Seven Things to Avoid When Self-Publishing

So This is Christmas, new novel by Jim DevittHere at Indies Unlimited, we share with you things that you should do to help you be more successful in your craft and business. Having just published my Christmas novel, So This is Christmas, I’d like to write about some of the things you shouldn’t do when publishing your book.

  1. If you are publishing a Christmas book, don’t think that picking it up in August to revise and edit is enough time. Aaaaaaagh. I wrote the book last year with the thinking that I could put it out for December 2012. Hah! I shelved it and brought it back out for revisions and editing in August. All of the sudden—it was Thanksgiving.
  2. Don’t assume that a 25,000-word novel takes less to edit, revise, distribute to beta readers and everything else, than a 60,000- to 90,000-word novel. I waaaay underestimated this one. It doesn’t matter how long your novel is, it still has to be perfect to publish—and that takes a lot of time. Meanwhile, some of the tasks associated with publishing take the same amount of time regardless as to the size of the novel—cover art, blurb, synopsis, product description … should I go on?
  3. Don’t decide at the last minute that you are going to get cute with formatting. Yeah, I know, you think that the pretty little addition will make your book. That is, until you realize that you now have an eBook that needs to be compatible with about seven different Kindle formats, including the nearly obsolete devices (as in my personal Kindle.)
  4. Don’t forget to put a footer in each version of your manuscript, indicating which editing round you are on. What, you don’t have multiple rounds of editing? I must be doing something wrong.
  5. Don’t forget to take OUT the footer indicating which editing round you are on in the final formatted version for upload. See #4.
  6. Don’t publish a book at or near a holiday. If you are like me, a holiday junkie, this will be a disaster. There’s way too much pressure to get the book out early and when you finally get it published, all you want to do is pimp, promote, and check Amazon (of course!) In my case, I didn’t pimp, promote or check Amazon (that part is a good thing.) However, you only have one launch and I didn’t do anything in advance. There are a ton of articles on Indies Unlimited about how to do this the right way; you should pay attention to those. It was so bad; someone else posted my new novel on my OWN Facebook page before I did.
  7. Don’t invite relatives to stay with you during a book launch that lands on a holiday. Oh, wait, I didn’t invite them. That about sums up everything above. I’m supposed to go on with my merry holiday and pretend to not agonize about the birth of my new book.

So there you have it. In the end, I’m still very happy with the process of self publishing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

34 thoughts on “Seven Things to Avoid When Self-Publishing”

    1. Thanks, Lois. People like you really make the indie publishing thing easier … and less lonely.

  1. Haha… this list made me laugh!

    I would add:

    8) Don’t wait until you publish the book to start marketing! You can start marketing a book before it is even written! Get your readers on your list (you don’t have a list?) and those connected with you through social media, excited about your book so that when it is ready, they’ll be primed to buy!


    9) Don’t add an 8 and 9 to a “Seven Things” list. =)

  2. Great post! It’s one I can commiserate with you about. I’ll never do a December launch again, unless everything is ready in October. Doing last minute things when Thanksgiving is happening is awful. Also, I missed all the Black Friday sales trying to do last minute book things.

    I don’t do a footer. I just create a new file for each draft. Bookname_draftX, until I get to the final, which is bookname_final_DATE (in case I make a few updates to the final, where I just change the date.

    Again, the right post at the right time for me.

    1. Thanks, yeah, I’m not sure I’ll do it at this time again. Live an learn … thanks for sharing your method of updating.

  3. Hilarious, Jim. Sorry for the hassle, but congrats on your new book.

    P.S. I don’t mess with footers indicating the edit round. I just save each new round as a different file with the date I saved it in the file name. The one I publish gets “FINAL” in the file name. Saves having to remember to take the footer out, anyway. 😉

    1. Thanks Lynne, yep, I save each one under a different file name as well. Always a good thing to do.

  4. Jim, regarding point #4: I save versions of my document–NAMEOFBOOK01 NAMEOFBOOK02, etc. Then if I discard something or make a disastrous change, it’s easy to revert to an older version or copy what I need.

  5. LOL Jim–GREAT article! I will NEVER release another book around the holidays again. After Christmas pubbing suits me much better. Congrats on the new book!

  6. I would say I’m guilty of about seven of these! Thanks Jim, for clarifying what I;ve been doing wrong. As for multiple rounds of editing? Does that include the edits POST-publication ;)?

    1. Ha! I know what you mean. At least we have the ability to do that. Thanks for chiming in, David.

  7. December is a do-nothing month in publishing. Do nothing but promote for after the holidays, that is.

  8. The bottom line here seems to be- give yourself plenty of time and plan ahead! Self-publishing a quality book takes time! Don’t get caught procrastinating.

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