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Top 5 Self-Publishing Mistakes Writers Make

On Self-Publishing Mistakes

Self-publishing mistakes can cost time and money, which is why many writers shy away from it … But what if I told you the biggest self-publishing mistakes are actually EASY to avoid?

This list will help you avoid the most obvious self-publishing mistakes and get your book out there. Ready? Let’s go …

Mistake #1: Bad cover art

Why’s this one first?? Well, rightly or wrongly – because EVERYONE judges a book by their cover!!! Ideally, you need a cover designer whose speciality is cover art. There’s lots out there, including designers who create ‘ready-made’ covers that are much cheaper than those one-off designs. My favourite is

Mistake #2: Doing it on the cheap

Look, most writers don’t have a lot of money BUT you also need to speculate to accumulate. (In other words: you gotta spend money to make money).

That’s the bad news … The good news is, you don’t have to spend as much as you think.

There’s plenty of free and low-cost ways of making your book LOOK a million dollars. Check out this great list of 30 Best Tools and Resources for Self-Publishers. If you can do a skills swap, even better.

Be savvy and pick well and you can save your dosh AND ensure your book looks fab.

Mistake #3: Knowing nothing about marketing

Marketing is time-consuming and difficult, it’s true … yet too many writers fall foul of this most epic of self-publishing mistakes. They don’t understand they need a marketing STRATEGY.

Here’s how you do it … A sales funnel is basically is a consumer-focused marketing model that illustrates the theoretical customer journey toward the purchase of a good or service. That’s the fancy-pants version.

In the case of book sales, it describes HOW a potential customer …

  • STEP 1: Hears about you and your book (awareness)
  • STEP 2: Becomes intrigued by you / your book (interest)
  • STEP 3: Makes a decision to buy your book (decision)
  • STEP 4: They actually buy it & read it (action)

Many writers believe all they need to do is step  1 — then would-be book buyers jump straight to step 4. NOPE! There’s two other steps … But how?

Well, the rule of 7 is a classic marketing gem here … In other words, savvy marketers know would-be buyers have to hear about something a MINIMUM of 7 times before they buy that product or service. That’s right: SEVEN!!

So, in order to get people’s interest (step 2) and get them to make a decision (step 4), see #5 on this list for ideas.

Mistake #4: Simply crossing your fingers

Understand this: there are THIRTY-THREE MILLION books on Amazon **alone**. Simply whacking your book up on the Kindle and crossing your fingers is NOT going to cut it. Launching to crickets will mean disappointment, end of.

Basically, you need that sales funnel I outlined in Mistake #3 on this list. Go big or go home!

Mistake #5: Spamming everyone on social media

Unfortunately, most writers don’t create their own sales funnel via websites, email newsletters and social media … Instead they spam everyone in Facebook groups with constant, non-stop ‘book spam’.

This means they drop Amazon links everywhere, with no ‘added value’. It’s just a link, repeated over and over again.

Occasionally they might also say something like ‘Please check out my book, it would mean a lot to me‘.

Whilst that might work for family and friends, the average social media user wants to know what’s in it FOR THEM.

Think about it …

… Like I said, there’s millions of books out there, vying for our attention. Why should ANYONE check out just one of these books??

You have to make it worth their while somehow, such as with …

  • A killer hook. Don’t know about you, but I can’t resist a great hook. One of my favourites recently was ‘The serial killer isn’t on trial, he’s on the jury’ (Thirteen by Steve Kavanagh). Wow!
  • Social proof. Do you know any well-known writers who will ‘blurb’ for you (ie. give a quote praising your book)? Great! Use these. Alternatively, if your book has strong reviews on sites like, use those. Alternatively, if people are tweeting or insta-ing your book, take screenshots!
  • Giveaways. A giveaway creates goodwill with your readers and is GREAT at ensuring people engage with your book.
  • Host a book launch party. Invite people to a book launch – in real life or virtually online (or both!). Have Q&As and competitions and prizes. Have fun and people will engage.
  • Have a blog tour. These are virtual tours, hosted by book tour organisers who you pay to arrange the tour with book bloggers. (These are bona fide reviews from genuine reading fans, NEVER buy reviews!). B2W has used book tour organisers Anne Cater and Rachel Gilbert in the past and can recommend their services.
  • Do a book signing or library event. Your local book shop or library may be open to you doing an event with them. Based on my experience and others’, I found writers are more likely to get a ‘yes’ from an indie shop than the big chain stores (but you never know).

These are just some suggestions to help you avoid those big self-publishing mistakes. There’s plenty more! MORE: Self-Publishing Should NEVER Be A Last Resort. Here’s Why 

Good Luck!

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2 thoughts on “Top 5 Self-Publishing Mistakes Writers Make”

  1. I sent a book proposal to Eerdmann’s on June 29 but haven’t heard anything. A week or so later, I read that you should never do book proposals in the summer. So rather than e mail and ask if anyone checked out your proposal, I thought I would just wait. There must be an arbitrary time when you no longer wait but go on to make proposals to other publishers. Three months? Four months? What are your thoughts?

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