If you’re a first-time author, you may feel like a stranger in a strange land.
Welcome to the world of book publishing.
If you don’t know your way around, you may make wrong turns and unnecessary blunders, but you can also avoid these common mistakes if you know what they are in advance.
Mistake #1: You mention to people that you’re writing a book …
… and they become instantly fascinated. “You are? That’s terrific. What’s it about?” they ask.
Can you answer that question in one sentence, or will you talk your listeners into a stupor while you explain your subject? Of course, you want to tell anyone who will listen all about your book—it’s content, its purpose, its potential for becoming a best seller.
Resist the urge. The mistake many new authors make is talking about their books, rather than writing them. Capture your topic in a single sentence: “My book is about …”
Then stop talking. Go home and write.
Mistake #2: You proudly print out your manuscript and think it’s great.
Does it still make sense or have you rambled on or completely forgotten everything you ever learned about English grammar?
The mistake many new authors make is assuming you only have to write your book once, that your first draft is your final draft. If you have shown your book to friends and family, and been showered with praise, you’re good to go … right? Well, Not quite.
Mistake #3: Even if you have been selective about those you asked for input …
… are any of those people professional editors or experts in your subject/genre? Have they given you constructive comments on content, organization, accuracy, grammar, punctuation, consistency, length, or readability?
Probably not. The mistake many new authors make is failing to hire a professional editor to review their work and provide objective, knowledgeable feedback.
Mistake #4: You are ready to publish, but …
… you’re torn between sending your book to a major New York publishing house or using a self-publishing service or POD solution.
Do you have any idea how many unsolicited manuscripts big publishers receive every day, and how few they even glance at before they throw them into the “slush pile?” Do you know what your options are in terms of self-publishing services and costs?
The mistake many new authors make is not thoroughly researching publishing options in order to make educated decisions on how to publish.
Mistake #5: You have no promotion strategy
At last, you are holding your book in your hands. It’s tangible; it’s real. You are a published author. Now, all you need are sales.
But there are a few things you should have done before you reached this point, such as identifying your ideal readers and the best way to reach them, writing a marketing plan, launching a website, and registering for social media sites.
The mistake many new authors make is waiting until their books are published to begin thinking about how to mount successful marketing campaign.
While these are common mistakes, they are not inevitable. The question is how can you, as a new author, avoid making them? For more info on this topic, check out the second article in this two-part series, “Five Rules Every New Author Should Follow.”
Author Bio: Bobbi Linkemer is the creator How to Write Publish & Promote a Nonfiction Book, an online course for aspiring authors. She is also a book coach, ghostwriter, editor, and the author of 17 books under her own name. Visit her Website at WriteANonfictionBook.com , or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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