Chris A. Baird | May 16, 2022
Self-Publishing Mistakes to Avoid

Couldn’t figure out what has gone wrong with your book and why it’s not selling? Here are the self-publishing mistakes to avoid for your books to be of high quality just like the top bestsellers on the market.

Gary was getting ready to start writing his seventh book. The problem is that Gary had not self-published his first book yet and this was a huge problem. That's the reason why today we are going to discuss self-publishing mistakes to avoid.

It was several months ago and Gary was starting on his seventh book. He wanted to become a best-selling author. He knew the books that he was producing were some of the highest quality books. 

His books are better in comparison to other books in the fantasy genre where he's been writing books. The problem was that he wasn't able to get this because he wasn't putting his books on the market. But he was a great writer. 

I had looked at some of his writings. He had taken a look and I had scanned through some of his writings. He could also be prolific; he was able to write these books very quickly.

The books fit together and the books had great storylines. Everything was very exciting and the problem was that he was worried because if he didn't get these books on the market, he wouldn't find his audience. He wouldn't live his dream of becoming a best-selling author on Amazon.

He began to wonder if maybe the issue was that his books were not high enough quality. And that he needed to just edit them a few more times. So, his first thing was that he wrote his very first three fantasy books and they were amazing. 

They're almost like Lord of the Rings, an epic story with all sorts of characters and things going on a journey of very exciting stuff. They were incredibly high quality but as he finished his third book, he was still going through editing. Because everyone knows you don't want to put a low-quality book on the market.

Check out this related article: How To Get Motivated As A Self-Publisher

So, he was going through I think may have the 10th or 15th round of editing. But the fact was that he was still finding mistakes and sending them to different editors. They were finding issues that needed to be corrected. 

Because after all, to be a bestseller, you have to have a perfect book. At least that's what Gary was thinking, right? The second obstacle that Gary faced was that he had started writing and went into it. 

He wrote this fourth to his sixth book and had placed his order for the cover for his very first book. When he got the cover back, it was almost fine but some changes needed to be made. So, he sent it back to the people. 

After he had gone a couple of rounds back and forth with the cover designer, he realized that none of these covers were all that great. So, he decided to go with another cover artist. Because after all, if your cover is not any good, we're also not going to sell many copies of your book. 

So, he had finished his six books and of course with the editing of the first book and the cover, back and forth on that very first book which if they're not perfect, you were going to have a problem. So it was at this point that he downloaded my free Self-Publishing Secrets Checklist

He started working through the checklist and seeing the orders of the steps. And realized you've got the formatting and all these other things. Indeed, editing and ordering your cover is also on the checklist. But he has stuck editing and one of the first things is we started emailing back and forth because he joined my email list. 

Choose An Interesting Title And Cover

So, we were able to communicate and figure out what exactly was going on here. The first problem we had was that he was a perfectionist. I'm sorry, you know Gary, he was a perfectionist. 

As we were going back and forth, he suddenly quickly realized he was never going to get these books on the market. It wasn't going to happen. So, I don't know if maybe when he hit his 10th book or 15th book that may be the first book would be good enough to get onto the market. 

This was one of the huge mistakes in self-publishing. Both within the cover and the editing phase. But the cover is actually at least reasonable to do a little bit of back and forth. 

His original cover looked just fine. It looked like the best covers that were selling to some people. This is a common mistake too; they go for a cover that doesn't match the genre that they're in.

So, if you're going for a Lord of the Rings sort of thing and then you're going to put out a cover that looks like some romance novel, well then it doesn't make any sense to your readers. So, I definitely would get a new cover for that.

But his cover looked great. I mean he was going through a real professional designer. He wasn't trying to have his children draw some cover for his book. 

So, it wasn't a problem with the cover. The title needed a little bit of changing. But after we discussed it, that was another common mistake that authors make.

Check out this related article: Myths About Success in Self-Publishing

It is that you choose a poor title for your book. A title that does not match exactly what the book should be doing. But he chooses a title that is a good fit for his genre.

It matched a little bit closely using some of the keywords in the subtitle. So that was also just fine. The thing was that by not getting this book on the market, we hit our next major mistake which is we're not getting feedback from our audience.

But in Gary's case, it wasn't a problem since he knew exactly what he would do with his books. It didn't matter what his audience would do with those specific books. I mean he knew his audience would probably just choose the same book cover that would attract his audience.

The only problem is that you like or may not coincide with what your audience likes. The only way we know is by actually testing to see what your readers are willing to do. 

First of all, if we want to test the cover and the title and the reviews of this combination that they click, the only way we can find that out is by running ads. It'll tell us exactly how many of these things were put in front of our audience.

How many clicks did we get and how many impressions did we get that were in front of people's eyes? I think on my ads, I just recently checked, we're up to 120 million impressions. That's how many times they've been run and then how many clicks did we get on top of those impressions.

And then how many sales did we get? So, we're able to see exactly at least people interested in our cover and our title are clicking in. Then moving forward again for Gary, he wasn't ready to move to that phase because the book was not perfect. 

Using The Correct Keywords

For him, it was just a real sticking point. Because maybe it was the issue of being embarrassed that the book would get out. Even though I thought the book was great, I've skimmed the book and it looks fine from a fantasy standpoint.

The thing is without people testing it, we don't know what our ideal reader is going to do. And without running Amazon ads, we're not going to be able to test the title and the cover. To see if those are good enough to attract the type of people we're looking for.

One of the self-publishing mistakes to avoid is just giving up on the ads too early like a lot of my clients do. I go back and forth with recent coaching sessions on this exact issue. And sometimes we need to put that little blurb in there. 

Where in the ad, you copy the sales, you write for the ad, you're able to put in something that would help your audience understand, an Epic Adventure for example. But again, for Gary, he couldn't do that because you can't run ads against a book that isn't for sale. 

He was finished with his sixth book. You know, thinking about this whole seventh book, his motivation started to go down. Because he was very motivated to write the books but then in getting them to sell, he found it very demotivating. 

The idea of actually getting them on the market. But in his mind, he told himself he was going to do that. So, he agreed that maybe he would do this.

The thing was that the ultimate obstacle that he was facing was that he was tempted to get on that seventh book. Because he had an amazing story. He knew exactly where the story was going to go at this point.

Check out this related article: 3 Ways To Make Sure Your Book Bombs

He just didn't want to lose that. After all, the first book he could put out later and that was the big obstacle that he faced. The solution that he came to was he decided, “I'm going to stop writing more books.”

In reality, we only need books that are going to get us between three and five stars. Then our audience can at least start reading our books and telling us what they like or don't like. If we want to ignore our audience, that's an option but it's something that we need to consider.

Gary continued working through this process. He was able to get his very first book on the market. When he ran the Amazon ads, he saw some things he needed to change in the title and cover.

Just had a little bit of a tweak and started seeing some of these sales coming. It was a very important thing because he had worked through all of the common mistakes that self-publishers make when you're getting started. In his case, perfectionism was the thing.

Now you might have some clients who rush through the process. “We'll put it out in a week.” I'm like, “Look, even if that is okay, we just want to make sure the next book is better.”

We want to be improving. But how can we improve if our books aren't even on the market? That's a really big challenge.

In the case of Gary, he was also looking at the problem which is not using the correct keywords. By using KDSpy, I use it specifically to figure out which keywords are going to be great to use inside of the subtitles and the title. That's one reason why you're going to check How to Use Keywords on Amazon KDP

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