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Top 5 Mistakes Indie Authors Make

As an author of over 150 non-fiction books, it is safe to say I have made my fair share of mistakes over the years. However, in my opinion, making mistakes as an indie author will only serve to make you a better writer and publisher. In this article, I will share with you the top 5 mistakes indie authors make. Read and digest each tip carefully to maximise your writing and publishing efforts. Ready? Let’s go …

1) A poor book cover design

I have seen many authors spend months (sometimes years) writing their masterpiece, only to fall at the final hurdle with their book cover design. It does not matter how good your content is, if your book cover design fails to promote and show off your book adequately, you will not sell many copies. You do not have to invest heavily to get a great book cover design created. Simply use outsourcing websites, such as, to find an outstanding book cover designer.

TOP TIP: Search Google for ‘Best Book Cover Designer Upwork’ and you will be presented with the best book cover designers have to offer. MORE: 8 Essential Tips For Working With Book Cover Artists

2) A substandard or non-existent Amazon author page

Amazon makes it incredibly easy for authors to create a compelling author page. Your author page is vitally important for showing your readers who you are, what you’re about and how passionate you are about your work. Make sure you set up a great looking Amazon author page by visiting Amazon Author Central.

TOP TIP: Amazon allows you to create a promotional video for inclusion on your author page. Use this opportunity to show off your book and tell your readers what the book is about, what inspired you to write and how it will benefit them. Keep the video under a minute in length, for maximum impact.

3) No BISAC Codes

When you upload your book to both Amazon CreateSpace and Amazon KDP, be sure to select the correct BISAC codes for your book. BISAC codes are a set of industry standard codes that determine which category your book should appear in on Amazon. These categories help readers on Amazon to find your book faster. As an indie author, it is your job to determine the major heading which best describes the content of your book. Once you have decided on the major heading for your book, you can then drill down further and select a sub category for your book to feature in.

TOP TIP: Before you upload your book to Amazon, study the full list of BISAC codes at the website: MORE: 5 Strategies For Self-Publishing On A Tight Budget

5) Publish in Kindle, but not print

Amazon makes it incredibly easy for indie authors to publish their book in both Kindle and print format. The simple fact is, some books sell better in print than Kindle, and vice versa. On that basis, make sure you publish your book in both print and Kindle format to ensure you gain maximum exposure for your written work.

TOP TIP: Get your book converted to .EPUB for the Amazon Kindle KDP platform and you should be able to use the same file to upload your book to the Apple iBookStore, Nook and Kobo platforms.

5) A lack of marketing activity

Once a book is published and on sale through Amazon, it is tempting as an indie author to sit back and hope the book starts selling. In fact, it’s at this stage of the process that you should really start to ramp up your marketing activities. The key to long-term, sustainable book sales is to market and promote your book consistently, over a long period of time. As part of your marketing strategy, be sure to focus on the following areas:

  • Guest posts on relevant blogs and website
  • YouTube videos based on the chapters of your book
  • Facebook competitions and book giveaways
  • Twitter promotions
  • Interviews with local media and niche websites
  • Book review requests
  • Book tour promotions

There are so many ways you can promote your book once it is published. Yes, book promotion can be hard work, but the rewards can be fantastic if you put the effort it.

TOP TIP: If you are publishing a non-fiction book, create YouTube videos based on the educational elements of your book. YouTube is free to use and in my experience is a great way to drive free traffic to your book. Make sure you place a link below the YouTube video to either your Amazon sales-page or your website, where people can buy a copy of your book. MORE: How to Use Social Media To Market Your Novel

BIO: Richard McMunn is a number 1 bestselling author and award-winning publisher. To learn more about how Richard can help you write and publish a book in any genre, visit his website at the following link:

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