The average print self-published book sells about 100-150 copies – and most of these are to friends and family. Many self-pub companies will proof your manuscript but fail to do substantial edits. They sell you marketing plans that seem impressive but do not generate sales Again, most self published books sell 300 copies or less. “Rather than publish hundreds of thousands of copies of a few books, Lulu’s mission is to publish 100 copies of 100,000 books.”~ Publishers Weekly
Mistake #2 -Get a Friend or Family Member to Design the Cover
Sure, you know someone who is a graphic designer, but do they know the CreateSpace specs? Have they worked with a Lightening Source template? Do they know the top three colors that sell women’s books? Are they experts in font design, interior layout, and know what current book designs are trending?
Mistake #3 -Fail to Hire a Content Editor
Critique groups are great but you need two and possibly three editors on every book. If you are going to spend your money hire a content editor to give you macro and micro edits. (Preferably one that has actually worked for a publishing house.) Follow up with a proof editor to catch all the grammar and odd phrasing. Enlist sharp-eyed friends to be your beta readers. Only then are you ready to consider self-publishing.
Mistake #4 -Think the Book Will Sell Itself
No book sells itself. As the author, you are responsible for the care and feeding of your book. No one else cares for your book the way you do. If God placed this story on your heart then do not abandon it at birth. This is your baby; care for it!
Mistake #5 -Try to Sell to Bookstores
Bookstores do not want your self-published book. They want income, and lots of it. That’s why they sell items other than books. If a bookstore agrees to carry your book or allow you to hold a book signing they are doing YOU a favor. Be gracious, thank them, but do not expect a bookstore to make your book a best seller.
Mistake #6 -Price Your Book to High
You are not Nicholas Sparks or John Grisham so do not expect the consumer to pay top dollar for your book. You may think your book is worth $14.95 but the consumer determines the perceived value of your book. Create an attractive entry-level price, grow legs under your book, and increase the price only after your book has sold hundreds.
Mistake #7 -No Kindle Version of Your Book
You will make more money selling Kindle copies of your book than you ever will selling print. Kindle copies cost less to produce and produce more income for you. Once you understand this you are miles ahead of most authors.
Mistake #8 -Think a Major Publisher Will Want Your Self-Published Book
They will not. You gave birth to a book. It is yours. A large publisher does not want your book unless it has sold thousands – as in twenty to thirty thousand. And if you self-published and sold thirty thousand copies and made $1.50 profit on each sale why would you WANT to give a publisher 70% of that profit?
Mistake #9 -Publish a Poorly Written Book
Sometimes an editor cannot fix a manuscript and some books should never be published. First novels, even second and third, are seldom ready for publication. But the allure of self-publishing remains. Fight the urge to see your name in print. Instead, learn the craft. Go to conferences. Sit under faculty who have sold to major houses. Learn from their mistakes – not yours.
Mistake #10 – Ignore Mistakes 1-9 and Think Your Book is the Exception
It is not. The Shack was an exception – and still needs a good content editor. Writing, publishing, and selling a book is hard work. You want it to be hard. Otherwise, all books – even great books – would sell for a penny. Accept that you will have to write a great book, market it, hire editors, cover and book designers, beg for Amazon reviews and be satisfied selling 20 Kindle copies a month for a long time before readers recognize your book is worth $3. Accept that truth and you might be ready to self-publish.