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12 Mistakes to Avoid when Self-Publishing

You wrote a book and you're ready to publish. That is a really awesome accomplishment!

The reality of the publishing industry is pretty simple:

It is crowded!

It is constantly changing!

Everyone has an opinion on the right way to publish!

I don't think there is ONE right way to publish and I say that having published in two different formats within my publishing career. I started with a vanity press and have switched to my own indie-publishing. And note, that's still different than self-publishing!

If you're not familiar with all the difference, check out my post: To Self Publish or Not Pt 1

So if you're jumping into any publishing, this will be helpful. But it will be extra helpful to my self, indie, & vanity publishing friends!


DON'T-- Stick to your genre alone!

Get connected to other authors in other genres. They aren't your competition and they'll have other insights to teach you that your genre doesn't focus on or know about.


DON'T-- Undervalue a good trend!

Be authentic and don't hop on all trains because it worked for someone else. But don't get staunchy about trendy new things. You need to stay relevent. Don't like reels. Too bad, they're trendy right now.


DON'T-- forget to brand your books!

Know what your brand is clearly and build on that. This can be the thing that sets you apart. I am Dreambuilt Books. My brand is strong books for strong kids that support literacy and inclusivity. I'm not shy about that. People know they can expect that in my books.


DON'T-- Go cheap with your ISBN

Buy your ISBN. You don't have to. Again, no ONE way to publish. But if no one told you yet, bookstore KNOW when you didn't pay for these and it can set you apart in a negative way and make you look like an amateur. You're not, so I always recommend the spend.


DON'T-- Publish a book no one else has ever edited.

And when I say edited, an honest edit. Don't trust anyone who looks at it and doesn't provide you with something to consider or fix. My beta readers give it to me straight and that helps me put a quality book on the shelves. You can see the difference in my books from when I didn't to now. It matters.


DON'T-- Rely on Family & Friends alone

You need to build an audience that doesn't know you personally, so start now and always work on that. Social media, Email list, and website. If you want more sales, you need more people. It's that simple.


DON'T--Fool yourself into thinking you learned it all

You didn't. I'm sorry, but I'm also not. The publishing industry is constantly evolving and changing with processes, tools, marketing, etc. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn.


DON'T-- Undervalue Facebook Groups

I mean, find the right one. Some are annoying and not helpful, but get involved in a good Facebook group community. Don't be afraid to leave ones that are negative and keep trying new ones until you find a good fit. They can be some of your best educators & allies.


DON'T-- Make a web presence and bail!

You need a complete and pretty website. You need a complete and image filled Facebook page. Those are the minimum. I won't work with anyone I can't find a solid website and Facebook page for, because I don't trust that you're serious. Most consumers behave in the same way.


DON'T-- Sell, Sell, Sell!

No one likes a constant sales pitch. Talk about the book and the reviews and the reason you wrote it. Sell the story around the book and how it could help your customer.


DON'T-- Trust "Too Good To Be True"

Double check and find reviews or ask around. Don't dole out money without the proper research. There are a lot of scams in festivals, reviews, and publishing houses. Be smart.


DON'T-- Give up without a fight!

There is a lot that goes in. More than most people know, but you're not alone and you have resources, so when you're at your wit's end and you're exhausted, start talking with your author friends and your Facebook group. And if you're not willing to fight for your book, I'll be the one to say it: Then does anyone really NEED it on their shelf?

That's a hard pill to swallow, but if you are willing to let your book fall off the shelf without a fight, then I would have to question why you published in the first place. I know that I publish because I am passionate about teach strong life lessons and I think that when my book makes it in front of a reader, I can change their lives. I can't let that be wasted.

But if you're not passionate enough about your book & you don't want to fight, just publish and let it live where it is. That's okay, but know the difference and act accordingly. Being a published author is a dreamy title sometimes, but it is a lot more work than some people want. Again, that's okay, but then I wouldn't burn myself out worrying about sales either.

Don't be afraid to share your thoughts in the comments! I would love to chat with you!

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