BLOG: Eye-Popping Tips

From Karen Saunders

Your Branding, Marketing & Self-Publishing Coach

10 Deadly Book Production Mistakes Made by Self-Publishers

At the top of the list of the most common book production mistakes is:

1. The book was not edited!

You should ALWAYS hire a professional book editor to edit your book. Find someone who specializes in your genre. Don’t ask your child’s English teacher! An expert editor will comb through your manuscript and will let you know if you should hire her for content editing, copy editing or both. To learn the difference, click this link to go to my blog post that explains the distinction.

2. The book does not have a professional cover design.

Your book deserves an eye-catching cover to compel readers to pick it up. Professional cover designers know how to highlight the key aspects of your book in an attractive way to entice your specific target market. Don’t ask your child’s art teacher to design your book cover!

3. The book was not proofread.

I recommend two cycles of proofreading: Once before layout and once after layout. This eliminates mistakes and is the most cost-effective.

4. The book does not have an ISBN number.

This is a special number assigned to just your book. Think of it as a Social Security number for your book. You can buy one ISBN number or a block of 10 from You’ll need one number for each format of your book. (i.e.: soft cover, hard cover, ebook, audiobook).

5. The book was not printed by a company that specializes in book printing.

If you have your local print shop print your book, you will pay a much higher price and will have a lower quality product. Shop for reputable book manufacturers.

6. The book is missing the copyright page.

This is the most important page in your book! It is the 2nd page, right behind the title page. This page has the disclaimer information, your ISBN and LCCN numbers, copyright notices and publication date, publisher’s contact information, name of contributors, the edition, and where the book was printed.

7. The book has low-quality graphics.

Hire an illustrator to create quality graphics, and/or use high-resolution quality stock images. Graphics can be created in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop at 300 dpi, in greyscale, black and white or CMYK color. RGB color graphics do not print correctly or not print at all. A professional graphic designer can create quality graphics that will print sharp with good color balance and tonal contrast. You never should use graphics copied from the Internet for two reasons: poor reprinting quality and copyright infringement.

8. Your book file was not converted into the correct PDF format for your book printer.

If you submit an MS Word file or a file in the wrong PDF format, your printer most likely will send it back to you. This will delay the printing of your book and may cost you more money.

9. There is no bar code on the back cover.

This important element has your ISBN number and price embedded into it, and it is how book stores and online retailers such as Amazon keep track of your book.

book production mistakes -- missing bar code on back cover

10. There is no category listed on the back cover.

Without the category listed in the upper left corner, your bookstore will not know where to shelve your book. It may be placed on the wrong shelf and never sell.

Make sure your book is polished and professional by avoiding these 10 common book production mistakes.