Self-publishing mistakes

3 ways to waste good writing and editing

So you’ve had your manuscript professionally edited. That decision marks you as an author who understands self-publishing means assuming responsibility for professional-quality editing and revision. Great start!

But the finish line is still quite a long, dusty trek ahead. While your budget may still be stinging from editing—it’s one of the biggest costs of your production process, after all—don’t half-step the rest. Readers will spot half-hearted production from a mile away. No matter how good what lies between the covers of your book may be, readers will turn up their noses at a sloppy presentation—or worse, they’ll never spot your book among the logjam of new titles at all.

3 self-publishing mistakes to avoid

Now that the hard work of editing and revision is behind you, don’t close up shop and consider your work done. Professional-quality presentation and getting your book into the hands of the right readers are both part of your job. As a self-published author, you don’t have the luxury of sitting back to say “Oh, I’m a creative, not an entrepreneur.” If you skip these steps now, all your hard work of writing and editing will be for naught.

Don’t fall for these shortcuts and half-steps.

1. No proofreading Now that you’ve completed your revisions, you’re intimately familiar with the sheer volume of revisions, comments, rewrites, and choices that go into a polished manuscript. The more revisions you make, the higher the risk that there will be typos and errors in your manuscript. A fresh set of eyes is the best way to make sure everything comes out clean. You might be able to cut costs by crowdsourcing your proofreading, or you might prefer to choose a professional proofreader. I often help clients review their volunteer proofreaders’ suggestions, and I can recommend several trusted colleagues who provide clean, professional proofreading.

2. Limp cover art Artwork from a friend who doesn’t understand the selling points of an effective novel cover will doom your book before readers ever pick it up. Cover art shouldn’t be a literal interpretation of your story or your main character. It needs to set tone and mood using conventions universally recognized by readers as hallmarks of a professional product. It needs to look good at thumbnail size so readers will want to click on it to learn more. Look for more cover design resources on my publishing resources for authors page.

3. Wait-and-see marketing Here’s the real kiss of death for a self-published title: “I’m going to put it on Amazon and see how it does before I commit more money to it.” No marketing equals no visibility, and no visibility equals no readers. Don’t stop now! You’ll find plenty of resources to help you get started on my publishing resources for authors page.

Finishing the editing and revisions for your book marks a major production milestone, but keep the pedal to the metal. Blast through the steps that will make your book look like a professional product readers are willing to spend money and reading time on. You’re almost there.

Lisa Poisso, Editor and Book Coach

Understanding how stories work changes everything. I’ll show you how to back up your creative instincts so your ideas hit home. It’s time to accelerate your journey from aspiring writer to emerging author. 

Ready to get serious about your book? Apply to work with me.

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