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10 Self-Publishing Mistakes that Will Doom Your Book

Self-publishing is a huge opportunity for passive income but you’ll have to avoid some of the most common mistakes by new authors

Self-publishing is a huge opportunity and easily the most passive income stream I’ve found. In 32 months, I’ve published ten books, sold 13,918 copies and made over $37,000 self-publishing.

But the average self-published book sales less than $500, not a month, not a year but lifetime sales. It’s not because they aren’t good books. It’s because authors make mistakes in planning, developing and launching their books.

Fortunately, avoiding these self-publishing mistakes is easy and will lead to monthly income you can count on.

I’ve made over $21,000 just in the last 12 months off my self-published books.

And I was always just an average student in English and writing classes. Nothing special, believe me.

If I can do this, anyone can!

Watch the video or scroll down for the ten biggest mistakes authors make.

I’m going to be adding a lot more great work from home strategies to the YouTube channel this year including a weekly Q&A video to answer your questions about passive income and reaching financial independence.

I’m excited about reaching the community on a whole new level through these videos. Click through to subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss a single video.

Self-Publishing Mistake #1: Not Using a Blog Strategically

Creating even a simple blog is the easiest thing to do. It will give keep you on your writing schedule and give you a marketing channel for your books once they’re published.

Use this strategy for self-publishing.

Brainstorm your book idea and the chapters you want to write. Then write a chapter or two each week and post them to your blog as articles. After a few months, copy all the articles to a single document. Format the content for a book, add some new material and you’ve got your book written out.

Not only is it a great way to keep to your schedule but you can go through each blog post and put a callout and link to your Amazon page for the book. Your posts will start getting Google search traffic, drawing people interested in the topic and create a marketing funnel for book sales.

Self-Publishing Mistake #2: Not making a plan and schedule to publish your book

biggest self publishing mistakesIf there are four million books on Amazon, I bet there are 12 million people that started writing a book and never finished. Using the blogging strategy to write your book will help but you absolutely have to plan it out and write out a schedule.

Outline each chapter with as much detail as possible. What are other authors talking about in the topic? What are the most common questions readers have? Read through the reviews on similar books to see what readers wanted and didn’t get or what they really liked.

Creating a detailed outline with all the points you want to cover will make writing each chapter super-easy.

Find a place you can write without distractions. For a lot of people, this means late at night or even going to the library. Schedule at least a few hours a week and stick to it religiously.

Self-Publishing Mistake #3: Trying to edit the book themselves

I understand. It’s tough asking people to read your draft for editing and finding a professional editor costs money. Editing is the difference between making one sale a month and making 100.

You can have some great information but if there are a lot of grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, readers will just tear you apart in the reviews. Any book with less than a four-out-of-five star rating just isn’t going to make sales.

You’ll need at least two different edits for your book, a developmental edit and a copy edit.

The developmental edit makes sure everything makes sense and doesn’t leave questions unanswered. You can get someone that doesn’t know much about the subject to do this so they will be starting from scratch.

The copy edit is to catch all those grammar and spelling errors. You’ll be surprised how many errors are missed by Microsoft Word and other word processing software.

There are a few online editing tools that can help. There’s AutoCrit and the Hemingway App for developmental editing and Grammarly for copy editing. They will find 90% of your writing mistakes but you should still try getting at least a few people to help review your draft.

self publishing editing tools

Self-Publishing Mistake #4: Not getting a professional cover

This one sucks. It’s not enough that you wrote an amazing book. If the cover isn’t persuasive and exciting then people won’t buy it. Unfair but people do judge a book by its cover.

If you’re not creative and a whiz at graphic design, check out Fiverr to find cover designers. You can get cover ideas for $5 so what you want to do is get three to five different ideas. Then you put them all in a Facebook post and ask people to pick their favorite.

You’ll get feedback on your book covers and it’s a great way to find the fan favorite.

Self-Publishing Mistake #5: Writing a weak Amazon page

Amazon lets you write about 600 words in the description for your book plus you get multiple sections to add reviews and other sales content.

Why don’t people use this? It’s amazing but I see Amazon book descriptions all the time that are a couple hundred words long and wouldn’t convince me to buy a fire extinguisher if I was burning.

Understand that Amazon is a search engine just like Google. People use the little box at the top of the page to search for what they want. Amazon uses your description page to rank your book and put it in front of people that want to buy it.

Write out an article for your Amazon description page. Use section headers to put your keywords in and really target your customers. Tell them exactly what they’ll find in the book with persuasive bullet points and the exact page number it’s on.

Self-Publishing Mistake #6: Not directly asking friends and family to help with the launch

Your friends and family want to help you out but they aren’t going to do it without asking. This doesn’t mean posting on Facebook that you’ve got a book coming out and asking if people will review it. It means individually, one-by-one reaching out to them through email or messenger.

Even then, when you’ve asked people personally to review your book, you’ll still have to ask them again during the launch. People are busy and they just forget or they need an extra nudge. Launch your book for $0.99 and ask people to buy it before reviewing so you start getting ranked immediately.

Self-Publishing Mistake #7: Not getting at least 10 reviews during their launch

Amazon says that reviews don’t directly influence how your self-published book ranks but it is still a big factor.

Your sales are the biggest book ranking factor but how do you get sales? People see your book page and read reviews before they buy the book. The more reviews the better but readers have a subconscious trigger on that double-digit count for reviews. Having nine or fewer book reviews looks like a weak book. Having 10 or more reviews is a book people want to read.

I’d recommend lining up at least 15 reviews from friends and family over the first few days of your launch. A few might not come through so this will give you at least 10 to start with.

Self-Publishing Mistake #8: Pricing too low

Don’t price your book less than $3.99 on Kindle. Under $2.99 and you’ll only get 30% of the sale so is $0.89 really worth it? Launch for $0.99 to start ranking on the paid chart but then increase it within a week.

The sweet spot for ebooks seems to be between $3.99 to $5.99 per book. That seems to maximize your total sales through higher quantity and price.


Self-Publishing Mistake #9: Not creating an audio and paperback version

Creating a paperback version is nearly automatic and can be done from a pdf or Word version of your book. I’m always surprised how many people still want a paperback version when it’s about twice the cost of an ebook.

Don’t neglect audio either. For a non-fiction book, you can read it yourself and the process for getting it on Audible is easy. The company is owned by Amazon so you’ll get your audiobook offer on the same page as the other formats.

Audible offers a $50 bonus when someone downloads your book as part of their free trial. In just the last two years, I’ve sold 3,210 copies of audiobooks and gotten 46 of those bonus payments.

Self-Publishing Mistake #10: Quitting after one book flops

I’ve got lots of tips and tricks on planning a successful book on My Work from Home Money from picking topics that readers love to ranking in easy categories but some books just aren’t going to sell. I’ve got ten books self-published right now and average $2,000 a month on 650 copies sold but it’s not even across all books.

I’ve got a couple of books that only make about $100 a month while others will do between $300 to $600 a month. If you publish your first book and it doesn’t do well, don’t give up. Publish at least two more because there’s one that’s going to be a huge success. You’ve got it in you, you just have to let the numbers average themselves out.

Not only will understanding these ten self-publishing mistakes help you avoid publishing a book that flops but managing each will help you work your way through the publishing process. I make a third of my income from self-publishing and couldn’t work from home without it. You can be just as successful!

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