There are many misconceptions about creating a book. The internet is rife with misinformation about self-publishing.
I have seen newly self-published authors encounter great success, working with writers who have gone on to pick up publishing deals, and cheering on clients who have become bestsellers.
But I’ve also seen the ugly side. The side where people decide they can do it themselves, cut corners and do crazy stuff like publish unedited words or get a cover design on Fiverr.
And I get why they do this.
In the early days of running a business, something’s gotta give and you might have to hustle to get your work out there. But I know this isn’t where you want to be any more, right? In fact, you’ve probably moved on from this curse already, such is your discerning eye for quality.
So what are the traps that entrepreneurs and almost-authors commonly encounter? And what do you need to know if you’re stuck in one of these?
Common pitfalls in writing an ebook
No matter which way you look at it, writing your book is going to be a challenge. (Notice I didn’t say ‘hard’ there.) It can be a rewarding challenge or simply a pain in the arse!
The good thing is you get to choose.
And the best way to walk the rewarding path as opposed to the painful path? Getting the facts and learning from others who have gone before you. So let’s get started.
Mistake #1 – Thinking everything you have to say is already out there
True, there are a lot of books in circulation. There are also a lot of books out of print and no longer available. And yes, there are billions upon billions of words already written in your niche, in your genre, on paper and online.
So why bother writing your book at all?
Because nobody else can see the world through your eyes.
“There are no new ideas. Only new ways of making them felt.” ~ Audre Lorde
We live in a world where access to information is instant.
And yet, I bet you can think of a time where someone wrote something you already knew in a way that spoke to you. Really spoke to you. Not just the facts.
They had a perspective, a way of telling the tale, that made the black and white turn into shades of pink and purple and gold. Suddenly a concept that you knew in your logical mind became colourful, animated, and just maybe made you do something differently.
That’s why your book oh-so-definitely has a place in this world.
Mistake #2 – Thinking you need to know more before you start
Unsurprisingly common, this one. A book seems like something only experts and gurus should embark on.
But that’s not at all true.
Any book has the right to exist as a form of your self-expression. Your knowledge is as valid as anyone else’s. Your story is as meaningful as any other.
What’s more, writing an ebook of any kind is a journey of self-discovery for any writer. What you have read before when you’ve bought a paperback or downloaded a guide to [insert your problem here] is only ever the finished polished version of what that writer started with. That’s not what they first wrote, believe me! Even the seasoned writers and professional authors out there do not start out with anything like what you end up reading.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~ Mark Twain
You will learn as you go. That means subject matter research. That means writing style. That means publishing jargon and technical how-tos.
You do not need to know it all already.
Mistake #3 – Being too emotionally attached
This is a tricky one to navigate, since we want some emotion in there to be interesting and engage readers.
What we mean by this, though, is that you should be through the worst of it and have a story to tell from a place of helping others who are going through it, not just because you need to still process it. (That’s what journalling is for. And I highly recommend it – it has saved my sanity in the past!)
Of course, you need to care enough about your ebook. Just make sure you’re writing it having dealt with your demons!
Mistake #4 – Underestimating the cost of producing real quality
There’s a rumour going around that it’s free to publish a book. Yet for those looking to be taken seriously as a professional and an author, it’s critical to not confuse ‘it’s free to upload your manuscript to Amazon’ with the idea that self-publishing has no costs associated.
You’ll need a book budget – absolutely!
According to Mediashift, the minimum spend for the necessary production services is $1,575 USD (about $2,150 AUD) rising to $9,425 USD (about $12,870 AUD) for highest end. (These figures have been adjusted for a 100 page book.)
That said, self-publishing is an incredibly accessible way to get your work out into the world, build an audience, stake your claim on a corner of the internet, and tell things like you see it.
There is no-one standing between where you are now, and freedom, creative control and visibility.