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5 Mistakes to Avoid Before Self Publishing

Are you an indie author who has been writing your book for months or even years? If you are, you’re in good company as there are plenty of us! Analysis paralysis and/or overwhelm can often cause unnecessary delays on the way to publication. It often feels like there’s lots to consider/worry about! However, I personally think there are just 5 main mistakes to avoid before self publishing, and I’ve listed them below.

5 Mistakes to Avoid Before Self Publishing

1) Procrastinating

“I wonder how many incredible book series there are out there that readers will never get to enjoy because the author gave up on their dream. I bet my favourite book in the world was never even published. Don’t let that be your story. Finish what you started.” – Caleb Robinson @write_or_left

Does this quote resonate with you? Agonising over your manuscript for months or years, out of fear of criticism, or due to imposter syndrome, or whatever else, is pointless. We often learn best by doing, so endless procrastination will not a published author make. Yes, the possibility of negative feedback is terrifying, but by avoiding some of the other mistakes in this blog, you should have a quality product ready to share with the world.

2) Rushing

Conversely, rushing to publish can also be detrimental. There’s a LOT to learn when it comes to self publishing, although it seems quite simple: write a book and publish it, right? Well, actually, there’s much more to it than that, IF you want to be taken seriously as an author.

It’s important to work through the following pre-publishing stages once you’ve written your book:

  • self editing (prior to sending the manuscript to a professional editor)
  • professional editing
  • editing revisions (after receiving the manuscript back from a professional editor)
  • professional proofreading
  • formatting/typesetting
  • commissioning a genre appropriate cover (either from a professional cover designer or a premade cover site if your budget is tight)

Some of these stages may take a lot longer than others but giving your manuscript the time and attention it deserves will be worth it in the end.

3) Not researching options

Before you self publish, you’ll need to make a lot of decisions and it’s better if they are informed decisions. This involves researching your options and choosing your preferences based on what will work best for you and your book.

A few considerations:

What choices will you make for your external elements, for example book size, cover design and pricing?

What choices will you make for your internal elements, for example font choice, margin widths and the order and content of your front and back matter pages?

It’s also important to consider the post-publishing stages:

What choices will you make for your author platform, for example will you publish exclusive to Amazon or will you publish wide?

Which social media platforms are your ideal readers likely to be on and which one(s) do you actually enjoy using the most?

Just having an idea about these things will help you to feel more in control when publication day arrives.

4) Skipping essential pre-publishing stages

It goes without saying that you want your published book to become a permanent asset you are extremely proud of. If you want it to sell (well), it must be presented as professionally as possible. As mentioned previously, this means having it professionally edited, proofread and formatted, with a good quality cover, in order to give it its best chance of achieving sales success and receiving positive reviews.

Skipping any of these essential stages will mean your book is published faster, but it might not reflect well on you as the author. As the sayings go: you never get a second chance to make a first impression and why do worse when you can do better? As a self published author, it’s always possible to correct mistakes in published works, but getting it right the first time means you won’t have to.

5) Not planning a post-publication celebration

Publishing a book is a BIG deal! Don’t make the mistake of not planning to celebrate such an amazing milestone in your life and your author career. Many authors simply start writing the next book, which is brilliantly productive and business minded, but marking the milestone is important. Whether it’s public or private (if you’re writing under a pen name, for example), a celebration is in order! Here are some ideas:

  • Frame your book cover and hang it pride of place.
  • Treat yourself to something delicious, for example personalised cupcakes or biscuits, or your favourite meal.
  • Create a photo memory/scrap book celebrating your book writing process and all its milestones along the way.
  • Treat yourself to new clothing/jewellery/a fancy pen that will serve as a permanent reminder of your achievement.
  • Send yourself flowers and/or a bottle of something fizzy as per the publication day tradition of publishing houses.

If ‘5 mistakes to avoid before self publishing’ has been helpful, let me know in the comments! Additionally, check out these related posts:

How to stay motivated when writing

How to write a blurb for your self published book

10 self publishing terms indie authors should know

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