Early on in my publishing venture, I made most all of the mistakes that someone could make. Everyone makes mistakes when they first begin self-publishing. The difference is that I am willing to confess my sins. In this series of articles, I will point out those mistakes and tell you what I should have done (and what I have done).
When I first got started, I knew that I was interested in publishing more than one book. I thought then and think now that they best plan for publishing is to produce a significant number of books. At the time, I was thinking mostly about print books.
Therefore, I needed a website. A website where I could showcase dozens of books. Some of mine and some of other writers. Big dreams.
Now, and this is important, I had no books written.* While there is nothing inherently evil about having big dreams, it's also important to get some things down on paper.
So, because I desperately needed a website for those non-existent books, I had one designed (by someone I found on eLance). I paid too much for it relative to its use. I did use it a little, but not much. Waste of money for the most part.
If you go to my publishing company website now, you would discover a site that has some books as well as clearly a plan for forthcoming works (both print and digital). I paid a very reasonable price, but, importantly, before it was developed, I already had content for it with a plan to develop further content.
So what am I saying?
Don't fall in love with the idea of being your own publishing company to the exclusion of making good business decisions. First, be the writer. Yes, you will most definitely need a publishing website and, yes, it will need to happen before you publish your book (even if most of your sales will be through Amazon), but best not to put carts before horses. There will be time.
This was my first mistake. Spending money that didn't need to be spent for that website. Trust me, there have been others. Stay tuned for my next big cheap self-publishing mistake!
*I should clarify that, prior to this, I had authored or co-authored three books with a mid-sized publisher, Ten Speed Press, in Berkeley, CA.