The Top 5 Pitfalls of Self-Publishing
With self-publishing becoming more accessible each year, more and more authors are turning towards this non-traditional route to publish their books. While this can be an excellent alternative to a publishing house, make sure you understand the pitfalls of self-publishing before you start the process.
Paying for unnecessary services or products
When you decide to self-publish for the first time, it can seem overwhelming. How do you know what is a necessary versus unnecessary expense? You want the best for your book, but costs can add up quickly. Save your funds for the things that really matter and avoid these needless expenses:
- Unneeded add-ons: Make sure to buy only what you need. For example, when you go to Bowker.com to buy their ISBN numbers, Bowker offers add-ons, like bar codes. Many of these add-ons you can make on your own for free.
- Paid book listings: Some self-publishing companies charge extra to have their authors’ books listed on sites like Walmart.com, BarnesandNoble.com, etc. When you buy your own ISBN numbers, your books automatically show up on these other sites for free.
- Vanity publishers: These are presses that make you pay to have your book printed, then they also keep a chunk of your sales. Many vanity presses have hidden costs and require authors to buy hundreds of printed copies of their books as part of their package. As a rule, do not use a vanity publisher to produce or print your book; you do not need to buy so many books up front. If needed, you can buy printed copies at your author price on Amazon or Ingram Spark, or print-on-demand if you’re selling them online.
Not buying your own ISBN
If you only remember one point from this blog, make sure it’s this: if you use an ISBN (a number assigned to your book that is used for ordering, listing,etc.) provided by Amazon or a vanity press, they will own the rights to your book. This means they will determine where you can list, print, or sell your book. If you buy your own ISBN through Bowker.com, you can have your book listed, printed, or sold anywhere.
Trying to do it all yourself
Very few people excel at writing, editing, cover design, illustrating, interior formatting, marketing, all the things that make an author successful. That’s why it’s important to work with people who can help in these different areas. Publish Pros can help with every aspect of getting a book published, short of actually coming up with the idea and writing it.
Not promoting your book
Your book is published—now what? Promote, promote, promote! Don’t expect your book to sell itself.
- Have a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, and other sites, and post regularly.
- Create ads to run on Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.
- Run specials and sales on your book.
- Post about your book in reading and writing Facebook groups.
- Create an author website for yourself.
- Attend book fairs and publishing events and set up a booth to sell your books.
Looking at self-publishing as a last resort
With the relative accessibility of self-publishing, it’s tempting to think you’re “settling” for being self-published. Self-publishing actually has many benefits, including having more control over your content, cover, editing—literally everything involved with your book. Traditional publishers own your book, and if it doesn’t sell quickly, they can shelve it for a period of time, and you can’t even market it or sell it yourself. Self-publishing keeps everything in your hands, which is a good place for it to be after all the time you’ve spent writing your book.
Self-publishing can be an excellent alternative to using a traditional publisher, and Publish Pros can help make the process even easier. Make sure to avoid these common pitfalls, and contact us for more tips and information about self-publishing!