Chris A. Baird | August 23, 2022
The 7 Deadly Sins of Self-Publishing

Do you wish to be successful in self-publishing your books? Here are the 7 deadly sins of self-publishing that you must avoid doing.

Jen was so excited about getting her very first book onto the market. She put it out there on Amazon and then she was able to get her friends and her family to buy it. So they were all just buying copies of her book and it was so exciting.

That is until they had finished making those purchases. At that point, it became complete crickets. Jen was left wondering, was there something that she had done wrong?

That is why in today's video, we are going to discuss the 7 deadly sins of self-publishing. So the thing is that Jen is a History teacher who lives in Texas. She was excited about the idea of writing books.

She realized there are lots of opportunities around it. So what better subject to write on than one she was already an authority in which is History? So she started looking at different options and was thinking maybe she could do teaching online if she could get some money coming from the books.

This would be a transition for her to maybe do better than in her previous job. And also be able to control things a little bit better. So she was thinking that maybe by putting a book on Amazon, she would achieve this specific goal. 

The problem though was that she realized she was doing something wrong. So many people make the whole self-publishing thing seem so easy. But then when she was going to do it, only her friends and family ended up buying her book. 

She couldn't see what the issue was. She could see that there were other History books on the market that were selling lots of copies. She also realized that if she didn't do this, she wasn't sure why her book was ranked in the millions when it came on Amazon.

Would she ever have a chance to establish herself as an authority if she didn't figure out a way of getting these books to sell? She began to wonder if maybe it was better just to stay in her current teaching job and forget all about this whole online thing.

She was thinking that possibly that was another option. So the first thing that she decided to do was take her book and think maybe it's just because people don't know about it. So she went to all these different History groups, in groups where people are sharing their books and other places like that.

She ended up just posting her books linked to her book on Amazon all over the place. The result was about the same as it was before. Which was getting kicked out of certain Facebook groups that she had been in because they didn't like her spamming.

Check out this related article: How To Sell eBooks without going through Amazon!

It violated their rules and nobody was buying. Even putting it in the groups where it was free for authors to share. Different authors would share their books, nobody was buying anybody else's books.

But for some reason, they thought if they just continued this particular method, eventually, it would work out. When in reality, it has no impact whatsoever when it comes to sales. Not all of her friends had purchased it.

She thought by going back and informing them all of how wonderful her book was, perhaps it would get them to buy. The only thing that happened there was that she annoyed her friends and family. And this is just a quick note, do not bug your friends and family with your business.

So you can mention you're doing stuff and you're coming out with a book. But don't pressure people to go buy your book. This is a very painful way of doing it. You have your core readers, the people who want to read your stuff and you have people who want to support you.

Keep a difference between those two. So you can just casually mention “Look, I've come out with a book. I'm excited about it. Here's the link to the book.” But you don't have to pressure them into buying it.

This is just starting to mix this idea of money and business with your family and friends. And sometimes, this can ruin the overall setup. So this was a terrible strategy that also did not work for her at all.

What finally happened was that she was watching some of my YouTube videos where I was hitting many different points. She was resonating with a number of the points that I normally hit on YouTube. So she decided to book a free Discovery Session with me.

We were able to sit down and do a deep dive. Looking exactly at her book and seeing exactly the issues of why it's selling or why it isn't selling. The thing is that when you're coming to this, you have people who believe that you can just write a book and it should sell.

Sometimes, it can be a little bit annoying. But those people usually aren't the ones booking sessions with me. Because in reality, the idea of “Look, I don't care what anybody thinks, I'm putting my book on the market as is and if it doesn't sell it doesn't sell.” The starving artist type.

Exploring The 7 Deadly Sins

The fact is that they never will fully understand the idea that getting a book on the market is all about finding the right market. Then find a way to properly position your book to that existing market in an appealing way that will cause them to read it. Then tell their friends about it and buy your next book.

And we continue going like this and that is where the real power is. There are some people out there who just believe that's not possible. Fortunately, Jen was not one of these groups and that brought us into the discovery session where we were able to explore The 7 deadly sins of self-publishing. 

In her book, she was violating all seven of them. So the first one was that there was no market. We did a quick look at the history books that she had been publishing and we went on to Amazon. We took a look at the exact type of history books she was doing and I couldn't find any other history books.

So that means there's no market. We're trying to put books on the market for nobody there. We're trying to sell something, some weird thing. Let's say, some sort of a pen type of thing or something like that where nobody's currently buying pens.

So the problem with going to a non-existent market is we have to educate people on what a pen is. What it can do for you and why you need it. We're having to tell them the problems that they have like some weird medical disorder that nobody's ever heard of and you come up with a book on it.

It's not going to sell. There is no market and you would question how do I know if there's a market? And that's why we go and take a look and we just search for the keyword that you're targeting.

So if it's some sort of shiny silver pen, then we might type in the Kindle: shiny silver pen. That's one of the things I use with KDSpy. Where I'm able to do some of these checks to see how exactly these books are ranking.

Once it comes up with the books in that same niche, we're able to see how many of them are ranked in the top hundred thousand. In Jen's case, there were no books in the top hundred thousand. There was no market.

