1. “If anyone complains about the grammar, I can hire an editor later.”
– You can edit your work later, but you can’t remove the bad reviews.
2. “My cover might stink, but the content is good.”
– People won’t notice the content unless they first notice the book.
3. “Let me just publish the first chapter to get some feedback about my writing.”
– Would you go to the video store to rent just the first scene of a movie?
4. “Opinions from my friends and family aren’t biased.”
– Do you trust the views expressed in infomercials?
5. “I’ll respond to that review to show everyone how wrong it was.”
– You’ll be showing everyone how wrong it was, all right. Just the wrong ‘it.’
6. “People will judge my book for the ideas. Spelling and grammar don’t really matter.”
– There are over a million well-edited books to choose from. Why choose one that isn’t?
7. “It looks perfect on my screen so the ebook will look perfect, too.”
– Get ready for a big surprise!
8. “Where can I buy some reviews?”
– Did you just ask that out loud? Even worse, did you just type that on Amazon’s community forum?
9. “Why doesn’t Amazon market my book for me?”
– What about the other twenty million books? Should Amazon market all of them?
10. “Why were my reviews removed?”
– Did you write them yourself? Did your friends or family write them? Did you exchange reviews with another author?
(Note: These weren’t quoted from real people, but do simulate many opinions that hundreds of indie authors have expressed.)
It takes much time and effort to write a book. First, you need a great idea. Then you have to iron out the details. The writing itself is a monumental task.
Most indie authors do put much thought, time, and effort into their books. This blog wasn’t written to try to disparage the self-published author. Rather, it reflects how much more work is involved in publishing a book than just writing.
Traditional publishers have editors to improve and perfect the writing, graphic artists to design an attractive cover, and experience with marketing. The self-published author who has finally finished the time-consuming project of writing the book is suddenly faced with all of these responsibilities.
The indie author began his/her project because he/she loves to write. Someone who excels at writing often doesn’t also excel at editing, cover design, marketing, and – this is so important! – public relations. For the person who loves to write, writing is by far the easiest part of publishing.
We can understand the common mistakes that many indie authors make. Unfortunately, people tend to dwell on mistakes, and the mistakes help to give self-publishing a bad name.
There are many quality self-published books, though; and it’s natural for people to enjoy the exhilaration of discovering a gem. A significant percentage of book customers are themselves indie authors. If you add to this number their friends and family, there is a large population of potential customers who may be willing to support the self-publishing concept.
Although it is possible to understand the common mistakes that many indie authors make, the bottom line is that the customer expects a good product in return for his/her investment.
Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers