Guest Post by Ted Begnoche
Don’t get me wrong.
You and I both know there are way more than 5 mistakes writers make, right?
But we’re talking about the TOP 5 here.
These are the big ones that will ensure your eBook will be covered with digital dust in the time it takes to move a few million electrons around the globe.
Self-publishing has exploded in recent years, with a host of outfits such as Amazon, Bookbaby and Lulu leading the way and offering many options for authors, including print-on-demand and book distribution avenues.
The publishing landscape has changed dramatically and it’s now within reach for virtually anyone who has the desire and fortitude to write a book to become a published author.
Poor planning, however, has also sunken many a fledging author’s flagship product.
In this article we’ll take a look at 5 of the most common mistakes writers make when self-publishing an eBook, and also how to avoid them.
1. Your Book’s Purpose
There are a number of very good reasons for writing an eBook. The most important ones are for profit and for brand recognition.
Before you start writing a single word, make sure you understand what you’re after with the creation of your book.
If you start your eBook writing career thinking only of profits you may be making a big mistake. Writing an eBook with dreams of getting rich is approaching it from the wrong direction.
The chances of striking it rich with one eBook, and especially your first one, are pretty slim indeed, although it’s been known to happen.
Another significant reason for writing an eBook is to build your personal brand. Nothing in the world brands you as an expert like have a published book to your credit.
It can become a conversation starter. It can validate your knowledge and expertise in your field. It can open doors that were previously inaccessible to you.
Many people write an eBook for just these reasons alone.
Dig deep for the real reasons why you want to write an eBook. If it’s truly for profit, be aware that you’ll definitely need more than one book to start seeing any significant money.
I wrote my first eBook because I had something to say about a particular subject. Some people like the challenge of planning, starting, and completing a book – it’s an accomplishment to be proud of.
Take some time to consider exactly why you’re writing your book, and make sure your purpose is clear. Having a clear direction will ensure you stay focused and help you complete your task.
2. Ignoring Marketing
It’s true that while your book is selling well it will appear at or near the top of the search results, but I’m not aware of any promotional activities done by them.
It’s up to each individual author to do their own promotion. The more your book is “out there”, the better it will do, but no one is really putting it out there except you.
The time to start promoting your book is actually BEFORE it’s written. While that might seem counter-intuitive, if you wait until after your book hits the digital shelves you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.
You can build a buzz yourself in a couple of ways. First, you should be mentioning on your blog or website.
Next, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are a great way to spread the word.
There are also plenty of sites where you can promote your book, both freely and pay-for-promotion. A few examples can be found here:
Remember, the time to promote your eBook is BEFORE it’s actually written. This does two things; builds a buzz for your eBook and gives you more incentive to finish!
3. Cover Design
We writers are obviously creative types, and some of us fancy ourselves as designers as well as writers. If that’s the case with you and you think you can design cover art for your eBook, you can actually save yourself some cash.
I would, however, issue a word of caution here.
Just as in print books, covers sell eBooks as well.
Your cover is extremely important for book sales. If you’re not 100 percent certain of your design skills then this task is best left to someone else.
It’s simple. Get someone else to design your cover. You can still pick out colors, title and subtitle, and any special scene you want, but the actual assembly and creation of the finished product should be put together by a design professional.
If you don’t already have one in your arsenal, you can find one quickly at places like Upwork (formerly Odesk and Elance).
When I was first starting out I found a very good designer on Fiverr. He was fast and every bit as professional as others on the more expensive sites.
Because he was so good and cheap I would often have 2 or 3 covers designed. I would then post the covers on a Facebook page and let visitors choose which one is best. It works great and is well worth the time and money spent.
Unless you’re a pro designer, leave it to a pro!
4. Not Finding an Editor
Everyone makes mistakes, including me and you.
Depending on your writing style, you may edit as you go or write it all out at once and then go back to clean it up later. Both ways will work and it’s really up to your individual taste.
Either way, there is probably a fair bit of editing involved. Personally, my writing needs a good going over several times before I’m confident enough to release it to the world.
Most first time authors skip this crucial part by doing their editing themselves, and in my opinion it’s a mistake.
I know it seems like I’m over-simplifying here, but it really is easy. Get an editor!
No kidding, it’s probably one of the best investments you can make in your eBook. It can be a professional editor that you’re friendly with or even someone you find on Upwork.
Heck, it can even be a friend of yours, as long as you make it clear that you need an objective eye and not a pat on the back. Make sure it’s someone you can trust, call in a favor of you need to, just make sure you get another set of eyeballs on your manuscript.
If you hire someone you can expect to pay at least couple hundred dollars, and maybe much more, for the service, and believe me I know how hard this can be when you’re just starting out.
I still think it’s money well spent if you can swing it. I know my first books would have been better had I decided to get the help of a professional editor.
5. Not Capturing Reader Information
We spoke of marketing your eBook above, and I suppose this could be part of it but I think it’s so important that I wanted to make sure it had a section all its own.
When readers buy your eBook, it’s because something struck a chord with them. They found something in your subject matter, title, cover, or description that made them want to read more.
If you’ve written a good book and delivered on your promise, you will win a fan for life.
Have you thought about how to stay in touch with him or her?
You should always include ways for your readers to connect with you. Common methods are through social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, but don’t limit yourself to one or two, use all that make sense for your particular niche.
For instance, if you’re writing a recipe eBook, Pinterest would be a good choice.
Also, consider using an autoresponder and signup form on a separate page at your blog. You could include a link in the beginning of each book that directs the reader to your signup page.
Offer to keep them informed of new eBook releases, and make sure you let them know when your books are in a promotional period so they can scoop them up cheaply.
Once you have a reader’s email address it easy to stay in touch. Since they already know and like you, they’ll look forward to receiving your helpful and informative emails.
Setting up an autoresponder is easy enough, but if you’ve never done it before it can be a bit of a challenge. Outsourcing this part is always an option.
In my opinion, these are the top 5 things that are overlooked by writers when publishing an eBook.
When you’re ready to write your book, remember that there’s a lot more to the process than the actual writing part.
It’s easy to fix these issues and if you take the time to do so, I’m confident you will see a difference in your eBook sales.
Ted Begnoche is an online entrepreneur and digital product creation expert who specializes in publishing non-fiction eBooks. His biggest business thrill is helping other business owners bring their digital product concept to the online market in a profitable fashion. He blogs on this subject regularly at http://wiredproduct.com