Posted on July 22, 2020 at 10:09 AM by Guest Author
There’s a lot to consider when starting a writing career. Find out what mistakes new authors make that you should avoid if you want to increase your chances of success.
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“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
– Stephen King
Starting a writing career is a big decision, and it’s one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
As with any type of creative job, becoming an author can be risky. However, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
The key is to start off strong by making sure you’re prepared before, during, and after you’ve written your first book.
It’s all about putting in the work to increase your chances of success.
Although talent is a major factor, there’s much more to building a thriving career than just writing a great story.
If you want to become a full-time (or even part-time) author, you need to focus on honing your skills, polishing your work, and reaching your target audience.
Moreover, you need to familiarize yourself with the business side of things. In doing so, you can set yourself up to flourish in your chosen profession.
Of course, you’re bound to have some minor slipups along the way. Everyone does!
However, there are some crucial errors that should be avoided as you build your career.
That’s why we put together a list of common mistakes new authors make — so you can steer clear and position yourself for greater success.
Let’s take a look…
1. Not investing in the craft
When you decide to turn your passion for writing into a career, it’s important that you give it your all.
Unfortunately, many new authors fail to invest in the craft. They don’t take advantage of opportunities to improve their skills.
This is a major oversight, as doing things such as…
Participating in workshops
Going on writing retreats
…can make you a better, more well-rounded author.
2. Not writing in a unique voice and style
One of the most common mistakes new authors make is trying to sound like someone else.
However, mimicking another author won’t serve you in the long run. For starters, it’s hard to keep up with, which means your writing will be inconsistent.
Further, it prevents you from expressing your creativity and letting your personality shine in your work.
It may take some trial and error to develop your own unique voice and style, but it’s worth the effort.
3. Not knowing the audience
Neglecting to research one’s intended audience is a serious error. And yet, a lot of first-time authors move forward without knowing anything about the people most likely to read their work.
This means that, when the time comes to promote a book, they try to target everyone — and usually end up reaching no one…
By identifying your audience and focusing your efforts accordingly, you can expect to draw in readers with greater potential to become fans.
4. Not having a website
A number of new authors forgo creating a website, believing it’s unnecessary when first starting a writing career. However, you should have a site set up before you launch your first book.
Having a website in place allows readers to learn more about you, and provides a way for people to contact you.
The good news is you don’t have to develop anything large or elaborate. In fact, many experts agree that simpler is better.
As you build or remodel your author website, just keep the following pages and pieces in mind:
Home page – Include a clear header, feature your book, add social media links, highlight a good review, and give an email signup option.
About page – Add a headshot of yourself and a professional bio.
Book page(s) – Feature the cover of your book, include a blurb, highlight a good review, and include buttons to retailers where your book can be purchased.
Contact form – Include contact information for whoever handles requests for interviews, events, etc.
5. Not making proper use of social media
Another one of the most common mistakes new authors make is failing to use social media the right way.
Some are hesitant about putting themselves out there, while others try to use shortcuts to build a following.
Neither approach will yield the kind of long-term results you want.
Interacting on social media is an important part of marketing yourself and your work. That means you need to overcome any shyness and take steps to grow your base.
Ultimately, making proper use of social platforms means forming connections and building relationships with your readers.
6. Not editing thoroughly
The urge to publish a book before it’s truly ready is something that many first-time authors struggle with. In a lot of cases, they cut corners and don’t edit the book thoroughly.
As a result, the book is published with errors that could have been corrected had a little extra time been dedicated to this step of the writing process.
This can have a significant impact on the quality of your book in the eyes of readers and reviewers.
With that in mind, it’s important to thoroughly edit and revise your book before publishing. That means…
7. Not creating a professional-looking cover
A lot of new authors believe it’s what’s inside the book that really counts, so they don’t put enough effort into the cover.
In reality, having an attractive, well-designed book cover is a must — especially for ebooks. Otherwise, even those readers most likely to enjoy your book may skip over it.
When starting a writing career, you may not have the budget to hire a professional designer. In that case, you should consider affordable premade covers that can be customized.
8. Not pricing correctly
You may be interested to learn that another of the most frequent mistakes new authors make is pricing the first book incorrectly.
Although it’s tempting to price your book high, doing so only sets you up for failure. Most readers won’t spend a lot of money on books from unknown authors, especially when there are more affordable options available.
The best approach is to look at other titles in your genre, compare prices, and set yours on the low side. Further, you should think about giving away your ebook for free or at a discounted price at first.
That way, you can start building your reader base and get reviews to use for marketing purposes.
(You can also promote your free ebook with a reputable site like The Fussy Librarian to generate more interest!)
9. Not developing a marketing/launch plan
Given that most new authors have no prior marketing experience, it’s no surprise that many fail to develop an appropriate marketing/launch plan.
The problem is that your marketing efforts determine whether your first release is a success or a flop. So, it’s vital that you have a well-thought-out plan beforehand.
There are several factors to take into consideration, such as…
Writing a compelling description
Choosing the appropriate categories and keywords
Deciding how much to spend on paid ads
Targeting the right audience
Posting on social media
Reaching out to bloggers and reviewers
With that in mind, you should begin looking for tips and mapping out your plan as soon as possible to ensure you’ve got all your bases covered.
Starting a writing career can be intimidating at first. But ultimately, it’s about putting in the work and ensuring you’re prepared.
By avoiding some of the most common mistakes new authors make, you can increase your chances of experiencing success as a new author.
(Are you finished with your book and eager to get it out to readers? Click HERE to learn about featuring a free ebook in our newsletter!)
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