Writer’s Name: Sheri Henry
Title: Self-Published Authors, BEWARE!
Writing a book is hard work. Everyone has a story to tell. However everyone should not become a writer. Writing is a craft that takes time to perfect. Some people don’t have the time or patience and rush things. While that may work for some time, in the long run, it won’t help to build a career as a writer.
We all make mistakes. It’s human nature to sometimes jump into things without knowing. Being an author is a career and should be treated as such. When you have a career you take it very seriously. If you don’t take it seriously how do you expect others to view you and your product? There are so many mistakes that people make when publishing their first books. However instead of learning from them they keep making them. My main goal in this article is to help prevent these things from happening by educating and
informing people. Some of these things I learned firsthand. Some of them my colleagues have gone through. If any of these mistakes were made by anyone, know that it is ok. Some things just aren’t acceptable for serious authors.
Planning is important. Once your book is produced now what? In order to sell the books you must know a few key factors. Who is your target audience? How much do you plan to spend to market your book? Where will you market your book? These things are important. If your genre is romance then you shouldn’t be targeting the urban/street lit genre. Marketing material cost money. Every author should have business cards. Then there are postcards and other promotional material. As far as where to market your book, social media isn’t the only place. People make the mistake of just marketing on Facebook. Everyone does not have a Facebook account. Now what? Don’t miss out on sales due to poor or no planning.
We all want to be rich one day. Putting out one book does not guarantee that your sales will make you millions. We all have to start from the bottom to reach the top. It can be done but will it happen overnight? No! Hard work, dedication, and patience will turn into a nice amount of cash. But once again it will
not happen overnight.
Research is key in the self-publishing business. There is no reason why with all these search engines that people are wandering around blind. Google is your friend. No I am not saying to completely go with Google but look up what you want to know and then ask. Publishers, editors, graphic designers are all busy people and do not have time for answering questions that can be easily searched. I had an author inquire with me about writing a book under my publishing company. No problem until I asked her what genre she wrote under. She asked me“What does genre mean?” Conversation was over because I don’t have the time to answer
questions like that. Not to be mean but people are busy. There is a difference between helping and hand holding.
There is no place for arrogance in any business. I believe that at all times authors should humble themselves. Criticism comes with the industry. If you can’t take it then you don’t belong in this industry. The mistake of first time authors is believing that people are hating because they didn’t like the book. Accept the criticism and if it is worthwhile use it to perfect your craft! Author beef or author/reader beef is so inappropriate and in my opinion is career suicide.
There is no rush to put out a product. Rushing, means that your quality of work will be lower than if you had waited. Every day self-published authors release books. You are in competition with them all. So what is going to make you stand out? Take your time and do it right the first time. If not you may have to spend a lot of money to republish a book. Don’t make this costly mistake.
Serious authors are not lazy. They know that the time and sacrifice they make now will pay off in the long run. I have heard of a few horrible trends going on in the publishing industry. Self editing is not recommended even for editors themselves. That is career suicide. Why kill your career before you even get on your way? Stop being lazy and research editors and graphic designers. Quality matters a lot because you will be judged off of cover and your words.
It is so easy to be taken advantage of when you don’t know. Everyone claiming to be someone in the industry sometimes isn’t. When you choose to do work with someone make sure to check out their references and website. If they have neither to provide you then you better run for the hills! Everything that
glitters isn’t gold. This is a mistake that has cost some people a lot of money.
Contracts are very important legal documents that determine a lot for authors. Even if you self-publish at one point a contract is to be signed. Contracts are not to be taken lightly. Read them understand them and then sign. Don’t sign and then read it. Oftentimes people sign contracts and then wonder why they are not receiving services or payments. In those instances whatever you signed and paid for is what you get. If you signed and did not get what you signed for then get a lawyer and start a case for breach of contract. Civil
cases take long so please read to avoid all of these issues!
One mistake a lot of new authors make happens as a result of not knowing when to start building their brand. I have been asked several times when should they start promoting themselves. My suggestion is to start before you have a product. Network yourself and your product. Most sales come from word of mouth. How can people find you if you don’t put yourself out there! Don’t be shy, get out there and sell yourself.
As a self- published author I have come to realize you cannot do it all. Some authors swear by it but to me that isn’t a smart choice. Cutting cost isn’t smart. If you as an author want people to invest in you then you must invest in yourself! You have to spend money to make money.
Being a self published author is not easy. It’s not impossible either. You have to be willing to learn, accept criticism and perfect your craft. Being different is important! Don’t follow others do what you want and
create your own brand.