February 22, 2023 in Blogs

More Author Mistakes

In my prior podcast, I covered 5 big mistakes authors make: 

  1. Having unrealistic expectations, thinking you’ll make a ton of money from book royalties.  Most people don’t even receive enough money from book royalties to recoup their investment in publishing their book.  Instead, business owners generally receive a return on investment from the readers who become new customers or purchase other products you create from your book that your readers will want to purchase. 
  2. Failing to set goals for their book and develop a plan to achieve those goals.  Identifying what you want to achieve from your book enables you to determine who your target reader is who will get you toward your goal, and the most suitable topic that aligns with your goal.
  3. Failing to identify a specific target reader.  While there may be a large segment of the population that could benefit from a book, if you don’t select a narrow target, the likelihood is that your book will not appeal to anyone.
  4. Failing to develop a marketing plan for your book.  Book publishing is not the field of dreams.  Getting your book published will not lead to tons of people buying your book.  You need to promote your book so people know about it.  Creating a detailed plan will increase your chances of getting the work done that is needed to get the word out.
  5. Failing to understand what you need to do after your manuscript is written.  There are many steps to take before your book can be published, and if you aren’t prepared to undertake those steps, your book may not go anywhere.

In this podcast, I’ll cover more mistakes that authors make so you can avoid them when writing your book. 

  1. Making a poor choice concerning the topic for your book.  I’ve talked to many authors who are excited to tell me about the topic of their book, but when I ask them why they have chosen the topic, they respond that others would find it valuable, or they have a lot of insight in the topic.  When I ask they what they hope to gain from writing the book, however, they are bewildered.  They haven’t thought about that.  The problem is that without knowing how the book will benefit you, you won’t be able to prioritize your book over other demands for your time, and either your book won’t get done or it will take much longer to get done.  Sometimes, it will be out of date or no longer relevant at all by that time.  [Story of Susan]
  2. Not confirming interest in your topic.  No matter how great your book is, if few people are interested in the topic, it won’t get you very far.  It would be a shame to have spent your valuable time and money writing and publishing a book that few people are interested in.  Before you embark on the book writing journey, it is worth spending some time making sure there is sufficient interest in your topic.  There are many ways to confirm interest.  Ask people in your target market whether a book on your topic would be useful for them.  Put a query on your social media accounts and in groups on social media.  Go on Amazon and see how many books have been published on your topic.  If there aren’t very many, that’s a pretty good indication of the lack of interest.  Do a Google keyword search to determine how many people are searching online for information on your topic.  If there are not many searches, or there is a lot of competition on that topic, you might want to look for another topic.  Ironically, if there are a huge number of searches, say, over 10,000,000 per month, that is an indication that your topic is too broad.
  3. Failing to schedule your writing time.  Even if your book is a high priority for you, it’s easy to put off the writing when issues come up.  When you schedule the time for the writing, and commit to the schedule unless there is a true emergency, you are more likely to finish writing your book sooner than if you had no schedule.  When creating a schedule, identify a time of the day when you are not likely to be interrupted, and you have some energy and creativity.  Pick an amount of time that is realistic for you.  One of my authors started with 3 four-hour time blocks per week, and never met his schedule.  Then he reduced it to 3 2-hour time blocks plus 4 hours on the weekend, and did better with that schedule.  While it is ideal to allocate at least an hour per session, if that doesn’t work, try 30 minutes.  Even a little progress is better than no progress.
  4. Writing your book without developing an outline.  Some authors feel that an outline constricts their creative thinking.  However, outlines can greatly accelerate your book writing.  They help you organize your thoughts, keep track of your ideas, and make sure your book is cohesive and flows well.  By crafting an outline, you are more likely to include all of the important details you want to cover in your book.  Moreover, having an outline will make it much easier for you to stay focused.  You just need to concentrate on one topic from your outline, which doesn’t even have to be in the order that you have placed it.  If you are keen to write about a topic that comes later in your book, you can do that, and then plug it in when you get to that part.
  5. Not including opt-in opportunities in your book.  When your book is published on Amazon or in book stores, you won’t know who has bought it.  If you want to find out who is purchasing your book, you can include opt-in opportunities in your book that are sufficiently valuable to the reader to entice them to provide their contact information so you can send them the information.  For instance, in an eBook I wrote called Write a Book Easily (which is available for free on my website, skillbites.net), I offer a more in depth white paper on how to get testimonials to anyone who provides me with their contact information.  Testimonials are important for motivating people to buy; they are social proof of the value of the book.  So people who want my eBook would likely be interested in learning ways to get more and better testimonials.  There are many types of opt-ins you can offer, such as a free consultation; an assessment form; an article or white paper; or free registration to a workshop.  Another opt-in in my eBook is a white paper that explains how to set up opt-in opportunities.

These are just some of the many mistakes authors make in book writing.  For a more comprehensive roadmap to help you get your book written, consider registering for my Book It course.  Visit my website for more information. 

In my next podcast, I’ll discuss some of the mistakes people make in the publishing process. 

  1.  Pinching pennies and not hiring a professional editor.  Maybe you have terrific writing skills and don’t need an editor or proofreader, or your have a friend who is an English teacher, or a great secretary.  Your book is a reflection of you, however.  If it’s not done right, you will lose credibility.  Even bestselling authors hire professional editors.   If you want your book to be well regarded, you should hire a professional editor.  One of my clients had her secretary review her book.  When I sent her a sample edit from one of my editors, he found several errors in the short sample he reviewed.  The client hired him, and he found over 80 errors in her book. 
  2. Using a graphic artist to create a book cover.  Book covers
  3. Writing a poor book description
  4. Not spending time to identify the best key words
  5. Not understanding the importance of selecting the best categories