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7 surprising mistakes self-publishers regularly make

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4 Comments

  1. I suppose the question then is how do you know a book is self-published? It’s difficult to tell, particularly these days when many many mainstream publishing houses also use print on demand technology to produce the physical copies of books that appear through the letter box. And many authors who penned classics (old and new) also started out or moved to self-publishing such as Beatrix Potter, Mark Twain, Margaret Atwood, and Jane Austin. Not to mention Louise L Hay, EL James and Amanda Hocking. And I have to admit to having started but been unable to finish some books that were not only traditionally published, but came highly recommended to book :-).

    Every time we put our proverbial pen to paper we are to some extent self-publishing; whether in our own personal journal where we will be the only eyes to read what we write, whether it’s a comment on a website like these, the blog post we write to share our thoughts with the world, or the book.

    And it would be great to see your collection of works on aging out there in the world one Day Irene as if you help even just one other person see the world differently you will have made a difference to that life, and with the ripples from that, will have made a difference to countless more.

  2. In general, I agree with your remarks. As i suggested in my original comment, whether to self-publish or not, rather depends on whether you just want to publish for personal enjoyment or whether you want to publish to reach a wide audience, in which case marketing will, for most people, be highly problematic. As for me, I would not purchase a book that is self-published because I know from experience that a high quality of writing inside it cannot be guaranteed. I base that opinion on my experience as a educator and the co-ordinator of two writing groups (one face-to-face local and one online national). I have often been asked to show aspiring writers to how maximise their exposure on social media and to show them how to create a blog. I have done so, knowing that what they want (a wide audience) is not what they are going to get (few, if any clicks). When I was teaching, I created a literacy website that was used by thousands of schools in Australia (where I live) and some international ones too. That was because I had an established network to ‘spread the word’. In the main, writers want to create best sellers, get recognition for their work and reach a wide audience. Unless you have the money (to burn) or a distribution network established, self publishing is not going to do ‘it’ for you. Having said that, I have been published in many anthologies, won many competitions (including one of yours), had a collections of my stories and a teacher resource book published by a small publisher, published numerous literacy resources online and had poetry and stories for children published in magazines here and in the UK. I love writing and one day might be tempted to self publish a collection on ageing – if I ever get the time. 🙂

  3. That’s a good point Irene and is definitely something you should consider if you’re creating books. It comes back to the purpose of the exercise, as I mention in the video knowing why you’re doing it is essential. If you want to be the next JK Rowling then you need to think about how you’re going to reach that audience. if on the other hand you’re publishing your local walks guide then it’s not so much of an effort.

    If we also look at self-publishing in a much wider context for example in social media updates and blog posts, then the questions may have different answers, but they are essentially the same.

  4. Self-publishing is a step up from vanity publishing and, of course, anyone can self publish. I would wonder – unless you just want to publish one or two copies for yourself – what is the point of self-publishing, apart from the sense of accomplishment one gets from fulfilling an ambition. Unless you are prepared to put a lot of effort and money in marketing your self-published work ( or you have a massive captive audience) I would not recommend self-publishing.