Oops! Mistakes First-Time Authors Make When Self-Publishing

Oops! Mistakes First-Time Authors  Make When Self-Publishing


Mistakes authors make


Mistake No. 1 – The Cover


When I published my first book on Amazon I created a Kindle eBook and a Paperback. 

At the time I used Cover Creator to build my book cover.  It was easy to do, and I felt proud that I had made my own cover. 

Before too long, I was criticised from someone online who said I needed to do something about the cover. The book really needed a professional cover better than I was able to do myself.

So I revised the book and had a new cover made. I outsourced to a cover designer on Fiverr. My cover was dramatically improved and it now looked professional.

Most people do judge a book by the cover. If you screw up on the cover either your book won’t sell or your sales will be low.

The cover creates the first impression, gives a clue as to what your book is about, and from that first glance a reader decides whether or not to take a closer look at your book.

Creating your own cover can spell disaster for a first-time author.


Mistake no. 2  – The Title


Recently, I was given a manuscript to assess and the first reaction I had was, what a terrible title. It was bland, lame and ordinary.  

There was nothing distinctive about the title, nothing to entice a reader to buy the book, there was no sub-title to explained things further, and nothing to indicate the benefits of the book. 

It was a title that would have relegated the book to the sales prevention department.


Mistake no. 3  – Editing


I meet many highly educated people who believe that their text does not need editing. 

If there has been some editing they may have done a couple of self-edits and family and friends might have done their bit too.

Because you can publish a book for very little cost on Amazon – even no cost – the temptation is to prepare the manuscript yourself for publication and risk having an end product looking like the job of an amateur.

Don’t compromise the quality of your book. Your goal as a self-publisher is to make your manuscript as good as it can possibly be, so seek the services of an independent, professional editor.


Mistake No. 4 – Formatting


I’ve seen the results of amateurs formatting their books for Amazon either as Kindle eBooks or Paperbacks.

If a Kindle eBook is not formatted according to the Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP) guidelines it can end up with a lot of formatting mistakes, and if published, it will need to be withdrawn from sale and done again.

Whether you are publishing on Amazon, Ingram Spark, Lulu or whoever, make sure that you understand the technical requirements needed for the formatting. 

Follow the relevant guidelines closely, and understand the type of file that is necessary for publishing the book.

Formatting is something that I would definitely outsource to a professional. First-time authors who are new to the self-publishing process should engage the services of professionals to help them with producing their books. 

It is possible to get professional help and it is possible to do this on a budget.

For regular free tips and access to the Masterclass on writing and self-publishing, tune in to the Fast Self-Publishing Online community each week on a Thursday.


Marji Hill

Author & Coach



Fast Self-Publishing Online


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