What are the Common Mistakes in Self Publishing a Book and How to Rectify

Common Mistakes to avoid while in Self Publishing a book

Are you tired of searching for the best advice on self-publishing a book? I tried to list out the best advice on Book Publishing. Read this post till the end before you self-publish a book in India. Self-publishing is the best platform to release your novel/book to the world. Common mistakes of Self-publishing a book can be categorized broadly into 2 sections.Common Mistakes in Self Publishing a Book

  1. Pre-publishing
  2. Post Publishing

Common mistakes at pre-publishing level

Believe me, Pre-publishing is the time where most of the authors commit mistakes. Pre-Publishing includes tasks like creating a manuscript, Proofreading, extensive editing, Book cover, getting ISBN etc. The common mistakes are

  1. Lack of Editing
  2. Bad Cover Design
  3. Poor understanding of your readers
  4. Improper Marketing Strategy
  5. Spending money for getting ISBN (Publish your book for free)
  6. Ineffective book title

1) Lack of Editing:

Before going into the concept, first, make it clear about the difference between editing and proofreading.

Proof Reading

Proofreading is just rectifying spelling and grammatical errors. Even though you have a limited budget I advise you to proofread your manuscript to avoid embarrassment at the later stage.


Editing requires more time than proofreading. Unlike proofreading, editing requires two or more than two people to check for potential errors which include proofreading, phrasal errors, usage of voices, tense etc. The person who is editing should study the entire content of the book and as a result book edit is little costly.

Most of the Self-publishing authors don’t read much. Reading alone could improve your writing efficiency. Even though you’re good at reading, finding our own mistake is difficult. So whom you’re going to trust? your aunt? your uncle? or your English teacher? Hire a professional for better results.

2) Bad Cover design

The first impression is the best impression. Your Book cover will act as the face of your personal brand. So never compromise with your Book cover. It should be related to the concept of your book. Double check that the title and author name is clearly visible. If you’re good at design or you know how to work on Photoshop then you could do it on your own. Else, it is strictly recommended to leave the task to professional. Make sure your book cover contains all vital elements like the title, subtitle, blurb, ISBN, Barcode, author name, publisher name, MRP etc. If you aren’t good at graphic designing then hire graphic designers. On an average, authors spend up to Rs 15000 to design their book cover.

3) Poor understanding of your readers

Before writing a novel/book you should think how a reader will react after reading. Most of the self-publishing books get negative reviews because of this. So how to rectify this? Send your manuscript to someone whom you trust. Ask them to give a pre-publishing review for your book. A Pre-publishing review is very important as publishing a book is something about our personal brand.

4) Lack of devising proper Marketing Strategy

Everyone believes that marketing comes after publishing. But it is not totally true. You should devise a marketing strategy before you publish your book. Most of the authors have no time in doing marketing after self-publishing a book. Without a proper marketing strategy, even a good book may not sell more than 10 copies.

One of my client, who is an advocate in Supreme court has approached me to get marketing advice for promoting his book. I got greatly disappointed by hearing his publishing story. He hired a branded publishing company and took the costliest plan to publish his book (which is approximately Rs 200000). He took that plan as it includes marketing and promotion of his book. At the end, he was left with a book trailer created by them which is not going to help him as his book is related to philosophy. No marketing reports were shared with him and no transparency was maintained regarding book promotion. I devised him a plan, but at that time he has no funds to implement that. So research how to do marketing for your book. If you aren’t strong in marketing then you should get help from book marketing companies like Resume master which does book marketing for authors who published their book in elsewhere.

5) Spending money for getting ISBN

Anything given for free can be taken as granted. In India, getting ISBN for your book is free. You could check my article Step by Step procedure to get ISBN in India for more information about applying ISBN online.  I hope by reading that post, you could apply and get an ISBN for your book in free of cost. Okay, now tell who is there for you to guide you to the right path. You’re left alone to travel further. Okay, now you can ask me whether I’m insisting you go and get a help from self-publishing companies. Maybe, it is a good idea, if the book publishing company offers ISBN allotment at free of cost. Please understand, I discourage you to get ISBN for money from any publisher as ISBN is declared as free by the government. Getting ISBN allotment from a publisher is easier than applying ISBN online using the government portal. It consumes less time and effort. Each ISBN has a unique identification number of the publisher and the publisher have to report the details of your book to the ISBN agency. This makes them take responsibility for your book. They can be trusted more than your aunt or uncle for publishing guidance. You can approach Resume Master which offer ISBN for free provided you have a proper manuscript, book cover etc. Book publishing companies have huge knowledge about publishing and promoting a book so it is better to grab the hands of professionals who are worthy, friendly and affordable.

There is an another common thought that getting your book published through a publisher could affect your book rights. Definitely not, you pay for the book print, you’re going to set the maximum retail price of your book and you’re paying the service charges to the publishers and why they enjoy the rights? Be clear, even though you publish your book through the self-publishing company, you hold the entire rights. So there is no drawback in getting ISBN from a publisher. By doing so you could save your 15-20 precious days by engaging yourself in other activities rather than waiting for ISBN from the ISBN agency. Another important point is if you win they win. So they will put all their efforts into creating the best book promotion plan to promote your book to create a win-win situation for the both.

6) Ineffective Book Title

Choosing a suitable title is always important. The title should be unique. Try searching for the book title on Amazon Book Search or Flipkart. Make sure there is no book available in the title you imagine. Fix a title based on the sales intent keyword.

Common mistakes at Post-publishing level

Post Publishing consumes more of your time. It includes Maintaining inventory, Tracking book sales, Continuous marketing etc. The common mistakes shall be

  1. Money matters
  2. Lack of distribution channel (Both online and offline)

The entire expenses for Self publishing a book cost you around Rs 10000 to Rs 200000 in India. So make sure you can afford it. If you’re obtaining ISBN from ISBN agency then you’ve to set up your own distribution channel. Effective distribution channel requires your contribution towards both online and offline channels. If you’re not tech savvy then you’re going to lose online buyers. Self-publishing companies offer royalty which ranges from 70-100%. So don’t feel bad in sharing a bit of profit to someone who stands as the backbone in bringing your book to reality. For this 0-30%, the book publishers are extending their book distribution channel, they maintain inventory, sales, and delivery of your book.

I hope this article will help you to get an idea about how to self-publish a book successfully in India. Share this article if you like or comment below if you’ve any questions.

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