5 Rarely Discussed Self-Publishing Mistakes: What NOT To Do

self publishing mistakes

  1. Don’t self-publish your first draft: If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of a self-published author banging his head on his desk. It happens every few seconds. Listen very, very carefully. There’s another bang. He thought the book was genius when he clicked publish and he had even “spell-checked” the manuscript beforehand, but now the Amazon reviewers are saying some really nasty things about his book. Things like, “I couldn’t get past the first chapter because of all the errors” and “This was obviously self-published…” Don’t be that guy. Fine-tune your manuscript by going through at least one round of revisions and self-editing and then hire a professional editor to bring a different perspective to the project. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway: The first draft of anything is crap. Don’t publish crap.
  2. Don’t overprice your book: I’m really surprised that more authors aren’t discussing this. I’ve seen multitudes of authors trying to sell their books at exorbitant prices. You need to think as the consumer. Why would a customer pay $30 for your paperback book instead of $12.99 for a NY Times bestseller? Or $9.99 for your ebook instead of $6.99 for Stephen King? They probably won’t! Try enticing the customer with a competitive (or discounted) price and watch what happens.
  3. Don’t count on sales at brick-and-mortar bookstores: It’s true that many indie bookstores will happily stock your self-published print book. Some of them will work out consignment deals with you. From my experience, they’ll want around 40%. Major chains will want at least 50% and you’ll generally need to go through layers of bureaucracy in order to get your book stocked. You’ll also need to take the risk of making your book “returnable.” As you can imagine, this could get ugly very quickly. For those reasons and many others, I advise self-publishing authors to focus primarily on online sales. Your profit margins will increase and you’ll be able to cover a ton of ground much more quickly.
  4. Don’t think that just having an online presence is enough: “I’m on Facebook,” says almost every self-published author. “I’m on Twitter. I’m on Pinterest. I have a blog. I have a website…” This is all very nice, but it’s not enough to simply have an online presence. You need to be active on all of your platforms. In other words, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” Treat your online presence as you would your own home. Care for it, live in it, and love it.
  5. Don’t expect that strangers will automatically care about your book: I have to admit that when I first started self-publishing, I thought everyone needed my book. Everyone. My inspirational book could motivate and change lives. I knew it. But no one cared at first (aside from friends and family, of course). I had to make them care. I accomplished this by – wait for it – networking! I created Facebook groups (and even Myspace groups; remember Myspace?). I befriended book lovers on Facebook. I reached out to fellow writers by email and met them in person at signings and other events. Most importantly, I made good impressions on those people and most of them supported me by helping spread the word. I know this isn’t fun or sexy advice. Many self-publishing authors looking for advice don’t want to hear that this ride could be a long one. Throw away the idea of “quick and easy” and focus on building relationships!

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About J.J. Hebert:

  • Author of two self-published MindStir Media/Amazon.com bestselling books, with over 100,000 copies sold worldwide.
  • President & CEO of MindStir Media, a top self-publishing company seen on Lifetime, Fox Business, History Channel, Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Biography Channel, Bravo and Ovation TV.
  • Helped produce hundreds of books for authors nationwide.
  • Provided thousands of publishing consultations. Schedule a free publishing consultation with J.J. Hebert right now.
  • Hailed as the “Self-Publishing Guru” by The Good Men Project.


Top 5 Writing Lessons from Harry Potter Author J.K. Rowling

I’ve been meaning to blog about J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, for a long time now… The other day I replayed my Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Blu-ray. Definitely the best of all the Potter movies, in my opinion. But I’m not here to blog about the movie itself. No, I’m here to discuss A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe, a special feature that revealed the answers to some big Harry Potter questions and also indirectly offered fantastic writing lessons for writers. Here are the top 5 writing lessons that I discovered while watching that special feature:

