Indie publishing is growing. Indie published titles now account for about 17% of all books sold. This is great news. Sadly, many indie authors don’t take the time to fully educate themselves on important aspects of publishing a book. Then these authors wonder why people don’t stand up and take notice of their books.
Following are five common errors that indie published authors make. I encourage you to read this list and educate yourself. Don’t make these mistakes.
1. Thinking that being self-published is a badge of honor.
Congratulations. You have self-published. Yes, it was a lot of work. It took time and dedication. However, being self-published is not a badge of honor. For years, self-published books were highly stigmatized. Most people viewed them as subpar. While self-published books have lost much of their stigma, it has not fully gone away.
If you are only marketing your book to readers, then loudly asserting that your book is self-published may not be that detrimental to your marketing efforts. But, if you are trying to obtain media coverage or reviews for your book in trade publications, then announcing that your book is self-published will ensure you do not receive coverage. Your press release or book will be thrown away. Most industry professionals still view self-published books as second-tier books. In other words, don’t announce in your press releases that your book is self-published.
2. Not purchasing your own ISBN.
Many indie authors are so happy to get their book published, that they accept the free ISBN from the publishing service they are using. This is another way to signal to the industry that you are self-published. ISBN stands for Industry Standard Book Number. Every book published receives an ISBN. This number is linked to the “publisher” of the book. If you purchase or use an ISBN from a service provider like CreateSpace, then your book is forever linked to that service.
Look professional. Get your own ISBN for your books. ISBN numbers are affordable. They can be purchased through Bowker.
Once you have an ISBN number, be sure to give the 13-digit number, not the 10-digit number when asked for your book’s ISBN number. The 13-digit is the industry standard.
3. Listing the publisher of your book as CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing.
CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing are not publishers. Let me state that again in case you missed it. CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing are not publishers. They are publishing services that allow you to take a book and get it listed in Amazon’s online bookstore. Both services also allow you to purchase print copies of your book.
These services are not publishers because they do not do the tasks publishers do of editing, proofing, layout and design, and marketing. They simply allow you to sell books that you have uploaded to their service.
Books that have CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing listed as the publisher on Amazon shout self-published. As I stated earlier, while much of the stigma over self-publishing has gone away, it has not been erased. You will have greater success hooking more readers if you look traditionally published.
If you did use a CreateSpace ISBN, at least pay the small $10 fee that CreateSpace charges to list yourself or your company or ministry as the publisher on your Amazon listing and in expanded distribution.
4. Thinking that bookstores order books from Amazon.
I previously wrote a blog post on “Amazon is Not a Distributor.” I will reiterate that here. Amazon is a bookstore. Bookstores do not order books from other bookstores. Bookstores order books from distributors at a minimum of a 40 percent discount from retail price so that they can earn money off the sale of the book. If Amazon is the only place your book is for sale, bookstores will not order your book.
5. Listing the book cover designer as the illustrator.
An illustrator is someone who has provided illustrations for the interior of a book. Most adult fiction and nonfiction books do not have illustrators, while most children’s books do. However, it is standard to have an illustrator field for metadata because those books that do have illustrators need them listed. It is okay to leave this field blank if your book does not have an illustrator. Don’t list the book cover designer. I am amazed at how many authors who nominate books for the Christian Indie Awards list their cover designer as the illustrator.
I know there are more than five common mistakes that indie authors make. I have just chosen these five to list. If you have a mistake that you have seen indie authors make and want to share it, please do in the comments section.
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