A self-published author's diary, Self publishing, Self-pub corner

A Self-Published Author’s Diary: my Top 3 self-publishing mistakes…

My top 3 Self-Publishing Mistakes…

Thanks for reading this post… If you just stumbled on this blog, I started self-publishing in 2014, so I got quite a few years of experience and made many mistakes along the way. And while I’m sharing my top 3 self-publishing mistakes on this blog, I am sharing my top 5 self-publishing mistakes in my weekly email. If you’d like to receive those as pdf and join my weekly email, just click here.

Before getting into my top 3 self-publishing mistakes, I’d like to share information on how to help stop hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The rise in hate crimes against AAPI in the US has been staggering, but it’s not a new phenomenon. This post by USA bestselling author Tif Marcelo on Instagram is a must-read: “Don’t Avert Your Gaze” (please read it, and please don’t avert your gaze). As I was looking for more resources to share, Susan Dennard’s newsletter landed in my inbox with those words and the links below: “Please, educate yourself on AAPI racism. Please, speak up when you see it in action. And if you can, please donate to causes that can help.” I know I’m planning on doing all of those things. And I will keep on looking for resources as well. If you have any, don’t hesitate to let me know.

What are my top 3 self-publishing mistakes?

How many times can I say self-publishing mistakes in this post? I mean the first one I mention I feel is a publishing mistake many authors can make. And let me preface this by saying that I love daydreaming. I still daydream.

  1. Thinking my book would become an instant best-selling success – just because it was good. Let me tell you, that’s not enough 😊. Rationally speaking, I knew it might not be the case, but I thought that most of the early reviews were so positive, even from people I had never met! That was mind-blowing, and I did daydream quite a bit. I still do daydream very often. I sometimes fall asleep dreaming about my books being picked up by Netflix or the Lifetime Movies Channel. Or I daydream about my Gavert City audiobook series being downloaded thousands of times with people raving about Megan’s narration (which they already do, but now we’d have thousands of downloads daily 😊). Anyways…back in 2014, a little part of me thought maybe I’d be that overnight success. The one people talk about, not realizing that overnight usually means years of writing and sometimes years of publishing. I read at the time about authors succeeding in self-publishing, but (a) I didn’t really define what succeeding would mean, (b) I didn’t have benchmarks.

    Don’t get me wrong…I hadn’t left it all to sheer luck. Oh, no, no, no. I thought I had it all under control and was set for success. After all, I had a great cover, early reviews, and a release plan (with cover reveal, blog tours, Netgalley…). This meant I would release it and everyone would want to download it and I’d be set for success.

    Spoiler alert: In June 2014, when I published ONE, TWO, THREE, I sold 45 copies…So. Not an overnight success. 😊 Granted, that book has now sold many more copies. It has also been picked up by a French publisher, and I even received a message from a French teenager who mentioned that this book, this little book of mine, has gotten her to love reading!

    Sometimes, it feels that self-publishing is a sprint. And maybe sometimes it is. But not always…And marketing doesn’t stop with release month…
  1. Advertising to the wrong audience. When I first started self-publishing back in 2014, I thought it was essential to have a Facebook page with lots and lots and lots of followers – which may have been true if I had first analyzed the audience that would be most likely to buy my book. I went for a worldwide audience at a time where my books were (a) only in English, (b) on platforms that weren’t necessarily accessible to readers all around the world. And at that time, I was not really targeting my ads…

    So yes, I had many followers, but not an enormous audience of readers interested in my books. This is a mistake I’ve made again but more structured, as I’m still trying to see what ads work the best for different audiences. I’ve succeeded in France (and I’ll get into it in my weekly newsletter in the coming weeks), but my conversion rate (how many people actually buy a book after clicking on a link) is still too low for the US market. But nothing…nothing compared to 7 years ago.

  2. Not focusing on my newsletter. I remember reading years ago…and I mean yeaaaaaaars ago how important it was to have a newsletter because social media algorithms change (and man, do they change). That way, you may build more of a connection with the reader. Some newsletters I subscribe to are only letting me know when the author has a new sale. Others are expanding on the books they’re reading, how they’re writing, maybe movies or podcasts they’re enjoying, or other things going on in their lives.

    Have I ever bought or reviewed a book based on a newsletter? Yes. Yes, I have. I have a Facebook readers’ group (if you’re on there, thank you 😊), but I haven’t been spending a lot of time on Facebook. And I don’t have Facebook on my phone. And every single time I post something on my Facebook group, the reach (people who may see it in their feed) is about 35 to 50 out of more than 400 Facebook group members). More people open my emails. And it feels like people unsubscribe more when they’re no longer interested any long…. Still, I’m in Facebook groups I haven’t checked in probably years…so…yep, I’ve been refocusing on building my readers’ newsletter.

    I do wonder about that new platform Facebook announced on March 16th. They’re getting into the newsletter subscription area and do mention also the use of groups in there. So, will that change the algorithm? Apparently, it might give writers more tools and could help in audience growth…but again, one might be dependent on changes…

    Not like we’re also not dependent on changes with emails. When Google introduced the tabs in Gmail, some newsletters ended up in the Promotions tab, which is not necessarily read as often…Anyhow…😊

    Not focusing on my newsletter was one of my self-publishing mistakes, mainly since I don’t publish a book every two months or so. Newsletters help me stay in touch with my readers in-between (which I love doing) and grow my audience.

And those are my top 3 self-publishing mistakes.

Again, if you’d like to see my top 5, you can just click here or on this cover, add your email and you’ll get access to the full pdf…

I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks as well as what has worked for and my current publishing updates…including some stats about my bestselling format and platforms.

Thank you for reading!

Did you enjoy this post? Do you want to help support me and my writing? You can forward this email to someone who might be interested, buy my books and as always, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment.

If you have any questions about my adventures in self-publishing or anything I shared with you today, don’t hesitate to reach out and I’ll make sure to reply in my email next week.

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