10 Things You Should Never Do When Self-Publishing Your Novel

Written by A Guest Author | December 11, 2015

Written By Savanna Williams

If you’ve never self-published a book before, it’s easy to fall prey to a lot of faulty advice. Many people are eager to tell you “Just write, upload, and watch the money flow in!” If only it was that easy. Self-publishing is just as difficult as traditional publishing, just in its own unique ways. If this is your first time self-publishing, or your first few attempts didn’t go so well, you’ll want to consider these 10 things you should never do when self-publishing your novel!

You should never. . .

1. Make a Quick Cover

It can be tempting to get a quick book cover made, especially with all the free and inexpensive options available today. However, do know that a cover you create in 15 minutes or only pay $5 for is likely not to be very high quality. Given that your cover is the first thing a potential reader will see, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a good one!

2. Write a Quick Description

If you’ve managed to hook a possible reader with you beautiful cover, don’t lose them on the description! The short description of your story can make or break a reader’s decision to buy or download your book. Treat it with just as much care as you would a passage of your book itself. Nothing changes a potential reader’s mind faster than seeing typos or bad grammar in the description!

3. Forget to Promote Your Book

If you’re self-publishing, then you have to accept that you’ll also be self-promoting. And you’ll have to do it a lot, before and after you publish, using free social media and paid ads. Hoping that people just find and share your book on their own is something you should never do when self-publishing.

4. Wait for Reviews

Only a fraction of the people who read a book actually leave a review. This wouldn’t be so bad if reviews weren’t such a major part of selling a book. Rather than wait and hope that one of your first dozen readers leaves a review, give your book to some free review sites, ideally before it’s listed on Amazon. If the reviewers like your book enough, you’ll get a couple of nice, detailed reviews in the beginning!

5. Promote Your Book as Something Else

If you’ve written a book in a less than popular niche, you may be tempted to stretch the truth a little when writing your description or promoting it. Don’t do this. It will lead people who actually read your book to write bad reviews, claiming the description was misleading.

6. Trust Your Beta Reader Completely

It’s likely your beta reader isn’t a professionally trained editor. It’s also likely that they won’t be able to catch every error in your manuscript. If you think that you can just fix your final draft based on their feedback, you may be in for a surprise. Always read your book once more before publishing, just in case there’s anything left that your beta didn’t see.

7. Buy a Digital Publishing Package

These are often expensive, but not often worth the money. If you’ve ever self-published a book, you know that compiling and uploading your book isn’t really that difficult. But there are many websites online that will try to scare you into paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to format your book and publish it on different platforms for you, something that actually would only take you a few hours.

8. Ignore Your Audience

Ignoring your audience/fans is something you should never do when self-publishing. When appropriate, reply to reviews, questions, and comments on websites and social media.

9. Respond Negatively to Criticism

Not everyone is going to love your book. That’s just the way it is. Some criticism may actually be helpful, while the rest is just the result of contrasting personal tastes. However you view bad reviews, don’t get angry and respond negatively. There’s nothing less appealing than seeing a writer responding angrily to a negative review, especially if they do so in an insulting manner.

10. Forget About Your Next Book

One of the major things you should never do when self-publishing your novel is to forget your next novel! You’ve got the rest of your life to promote your current books. So don’t opt to spend all day tweeting about your current novel and leave no time to work on your next one!

If you watch out for these 10 things, your self-publishing efforts are sure to be successful. And if they’re not, don’t worry. You can always try again with your next book. Just keep writing!

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Bio: Savanna Williams is a freelance writer and fiction book author for hire. She has self-published her own book titled “Jingle Bells.” She’s been published on A Lust for Life, A Cultivated Nest, and Your Escape from 9 to 5. She currently blogs about books and writing tips on her website SavannaWilliams.com