4 Reasons not to Push that Publish Button

stop don't push that publish button hand-944306_960_720.jpgSo you’ve written your first book. Or maybe this is not your first, so you feel even more confident. You’ve put your heart and soul into it. It took so long and now you think it’s ready. You’ve even had a few family members and friends read it and they tell you it’s great. You’ve heard about how easy it is to publish on KDP, CreateSpace – even Smashwords.

It’s November and you really want to hit that holiday market. After all, that’s the time the most people buy books for gifts. The timing is perfect and you’re itching to push that publish button.

Whoa! Hold on a minute. Do you really want to take that risk?

Why not, you think. After all, you’ve done the research and you’ve learned you can take your book down, fix the errors and republish it. Easy as pie, right? It’s more important to get it out there. If you wait you’ll miss that peak opportunity.

Yes, it is easy as pie. But it’s not smart – for a number of reasons.

1: First Impressions

You know how important first impressions are for job interviews and so many other situations in life. It’s no different for your book. So what’s the first thing your readers will see when they are looking for that next great read? The cover. You think yours is fine. You took an image off a free site, or an old photograph, played with it some, added the title and your name. You like the colours.

Wait. You need to check a few things first. How does it look in thumbnail size? Is the title easy to read or is it too small? Does the font suit the genre of the book? Is your image clear or blurry because you chose an old photo from your family pics? Does the image suit the genre and the story? Check out this post about book covers to learn the importance.

2:  Second Impressions

The description or back cover blurb is one of the most important elements for drawing in prospective readers. It’s also one of the most difficult. It takes time, thought, and many revisions to put that whole book into just those few sentences that are true to the story, entice readers, and don’t give away too much information. If it doesn’t do all three of those things it needs more work or you’ll miss that audience you know will love your story. And usually it takes outside opinions, because you are too close to the story and what’s obvious to you may not be to others.

3:  Third Impressions

So, your reader has the book and is eagerly getting into those first pages. How’s your opening sentence/paragraph/page? If it doesn’t grab your reader right off the bat you will lose their interest and many will drop the book. Their time is valuable and ought to be respected.

If luck is with you, you’ve passed that first test and they have gone on reading. But now they are frustrated because they see too many spelling and grammar mistakes. Or there are contradictions in the timeline, or a character’s name has accidentally changed, or there is another inconsistency that throws the reader out of the story. If it bothers the reader enough they will hurl your baby away in disgust. And they will never pick up anything of yours again. Not only that, they will tell their friends how bad it is.

4:  Reviews

Reviews can make or break a book and, by extension, an author. Reviewers look for much more than a good story. They will be much more particular than the average reader in your target audience. And prospective readers do read reviews.

Reviewers will point out whether the cover grabs them, whether it suits the book, whether the interior looks professional, and whether they see multiple spelling errors, typos and grammatical mistakes.

If they are put off by the frequency of these things they may well never review a book of yours again. And who can blame them? Why would they waste their time? They have no personal stake in your success. They don’t know you from Adam.

So, do you still want to push that publish button? Are you still so confident that it is ready? Do you still believe that you can fix your mistakes later and not lose your reputation and your audience? I hope not. It is far better to wait until your book is the absolute best it can possible be – even if it means missing that buying window you think is so crucial. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. A reputation, once damaged, is almost impossible to repair.

Author: Yvonne Hertzberger

Yvonne Hertzberger is a native of the Netherlands who immigrated to Canada in 1950. She is an alumna of The University of Waterloo, with degrees in psychology and Sociology. Her Fantasy trilogy, ‘Earth’s Pendulum’ has been well received. Learn more about Yvonne at her blog and her Amazon author page.

17 thoughts on “4 Reasons not to Push that Publish Button”

  1. Great post, Yvonne! I think I have the opposite problem. Although my book is “ready,” I am afraid to push that “publish” button. I feel I grow as a writer each time I go back to my project. I’d hate to publish too soon when there’s still an opportunity to make it better.

    1. Stacie, there comes a point at which keeping at it becomes counter-productive. If you’ve already done all the things I mentioned and polished a few more times it’s time to let go. It’s not about perfection – which is inherently impossible. I liken it to parenting. There comes a time you have to let them leave the nest, know you’ve done your best, and trust all will be well. Good luck. 🙂

  2. Right on, Yvonne. I think the primary reason that indie writers should keep in mind is that of squandering the opportunity to make a good first impression, because if you make a bad one–for whatever reason–the reader will NOT be back. So don’t ruin not only this book, but all your other books as well. Make it as clean and professional as possible. Your readers will thank you!

  3. A good reason I didn’t catch on to until it was too late was that if you want to submit that book to any prize committees, a November publication date means you’ve missed all the deadlines for award committees and submissions for THAT year, and your book will NOT qualify for the awards for the NEXT year.

    I wish I’d known that in time – if your book is good enough, you still have to hit all the marks and deadlines. And if you’re indie, you have to submit it yourself. On time.

    1. That’s true, Alicia. Those boxes all have to be ticked. That said, if it’s not ready you’re better not to submit it. Just keep writing with the deadlines in mind for next time. 🙂

    2. So what date would you suggest, to hit the Christmas buying without missing out on those contests? (I thought most contests were for “any book published in 2016” for example, not with cut off dates – so which contests do you mean?) An interesting comment, I’d like to hear more about this.

  4. Your post ought to be the theme song for Indies Unlimited. We’ve all been singing that chorus for years. Can’t emphasize it too much.

  5. I’ve been telling authors much of this same information for years. I’m not only an author, but an editor and book formatter and I cringe at all the mistakes I see in books, some of them from clients and others not. I’ve even seen too many typos in professionally published books, but not usually as often. If you want your book to be the best it can be, hire an editor and formatter. It’s well worth the fees you pay.

Comments are closed.