Indie Publishing: 5 self-publishing mistakes not to make

Indie Publishing - 5 mistakes not to make

Introduction to Indie Publishing

Indie publishing has become a huge part of the book world in the last few years. But what is Indie Publishing? And what mistakes should you avoid if you want to publish your book this way?

This article will reveal all that and more. Whilst giving you some top tips on getting your indie book into the hands of your readers and climbing those best-seller rankings.

What is indie publishing?

Indie publishing is the act of independently publishing a book without going through a traditional publishing house. Indie publishing isn’t a new concept. The first known indie publisher was William Morris who founded Kelmscott Press back in 1890.

However, in recent years there has been a huge rise in indie publishing, providing huge competition for the big 5 publishing houses; Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, Penguin/Random House, Hachette Book Group, and MacMillan.

What’s the difference between indie publishing and self- publishing?

These terms are often used interchangeably and are very similar concepts. There is however an important distinction.

Self-publishing relates to an indie author who completes the whole process of publishing a book themselves. So they’ll write and publish the book whilst retaining their own publishing rights.

Indie publishing is where the indie author uses an indie publishing house to publish their books and therefore gives up some or all their publishing rights. These publishing houses tend to focus on a specific genre or a handful of authors.

Self Publishing mistakes

Indie publishing gives you control over the whole process of getting your book out into the world. With companies like Amazon offering print-on-demand services, publishing like this has never been easier.

You could write your book, upload a cover, and have your book on sale the next day, which is incredible. I highly recommend self-publishing. I managed to publish two Amazon best sellers through this method and if you follow these tips, you could do the same.


That old adage “Never judge a book by its cover” is overly romanticised. Although we’d all love to believe it, people do judge books by their covers.

Having the right book cover can make or break your book sales.

You’ll need a cover that looks great in a thumbnail (the small-sized image you see on Amazon). So the title needs to stand out and be legible. It also needs to be in keeping with your genre.

Particular genres have their own unique styles which are immediately identifiable to readers. So do your research.

Don’t be tempted by trying to create your own cover, it will stand out a mile. Or even using a regular designer instead of a book cover designer.

If you’re going to spend money, then this is the element you need to spend it on. The more you spend the better the end product, but it doesn’t need to cost the world.

You can pick up great designs on Fiverr or even pre-made book covers where you just add your title.


It’s easy to think you won’t need a professional editor. But, if your aim is to actually sell some books, you’d be wrong.

Professional editing can be the difference between a good book and a great book.

Poor grammar, spelling, punctuation and typos are not acceptable if you want your readers to take your books seriously.

I used Reedsy to find my editors. You can choose your editor based on their experience, genre and even see which books they have edited before.

How much indie publishing costs

Don’t presume it’s going to be really cheap to publish a great book. There are ways to cut costs but I wouldn’t recommend them.

My advice here is to keep a track of what you’re spending. Everything you spend will need to be recouped through your sales if you’re going to make a profit.

So spend money on your cover, editing and save any other expenditure for ads when you release your book.


A huge mistake I made when publishing my first book was setting it on pre-order and got all my friends and family to order a copy. Then when it came to launch day I got hardly any sales.

This wasn’t an issue until I realised all those sales hadn’t affected my Amazon ranking. So I had around 50 book sales which didn’t push my ranking up.

If I launched without a pre-order, I’d have hit the top new releases section on Amazon.

Don’t make the same mistake as me.

Pre-orders can be used as great tool for already established authors and authors with a series of books to release in quick succession. But, as a first-time author, I learned the hard way.


You can’t get away with marketing your book after it’s launched and assuming you’re going to get loads of sales.

The earlier you begin the better, and as a general rule of thumb you should be putting as much effort into your book marketing as your writing.

There are a million and one ways to market a book and I’ve a tonne of resources and articles to help you.

To begin with document your journey. Set up a couple social media profiles where you think your ideal reader will hang out. If you show your audience the trials and tribulations of writing a book, it’s surprising how many will become your cheerleaders.

Be sure to check out my top 5 ways to promote your book on social media for a more in depth guide.

It’s not necessary to create a website at first, that can come with time. But, if you’re in this for the long-term then I’d highly recommend starting an email list. This will be the best marketing tool you’ll have at your disposal later down the line.

After you’ve set up an email list, focus your attention on learning Amazon ads. If you’re selling on Amazon it’s a crucial element of your marketing strategy.

And if you need a hand with any of this marketing malarkey get in touch with me. It’s my speciality. I help authors just like you to become best-sellers.

Published by Andy Slinger

Andy is a best selling, award winning, children's author turned digital marketer. His expertise in book marketing is well sought after, he now helps authors to become best sellers too.

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