ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Top Five Mistakes Self-Published Authors Make

Updated on July 6, 2016

A self-published author assumes all the responsibilities that have traditionally been reserved for dedicated experts. Obviously, producing a great book is a given, but a self-published author must also assume a variety of roles, and each one is critical to ensure a successful book launch and enduring sales. Emerging authors who are unfamiliar with the process should take note of the top 5 mistakes self published authors often make.

Overlooking the Importance of Editing

Poorly edited books not only negatively impact the individual author, but they affect the efforts of the self-publishing community as a whole. In fiction, when readers stumble over misspellings and awkward grammar, it interrupts the experience and jolts them out of their suspended disbelief. For non-fiction, a poorly edited book with numerous typos can cause the reader to question your credibility. It’s almost impossible to edit your own work because of your familiarity with the subject matter. You need a qualified person who can find issues with storyline, factual discrepancies, typos, grammar problems and other inconsistencies.

Having an Amateurish Book Cover

A book cover provides the sizzle that motivates readers to consider buying your book. While you may find a great image and want to fire up Photoshop, resist the temptation. Professional graphic designers have years of schooling and experience, and they understand how to blend the elements of color, font and image together to create a compelling cover. Authors typically like to have control over every aspect of their book’s development, but this often leads to placing too many distracting objects all over the cover. You may like your work, but your readers may think its crude and cringe worthy. Always budget at least $500 for a professional cover design.

Don’t Oversell or Undersell Your Book

For some reason, self published authors seem to slide to either extreme when it comes to book sales and marketing. Either they have an absolute phobia for promoting their book, or they self-promote to the point of annoyance. Spamming with endless twitter feeds, Facebook Posts, emails and other social media outlets with an endless barrage of “Buy My Book!” messages will not help you develop a loyal fan base. In fact, the exact opposite is most likely to happen. It’s important to always consider how you would feel if you were exposed to your own marketing tactics.

Conversely, publishing your book and then hiding in the den won’t work either. Unfortunately, many authors don’t exhibit confidence in their work and appear to be almost apologetic. Readers want you to believe in yourself. After all, if you don’t think your work is worthy of their time, why should they?

Failing to Develop a Book Marketing Campaign

The success of your book will be directly proportional to the degree it has been appropriately marketed to its target audience. Read the last statement as many times as it takes to settle in. Marketing efforts must be well-planned and proactive. No matter how well written your book may be, it won’t sell if no one is aware of it. The book publishing process is similar to starting a new business. It requires a significant amount of time and effort. In some cases it may require a financial investment. Marketing efforts should be focused on a targeted audience that was established prior to the release of your book.

Failing to Write a Second Book

In a 2012 blog post, author Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote, “[I]ndie writers who promote their book instead of writing the next book are wasting their time. The more books you’ve written, the more books you’ll sell. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s always worked.”

While the tangible benefits of book promotion and marketing can be debated, no one can argue with the fundamental precept that multiple titles will help raise the sales of all your books. In essence, readers who finish a good book almost always look at the author’s page to see what other offerings are available.

The absolute best time to make a new sale is when a reader has just finished one of your books. Authors often spend a great deal of time futilely promoting a single release while neglecting their next book. Your new book should be started as soon as “The End” is written on the last page of your current book. Ultimately, it’s a game of numbers, which is why so many authors focus on writing a series. However, it is important to recognize the viability of your concept within a series. There are countless ideas that worked well in a single edition but failed to capture the same intensity in future releases. In those cases, the strategy backfired, and the audience and sales actually declined.

Maximize Your Time, Money and Effort

Avoiding common self-publishing mistakes can save you time, money and aggravation as you begin to understand the process. Always look for the advice of experts who have already had success in self publishing. Most self-published authors with high best seller page rankings are willing to share their knowledge and will be flattered by your inquiry. The path to success with your book won't be easy, but it's important to remember that most authors give up much too quickly. Use this to your advantage and stay focused and committed. If your book is good enough, you will find an audience.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)