These are some mistakes I made when doing my first book. I hope that anyone who reads this will have the chance to learn from my bad experiences.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Paying for editorial reviews– There’s no guarantee that these reviews will go in your favor and they honestly didn’t move the needle for me much, so I would stick to free ones like Indieview, Neoleaf, or Publisher Weekly
- Not getting a big enough review team– Customer reviews are really important for several of the big promotion websites, so I would try to hit 20. More than that isn’t needed, but more reviews often can lend you more credibility. I wouldn’t recommend paying money to get these reviews however.
- Not having the paperback and e-book cover done at the same time
- Setting too strict of a deadline– Because of my strict deadline I overpaid on things like formatting and I wasn’t able to give my final edits due diligence so some things ended up sneaking through the editing process.
- Paying for regular reviews– I would not recommend Book Sirens. Everyone I know got spammy or overly critical reviews from them. Plus you’re paying money to get that negative publicity, so it’s a double whammy.
- Not having the price on your bar code– This is really important for bookstore presence. I didn’t do this initially, so now I have to go back and pay for one and pay my cover artist to impose the new bar code onto the cover.
- Not doing an influencer outreach– Social media is super important for your book, so if you can get an influencer that likes your book it can give you a huge boost. I recommend at least giving it a try.
- Paying for advertising that doesn’t work– I’m talking about things with poor visibility and engagement like people saying they’ll advertise you on their blog of 50 or unknown amounts of followers or that they’ll post on X social media website. Those places are usually too spammy to have good engagement or visibility.
Things you should do–
- Newsletter promotions that are well known- Two on Fiver that I liked for free book days were Dracosama and Uncarved.
- Guest posts with businesses like 4thewords or book reviews from the booktuber or a blog with a big following. ONLY do this if you find that they’re a good fit and realize you are taking the risk that they might not like your book.
- Newsletter Building– Try to start building your newsletter. The sooner the better. Mailchimp is okay for those just starting out and it’s free.
- Set up Jot form– This is for giveaways and getting newsletter signups when you go to events. It’s way better than pen and paper.
- Do events. Yes, even if you have one book– It spreads word of mouth and has gotten me some great buzz that helped motivate me to do my second book
- Write– I know everyone says this, but really. Writing your next book shows people that you’re committed to continuing your writing journey.
- Build a community– Think about Harry Potter and Pottermore. Heck if you’re good at building an RP website maybe something like that. Fans like a community. The stronger the community, the better your book sells. Most of the books I’ve seen selling well have done this in some form whether it’s on a website or a FB group. (This is something where I need to take my own advice.)
- Become part of a Writing Community– The most supportive groups you’ll see are reading and writing groups. Become a part of that in a way that fits you. For me, Twitter and FB are my preferred methods, but you can use Instagram or in-person book clubs. Just do you, but find your people. You’ll support each other and can make each other stronger.
That’s all for now. I hope this helps you with your next book. See you next time.