We writers are not perfect. What?! Not Perfect…please…you may be saying, but it’s true…perfection is not a trait we carry as writers. We make some whoppers sometimes and as beginning writers we makes some pretty lame ones too. There are some basic mistakes that I can help you avoid though. They may sound like lame mistakes at first but put some thought into them because many, many writers make them all the time.
Mistake #1: Telling folks you’re writing a book -
This is a doozy. Almost every writer wants to brag, it’s in our nature. The problem with bragging however is that you then have to follow that up with action and therein lies the rub. If you are walking around talking about writing a book, you aren’t actually writing the book. Stop telling folks you are writing and instead write!
Mistake #2: You have your manuscript done and it’s the bomb –
Manuscripts are like newborn babies. When your kid first comes out it’s all “awwww, how adorable” but then you take it home and that first night the little bag of bones keeps you up all night crying because it was much more comfortable inside that womb. Your manuscript is the bomb when you first print it out because it is technically, done but alas, the work is just beginning. There’s editing, cutting and polishing…and trust me, just like that baby was more comfortable inside the womb, your novel was better inside your head too.
Mistake #3: Asking everyone you meet for their opinion -
Unless you live on a street with professional editors or come from a family of experts in your genre, stop asking everyone for their opinion. Opinions come a dime a dozen and if you insist on sharing your work with every Tom, Dick and Eduardo along the way your book will never be finished. Seek out constructive opinions but only from those who understand the work….your mom, she doesn’t understand the work. (Unless she is Anne Rice, then ask away)
Mistake #4: You don’t research your publishing options -
Major New York publishing house or self-publishing service or POD solution, decisions, decisions….the publishing options these days come in many flavors and require research. There are costs involved in some, requirements that the large publishing house demand and even self-publishing has its quirks. Today more than ever a writer has to do the research on which option is best for them. Make an educated decision on where to send that book…trust me…it’s worth the time.
Mistake #5: No after-the-book-is-done plan-
Advertising, promotion, ads, actually selling the book….haven’t given any thought to any of this? Shame on you! There is really no point in writing a book, if you have no intention of helping it get its wings. Long gone are the days when the publishing house took care of all that book promotion. Now authors have to set up book signings, do the advertising, and beat the pavement for readers…it’s all on us. If you have no plan as to how you are going to promote your work there will be a lot of sad afternoons looking at the sell stats and then hitting the couch to watch Castle reruns while you cry into your afternoon smoothie. Have a plan on how to get that little guy into the hands of willing readers.
These are just a few mistakes that writers make on a regular basis and, trust me, there are many, many more. There has to be some common sense inserted into the process and you have to think both like a writer and a reader if you are to be successful at all.
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