  1. Persist: Here’s where some aspiring authors fail. They get caught up in a get-rich-quick mindset and expect overnight success. They hear stories about how the idea of a spectacled wizard boy popped up into J.K.’s mind…and then they hear jk rowling (2)about the billion dollars she’s made and see her name all over the media. According to her own words, writing the complete story of Harry Potter was a 20-year process! 20 years! Maybe you’re struggling with writer’s block at the moment or you’ve developed some doubts. Please, don’t give up. Persist. Don’t give up after 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, a decade, two decades, three … If you love writing, write and persist. Don’t expect overnight success. It’s a marathon, not a race, right?
  2. Treat your characters as real people: J.K. Rowling said this of her characters: “They’re in your life the way real people are … I love writing dialogue … I miss Dumbledore the most … He was telling me things I needed to hear sometimes …” Notice the connection J.K. Rowling has with Dumbledore. She apparently misses hearing from him like she would a far-away friend. As a writer, you need to form a special connection with your characters. Let yourself go and allow each character to speak without interruption. Don’t get in the way of your characters.
  3. Know where the story’s headed [SPOILER ALERT]: “Within the first year of writing, I wrote a sketch for what I thought the final chapter would be… I knew we were always working towards the final battle at Hogwarts. I knew that Harry would walk to his death…”
  4. Stay true to the story and yourself: “I went where my pen took me, and bad though it may seem to some people, I never really considered my readership in that way… I wrote what I wanted to write…” Rowling didn’t allow critics or readers to influence her writing. She wrote the story that was meant to be told.
  5. Focus only on relevant backstories: Many writers, especially newbies, get lost in backstory. They write as though the reader needs to know everyone’s backstory in excruciating detail … Now, many of us heard through the media that Dumbledore is gay. Rowling never mentioned his sexual preference in the Potter books, but did confirm that he’s gay. She said, “The relationship he [Dumbledore] has with Grindlewald — he fell really hard for this boy… His [Dumbledore’s] one great experience of love was utterly tragic. It was with someone who was dangerous and demonic [Grindlewald]…so that was my idea of Dumbledore’s tragic backstory…” But why didn’t she add this backstory to the books? Because it wasn’t relevant to the story, she implied. I also gathered from Rowling’s conversation with Radcliffe that Professor McGonagall had a somewhat tragic backstory as well, but Rowling ultimately felt that that backstory wasn’t relevant to the story either…
J.J. Hebert, the author of this article, is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of Unconventional and Weepy the Dragon. He has personally helped thousands of writers nationwide, through consultations and publishing services, and regularly blogs on writing and self-publishing. He is also the president and owner of MindStir Media, a leading self-publishing company that offers services such as mentoring from a bestselling author, book design, illustration, editing, printing, ebook conversion, distribution and marketing.
J.K. Rowling image via Daniel Ogren
*Disclaimer: MindStir Media is in no way affiliated with Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling or Warner Bros.


N.E. Brown and S.L. Jenkins share their fictional story in the first three books of the Galveston: 1900: Indignities series.

NEW YORK, NY, USA, March 28, 2014 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Galveston: 1900: Indignities series – which includes The Arrival (Book One, 9780989474887), The Aftermath (Book Two, 9780989716864), and The Atonement (Book Three, 9780989882040) – is a historical fiction series packed with dark suspense, romance and tragedy. The three books to date follow the main character, Catherine, and her tragic life as an orphan growing up in Galveston, Texas. The series also highlights the monstrous hurricane of 1900 and its aftermath.

