Saturday, February 25, 2012

Three Telltale Signs Your Book is Self-Published

I can tell a self-published book from 10 feet away. The only people who don't seem to know that self-published books standout from a crowd are self-published authors. First, if you decide to self-publish, please know there isn't anything wrong with it. These days many big name authors publish their own books. It takes out the middleman and keeps the book's profits squarely in your pocket. The book becomes a bestseller and you're rich. The best way to ensure your book does not become a bestseller is to lose credibility by making it obviously unprofessional and self-published. How can you avoid the pitfalls of the self-published look and feel? Here are some tips.

1. The cover and guts should be professionally designed by a professional graphic artist. Some writers falsely believe that either a template or some design they pull out of their bag of clipart tricks will suffice. If you're going to self-publish, please hire a professional to design not only the cover but the guts. Graphic artists know how to handle print design. They know how people read and what they cannot read when the fonts don't work. They don't make rookie mistakes of using font colors (dark on dark or light on light) that no one can read. They don't use fancy, illegible scripts in place of crisp, clean fonts. They don't believe that fancy looks better when simple is best. They know the rules to break the rules the right way. A poorly designed cover screams amateur.

2. Back cover copy and title that work. Why is it that poorly written back-cover copy seems to be the hallmark of self-published books? I think most writers just don't know how to write copy that has a marketing flair. Your back-cover copy is meant to market your book. It's meant to sell your book to the reading audience. It should have positive testimonials and provocative headlines that call to the audience to read the guts. And please, I beg of you, do not have mistakes in your copy on the back cover of all places. It doesn't bode well for the interior of the book.

3. Professional editor AND proofreader should be hired. An editor is not the same as a proofreader. Editing is the high level look at the story, structure and flow. Proofing is the minutia -- the grammar, spelling, syntax and style.  Proofing, in my opinion, is one of the most challenging roles on a book. We've stumbled and worked hard to find a great proofer. Don't take proofing for granted. Hire the very best proofreader.

If you would like to hire out any of these individual services, 3L Publishing offers solutions. Please send an email to or log onto the website at

No comments:

Post a Comment