35 Classic Mistakes Publishers Make That Limit Their Sales and Success


1106 Design

March 09, 2011

Guest post by Alan Korwin, owner of Bloomfield Press

1. Not recognizing you’re going into business, you’re not just writing
2. Being undercapitalized (examine the basic costs, $5-10K)
3. Not knowing the last 10% is 90% of the job; you don’t finish, you declare an ending
4. Failure to write a one liner, one graf and one-page description prior to completion
5. Failure to market early and get advanced orders
6. Forgetting you don’t have to write ’em to sell ’em—and not offering a line of books
7. Using small artsy cover text instead of a large and easily readable title
8. Using a local printer instead of a book manufacturer (insufficient margin, do math)
9. Using POD instead of making inventory, limiting (eliminating?) profitability
10. Not identifying your audience carefully in advance
11. Going after general audiences instead of target-rich ones
12. Designing the cover by yourself instead of working with a pro
13. Working in isolation (as in, without your industry’s groups)
14. Picking the wrong cover price (too much or too little)
15. Keeping acknowledgments short instead of recognizing all supporters
16. Forgetting to overrun the covers for promo use
17. Putting out literature, instead of handing out literature
18. Failure to give away books like mad
19. Failure to get Kremer’s book, 1,001 Ways to Market Your Books
20. Failure to have books and promo with you at all times
21. Failure to put your book out where people can see it everywhere you go
22. Failure to inform any interviewer of your one-liner bio and website
23. Failure to write and issue “White Papers” to establish your expertise
24. Referring to your book without using its title
25. Waving your book or failing to hold it next to your face during video interviews
26. Running out of business cards
27. Not having a ready-to-go bag for appearances
28. Not having extra books, promo and biz cards in your trunk always
29. Having no name badge made from your book cover, spare in car
30. Having to fumble to get to a business card
31. Stumbling on your elevator speech, or not even having one
32. After initial-release announcements, make all PR s/b subject not book oriented
33. Remember to get spine width from printer, and use all the real estate for your title
34. Stack book cartons at home in tight piles, wrap in cloth like gifts, use as furniture
35. Get TextExpander and conserve your time and fingers

This list is generally framed as mistakes publishers frequently make. It can easily be reversed and framed positively, as things you should do to help ensure your success. Trying rewriting it mentally, it’s a beneficial exercise.

Alan Korwin
“We publish the gun laws—word-for-word, and in plain English.”
4848 E. Cactus #505-440 • Scottsdale, AZ 85254
1-800-707-4020 Orders • 602-996-4020

You may like these

How to Illustrate Your Book

How to Illustrate Your Book

Illustrations have the power to bring books to life in ways that words alone cannot. Illustrations can be incorporated into any work. You might see them most often in children’s books and graphic novels, but they can also be utilized in other genres. Not all books...

read more
How to Design a Great Front Cover

How to Design a Great Front Cover

Potential readers will often first judge your book by the front cover, whether you display it online or in bookstores. The more eye-catching it is, the more likely people are to want to learn more about it and possibly buy it. Of course, you probably already know...

read more
Guest Post: Juan Marcos Tribute to John I. Unger

Guest Post: Juan Marcos Tribute to John I. Unger

In February of 2019, I had the privilege of publishing a book (with the help of the team at 1106 Design) about John I. Unger called, The Last Corpsman. John was a Navy corpsman who served in the Pacific during WWII and later in the Korean War. He volunteered to go to...

Print-on-Demand vs. Offset Printing

Print-on-Demand vs. Offset Printing

It’s natural to want to jump right into publishing. However, there are many steps to complete before your book can be printed. After writing your book, it’ll be time to edit, design, and proofread the interior and create your cover (front, spine, and back). You’ll...

How to Market a Children’s Book

How to Market a Children’s Book

How to market a children’s book will depend on several factors, including your method of publishing, your targeted age group, your genre, and your budget. There are many methods you can use to get your book in front of your audience, but not all of them may be right...