Skip to main content

How Self Published Authors Set Themselves Up for Failure

By October 12, 2016November 14th, 2016Tips for Authors, Writing Process

self published lack planning editsDeciding to self-publish is a major step for many authors who think the flexibility and audience self-publishing offers is right for them. However, many people who try and fail to self-publish may see this as an impossible path where few people see results.

That is simply not true. Self-publishing success is possible, but there are a number of ways self-published authors sabotage their success before they even get started.


1. Lack of Planning

Authors can’t simply write a book and publish it to reap the rewards of their labor. You need a persuasive cover and a creative marketing plan to get the word out about your book.

Failing to plan is planning to fail, so if you go into the self-publishing world with no research or strategy about your reader audience, a sloppy cover, and no marketing, you have planned to fail.

2. Lack of Work Ethic

It’s not enough to start a novel and tell people about your idea. At some point, you need to put your nose to the grindstone and get it done.

Although procrastination can help writers, some use it like a crutch. Others spend too much time on social media and don’t see their free time as time to be creative.

Can you guess when I wrote this post? Believe it or not, it was on breaks during jury duty recently. And I’ve written before about maximizing your downtime by recording your blog brainstorms. There is time every day to write and meet your goals as a self-published author. Where can you trim the fat and add to your novel’s word count?

3. Lack of Editing

Your novel itself – the rough draft especially – won’t be enough to propel you into self-publishing success. You al so need to have your book professionally edited before you publish to make sure your work is the best it can be.

Many people use Amazon and Goodreads reviews to decide whether or not to purchase products. Your book is also a product they can consider among the toasters and onesie pajamas and Shamwows. If you have negative reviews due to grammar, spelling, syntax, etc., you will turn away a lot of potential readers and damage your potential to grow as a writer.

Yes, even you, a skilled writer, have room to improve.

Why would you want to focus your time and attention to editing above your marketing plan, your website, or even what your book cover looks like? The easy answer is because all of those other things can take time to improve, but if you publish your book and have to go back to make edits later, you’ll have not only put out an inferior product, but now have to backtrack and change it.

The more complex answer deals with your values. Would you rather have a sparkly cover and a mediocre story, or an amazing plot with a cover that could be improved later? Chances are your biggest fans who are already familiar with the story will not care as much about your cover right away (although it will help later with marketing) and will more likely share your book with others if it’s written well. So if you really want to amp up your game and pursue success as a self-published author, hiring an editor needs to be a part of the steps you take to reach your goals.

If you have not worked with an editor before or aren’t sure how they can help, talk to me! I can help you determine the right edits for your project and collaborate with you towards creating a more successful story.