The second deadly sin because I have to keep moving through this was an oversaturated market. In her case, this was not the case. Some books are selling tons of books but then there are 50,000 books in the market and that's a secondary.

The second sin of self-publishing is not publishing in an oversaturated market. Because your book will be forgotten immediately. There will be too much competition.

Check out this related article: What I Wish I Knew Before Self Publishing

Number three is a clever title. She came up with a title that didn't even say it was a history book or some sort of a historical thing. It was like lots of cleverly put-together words that sort of rhymed. And had starting letters about the same alliteration that was going on.

But the problem with this particular thing was that I had no idea what this book was about based on the clever title. She didn't even have a subtitle where normally we tell it for people looking to read this type of book or for people who have this problem. Do you see? So there was no subtitle, just a clever title that was on the front cover.

The next thing was that she was completely ignoring keywords. She wasn't using my favorite tool KDSpy to check out which keywords actually would be selling and then make sure those are part of it. She asked me the question what do you mean by keywords? What exactly are we even talking about?

I mean she saw here to put seven of them when she uploaded her file. But otherwise, it wasn't really clear what that was about. So she just picked some random keywords that maybe were related or not.

She didn't use KDSpy. I can tell you that much of which is by far the most powerful tool of every self-publisher who's succeeding in using this particular tool. So it's definitely worth the investment in this tool.

The other one was that she had no reviews. She had her family and friends buy the book but didn't bother to ask him for reviews. It is that if you have reviews, you're going to get five to ten times the amount of sales as you would without any reviews, no reviews at all.

I clicked on her author's bio which originally she didn't even have one. But then when she finally did get one up, it was telling about her childhood and the interest she has in gardening and these sorts of things. She said this is my first book, I'm excited to put it on the market, I hope people like it.

She was setting herself up not as an authority, but as a teacher with so many years of experience teaching. But setting herself up as somebody who's just sort of interested in history and all of these other completely unrelated things. And most people don't give you that time.

This is a common mistake with your author's bio. And then the seventh deadly sin was a wall of text description. She decided in her description just to give everything the book’s about in this huge wall of text.

It wasn't broken up. No bold faces, no call-to-action telling them to buy the book. Not breaking it down and pulling out questions with open loops and asking people are you bored or do you want to learn more about Napoleon or whatever? 

Focusing On The Future

We're not going into the exact niche but you got to catch my drift here as we're going through this. The description was just this huge wall of text, this big essay and nobody's going to read that.

It's just too much information hitting them. So she had a lot to think about after this session with the 7 deadly sins of self-publishing. There was an awful lot to think about but she did not regret booking the session because it was free.

Check that out if you would like to book a free discovery session. Where we will take a close look at the books you're working on. Or books you've published that aren't selling like you would like to.

Discuss how you can make small changes to lead to big results on your specific books. But back to Jen, so she finally faced her ultimate obstacle. It was that she realized she needed to redo multiple things in her book.

So the first thing was that she started one thing at a time. Which is something I do with my clients, only one thing at a time. We do not try to do 50 things, we do not try to do everything. Just one thing at a time.

Then the next thing that she discovered was a little bit terrifying that sometimes my clients find from time to time. She found that there are no other history books of this type of niche that we're selling on Amazon. Meaning there was no market.

So she could put out 50 books on this subject. But it wouldn't make a difference since nobody's searching for it. Nobody's looking for these specific books. And how do we know it? It is because nobody's done it before.

Now you might be this one in a million who managed to nail it. Like you invented the fidget spinner, right? You got this thing spinning and you had no idea it would be popular.

And then it goes on the market and explodes. Everybody rips you off, you don't have a patent on it. You're left with nothing.

Check out this related article: Dangers Of Publishing Low Content Books!

So now and then, a novice discovers a market, a non-existent one. My son discovered it when I was working through self-publishing with him. He hit an underserved market. And it started exploding, and that book continues to sell.

It's unbelievable but that is a miracle. So that is not what you should be doing. You should be finding existing markets with books where they're underserved. Then targeting those markets.

So what she did was that she just finally decided to use KDSpy. She went through the different History niches and different keywords. Playing with KDSpy back and forth to find the right keywords. 

Until she figured out a specific History niche that was selling. This was so exciting because it was a hot niche and she realized instead of trying to pound into an issue where people are not interested in buying your books, it was a much better use of time to switch rails.

She could still stay in the History niche and even leave the first book up even if nobody wants it. It builds your authority as an author by having more books than fewer books. He's partially changing the description and optimizing it.

But one of the key rules that I comment on to my clients is we do not go back and fix books if it's going to stress us at all. We don't go back there and do that. Rather, we focus on the future and if you feel that you can go back and fix stuff, then do it.

Otherwise, if it's going to demotivate you and make you not want to write any books, then that is something you're not going to want to do. So one of the key issues that Jen discovered was the idea of a profitable niche.

Discovering are you in a profitable niche or are you not in a profitable niche? So my question to you is, is the book you're working on in a profitable niche? If it is, write “Yes” below in the comments and if it isn't, write “No” below in the comments.  

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