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5 Things Most Self-Publishing Authors Overlook

Self-published authors can be extremely successful. However, there are many who receive criticism for publishing easy to fix and easy to make mistakes. This can show lack of care or effort, or it can prove a lack of professional editing.

The English language and publishing have an enormous amount of rules. It can be difficult for even the most intelligent person to remember. To avoid making the common mistakes, review the following 5 things you should always check off your pre-publishing list.

1. Unoriginal, confusing or misspelled titles.

First and foremost a title must adequately represent the writing material. A title might look great, but if it’s not descriptive of it’s contents then your target audience will not be reached. Writers who publish online are used to working with “keywords”. These are important for book sales as well. Think of keywords that your audience might search for, and integrate them into your titles. Be sure there are no misspelled words and that your writing is unique. Sites like Plagtracker and their unique checking algorithm can assure authors that their material is 100% original. Don’t ruin your reputation by publishing someone else’s work. 

2. Starting a new paragraph if the dialogue changes characters.

You would be surprised at how many writers do not know how to properly write dialogue (another reason why a professional editor is helpful). If the writing includes dialogue between two or more people, then each time a new character begins speaking a new paragraph should begin. Although the common person may not notice, your readers and experienced publishers or editors will. 

3. Getting a professional editor.

Self-published authors often receive blame for not being “professional” enough. This is likely due to a lack of thorough editing. A second pair of professional eyes, trained to catch flaws and help with structure, is essential to success. You may even need more than one editor in the beginning. There are also sites that provide professional writing help. Their  service is composed of certified writers who give one-on-one assistance with proofreading, editing, structure advice and more. 

4. Misspelled names.

Misspelled names are a very common error and it’s completely avoidable. It’s easy to double-check the spellings of people’s names before going to print. Whether it’s in your writing or in a dedication or thank you section, do not insult individuals by spelling their names incorrectly. This of course goes for all of your writing. An automated spell checker is often not enough for a professional author. Start with the regular spell check within your word processor, and then continue with other options like the Ginger software (contains a more complex spell and grammar check).

5. Incorrect punctuation.

Appropriate apostrophes and commas usage will make your copy look and feel not only professional but also will prevent misunderstanding of events and descriptions you wrote. The most important thing about apostrophes is that they never used to form plurals, so pay attention to it while writing. You need to remember that apostrophes are used to indicate omissions in contractions and possession for nouns, but not for personal pronouns. Also, apostrophes may appear in personal names and exotic words.

Commas are a must in complex sentences, they make them easier to read. If you form a sentence using independent clauses you need to put a conjunction between its parts instead of putting comma or semicolons, if you okay with them. The other way is to divide clauses into separate sentences. You should always  put commas after introductory phrases. And of course, you need to prevent unnecessary comma usage, the simplest way is to read your sentence loudly, making the pauses where needed – you will see where commas needed, and where are not.

Self-published authors have a lot of work on their plate, so always use your time wisely. Track your time, manage your daily tasks and use the points listed above as a checklist before the next time you publish.

You may have written the next great American classic, but in today’s world it takes more than talent. It will take time, effort and persistence to build your brand and properly market your work. So be prepared, organized and motivated when you begin. And good luck! 

Kenneth Waldman is a professional content writer with over 5 years of experience and also a Сopyreader at AskPetersen Essay Writing Services Reviews (read the latest Ultius Review). His expertise includes education, marketing, freelancing.


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  • Hiring a professional editor is essential. No matter how proficient you think you are, mistakes are bound to happen. When you’re constantly looking at your work it’s easy to miss something that is clear as day to a fresh set of eyes.

    • Great point Kristen! What does a good editor cost these days?