Stop Killing Your Book Sales! 7 Common Mistakes Self-Published Authors Should Avoid

Stop Killing Your Book Sales! 7 Common Mistakes Self-Published Authors Should Avoid

Many writers, especially entrepreneurs, have turned to self-publishing as an option to get their books in the marketplace, quickly and affordably, in hopes of gaining more business and increased revenues. However, most authors are unable to tap into revenue potential because they omit important processes before and after their book launch, making it difficult for their books to be listed on online bookstores or getting traditional bookstore shelf placement.

Additionally, many miss the mark on how to effectively leverage their new book and often kill opportunities to make book sales. Here are seven of the most common mistakes self-published authors make that prevent their books from making a long-term financial impact.


While this may sound unlikely, it isn’t. Not promoting a book that was recently published is actually common. Authors often assume that simply having their book sold through online bookstores will attract all the buyers they need. The adage “Build it and they will come,” does not apply to books. Creating and implementing a consistent book promotion strategy in line with your revenue goal is key to sales maximization.


It should be no secret that social media marketing is critical to mostly all of a business’s success. While some may argue whether it replaces traditional marketing or not, no one will argue its supreme placement in helping businesses generate revenues. Not having a social media presence for yourself as an author and for your book is like not having written the book at all. Buyers rely on social media to find out what to purchase and to access new information and trends. If your book isn’t searchable, it won’t be discovered or purchased.


Books are still judged by the cover. Though many apps and online software have made it easy for self-published authors to create their own marketing material, including book covers with stock photos, a poorly created book cover–no matter how impactful the content inside–will leave hundreds, if not thousands, of copies on the table from lack of book sales. Investing in quality book branding supports your book in standing out among others.


Perception is reality for buyers. Much like your book cover, your branding (your image and messaging) should attract buyers to you, not repel them. Investing in professional photos and a clear brand message, along with a book that reflects both, can shift you from no sales to hundreds.


I’ve written previously that book collaborations are just one way to get your message to the masses without actually writing an entire book. Many would-be authors leave money behind by not leveraging the insight, knowledge, and expertise of other people. The content is king, whether it is written fully by you or other individuals. Not being open to joining with others in your book can limit your reach and opportunity for book sales.


“Why speak when my book can speak for me?” While people do judge a book by its cover, it’s you as the author that convinces the buyer what to purchase. Free or paid speaking is an important strategy for selling books. While a book may be a business card, speaking can be considered an extended elevator pitch. Avoiding public speaking will undoubtedly limit your ability to reach your audience.


All the world’s a stage, and for self-published authors, having a quality platform that recognizes your work not only gives instant credibility by placing you in front of probable buyers, but it will set you apart from the competition. Several contests, such as the Indie Author Legacy Awards (IALA), benefit authors by tapping into marketing channels the author otherwise wouldn’t be able to. In other words, it’s affordable publicity.

To sum it up, self-published authors should proactively and consistently work on planning, positioning, and promoting themselves to avoid killing their sales potential. This requires ensuring your book has the proper messaging, content, and visual identity, along with making it marketable and searchable to attract the readers who want and need what you have to offer. Trying to do this all on your own is great, but investing in quality services from a reputable self-publishing or hybrid-publishing company will help you save a ton of time and money, and ensure your book is distributed in multiple channels to maximize your long-term financial success.

This article was written by The BOSS Network Influencer, Tieshena Davis

Tieshena Davis is the best-selling author of Think Like a Bookpreneur and the founder of Purposely Created Publishing Group, an international award-winning book publishing firm specializing in author branding and development. She appears widely at public events, teaching entrepreneurs how to create books to accelerate their business.

Learn more about Tieshena Davis by visiting her website at

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