Chris A. Baird | January 11, 2023
3 Things To Avoid in Self-Publishing

There may be a lot of things you shouldn’t be doing when it comes to self-publishing. But let me tell you 3 of the most important things to avoid in self-publishing.

If you're looking to lose at self-publishing, well there are several things you can do to ensure that happens. That's one of the reasons why in today's article, we're going to talk about three things to avoid in self-publishing.

So let's get straight into it. There are several things, we're going to hit three of them that you should avoid. The first one of these things is that you're spending too much time on things that don't move the needle. 

When I say move the needle, there are a couple of ways in which we can move the needle. And that when it comes to our self-publishing, one of those things we can do is we're not driving the audience. 

We're not bringing in people through marketing, we're doing activities that have no impact on the marketing side of a thing. The other thing we can do is any work that's on our books that isn't going to impact the overall sales of the book. 

This is another huge mistake that people make when it comes to self-publishing and I'm going to hit a couple of these. One of them would be the editing, you're going round after round, after round at a certain point. You reach that point where the editing is complete. 

I can tell you, doing woodworking and you're dealing with making these little cars and things like that, there's a portion of it where you're going to try to get the wood perfectly smooth. When you're inside the little woodshed and you're trying to get these cars to look exactly perfect for the kids. 

At some point, it's smooth enough. So, if you spend additional time trying to sand this car down, it's simply not going to be that much better. Your books are no different than that little car. 

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At some point, your effort is wasted. You have a certain amount of motivation and it goes down as we don't see results. So, what we need to do is focus on the things that are going to give us those results. 

The second thing you can do about your audience is going on Facebook groups where other authors are sitting and just shooting books with each other. Nobody is buying other authors’ books. 

They still have this idea that if I'm in a Facebook group, I can just post my books and other self-publishers will then purchase all of these books. I can tell you on TikTok, I get emails or get messages regularly saying, hey buy my book, buy my book. 

Why would I do that? I don't know, like, and trust you. How do you even know I like this kind of book? Just pushing it out there so many times, you think that somehow that's your target audience. But it's not driving traffic, it's not bringing in an audience. 

It means it's another one of these areas where we're spending lots of energy and lots of time. We feel like we're doing something and that's the dangerous side of all of this. But it's simply not going to result in more sales of the book or really a bigger audience than we have. 

Number two, listening to the wrong people can go both ways. One of the things when it comes to your book, your cover, your title, and even the contents of your book, you're going to be asking your family and friends what they think about the book. 

Now, some of you and I noticed from my 1-On-1 clients, some of them will tell me, my family says it's the most wonderful book they've ever read. So, I can't wait to get it on Amazon because it's going to sell so many copies. 

Knowing Your Target Readers

The problem is that our family and friends are trying to be encouraging and they also will see the positive side. That's at least one way they could see it, right? Seeing the positive side of what we're doing. 

They're just really happy and excited because we're excited about it. So, when they read the book, they read it from a very rose-colored glasses perspective. Wow, this is an amazing kind. 

Like when the kids are doing some drawings for the first time. When you look at it, you will say wow, this is just amazing and that they're geniuses for their age. The problem is that when it gets out to the main marketplace of Amazon, those are not your friends and family. 

So, we need to make sure it appeals to them. They're our target readers, they're the ones that are going to either be buying the book daily or crickets not touching our book. Our friends and family can be helpful in some ways but it's really hard to know whether or not listening to them can be helpful on this front. 

The other side is the negative side. You may have people in your life that are telling you, as a self-publisher, an author/writer, you may have never published or authored anything but you've at least written something and they're telling you nobody wants to buy this. 

I had a client recently inform me that it was in some Facebook groups and told them, oh no, you know, they told me that nobody would want to buy this material, this content that I'm putting out. But in reality, that is simply not the case. 

They thought, oh, you needed lots of degrees and stuff if you're going to talk about something. The next thing I thought about was a Discovery Session. I did a free Discovery Session and we were discussing this and I was saying, no, you do not need a doctorate in these topics you're talking about. 

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The average person doesn't care. They want something that's going to help them with the problems that they have. So, if you're helping people with their feet, they don't care as much as you might imagine. 

You might be thinking, well, I'm not a podiatrist. I'm not a foot doctor so what do I have to say? Well, I don't know, maybe you've gone hiking. Maybe you've tried different shoes. You have something that you want to get out into the world. 

Maybe you have a story you want the world to know. In reality, it doesn't even have to be that fantastic. 90% of the sales that are happening on Amazon are as a result of the marketing side and not as much of the content side. 

So, if your book is good and I used to go back and forth with some commenters on YouTube on this exact subject and it was the idea of well, what do you mean by good? I would say, look, if it's getting four and five-star reviews, you're fine. If the average is over four stars, you’re fine.

If it's getting under four, then we have to be cautious. If it's under three, it's not going to sell any copies. So, your quality is too low and now we need to put more focus on the next book. But if you're listening to the wrong people, you might just give up immediately. 

You might have your hopes set too high which brings us to point number three, a very important point you want to avoid. It is too high of an expectation. As I said with the free Discovery Sessions where I go through where exactly you are in the journey and we take a look at what the next step is. 

Setting Your Expectations Right

The thing is that during these sessions, sometimes, I run across people who have these insanely high expectations. Like, I'm thinking you know, maybe I should sell 100 or a couple hundred books a day. 

They don't understand that you don't have an audience. Until we've built up an audience, we really can't expect our book to go viral. The same would be true on Instagram or TikTok. You may be a lottery winner, you put your first little video or short out there and it just explodes. 

But that isn't what happens to most people. So, if I were saying I'm going to produce a YouTube video and it's going to have 5 million views, well, how would I know that? How many videos have you produced? Well, I haven't produced any videos, and I haven't written any books. 

Well then, how exactly can you tell me that you know your book is going to do so? At the same time, don't tell me you think your book's going to do poorly. It's dependent upon some of the things I'm going to mention. 

I've mentioned in my other videos and articles where we go through exactly some of these steps. To make sure your things want to get into alignment. I'm going to be hitting on my next video and article as well on this exact subject of the things you shouldn't avoid but should be doing. 

The thing is that as you're going through these steps. We need to make sure our expectations are reasonable. As a new author, you should expect that if you've optimized everything and if you've got everything perfectly, we're running ads against it. 

We should be seeing some sales. We should be able to get some basic sales. If you're not getting sales, well then we need to figure out what the problem is and that's sometimes what we do with the 1-On-1 clients and my Group Coaching clients. 

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We are going through and trying to figure out like a doctor who is going into your books and trying to figure out what we need to change to get those sales to start coming in. Because usually, there's a list of about 50 to 100 things and often, we find it fast. 

We can quickly diagnose exactly what the issue is. So the things can be fixed and then we can either fix it in our future books which is usually the case. Because sometimes, it's demotivational. 

We don't want to do anything that would demotivate us. But sometimes, we can fix it in the very same book. Just by changing the cover, the title, and subtitle a little bit, we can start to see some sales coming off of our existing books. 

Simply because we're targeting a hungry market as opposed to targeting cricket or not even paying attention to the market. Creating some weird vegetables that we're going to sell on a marketplace. Having no idea if people want to but our friends and family told us it was wonderful. 

They thought it looked cool but that doesn't tell us if the market itself wishes to purchase that. Do you see? So, these are the 3 big things that you're going to want to avoid in self-publishing. But my question for you is what mistakes have you made that you wish you had avoided?

It might be one of the ones I mentioned or it might be something else. I want to know in the comments below. So, let me know about that, and check my other articles and videos where I'm going through your self-publishing questions.

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