Easily Ignored Self-Publishing Mistakes That Can Kill Sales

Before you rush to self-publish, are you sure you have all your ducks in a row?

You’re a serious self-published author — right? More often than not, this means you’ve likely invested in an editor, marketing experts, a reputable self-publishing company, or a production manager to ensure your published book is high quality.

To some authors, this all seems like expensive overkill. But, cutting corners and deciding to DIY can invite little-known mistakes to creep in, making your book feel unprofessional to any reader.

Avoid these little known self-publishing mistakes:

1. A spine that’s out of whack

I just received a former client’s self-published book, where she chose to handle her own production and design. The cover and interior design looked beautiful — except, when I went to go place the book on my bookshelf, I noticed the type on the spine was upside down! (FYI, type should read top-down if you’re looking at a spine with your head turned to the right, not bottom up.) Nestled amid all the other professionally designed books, this spine screams, “Somebody didn’t know what they were doing!”

2. Endorsements from “nobody’s”

I always encourage my authors to seek endorsements for their books. Be sure they are either recognizable names in the area in which you are writing or traditionally published authors.

As much as you appreciate their support, avoid well-meaning blurbs from your book club members, your college writing teacher, or fellow self-published authors. No matter how much they may rave about your book, if they don’t have a platform that will elevate you, there’s no point in including them. In fact, it can hurt a book more than it helps it.

3. Lack of running heads

“Running heads,” while sounding like something out of Lewis Carroll’s nightmares, are important in book publishing. This refers to relevant info like the title, author’s name or chapter title that appears at the top of each text page of your book. (The term is “running feet” if the info is placed at the bottom of the page.) Including this information is common, and consumers tend to notice when it’s missing. This naked feeling on your pages lends to an amateur impression.

Hiring a professional interior designer is a smart investment. Most buyers will catch on when there’s a low-quality design. Just like with covers — which, if designed by an amateur can easily broadcast to shoppers that it wasn’t professionally designed — sloppy interior design signals inferior content.

Self-publishing can be an exciting journey, but making the right investments to ensure marketability is crucial — especially for those self-published authors who eventually want a traditional deal.

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