guide - http://www.risingsignbooks.net/2012/03/self-publishing-website-guide.html
Quick Tip - Don’t use a freelance editor who doesn’t offer a free sample. If you can’t “try before you buy,” then don’t use them.

And, No, your mom, sister, friend, critiquing partner, or beta reader, no matter how much of an avid reader they may be, is not an editor. Hire a real editor.

3 - If You’re Not An Artist, Don’t Do The Cover Yourself
We’re writers; that doesn’t mean we’re graphic artists. It’s okay to NOT be a graphic artist. If you don’t have the skills to do it, don’t do your own cover.

Yes, people do judge a book by its cover. Book browsers will only give a book a few seconds’ glance. A good cover can draw potential readers in, whereas a poorly designed cover can send them running for the hills. It is for this reason alone that you should consider hiring out for the cover art work.

You could purchase a royalty-free photo and slap your name and book title on it, but is that going to wow a reader who is browsing book shelves? 9 times out of 10 the answer here is no. And that’s ok. Just like with editing, cover art is a lot more widely available now. It doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to get a beautiful cover.  And again I’ll point you to my handy website guide.
Self-Publishing Website Guide - http://www.risingsignbooks.net/2012/03/self-publishing-website-guide.html

4 - Forgetting The Marketing Plan
Who are you going to get to buy your book? Friends and family will only take you so far, and many of them are more moral support than financial. Don’t be surprised if only a select few members of your friends and family actually purchase your book. Hey, it happens.

Forgetting to write out a plan of action leads many new authors to using the spam approach in their efforts to reach new readers. That kind of marketing just pisses people off. This is why you need to sit down and set out guidelines, on paper, to establish who your audience is and how you plan to reach them. I do offer a sample marketing plan in Go Publish Yourself!

5 - Hanging Your Hopes All On One Book
Not every book is going to be a bestseller! Let’s just rip that band-aid off right now. That means that no matter how much you throw into a book and its marketing, it may not make it big. Try your best and do everything you can, but don’t sink all of your hopes into just one book. An author’s career is based on all of their work, not just one title. So keep on writing while you work to promote your first book.

So, there you have it, the top 5 mistakes to avoid on the path to Self-Publishing. I want to thank you so much for reading, and if you want to check out my other novels, you can find me at

Go Publish Yourself!

Self-Publishing made simple. Get your polished novel ready for Kindle, Nook, or Print in thirty days or less.
Avoid the common stumbling blocks and get on the road to successful self-publishing. This handy dandy guide, filled with insider’s tips and tricks, will unscramble the world of self-publishing into simple, easy-to-follow steps.
What’s in the book?
Common Misconceptions
The Business of Self-Publishing
Basic Costs & Budgeting
Publishing Formats: Epub, Kindle, Smashwords, & Print
Cover Art
Interior Layout
Printing and Distribution
Marketing Basics: Platform Building, Book Signings, Blog Tours, etc.
And much more!
Don’t make rookie mistakes. Learn from an insider!

Katie Salidas is an author with several successful self-published titles. Each of her titles was created in the DIY (Do It Yourself) style, without the aid of author service companies. Through trial and error she has gained the knowhow to successfully publish print and ebooks. Go Publish Yourself! has that knowledge assembled into an easy-to-use format, packed with no-nonsense tips and quick and dirty tricks, so you can take your novel to the next level.

So, what are you waiting for? Go Publish Yourself!

Katie Salidas:

I am Super Mom!

Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, I can get the munchkin off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons. I can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, I still find time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). I can do all of this and still have time to write my novels.

Sorry… I can’t even write that with a straight face.

Lies all lies.

Here’s the reality. I’m a sleep-deprived, overworked, mom who just doesn’t know the meaning of the word balance. I try so hard to do it all, (be super mom, wife, & author) and at the end of the day I fall face forward into the couch.

Yes, you read that right, I tend to sleep on the couch. It’s a point of frustration for my hubby and a thing of comedy for my daughter. Imagine waking up to your little child yelling, “Mom slept on the couch again!!!”
Because being supermom (or trying to) means a lot of time devoted to family, writing is often done when said family is peacefully snoozing away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen asleep with my laptop, on the couch. It just happens. Then, bright and early at 7am either my hubby (on his way to work) or my daughter (getting ready for school) wakes me up.

Writing is my passion. It’s a part of me. More than just a hobby, it’s a compulsion. I have to do it. If I don’t do at least one writing related thing each day I get cranky.

Hopefully, my passion can be your entertainment!


Nancy Hinchliff said...

Hi Cindy, Enjoyed the post...lots of helpful information. Although I've chosen to go the traditional route with my memoir first, if it doesn't work, I'm planning on self publishing. Appreciate your advice.
And, BTW it's really nice to see you around on SheWrites on a regular basis.

Laurel Rogers said...

Hi Cindy,
I'm following you on HubPages and found your Blogger account-thought I'd give your writing a look-see, and I am most impressed with what you have to offer. Information and advice are what I am looking for.
I am currently in the middle/ending phase of an online scam and have been trying to maintain my personal identity as well as the $99-'investment' that I-now shamefully-willingly almost let them have.
Thank God that I felt somewhat strange about this woman who phoned me, praising my writing skills, etc. and no money changed hands, but I intended for them to debit my credit card for said money tomorrow morning. Willingly, Cindy.
I feel like an absolute moron for falling for such glowing words and I suppose, needed to hear this from some stranger.
It was quite well done, I must say, and my drive to write was reinforced by this person.
Finding these articles of yours has helped me enormously since my confidence as a writer has taken a severe hit. I am awestruck that I fell for such a thing.
I almost lost my confidence/drive, and will be more careful in the future. I must retain my sense of self-esteem, it's taken a hit, too.
I'll probably send you an email if I have any questions. Would you mind? You can contact me if you'd like at laurel.6@hotmail.com.
Thank you,

Cindy Vine said...

Nancy, nice to see you around again. Good luck with your book!
Laurel, my email is cinfam@gmail.com. You're welcome to cvontact me if you have any questions.

Elizabeth said...

Stopping by from the list for the tour of SHADES OF MURDER. I will stop back when you have your review done. I have read the first two books of Lauren Carr's. You will love the characters and the storyline.

Nice to meet you.

Stopping by for a look around.



Silver's Reviews


Cindy Vine said...

Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth. Unfortunately I never received a copy of the book to review!