In [this] guest post [which originally appeared on The Savvy Book Marketer], Mark Coker, founder of ebook publisher Smashwords, shares some of the most common mistakes that he sees authors make in publishing and marketing.
The most common ebook publishing mistakes that I see are:
1. Sloppy editing: Although Smashwords makes it fast, easy and free to publish an ebook, we don’t make it easy to write a great book. Many indie authors rush their books to market before the book has been properly edited or proofread. I can’t underscore the importance of good editing. Every book benefits from the unforgiving eye of an independent editor and proofreader.
2. Sloppy book covers: Some authors, after investing a lifetime in writing their book, invest under five minutes to create a quality book cover. If a picture tells a thousand words, an ugly book cover image tells the book buyer, “don’t click here.” Good ebook cover design services can be had for under $40, so why sell yourself short?
3. Failure to understand that ebooks are formatted differently: Some authors, especially those with years of professional publishing experience, have a difficultly making the transition from print design to ebook design. With ebooks, simpler formatting and layout actually improves the value of your book to the reader. If authors obsess over making their ebook look like an exact facsimile of their print book, they invariably cause themselves great frustration, and ultimately release their book in fewer formats or worse, they damage the reading experience.
Common book marketing mistakes include:
1. Late to market: If an author waits until their book is published to start their marketing, they’re too late. Authors should build their marketing platforms early, before they’ve even put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard. Marketing should be a career-long endeavor.
2. Failure to make marketing a daily priority: Every author needs to realize they are competing against millions of other authors for the limited eyeshare of readers. Authors should spend a minimum of one hour a day to make themselves and their work more visible to readers. Online social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and message board forums not only make this easy, but rewarding as well. At the end of every day, authors should ask themselves, “what did I do today to build my platform, and what will I do tomorrow?”
3. Spamming social network followers: Bookselling has always been about word of mouth, and nothing catalyzes an author’s marketing campaigns like a good social networking presence. If you can cultivate hundreds or thousands of followers on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter, and you can motivate them to care passionately about your success, then you have a powerful marketing tool at your disposal. But don’t spam your followers with a constant barrage of “buy my book” messages because they will tune you out. Instead, enter into a two-way relationship with them. Contribute value to your online communities. Participate. Pay it forward. The value of your network is not how many books they will buy, but how, as your advocates, they will spark the word of mouth necessary for true book success.
I encourage all authors to download Mark’s free Smashwords Book Marketing Guide for some terrific book promotion tips. For information about publishing ebooks through Smashwords, see How to Publish at Smashwords. You can follow @MarkCoker on Twitter. And don’t miss my interview with Mark: How to Make Your Books Available in Multiple Ebook Formats.