Self-Publishing: Rookie Mistakes

This time last year, I was gearing up to self-publish my first novel through CreateSpace. Being that it was my first run-through with the process of self-publishing, and I did everything–minus beta reading and editing–on my own, I think I managed it pretty well. However, now that almost eleven months have passed since I clicked “Publish”, I’ve noticed some rookie mistakes in hindsight:


Mistake #1: Beta Readers

Since I was new to the writing community on social media and didn’t know of any Christian YA authors I could ask to beta read Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl, I instead turned to my Facebook friends. Ending up with six volunteers, I only received feedback from three, and useful editing tips from one, who thank God had worked in the writing center at one of the most prestigious universities in our state. The others, though I thank them for reading, only offered minimal input on changes, or just said “it’s good”. I ended up telling the remaining three that I needed to go on without them in order to publish by the deadline I had set. For the next go around, I’m going to seek out help from my editor friend again, request that a local author I know beta read, and ask around Goodreads/Twitter for more experienced beta readers.

Mistake #2: Proofing the Copy Two Days Before Publishing

Procrastination got the better of me around the week I wanted to publish, and I didn’t preview the digital copy of the novel on CreateSpace until two days before the novel went live. Though I didn’t find any major issues, it stressed me out. I also didn’t invest in a physical proof copy, which I wish I had done, and would have done if it wasn’t for the time crunch. When I saw my first printed copy of the book, I noticed little flaws on the cover that didn’t show up on CreateSpace’s digital proof. Therefore next time, I think I’ll try to get it done two to three weeks ahead of publication, and invest in a physical proof copy to avoid cover mistakes.

Mistake #3: Free eBook Promotion:

About a month into making my novel “Live” on Kindle, I tried a free ebook promotion weekend in an attempt to increase its popularity. Though I had a few takers (like 9, I think), the correlation between downloads and pages read didn’t quite add up to me. After looking on YouTube and Googling “free ebook Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl”, I found out why. Someone on YouTube had posted a link to download a pirated PDF version of my novel, and as of last week, I have found five websites doing the same thing within Google’s search results. I didn’t look on the pages to see how many downloads my novel received on those sites (I work in IT and am super wary of shady websites), but the simple fact that someone had basically stolen something I’d worked hard on bothered me. In the future, I most likely won’t be doing any more free ebook promotions for that reason.

Well, those are the top three rookie mistakes I’ve made during my first time self-publishing. Did any of you experience the same things? What other rookie mistakes did you make?

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

13 thoughts on “Self-Publishing: Rookie Mistakes

  1. My big mistake on my first printed book in 1996? Ordering 1,000 copies when I should have ordered 250 (more or less). But believe it or not I sold most of the 250 copies I did sell WITH NO ADVERTISING!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow that’s awesome, especially since it’s before social media came about! 😀 I was cautious and ordered 20 when my book first released for family and church members but I’ve ordered more since then!


      1. I, too, am a Christian writer, meaning I write to try to get folks to accept Christ, but I do it in a non-conventional way (which has led some Christians in the past get on me about some of the content of my first book, which has some sex scenes and cussing in it….the second book of my trilogy is cleaner! The series is called the “Prodigal Band Trilogy” about a rock band from England (I am American but I spent time in England and my fave bands growing up were English), and this band in the final book accepts Jesus as Savior. In other words, my books aren’t necessarily meant for Christians but for those who are not yet Christians. God made me a writer and gave me that talent (you likely know the parable about the talents), so, while Christians can read my stuff, it is mostly geared toward mainly young folks who might consider believing on Christ. Plus shortly I am putting up a FREE PDF download that will be copyrighted and signed. Your post on getting your book stolen is alarming, though. I will likely (once my domain site is up in a few days…it was transferred from BlueHost) sell the printed books on Amazon, Ebay, and maybe a free webstore (using’s apps). Kindle? Not sure yet if books can be stolen like that. Anyway, my second printed book, 1998….I got a hundred copies and have sold most of them. Glad to be aboard! Like your site! D. Lagarde

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      2. That sounds like an interesting series! 🙂 Coincidentally I just scheduled a blog post on the topic of using foul language in Christian fiction for a few weeks from now. I’m on your side with it; personally I don’t use them in my writing, but feel it’s the author’s choice and think it’s fine as long as the characters come to know Christ! Thank you, and thanks for commenting! It’s always great to hear from fellow Christian authors! 🙂


  2. Another question, Allyson–that free Ebook promotion weekend–was that on Kindle? I am doing research on where I can post for download the FREE PDF book and not have to worry about hackers changing the book using Acrobat or pirates who might do the same thing.


    1. Yes, it was on Kindle. However, I’m not completely sure if someone decided to distribute it illegally by getting the free ebook from there, that’s just my guess. For all I know someone could have ordered a paperback and scanned it lol. I wouldn’t knock Kindle out of the choices; it’s a very good service and offers promotions if you enroll in KDP Select. I hate to admit it, but whenever you put something on the internet, no matter how secure the service is, there’s always a risk involved. I hope this answers your question! 🙂


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