Common Mistakes To Avoid While Self-Publishing for the First Time

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is the most popular method of publishing today. It offers complete autonomy to writers over their work. The self-publishing method offers independence from mainstream publishers and allows you the chance to earn a greater share of the profits. Technology has contributed to the growing self-publishing movement. Authors can evade the heavily monopolized networks established by publishing houses. They can reach their audience directly through online channels. However, if you’re looking to self-publish for the first time, the process can appear daunting. Knowing where you could go wrong can ensure that your book is published seamlessly. The following blog discusses 5 such errors that you can avoid making as a first-time writer entering the self-publishing world.

Not doing enough research and market analysis

While self-publishing offers independence, it also means greater responsibility for the writer. It is up to you to familiarize yourself with publishing know-how. This entails doing extensive research and surveying the market thoroughly. It is important to understand the self-publishing process as a whole. This will help you know what to expect and how to reap maximum benefit from it. In terms of market research, focus on some key areas. This includes figuring out which books are selling best and why. Identify your key demographic and know how to reach them. Recognize your competitors and how you compare to them. Insufficient research can impact your budget, print quality, ability to market and even the reach of your newly published book.

Choosing an unsuitable platform

As the self-publishing industry grows, there is an abundance of platforms that allow you to publish your book. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of options in front of you. The key is to identify which platform best suits your needs. Some platforms and publishing companies are suitable for print books while others excel in publishing ebooks. Begin researching which platform is best for you. Some are effective if you have a global audience while others are especially good when marketing and selling your book within a particular country. Keep in mind the following when researching potential platforms:

  • What genre does your book fall under?
  • How big is your target readership?
  • What are your sales goals?
  • What is your budget?
  • Which publishing format (print, ebook, or audiobook) are you aiming for?

It is important to take adequate time to research available options and determine the best platform for your book. Some popular self-publishing platforms are Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes and Noble Press, Rakuten Kobo, among others.

Rushing through the editing process

After you’ve finished writing your first draft, the crucial step of editing prepares your book for success. The editing phase requires the most attention as the process of editing whittles down words and emotions to retain only the best. Give as much importance to the editing process as you do to your writing. Many authors feel pressured to adhere to their timelines and end up rushing through the editing process. Poor editing can lower the quality of your book and your credibility as a writer. When you publish a book that wasn’t ready to be published, it reflects in your writing. Editing your book to its best version can be painstaking. Thus, it often helps to have another pair of eyes examine your work. Self-publishing doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re alone. There are plenty of experienced professionals who can assist you during the editing process. An editor will ensure your book is free of micro-issues like grammar, spelling, and stylistic errors. They will also help you trouble-shoot larger problems with character development, plot, pace, structure, and theme.

Designing your book cover without professional help

While every reader may not judge a book solely by its cover, a well-designed cover can certainly make an impact. Your book cover essentially invites the reader into your world. Thus, your cover must make a good first impression. A common mistake made by first-time writers is self-designing the cover instead of hiring a professional. Moreover, while it may be tempting to save pennies by using a prefabricated stock cover, it is best to avoid doing so. Stock art is mostly generic and lacks the visual appeal to draw readers in. Hire a graphic designer who can help create your custom book cover. In this way, you can offer creative input while leaving the detailed and sophisticated design up to the professionals. A well-designed and appealing book cover can increase the sales of your book.

Not writing a compelling blurb

A book blurb is a short yet descriptive account of the book that is featured on the back cover. The blurb includes any information that represents the book best without revealing the plot. When self-publishing a solidly written book blurb is the most important selling tool. After the cover design creates intrigue, readers turn to the back of the book to see if it’s meant for them. To catch a potential reader’s attention, it is necessary to write an impactful book description. Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind to convert a reader into a potential buyer-


  • Keep it short 
  • Refer to the genre and central theme
  • Create intrigue around the main conflict
  • Introduce your protagonist briefly


  • Give away any spoilers
  • Give a summary of the first chapter
  • Open with “In a world,” or any other overused phrase
  • Compare yourself to other writers or your book to other books

Self-publishing is an exciting and rewarding process. When you’re doing it for the first time, it’s only natural to encounter challenges. However, the process has a learning curve that will allow you to ace it when you do it the next time. Thus, the best way to master it is to give it a try. When you’re ready with your manuscript, consider the above points. Once you know what pitfalls to avoid, you can self-publish your book with confidence.

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