“The Indignities series is incredibly powerful,” said J.J. Hebert, president of MindStir Media self-publishing. “Catherine perseveres through the death of her mother and other loved ones and grows into a woman and mother herself. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in book four…”

The series has received rave reviews. It was praised by one reviewer as a story that is “distinctly imagined, thoroughly researched and brilliantly plotted …”

The first three books in the Indignities series are available online at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers worldwide. Wholesale distribution is also available through Ingram. Book four in the series will be released in 2014. To learn more about the author N.E. Brown and co-author S.L. Jenkins visit http://www.nebrown.com

About MindStir Media book publishers:
MindStir Media is a full-service self-publishing company that offers Mind-Stirringly Easy Book Publishing ™. MindStir’s publishing services include mentoring from a bestselling author; custom book design; royalties up to 100%; publishing in paperback, hardcover, and ebook; book distribution and marketing. Visit the MindStir Media publisher’s website at http://www.mindstirmedia.com

Miranda Schelhas
MindStir Media

Source: MindStir Media at EIN News

MindStir Media and #1 Website for Christian Writers Partner to Publish New Book

Self-publishing company MindStir Media and Faithwriters.com have partnered to publish a book to bring hope to Christians and non-Christians alike.

NEW YORK, NY, USA, March 24, 2014 /EINPresswire.com/ — Trials and Triumphs: Hope Beyond Circumstances: 40 Life-Changing Testimonies, published by self-publishing company MindStir Media, consists of unique, inspirational Christian testimonies from forty authors. The testimonies, all contributed from authors at Faithwriters.com, the #1 website for Christian writers, focuses on a wide range of everyday challenges that real people face and show how Jesus is able bring hope and salvation.

“This isn’t just a book for Christians,” said J. J. Hebert, president of MindStir Media Christian self-publishing. “There are many abused, confused and simply pained individuals out there in the world. The contributors of this book share their own testimonies and how God was able to bring them hope – and ultimately triumph – amid terrible circumstances and challenges.”

The book has been well-received, garnering rave reviews at Amazon.com. It’s been hailed by one reviewer as the book to read “if you are going through something that is heart-wrenching.” In early March 2014, Trials and Triumphs spent time on several Amazon.com bestseller lists. Specifically, the softcover edition found a spot on Amazon.com at #17 on the Christian Evangelism Bestseller list. The Kindle edition became the #1 Christian Evangelism Bestseller and #2 Christian Inspiration Bestseller.

“I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of this project,” Mr. Hebert added. “I truly believe that God has used and will continue to use these testimonies to bring people closer to Him …”

Trials and Triumphs is available online at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers worldwide. Wholesale distribution is also available through Ingram. The softcover retails for $14.99, while the Kindle edition (ebook) lists for $6.99.

Media inquiries:
Miranda Schelhas

About MindStir Media book publishers:
MindStir Media Christian Book Publishers USA is a full-service self-publishing company that offers Mind-Stirringly Easy Book Publishing ™. MindStir’s publishing services include mentoring from a bestselling author; custom book design; royalties up to 100%; publishing in paperback, hardcover, and ebook; book distribution and marketing. Visit the MindStir Media Christian publisher’s website at http://www.mindstirmedia.com or call them at 800-767-0531.

Sourced from: MindStir Media news at EINPresswire

Book Publisher MindStir Media Continues To Grow During Tough Economic Times

While many book publishers and businesses in the U.S. are seeing a decline in revenue and profits, MindStir Media is enjoying healthy growth.

NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — When J. J. Hebert founded MindStir Media in 2009, the U.S. economy was most definitely still in a recession. Some argue that the Great Recession is still affecting U.S. businesses today, especially those with significant overhead. And with Obamacare taking effect in less than a month, Mr. Hebert counts himself fortunate that MindStir Media will be virtually unaffected.

“From the start, I knew that MindStir would have to do something creative in its operations in order to become profitable and remain profitable,” said J. J. Hebert. “My company isn’t a traditional book publishing company; we’re more of a self-publishing company. My business offers authors what I call ‘Mind-Stirringly Easy Book Publishing’ for a fee.”

MindStir handles the book design, printing, ebook conversion, distribution and essentially all other aspects of book publishing for the author.

“Of course, there a quite a few companies out there offering full-service book publishing services,” Mr. Hebert continued, “but the biggest thing that sets MindStir apart from the rest is that my authors work directly with a bestselling author – me – and I offer ongoing mentoring.”

