Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Self-published authors are no different than traditionally published authors! Why are you picking on my self-pubbed brothers and sister?” Honestly? Y’all might not like this, but self-published authors AREN’T just like traditionally published authors. You’re departments of one. You don’t have the support of publishing houses to fall back on. And because of the self-publishing stigma that exists today (be it fair or unfair), you have to be BETTER than traditionally published authors just to get noticed out there in the big, bad publishing world. And if you’re going to be better than Big 5 authors, you must not only be aware of the 7 deadly sins, but avoid them at all costs:
Taking pride in your work is a wonderful thing. Belief in yourself is something you’ll absolutely need if you’re going to survive in the cut-throat world of publishing. But sometimes authors let their pride get the better of them. When you have so much pride that you find yourself on Goodreads or Facebook bashing all the authors who aren’t as talented as you, you’ve officially crossed over into deadly sin territory. Keep your negativity in check if you want to avoid self-publishing hell. (Read more about losing fans on Facebook and Goodreads.)
Don’t envy the success of other authors, especially other self-published authors. Keep working to be the best writer you can be and you’ll find your own success. And besides, a win for one self-published writer is a win for the entire self-published team. (Because all self-published authors ARE a team, even if they don’t always act like it.)
We understand that as a marketing department of one, you want to take every opportunity to glut the social media outlets with promotions for your book. But constant bombardment with “buy my book, buy my book” messages annoys people to the point of muting you on Twitter, and un-liking you on Facebook. It just screams “desperate author”, and desperation doesn’t look good on anyone. Marketing gluttony will only serve to reserve you a seat in self-publishing hell.
Don’t lust after fame and success so much that you sell out as a writer. Just because alien Viking badger shapeshifter stories are selling really well, don’t try to write something you don’t love in order to hit a bestseller list. Write the book of your heart and you’ll find your audience. (But off topic: if anyone does decide to write an alien Viking badger shapeshifter story, we’d totally read it!)
Your book baby will someday receive a bad review. It’s just a fact of life. Even Justin Cronin and Stephen King have a few stinky reviews on their Amazon pages. But lashing out in anger at a reviewer will only make you look like a hot-headed dumbass. If you can’t handle negative reviews, just don’t read them.
(For more advice on how to handle negative book reviews, see this guest post from bestseller and indie author Isabel Jordan)
You worked really hard on your book. We get it. But even if you and your mom think it’s a steal at $29.99, pricing your book too high will cost you sales. In reality, your book is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. Debut self-published authors are lucky if they sell in the $0.99 - $2.99 range for ebooks. So, in short, don’t be a greedy bastard!
The worst thing you can do as an author is quit writing. As soon as your book is on the market, start on your next one. Always have something in the works. If you succumb to laziness, you’ll never achieve the kind of success you want. Want to read a success story about perserverence? We have one right here.
What do you think, self-pub authors? Agree or disagree? Well, speak up! Let us know what you think.