As a publishing professional who spends much of his day serving as a customer support line for authors, I see a whole lot of questions about the “small stuff:” micro-etiquette questions, author bios, whether they should be on TikTok, whether they have the perfect comp titles.
I don’t blame anyone! I try to answer these questions, big and small, because I’ve been in their shoes and depended on advice from experienced publishing types in order to make my way.
But at the end of the day, there really are only like four things that actually, truly matter to your book’s success. No one is going to reject your book if you have a typo in your synopsis. No one is going to refuse to buy your self-published novel because your author bio has insufficient short story publications.
Here are the things that actually matter. Everything else that’s not on this list? You’re probably wasting your energy sweating about it, or it’s outside of your control.
99.5% of your effort should go into the four things on this list.