How NOT to self-publish

I’ve been preparing to self-publish for a while now, and at this point I’m looking to see what others like me are doing to publish their books. Nothing good, from what I’ve seen so far. While I know that there are some good self-published books out there, the ones I’m going to talk about probably aren’t them. I admit that I’ll be harping on appearance more than anything, but that has a lot to do with if your book sells or not.

Without further ado, let us start with the first thing not to do:

1. Don’t make yourself invisible. If you want to be an author, you have to be an author. You need an author page. You need a way for fans to contact you if they have questions or praise. You can’t be a name that means NOTHING.

1 2

None of the first page results show an Ava Langley that may be her. This is what should make you consider adopting a penname. Do you want to be confused with the girl on twitter who posts things like, “You’re a fucking dick go die in a hole.”?

But let’s put author in front of her name, shall we?

Well, here’s a blog, but is this the author? Oh, I guess it is.

seriously

No mention of being an author, and I missed the “my available books” at first. Clicking this doesn’t make it look like this is an author’s blog. You need it to be clear for people to connect to your as an author. I’ll admit that my pen name doesn’t show up on Google yet, but I have barely made any posts and my book isn’t available for sale yet. However, if someone found my blog, they wouldn’t be confused.

lala

Okay, well I realize that I spelled my name wrong, but whatever. I’ll fix that. MOVING ON.

2.  Don’t let your book covers look like shit. Please, please don’t. Even if you have to spend money on it or use Createspace’s cover maker or make the simplest cover ever, don’t do it. I can pick out the self-published authors by the shitty covers.

self

If you click on them their publishers are all listed as “Createspace”.  Visually, the middle one isn’t too bad, but you still can’t see the words on the cover.

Then you have one that could be good, but has been way overdone. It’s not hard to pick out bad covers.

3

There’s just too much going on and the fonts aren’t easily readable. It’s a hot mess. If you notice, I highlighted an additional part. It claims to be a top selling fantasy novel…

4

6 reviews do not a top seller make. Sure, she may have gone to the top seller’s list once her book went down to free, but that doesn’t make it a “Top Seller” because nothing was SOLD.

3. Don’t try to market your book as something that it’s not. If you say it’s a bestseller but is clearly not, people will notice. People will not be amused.

4. Don’t let the inside of your book look as bad as the outside. The interior has to be professionally done like you would see in a real book. If you don’t know how to use Word to achieve these affects, Google it. Don’t be lazy.

5

As you can see, that looks terrible. You open your book and have your copyright notice with the same page as the title and then the beginning of the story. Not only that, but the opening isn’t strong. When you know people are going to be basing the opening of your book on this bit that they see, why wouldn’t you read over it and catch something like this? (I’m talking about all the highlighted ands. Way too many in that short span.) Opening with wild action isn’t enough. It still has to be good writing that people want to read.

Normal books have these kinds of pages before the read novel starts:

.1 .2 .3 .4

Obviously a lot of us won’t have a page for reviews, but you should have a copyright page, and one with just the title, and one listing previous publications (if applicable). That’s just how books are set up.

5. Price your book reasonably. You’re not writing a masterpiece. Even if you are, no one knows it yet. You have to price your book at a price that people will be willing to buy it at.

00

Looking at the cover I can already tell that it’s not been done professionally. There is a picture of an eye AND THE EYE HAS RED EYE. I don’t know how some people can overlook these details.  But seriously, $18 for a paperback? This better be an AMAZING novel.

0

No. This is a teenager just learning how to write. When I was in 5th grade this is how I wrote. You just have to be realistic when deciding to self-publish. Is your work any good? I still don’t know if my work is good enough for publishing, I’m just going to release it and hope that people like it. However, I’m not writing for a profit. I’m writing because I love to write and I want to share my writing with the world.

In conclusion, make stuff look good. Once that’s over, things have to be good. Really, you should start with the content and end with the surface features. You want your book to look like a published book as much as it can. It should also read like one. You shouldn’t self-publish because you think you’re never going to be published by a real publisher, but because of literally any of the other reasons for self-publishing.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “How NOT to self-publish

  1. I’ve recently just self-published two short stories on Kindle. It was a learning experience and I’m glad I’ve started with shorts than an a full novel length. It does help that I am a graphic designer professionally so most of your points you’ve made is common knowledge for me. But It just shows you how much ‘low grade’ stuff is out there, and that is what you are competing against.

    I know Kindle has an author page you can start, though I haven’t tried that out yet. Let me know if you use that and how it goes.

    Like

    • I can’t make one yet because you have to publish first before making the page, but I believe it’s just a page that will direct interested people to a bio you put there and you can also put links to your websites there. I believe there is also a *like* function there, and the more likes your author profile gets the more amazon will start to care about you (so if you are self-published but get 1000 likes, they’ll start suggesting your book to people).

      Like

    • Alright, so I just happened upon this and thought I’d answer your author page question. It’s really easy to set up an author page, you basically just say “I’m the author of this book” and they send you an email then you can link your blog to your page as well as update your bio and everything. Easy stuff.

      Like

  2. I’ve been doing a lot of research into self-publishing lately. I have a feeling that many people don’t do enough research. It’s a shame though. I bet a lot of self-published authors would do better if they bothered to research before they published.

    Like

    • I think a lot of them view it as being able to publish without following any guidelines, but that’s not right. You have to follow as many as the guidelines that traditional publishers follow otherwise no one will take your seriously.

      Like

  3. So much of what you pointed out is what gives the self-publishing industry a bad rep. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to look the part! Yes, it’s an investment, but it will boost your sales.

    Like

    • Some times it isn’t even a monetary investment, it’s just a huge time investment. You can find free cover editors or tutorials to teach yourself, but it will take time and lots of legwork. I think that some people just don’t care, like “Oh, It’s my book, it can look like shit if I want it to” and they leave it at that.

      Like

Anything to add?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s