I’ve said it before and I will say it again, go into a bookstore or go to your bookshelf and select 10 traditionally published books from the genre you plan to write in – horror, mystery, thriller, romance, whatever. Study the layout and format of each. What do they have in common? What makes them different? Chances are their front matter contains a title page, dedication page, copyright page, etc. Where are the page numbers? Do the pages have headers? Where does the body of text start and end on each page? Whatever all ten books have in common, chances are your book should have that in common too. Learn the benefits of the software you are using to create your book and learn how to format, or get someone to help!
Don’t be a POD snob! That means don’t assume that just because your book is available on Amazon now, that you are any more special than any other author. Unless you are Amanda Hocking and making millions from your self-published book then you are in the same boat with the rest of us and being a snob will get you pushed into the water. Be able to accept criticism and never NEVER attack reviewers just because you don’t agree with what they said about your book. Self-published authors standing on soap boxes are generally full of hot air. If you are visiting forums or book blogs, you should be prepared to participate in more ways than just self promotion. Don’t just stop in and say “Read my book!” and then leave. Don’t believe me? Check out the self-promotion forums in the POD community and decide for yourself how many of those authors actually get read. Be professional, and know that sometimes you should be quiet. You should also be willing to give back, which leads to…
Before considering self-publishing, read a few self published books. Particularly ones published through the same company you are going to publish with. Get to know the product! Also, read reference books about self publishing. There are lots of helpful books out there! As Stephen King points out in his book On Writing, when you aren’t writing you should be reading.