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Top 10 Mistakes of First-Time Authors (Are You Guilty of #8?)

September 14, 2020 (Last Updated October 26, 2020)

Marcy G.

The road to becoming a published author is exciting, with many ups and downs. As with any new venture, you’ll make mistakes along the way. But don’t worry! We all make mistakes; it’s how we learn. As a new writer, learn from mistakes made by authors before you. Here are ten common mistakes of first-time authors. Are you guilty of number 8?


1. Not Paying Enough Attention to Book Cover Design

First impressions count! A good book cover design helps you sell more books. Many first-time authors try to save money by designing their own book cover with no assistance and no background in book publishing. Consider hiring an experienced designer, using helpful Create-A-Cover tools provided by self-publishing experts or even working with your self-publishing partner to create a custom book cover design. 


2. Writing a Dull Book Description

Your book description is another first impression that really counts. Some readers decide whether or not to buy a book based solely on the book description. Write a poor book description and risk losing potential book sales. Read other book dust jackets for inspiration and spend adequate time writing a book description that encapsulates your book’s tone and story.


3. Not Doing Competitor Research

Market research is so important. Review your competition’s behavior and gain important insights on how to be successful. What type of books are selling? Examine how other authors reach their audience effectively and learn from them.


4. Skimping on Editing

Before publishing your book, invest in a professional editor. A second set of eyes is valuable. They can catch things you might not. There are various types of book editing. In addition to finding typos and grammar mistakes, editors can help with potential plot holes, inconsistencies, and story structure issues. Keep in mind all editing and proofreading should be completed before submitting your book to print.


5. Moving Your Book’s Release Date

When marketing your book before it’s released, don’t move your release date. This has the potential to destroy your relationship with your readers before they even get your book. Develop a solid pre-sale strategy. Market your book’s release date and stick to that date! Don’t let your audience down by moving the date and confusing them. That can look unprofessional and cause your audience to lose interest, resulting in loss of book sales.


6. Formatting Your Book Incorrectly

The interior of your book is as important as its cover! When self-publishing, ensure your files are print-ready, so your book formatting will be perfect. Be aware of your book publisher’s technical requirements as each publisher can be different. Carefully examine your paragraph and section breaks and insertion of graphics. Format your book simply for ease of reading. 48 Hour Books offers free book templates to help. You can even use services to reformat your book just like the bestsellers you admire.


7. Neglecting to Market Your Book

If no one knows about your book’s release, no one can buy it! Many authors dream about their book being discovered and loved by readers far and wide, but you must do everything possible to get the word out so readers can find it. Start marketing your book before it’s published. Use social media, blogging, and email marketing to spread the word and engage your audience. Make them feel like they’re part of the journey, and they’ll be excited to purchase the book once it’s released.


8. Overlooking Self-Publishing as an Option

It’s a common misconception by some new authors that self-publishing isn’t an option worth exploring. You don’t have to wait for a book publisher to discover your book! Many well-known bestsellers were self-published, and it’s a great way to get your writing out there for people to read.


9. Charging the Wrong Price for Your Book

If you price your book too high, people might not want to buy it. If you price it too low, you could lose money, or readers might assume your book is cheap or unprofessional. Consider your ultimate goal and what you want to achieve with your book sales. Be aware of your book printing costs. Do competitor research to see how other authors in your genre price their books. You can even use a book pricing formula.


10. Not Utilizing Your Personal Network

In addition to marketing your book to a brand-new audience, you can also engage your personal network. They already know and want to support you. Ask friends and family to help get the word out by sharing your book on their social media accounts, posting reviews, and most importantly, purchasing the book themselves to read or give as gifts.


Refer to these tips as you get ready to publish your book. When you’re ready to self-publish, partner with 48 Hour Books to get started.



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