Tag Archives: self publish

Top 6 Mistakes People Make Self Publishing a Book!

I have to admit, I am a bit of a snob when it comes to buying books. I check to see if it is self-published. If it is, I pay a lot more attention to what is said in the reviews than I normally would. Even then, I might think twice before I purchase.

But there is a reason for this snobbery… I have been burned far too many times and wasted my time and money on books that had been published improperly.

I came across this YouTuber the other day, and I think she gives very sound advice. If more people listened to advice like this, I’m sure the quality of most self-pubbed books would improve.

Now, remember, I am not saying all self-published authors took shortcuts… it had just been my experience that eight out of ten (roughly) self-published books are missing one important factor she talks about.

Oh – also – your mother and siblings don’t count as developmental editors or copy editors or proofreaders.**

And (in general) fantastic developmental editors are lousy proofreaders. And, likewise, fantastic proofreaders cannot do a developmental edit. So yes, you do need more than one (possibly three) editors.

So, listen on if you are considering self-publishing. This YouTuber has “been there done that.” Take it away, Texan in Tokyo!


**Unless they just happen to be professional editors, and believe they can be subjective about your work

Biggest Mistakes New Writers Make #3: Nope, you can’t explain yourself. Sorry, not allowed!

At a recent Author’s panel discussion, Jonathan Maberry, Mike McPhail, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jon Gibbs, Jennifer R. Hubbard, and Kristin Battestella discussed the biggest mistakes they believe writers make.

Mike McPhail commented that you CANNOT explain your novel to people.

Think about that. 

What Mike said is that you are not going to be there to explain anything about your novel.  It needs to stand on its own with no questions.  If it can’t stand on its own, you are not going to find a publisher (and remember, he’s a publisher as well as a writer)

I recently read a review from a “self-published” author that said:  “Just get through the first few chapters… you’ll be glad you did.”

I can’t help but wonder if they asked a friend to say that… This is probably why they self-published.  Why would you start your novel out weak?  Personally, if I’m not engaged in the first few pages, the book goes back on the shelf.

I wonder if this person ever had beta readers.

Note:  I would never let a beta-read pass with a bad first page, let alone a bad first few chapters.  That’s like literary suicide in my book.

Make sure your novel can stand on its own, and for goodness sake, if you feel like you have to apologize for your first few chapters CHANGE THEM!

Jonathan Maberry:  www.Jonathanmaberry.com

Mike McPhail:  www.mcp-concepts.com

Danielle Ackley-McPhail:  www.sidhenadaire.com

Jon Gibbs:  www.acatofninetales.com

Jennifer R. Hubbard:  www.jenniferhubbard.com

Kristin Battestella:  www.jsnouff.com/kristin

Editing, Editing, and then, well, MORE EDITING-Advice from Publisher Authors

At a recent NJ Author’s talk on “Getting Published” (Click here to read my post from that night), many authors on the panel spoke about the importance of editing.  No brainer, right?  Well, you might be surprised.

There are a lot of people out there who have written a “great story” and sent it right out to agents, burned their bridges, and never had a beta read.  I know you are nodding your head.  Hopefully it’s because you KNOW someone, and you are not the culprit.

I ALMOST did this around a year and a half ago (Wow, has it been that long already?)  I finished HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT.  I edited the heck out of it with only my own input, and I was about to send it out.  I had trouble finding someone to read it for me, and I was confident, so I was going to skip this step…. but something told me to go out and find a beta reader.  I found a guy I didn’t know, and we exchanged manuscripts.  That’s when I found out that I had a great story **Yay**, HOWEVER, my presentation stank.

Author Jon Gibbs said “People send their work off too soon” He noted that when we read someone else’s work, we read what they wrote.  (Duh, right?)  Well think this over — When we read our OWN work, we read what we THINK WE WROTE.

How true is this?  I never noticed my lack of setting or character description, because I KNEW what everything looked like.  (Among many other problems my beta reader pointed out)  You really need to get a few people to look at your novel while you are editing to make sure you are writing what you THINK you are writing.  It actually took me about four beta readers to whack me upside the head and set me straight on this.

Jennifer R. Hubbard admitted that she didn’t edit enough when she started out, and that she was getting rejections.  The book she revised 12 times and had others read was the one that got published.  (I guess she is talking about “The Secret Year”)

Danielle Ackley McPhail suggested having different kinds of readers in the editing phase… Beta readers will help make your writing better, and “just plain readers” will tell you if the story flows and is enjoyable.  She also suggested making sure one of your “just readers” is someone who does not normally read your genre to get a different perspective.

So, if you are like me, and have people in your life pushing you to get your stuff out there… stick to your guns.  Do your beta-read drills.  Edit after their comments, and then DO MORE BETA READ DRILLS.

I am excited to say that I am sending out HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT for the third round of beta-reads (and three “just plain readers”) shortly.  After six beta readers, and editing and revising it with reckless abandon for well over a year, I think I’ve finally really written what I think I’ve written.  If not, I have full confidence that my readers will “Let me have it”.

I am going to look for new readers too, so I can get some fresh perspectives.  I am really looking forward to seeing if all this hard work has paid off!

Jennifer Eaton