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?