My Top 4 mistakes of self publishing [Linkedin article]

In the past 14 years I’ve personally been involved with the publishing of hundreds of books and publications. Some of these books I wrote and others were a team effort. Looking back I can see now that I’ve made the mistakes many self publishing authors have made – and will continue to make -:

1. Not recognising the work involved

As a consultant and trainer I write for a living. I write course materials, textbooks, exercises, white-papers, proposals etc. Turning this information in a book should be easy right? Oh, how wrong I was!

Writing a book may not be difficult, but to turn this into a published book that looks professional and that people actually want to purchase is a complete different experience. I have since learnt that publishing involves proofing, editing, correcting and improving the text, as well as the creation of a cover page with back page and the marketing text that goes with it.

And what about all the technical specifications? Each distribution platform requires slightly different file types, technical specifications and file setup. It takes quite a bit of work to figure out the different settings for each channel.

2. Trying to do everything alone (and re-inventing the wheel)

Although I had many years of experience in IT consultancy and the delivery of training courses, I am no professional editor and proofreading your own work is next to impossible. You are too close to the text to see the issues with punctuation, grammar or general flow of the overall story.

Initially I also tried to create my own cover designs but luckily soon discovered that I really don’t have a good creative eye for book covers. I recognise a good one when I see it, but I find it extremely difficult to design one from scratch.

Rather than doing everything alone, I started looking for professionals who can help me in the process. This took a very long time and a lot of money, weeding through many mediocre employees and freelancers until I found somebody with a style that suited my books.

3. Using the wrong software and tools

My first “book” I wrote in MS word, and MS Publisher. This mistake took me days (if not weeks) to fix up. There is not ONE professional publishing platform that accepts documents created in MS Publisher.

Most professional books are created in Quark or Adobe inDesign. Eventually we chose to work with Adobe inDesign and although the constant updates to the software are frustrating and expensive, the end result is so much better than anything I could make with a simple wordprocessor like MS Word.

4. Only focusing on

Amazon has been ground breaking in the book industry. First as a book seller, and later as a publishing platform. Although expensive, amazon offers a fantastic publishing platform with their Createspace services.

However we all know that it is never a solid business decision to put all your eggs in one basket, so rather than just focusing on it is a good practice to have your book available at different sales channels.

I spent many hours researching online trying to find the other self publishing platforms, and setting up author pages everywhere to be able to upload my book(-s) in the various websites.

This process meant duplication of efforts and also a piecemeal approach to trying to find sales data.

How to avoid these mistakes?

If I had to do it again, I would use a service like Complete Publishing offers. It is called ‘Guided Self Publishing’ and it helps authors to self publish their books without making these costly mistakes.

As a professional and entrepreneur I don’t have time to re-invent the wheel and now I don’t have to. Complete Publishing helps busy professionals to create and publish their book.

(Full disclosure: I am invested in this company to help authors speed up their journey to a successful publishing experience)

Guided Self publishing means that the author retains control over their book but the process of self publishing is outsourced to Complete Publishing. The book is created professionally in inDesign and turned into an ePub after it has been checked and edited by professionals. The author can choose from multiple cover designs. The added bonus of this service is that the book is generated with an ISBN and marketing text and is distributed both as print publication and ebook to 38,000 retailers and 220,000 libraries. All sales data is collated in a central place and you will receive a single monthly overview of the sales of your book globally in all these different sales channels.

Originally published at: Linkedin