When writers go to self-publish and they don't have experience with actual publishing, I see so many common mistakes. I always encourage writers to use professional services vs. do-it-yourself attempts that visibly fail and make their products -- whether books or brochures -- look unprofessional. The following are some common mistakes I see with self-published books, brochures or anything that requires professional service to get it right.
Poorly Trimmed Children's Books or Graphics--while an author may not be overly bothered about his or her illustration being cut off because of misaligned template specifications, this mistake jumps out every time. I will casually thumb through one of these children's books or graphic-intensive flyers, brochures, business cards, etc. and notice the graphics are cutoff. I've seen many children's books with these problems. Illustrations cutoff right along the edges. Print alignment is math. You need a graphic artist who knows production and printing. Thinking you can do this on your own creates poor results and unprofessional products.
Editorial mistakes on the back-cover--another glaring problem that leaps off the page and nudges me to say, "Hey Michelle! I wasn't edited by a professional." Poor editing, especially on the back cover (which is the first line of book promotion) instantly shouts to the reader this is not a professionally published product. My reaction: if this has mistakes on the all-important back cover, what do the contents look like? I usually think, something poorly edited and embarrassing.
Poorly designed front covers--an image with a fancy font on the cover is a typical "screamer" that suggests this book was produced by an amateur. I'm sure that only a graphic designer could explain this one -- but well-designed book cover require a little more "design" then a title slapped on a stock image. First, realize that stock photography means anyone can buy and use that image. Do you want to see your book cover image on someone else's book? Great design work is hard to explain by a non-designer like myself, but I can tell homemade book covers from professionally done work in a blink.