The Top Mistakes New Indie Authors Make (FREE Online Course)

Updated: May 16, 2020

Rachael's First Visit to Harrogate Library

On January 18th 2020 at Harrogate Library, I taught a 90 min workshop and discussed (my) top 10 biggest mistakes that I believe new authors make.

Now, in this easy to follow online course, you can watch my fun footage from the comfort of your own home. All you will need is a notebook and pen of your choice. The video footage will run for approximately 60 minutes, but you will also need some time to complete the tasks.

This blog post is intended to provide your additional course notes, questions and other useful links, so be sure to read this in full and download any additional resources before you watch the videos on YouTube.

The videos will premier on YouTube (UK time) on the following dates, and there are 5 total:

1 - 06/04/2020 1.30pm

2 - 07/04/2020 8am

3 - 08/04/2020 8am

4 - 09/04/2020 8am

5 - 10/04/2020 8am


Before you get started, ask yourself and make notes on the following questions:

  • What are your biggest worries as a new writer, or as a writer returning to produce their next book or re-publish an existing one?

  • Do you have any concerns about the industry?

Did you know that if you e-mail me to discuss the above, I'll grant you a FREE 30 minute consultation with me via Skype to claim within the next 12 months?

Presentation Slides (see above)

Here are your course questions, which you can complete and submit to Rachael in a Word document via e-mail for marking. There are 40 questions in total.

You will receive one mark per correctly answered question, and Rachael will advise if/when you get a question wrong by adding her notes and comments. Where you see bullet points like this , each one represents additional marks can be awarded for each extra point you make.

There are a total of 45 marks available, plus a few unmarked additional sections you can complete for your own benefit. Whether you choose to submit the questions for marking or not, you can request a completion certificate at the end by e-mailing Rachael. However, to receive an additional PASS certificate signed by Rachael, you will need to achieve 40 marks or more.

E-mail Rachael at to request a standard completion certificate. Your completion certificate may be shared on Rachael's social media platform.

You can take the quiz as many times as you like, but Rachael can only offer to mark your first attempt.

1. What is an ISBN?

2. How much does an ISBN cost, and where can you purchase it from (UK)? • •

3. What are the benefits of using a paid ISBN?

4. What are the benefits of using a free ISBN?

5. How many free ISBNs can you have?

6. What happens to your ISBN if you produce a new edition of your book, for example: a new format, a new language, a new cover?

7. If you want to sell your book in other countries, do you have to have a different ISBN?

8. Do you have to write your book in the genre that you read the most?

9. Does it help if you read a lot of books in the genre you want to write in?

10. Should you write to market?

11. Why is it important to write what you love and are passionate about?

12. What is a vanity press?

13. How does a vanity press differ from an independent publishing company or a small press?

14. What does Rachael always advise you do before choosing a publisher?

15. Are there any benefits to using a vanity press?

16. How can you tell if a company is a vanity press? (see bonus content in the final video!)

17. Why is it important to learn about the different roles and costs within the industry?

18. Which job in the industry is really subjective?

19. Unmarked Research – what should you expect to see on the cover of a book in the genre you're writing? What do covers have in common, and what gives the genre away?

20. What is a legal deposit?

21. Why do you have to send a legal deposit?

22. Where should you send your first legal deposit?

23. Who pays for the legal deposit?

24. Is it a good idea to send your editor a first draft of your manuscript?

25. What is the difference between self-editing and proofreading?

26. What is Rachael's 6 Read Rule?

27. Why should you hire a copy-editor?

28. What can you do if you can't afford to hire a professional?

29. What is a BETA reader?

30. What additional techniques can you use to assist with the self-editing process? • •

31. Name two free tools Rachael recommends for cover design: • •

32. What is the minimum Rachael recommends you do to promote your work at an early stage? • •

33. What is a mission statement?

34. Why is having a personal and/or business-related mission statement important?

35. How soon should you start promoting your book?

36. What is an elevator pitch?

37. What can you use as your elevator pitch if you need a quick solution?

38. Unmarked consideration – What does success mean to you? Make some notes here:

38a What does success mean to you? (unmarked)

39. Why is it important to know what you want from your book before you publish it, or even before you start writing?

40. List the four tasks Rachael suggests you may want to hire a professional to complete. • • • •

Videos will be added to this blog post as they appear on YouTube.

Video 1 (06/04/2020):

Video 2 (07/04/2020):

Video 3 (08/04/2020)

Video 4 (09/04/2020)

Video 5 (10/04/2020)

Rachael Hardcastle is an Amazon international #1 bestselling author from Bradford, UK. She is the founder of Curious Cat Books (est. 2017), but is also a trained copy-editor and a publishing coach with a diploma in Successful Self Publishing and a university-level Business qualification.

She has been writing for over 10 years—first published at the age of 18—is the author of five successful novels and co-author to her first children's book, Bluetooth & the World Wide Web (2019).

Rachael keeps a regular monthly journal on her website and, alongside the authors signed to her company, shares their events and adventures with her readers. 

"Can I convince you to give my brand new publishing guide, 'The Universe Doesn't Give A Sh*t About Your Book: A Brutally Honest Guide to Self-Publishing' a browse? Here is a handy link:"

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