Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

3 Mistakes Indie Authors Are Making Before Publishing

4 min read

When authors fail to market, conduct market research, and set their expectations too high, their book release could flop

Indie Authors are working tirelessly to make their name known in the literary world as the path of self-publishing becomes the norm for more writers today.

But, the truth is, in their effort to become known in the literary world, they are making mistakes that come at a great cost to their career.

Lack of Marketing

Marketing is the beast that everyone wants to use but not many people know how to properly execute it.

What people don’t realize is that marketing is more than just paying to run advertisements. Marketing can be as simple as talking about your book publicly on social media from the time you start it. Or it can be in the form of putting together a blog tour where you talk about your book in front of readers interested in your genre.

For your book to do well after it’s published, you need to make your audience aware that it exists…or is going to exist.

Try these marketing techniques:

  • Sharing books that compare to yours on social media

  • Making connections with vendors/venues in your community that can host you in the future for book signings and appearances

  • Building connections with bloggers and later putting together a blog tour for your book release

  • Sharing updates on social media from the time you start the book, to the time you end it

  • Create other things that compliment your book so that you can build buzz for it. If it’s an apocalypse book, make a survival guide that readers can peruse. If it’s a sci-fi book where they travel the universe, make a map to show where they travel.

When you think outside the box, you can build momentum for your book as you write, which can make a huge difference in how well it does come publication time.

High Expectations

Often when Indie Authors publish their book, they have to lower their expectations of how well they will do.

Realistically, if it’s your first book unless you have put a massive budget on marketing and sent out hundreds of ARCs, sales will trickle slowly. Why? Because not many know you yet and you need time for reviews to come in to place trust that your book is worth their time.

Many authors don’t start building readership until they have three to five books under their name.

But what if you’re publishing your fourth book? How high should your expectations be?

The same rule still applies. Unless you are pouring a healthy budget into advertisements and sending out ARC copies to readers and blogs, keep your expectations low. Because even if you are releasing your fourth book, thousands of books are published daily which means that visibility for your book is brief.

The key to having a successful book launch is sacrificing a few sales by sending out ARC copies via email and asking these readers to leave a review at release time. (Keep in mind it takes a process — sending the readers links to where they can leave reviews, and reminders to make it happen.)

The reviews left there for your book will serve as reassurance come release time that your book is worth readers’ time.

Failing to Conduct Market Research

If Indie Authors fail to conduct market research on not only their genre trends but also keywords they risk readers never seeing their book.

Indie Authors should be researching:

  • Book covers in their genre and note colors, font, and keywords on books doing well

  • Seeing what topics are trending in their genre

  • Searching social media to see which platforms their audience is using and what times they are active

Without doing this research, authors could totally miss their mark on their audience which can make it difficult to change later.

It takes time to build not only your book but yourself in front of your audience.

If authors want to increase their book’s chances of success, they need to:

  • Market their book from when they begin writing it until after it’s published

  • Lower their expectations of success upon the book’s release

  • Conduct market, genre, and audience research to ensure they are catching their audience’s attention