In addition to writing my own novels, I help authors learn how to publish and market books, so I occasionally visit relevant LinkedIn groups to stay current on the industry. One particular group for indie authors was dominated by a self-published author who claimed to be an expert, so all the newbies deferred to him. This man was adamant that writers should not spend a single penny to self-publish. Not a penny.
I couldn't disagree more. After a few weeks of witnessing him dispense bad advice to a willing audience, I had to quit the group. It was just too frustrating to watch.
I looked up this man's books on Amazon, and the covers were unprofessional and amateur. By the covers alone I would never buy them. That may sound harsh, but it is true, and I know I'm not alone in thinking this way. Your potential readers are busy, and there are literally millions of other books competing for their attention. Case in point: I also checked the man's rankings, and they were extremely low, so I assume he's not selling many books.
If you're going the indie route, hire professionals to help you. That's what I did with my first novel, and it helped me land a traditional publishing contract. Besides the cover, this goes for interior layout and copyediting. If your book has weird formatting in either the print or electronic version, you're going to turn readers off. And if the copy is riddled with typos and grammatical errors, your readers are going to notice.
Cover design. Interior layout. Copyediting. You get what you pay for with all three.
Maria Murnane is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2013 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.