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Avoid These 3 Self-Publishing Mistakes and Save Your Money: A Guide for First-time Indie Authors

In recent times, an increasing number of writers are turning to self-publishing for its advantages, including creative control, faster publication, and direct reader engagement. However, self-publishing isn't without its challenges, and it can be costly in comparison to traditional methods. Moreover, it demands your active involvement in every aspect, from formatting to marketing.

Now, this article will not cover the typical advice of investing in professional book designing, editing and proofreading services. It's not about marketing and promotional strategies either. Instead, I'll share insights from my own self-publishing experience here.

This article is about the three significant mistakes I made as a novice indie author – mistakes that are common among first-time indie authors regardless of their genre or niche.

So, without further delay, let's explore the three self-publishing mistakes that drain your wallet as a debut indie author.

1. Choosing the Wrong Publisher

Selecting a publisher for your book is a decision that requires careful consideration. It's not about playing favorites, but rather, about being discerning and meticulous in your choice. Several factors demand your attention when making this decision. Two of these include:

- The Charges

- The Perks

An unwise choice can result in significant financial outlays with minimal to no benefits. For instance, I paid my publisher INR 6000 plus GST, only to discover later that I could have obtained international market access and ISBN registration for free. Even more frustrating was the absence of marketing and promotion support, which came with an additional fee. This was a costly oversight that research could have prevented.

In India, Amazon isn't yet a choice for distributing paperbacks domestically, a fact widely acknowledged. Fortunately, there are viable alternatives. Numerous print-on-demand publishers offer commission-based services, which means they won't impose upfront charges for using their platform for self-publishing. Instead, they deduct a portion of your earnings per copy sold. Meanwhile, when it comes to global and e-book distribution, Amazon KDP stands out as a practical and budget-friendly option.

2. Paying for ISBN and Copyright

Paying exorbitant sums to your publisher for ISBN and copyright registration is an avoidable mistake. In my case, I discovered this only after it was too late. Thankfully, I had already applied for copyright registration through for a mere INR 500.

To my surprise, my publisher charges authors INR 2000 plus GST for the same service. This expense seems unnecessary when you consider that government registration for copyright takes a reasonable 2-3 months or more but is unquestionably worth the wait. My advice for you is that you register your manuscript for copyright early in the publishing process.

Furthermore, the ISBN agency in India provides ISBNs at no cost. My lack of awareness led me to spend INR 6,000 plus GST on an ISBN. Learn from my oversight and utilize this free resource wisely.

3. Neglecting Budget Planning

Neglecting a budget for marketing is a mistake that I made out of initial ignorance. Initially, getting my book published was all I sought. However, as my book entered the market, I became greedy for recognition. I aspired for at least 100 readers to discover it. This sudden desire compelled me to allocate up to INR 10,000 for marketing in the initial stage.

Regrettably, I didn't have the funds readily available and had to dip into my personal savings. Avoid this scenario by planning ahead. Start saving or secure a means to access funds well before you complete your manuscript.

Surprisingly, it's not the publishing, editing, or cover design that drains your budget the most—it's marketing. Invest your resources judiciously and craft a well-prepared budget for this crucial phase.

Final Thoughts!

By avoiding these common self-publishing mistakes as a beginner, you'd set yourself up for a smoother, more cost-effective path to success as an author. But don't stop here. Continue to educate yourself on the intricacies of the self-publishing process, from manuscript formatting to strategic marketing. In my forthcoming article, I'll delve even deeper, providing you with a comprehensive guide to mastering every facet of self-publishing. Your story deserves to be heard, and with the right approach, it will reach the eager hands of readers worldwide. Happy writing!

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