As a homage to the great blog concept of the ‘mistakes post’, here I present to you my 3 biggest self-publishing mistakes I’ve made so far.
Mistake 1 : Changing Genre
My first big mistake was changing fiction genre from Time Travel Science Fiction (Timeshock) to Young Adult Fantasy (Magpies and Magic). This is a bad idea because you are losing readers who might follow through from your old series into your new series, and losing out on potential reviewers of your work.
I also changed to writing a short novel (50,000 words) as opposed to the novellas I had written (about 20,000 words). With hindsight I think I should have continued writing science-fiction novellas. Once you have a small audience for your books, just be aware that if you switch genre or subject you will be having to start again!
Mistake 2 : Promoting to the Wrong Audience
My second big mistake was a marketing target failure. I used facebook adverts to promote my first Timeshock book after I made it free. I targetted people who liked the book Time and Again, a book at that point I hadn’t read (big mistake!). There weren’t that many time travel pages I could find to target on Facebook. I’d had some joy with targetting people who liked Dr Who, but I was looking for a book to target.
So I chose Time and Again. Unfortunately in style and content it is the total opposite of my book – it is long, description-heavy with not a great deal of plot. My book was short, description-light and lots of plot. With hindsight I was paying money to send people who were almost certainly going to hate my book to it, while it was free.
I think this has contributed to many of the very bad one star reviews for my book in the US where I targetted this ad.
The lesson to learn here is – be very careful who you select to target your marketing efforts to – sending the wrong readers to your book is worse than sending no readers!
Mistake 3 : Not Spending Enough Time Getting Reviews
My third big mistake was not spending more time finding people to review my Magpies and Magic book. I did e-mail a lot of people on various lists of reviewers I found back got very few responses back. I should have spent more time on this. While the reviews I did receive were favourable, they just were not enough (in the US I think there is a grand total of one at the moment!). So I missed out on the necessary reviews at launch time to give my book credibility. While it is the first book in a series, and there is hope it might sell when the later books are out (especially as I will almost certainly make it free then), it was a missed opportunity.
This post is response to a great podcast episode on the ProBlogger Podcast – which is a fantastic show to listen to if you are interested in blogging.
What mistakes have you made? Let me know in the comments below!