The mentorship offered to authors isn’t the only part of the company that stands out. MindStir has also embraced social media, search engine marketing and other Internet marketing strategies, along with hiring vetted contractors and virtual assistants, keeping overhead extremely low.

“We have over 40,000 highly targeted fans and followers between Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest,” Hebert added. “Social media is a game-changer and I owe much of MindStir’s success to the communities we’ve created on those social media platforms, among others. We’re able to touch a lot of lives with inspirational content through social media and gain a lot of clients at the same time… Because MindStir uses professional contractors and virtual assistants instead of dozens of employees, I’m able to offer competitive pricing and enjoy healthy growth as well…”

MindStir has enjoyed over 100% in revenue growth each year since 2009. In 2012, MindStir saw over 200% revenue growth year-over-year. Mr. Hebert is projecting similar growth in the coming years.

Media inquiries:
Miranda Schelhas

About MindStir Media:
MindStir Media is a full-service self-publishing company that offers Mind-Stirringly Easy Book Publishing ™. MindStir’s publishing services include mentoring from a bestselling author; custom book design; royalties up to 100%; publishing in paperback, hardcover, and ebook; book distribution and marketing. Visit the publisher’s website at www.MindStirMedia.com.

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/book-publisher-mindstir-media-continues-to-grow-during-tough-economic-times-224568131.html

Author Spotlight

Paula Wiseman

Paula self-published Contingency: Book One: Covenant of Trust Series with MindStir Media at the end of 2010. That debut novel has spent time on the Christian Fiction bestsellers list at Amazon.com, including reaching #1 in Hot New Releases in Christian Fiction. In May 2011, Contingency was recognized with two National Indie Excellence Awards: Finalist in Religious Fiction and WINNER in Interior Design-Fiction. Indemnity, her second book, has also been extremely successful, landing on the Inspirational Bestsellers list at Amazon.com. Precedent, the third book in the Covenant of Trust Series, was released Fall 2011. Book one in a new series (i.e. Foundations series) will be published Summer 2012.

About Paula:

After working several years as research chemist, Paula was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with her children and follow the writer’s path. Prior to the Covenant of Trust Series, she was published in several Cup of Comfort devotional books and in Life Savors for Women. She blogs on matters of life and faith at www.paulawiseman.com.

Connect with Paula:

Website/blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | LibraryThing | E-newsletter

Buy Paula’s books: www.mindstirmedia.com/bookstore

Paula was recently interviewed on Lifetime TV’s The Balancing Act, a morning talk show for women. The full interview is below. Enjoy!

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Twitter Contest from MINDSTIR MEDIA: Win A Kindle Wi-Fi & More

UPDATE 12/16/2011: This contest has ended. The winner is @msmorev. Congrats, @msmorev, on your winning tweet!

One Twitterer will win the following prize package:

  • Kindle Wi-Fi (brand new).
  • Three MindStir bestselling titles (paperbacks): Unconventional by J. J. Hebert; Contingency by Paula Wiseman; Indemnity by Paula Wiseman.
  • MindStir coupon for 25% off any self-publishing package. Coupon is not re-usable but is transferable, which means it can be shared with friends or family if winner decides not to use it himself/herself.


  1. Sign up for a (or use a pre-existing) Twitter account.
  2. Follow @mindstirmedia
  3. Answer this question (with creativity and originality): What does literature mean to you?
  4. Tweet your answer, along with hashtag #MINDSTIR. For (unoriginal, non-creative) example: Literature means a lot to me. #MINDSTIR


Once @mindstirmedia reaches 4,000 followers, one winner will be selected based on originality and creativity of entry. Each entrant should kindly ask their followers to follow @mindstirmedia so the goal of 4,000 followers can be achieved and the prize package can be given away. Brownie points to those who also “like” the MindStir Media fan page (it’s a good idea to provide your Twitter username (via posting on the wall)).

Contest winnings cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with any other offer. Contest open to US residents only, 18 years or older. One entry per Twitterer. No purchase necessary.