So 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.
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.