15 Book Publication Mistakes that Could Cost You — Big!

15 Common Book Publishing Mistakes

Whether you’re self-publishing or going the traditional route, getting your book out there is not always as easy as it sounds. Especially if it’s your first try. From researching your target market to making sure your content is top-notch or developing a sales strategy that really works, there are many things to take into account on your journey to becoming a successful author. That’s why we’ve asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

“When looking to publish a book, what one thing do business people or writers often overlook?”

Common Book Publishing Mistakes

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Summary/Synopsis

“We’ve published tens of thousands of books over the past decade and this still drives me crazy. Authors will spend years writing their books, and then two minutes on its synopsis/description. After the title and cover (the bait), this is your hook and as such is of huge importance. Do not skimp out. That’s your book’s version of an “elevator pitch” and the make-or-break point for many readers.” ~ Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

2. Timing

“Many people don’t realize there may be more opportune times throughout the year to reach out to publishers. Find out when they are most open to receiving new authors or books. You can do this by going on their sites and learning about their requirements. You can also get books that offer this information. This can increase your chances of getting published.” ~ Cynthia Johnson, Ipseity Media

3. The Ability to Self-Publish

“Self-publishing still seems to fly under the radar as an excellent way to get your book out there. People still think they have to get a publishing deal when, in fact, they lose considerable control over their book and revenues associated with it. I have preferred to use self-publishing, which still has my books showing up on Amazon and other sites where they perform quite well.” ~ John Rampton, Due

4. Getting Greedy

“Be careful not to get greedy with an advance. The higher advance you seek, the more you’re going to have to pay back. Weigh the option heavily if you can afford to take a lower advance to make more money in the long run (provided you sell well) vs. getting paid a higher advance for staff and costs to produce the content of the book.” ~ Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations

5. Marketing

“Let’s face it; unless you’re a big enough public brand, a publisher isn’t going to spend top dollars to promote your book. Which means, you’ve got to be invested in the entire marketing and promotion of a book launch, reviews, press and even roadshows. Once the book does well, the second one has a greater potential to get your publisher to spend on marketing as well.” ~ Rahul Varshneya, Arkenea

6. Developing Great Content

“Some entrepreneurs publish just to publish. That’s fine if it isn’t important to you to make a great impression. But imagine a prospective client reading that book. Would they hire you after reading it? If the answer is “no” then you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a strategy for making it better.” ~ Ismael Wrixen, FE International

7. What You’re Actually Bringing to the Page

“There are endless books available to us every day. In order to stand out, it’s essential to understand exactly what you are writing about and how it differentiates from other books people can already find on the shelf. You have to inject a bit of yourself into your writing and make it unique, otherwise, people will stick with the book they already have.” ~ Renato Libric, Bouxtie Inc

8. The Time It Takes

“Getting a book published always takes longer than anticipated, even if you are self-publishing. Keep the time frame of six months to a year in mind, as publishers want time to edit and format the book, as well as determine the optimum time to release it. This means adjusting your marketing plan and not telling anyone about it for a while.” ~ Andrew O’Connor, American Addiction Centers

9. Review Sessions from an Unbiased Source

“The time to review your book isn’t at the end. High-quality feedback throughout the process will make everything easier. Find a beta reader and send them your work as it’s being completed. You don’t always need to listen to the feedback you get, but it’s always good to hear. It’s much easier to make changes 30 pages in than it is to make them 300 in.” ~ Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

10. Hiring an Expert

“Most people don’t realize that you can hire an expert to help you with the book writing and sales process. Publishing is complex and there is no single formula that fits all. Our team includes a literary expert who worked for years at a major publisher and wrote bestsellers herself, and seeing how she has helped so many aspiring authors succeed is proof that it pays to hire a pro.” ~ Beth Doane, Main & Rose

11. Research

“I’ve read too many books by business leaders that spread one idea way too thin. If you’re going to write a book, make sure you have enough material, a couple of ideas and inadequate research shouldn’t be buried in several hundred pages of filler content. Take the time to research and think before you sign the contract and take the advance.” ~ Vik Patel, Future Hosting

12. Getting an Editor

“If you choose to self-publish, you’ll have a lot more control over the content and design of your book than if you pursue a traditional publication deal. But, unless you are a professional writer, you should always hire an editor to help you polish your prose before publication. A decent editor will help you to say what you want to say clearly and correctly. Their job is to help you look good.” ~ Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

13. Building a Following

“With so many books on the market today, it’s not easy for a new author to get noticed. If you’re publishing a book with the goal of building your brand, it’s important to also build your following. Whether you do this through your blog, social media pages, videos or another platform, attract followers who will be interested in your book. It’s harder to sell a book to people who don’t know you.” ~ Shawn Porat, Scorely

14. Understanding Amazon Distribution

“Amazon will likely be any author’s largest distribution channel. Therefore, it’s important to master the art of creating a compelling Amazon book page optimized for sales. For example, categorize your book in the right section, ensure keywords are in the description and get your early fans to write reviews for the book. You should also set up an Amazon author page with a compelling presence.” ~ Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

15. Serving Your Customers and Fans

“When you’re creating new content of any kind, but especially an undertaking as big as a book, look first to your newsletter of customers and fans! What do they most need? How can your book serve them? Ask them! These are the people most likely to buy your book, so incorporate them into the process. Tell them about your plans and ask what they would like to see.” ~ Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck

Book Publishing Photo via Shutterstock

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.