The #1 things most self-publishing authors get wrong (mistakes to avoid).

This month I published over 100 YouTube videos. I’m getting a little more confident, though I tend to ramble. In this one I discuss common self-publishing mistakes you should avoid that I see most indie authors screwing up. Here are some of the things I talk about.

  • Ugly website
  • Ugly book cover
  • Spamming people
  • Overprotective of their content
  • Paying too much for book marketing that doesn’t work
  • Promoting without any book reviews
  • Betting the farm on one book

The video comes off a little negative – there are lots of things to get wrong, it’s hard to avoid screwing things up, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So I wrote another post that’s more positive; you should read it next.

7 Things Indie Authors are doing RIGHT.

About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me
  • I totally agree that in the beginning, obscurity is your enemy as an indie author. I definitely gave away so many copies (e-book and softcover) of my first novel, and it’s a great way to get the word out.

    One thing I would question is the importance of frequent blogging for fiction authors. Often, indies are very focused on producing as many books as we can per year, and blogging takes away from that. I do think it’s important to have a website “home base,” with links to your newsletter, etc., but investing hours blogging every week has proved to be a poor investment of my time. I do know my reader demographic but the thing they want most is my next book. 🙂 So I’ve pulled back from blogging 3x a week (in blogs’ heyday) to blogging every other Monday or so. But then again, I have books out which take center stage on my site. Anyway, not to ramble, but I do feel good looking websites/covers and great writing/reviews are so crucial. Great vlog and always appreciate your indie insights.

    • I think the idea that blogging “takes away from” writing time is an excuse. You can blog twice a week, for 30 minutes each, using time that is not coming out of your set writing time. It think authors don’t know what to blog about, so they convince themselves it’s not important, or that writing is more important. Blogging is one way you can get yourself in front of the right readers (if you blog about the things your readers are searching for). If you’re just blogging about any random stuff, then no, it isn’t helping, there are better things you could be doing. Most writers try to blog “creative” posts with “interesting” but not straightforward titles… they post well written articles that nobody ever readers, because they don’t get found. But it’s also true, the more books you have, the easier it will be for them to sell themselves without you needing any other strategies. So: must you blog? No. But are you trying to sell more books and struggling with it? If so, blogging is probably the missing part (or… book covers. or lack of reviews.)

  • Thanks for the comments Heather; I think if blogging isn’t working, you probably aren’t using it effectively. You have to make sure to blog articles with titles that appeal and get shared by your target readers; you have to make an effort to share them (linkedin, reddit, facebook, twitter), and you have to – usually – blog helpful ‘how to’ stuff. Also for every 2 or 3 on your own blog you should be seeking out high traffic blogs and writing guest posts. It looks like you’ve been doing everything right though, even turning your content into the “Indie Publishing Handbook.” It also take about a year to start building up traffic. I’m 3 years in and feel like I’m just getting started. But now I’m getting a couple dozen email signups a day, which – if managed well – should make launching a book a piece of cake.

    • Thanks, Derek. For me, I’m involved in so many fiction projects right now, primarily all I have time for is to let readers know of upcoming deals and feature other fiction authors. I spent 3 years blogging on topics relevant to my genres and didn’t really build an audience. I actually focus primarily on twitter to connect with other indies and Facebook (both my author page and groups) to connect with my readers, etc. I think when you’re blogging consistently about non-fiction, such as you are–cover art how-to’s, for example, you are bound to have authors like me signing up to read that content. My Indie Pub Handbook is a collection of the things I’ve learned, and I’ve guest blogged all over about that and my books. I do post about once weekly on my blog but for me, more than that is a waste of time, because it’s really not the primary place I connect with my readers. 🙂 I think each of us tend to prefer a couple social media outlets over others, and for me, twitter, Pinterest, and FB are more profitable.

      • Can I interview you about how you’re using those three to sell fiction books? I’m doing a series of Q/A chats next month but also looking for a bunch of experts on all topics.

        • Sure, Derek–happy to answer questions. You can just email me at heatherdaygilbert (at) gmail (dot) com.

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