6 Mistakes New Writers Make (And How to Avoid Them)
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
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Let’s look at the facts. First of all, the publishing world is big. Second of all, new authors self publish their books every day. And third, over ninety percent of these authors will probably fail to sell a single copy. Truth is, having a good book or an original idea is no guarantee that you're going to sell. If you're worried that your book is going to turn into a flop, and you want to keep that from happening, check to make sure you're not making any of the following mistakes.
1. Lack of Editing
You can read your book until you have it memorized. But you won't catch every mistake. you can share it with a devoted family member, let your mom comb through it for any mistakes, but in the end, you're cheating yourself out of the star service at your book deserves if it's going to sell. A professional editing job is vital. Let me say that again:
A professional editing job is vital.
I'm not talking about catching typos. I'm talking about consistency with the characters. I'm talking about whether the cousin who drives the ice-cream truck is actually lactose intolerant, or whether your heartbroken heroine is actually looking for Prince Charming instead of nursing her wounds. Editors can catch inconsistencies that casual readers miss. Having your book read through at least once by a professional is well worth the time, patience, work, and budget. Which reminds me of point number two.
2. Lack of Budgeting
Any book is an investment, and like other investments, what you put in reflects what you get out. You don't have to be rich to publish well, and many others have succeeded with a limited budget. But still, the budget needs to be there. Spending wisely can make a difference between whether other people perceive your book as a worthwhile read or as yet another attempt by a wishful thinker. Decide what you're willing to spend on your book, and decide what you need the most. It could be a professional cover, professional editing job, formatting, or anything else you feel you could benefit from.
3. Lack of Research
I'm not talking about the research you poured into writing your book. I'm talking about how much you know about the publishing industry in general. Do you know who your audience is? Do you know how they'll discover you?
The easiest way around this is to look up books in your genre. What keywords do they use? How do they go about explaining their books in the blurb? What do the covers look like? The more patterns you can notice here, the better you can set your own book up for success.
4. Lack of Data
Book marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all game. Strategies that have worked for me in the past won’t necessarily work for you. What causes one genre to explode in readership will hardly change things in another. You should try a variety of strategies when you publish and then take notes on which ones work for you. Then refine your style, optimize what works, and keep doing it.
This means you have to write everything down. How have reviews helped? How have ads, and on which platform? How have your book giveaways helped? It’s not enough that some of it works--figure out which part does, and then concentrate your efforts.
5. Lack of Planning
You might have one book, one masterpiece, one project that you ever hoped to write. And that's great. But if you plan on making it big as an author, you need to work out a long-term strategy. How many books do you plan to write? How are you keep your readers engaged between books?
Many people recommend writing multiple books a year to keep readers engaged. That might work for you, and if so you should map out what you plan on writing for the rest of this year. If you prefer to spend time perfecting your novels, maybe you should look at stacking promotions over the course of months. What are some special dates or events you could celebrate with a promotion? What other groups of authors can you join and promote to your readers if you’re busy working on something else? Decide on your author strategy before you hit “publish,” and it will pay off in the long run.
6. Lack of Buzz
You’re a writer, not a marketer. Telling people about your book can feel uncomfortable and unnatural--but you don’t need to be sleazy or forceful to get people excited about your release. Just be honest about it. Find communities that share interests related to your book. Don’t just post pitches at them--get involved. Answer questions, meet people. Then you can slide in a mention. When you’re really excited to get your project off the ground, others feel the excitement. Just be honest about it and have fun.