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October 2015

5 Mistakes New Authors Make

5 Mistakes New Authors Make


If you don’t know your way around the publishing world, you may make wrong turns and unnecessary blunders, but you can avoid them if you know in advance what they are. Here are 5 mistakes new authors make and to avoid them.

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—its 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, and go home and write.

Mistake #2
You proudly print out your manuscript and read what have written. 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 showed 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 subject matter experts? 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 to ready publish, but you are torn between sending your book to a major New York publishing house or using one of the POD “publishers” on the Web. 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 POD “publishers” really do and how to evaluate the quality and costs of their services? The mistake many new authors make is not thoroughly researching publishing options in order to make educated decisions on how to publish.

Mistake #5
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 is 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 mistakes many new authors make is waiting until their books are published to begin thinking about how to mount a successful marketing campaign.

These mistakes are avoidable once you are aware of them. The question is how to learn what not t do when you are a novice? There are many sources of such information: authors and publishers’ associations, more experience authors, books on the publishing process, and classes, among others. Take the time to ask questions, and don’t ignore you own common sense. If you question the wisdom of some activity, pay attention to your own doubts.


Bobbi Linkemer is a writing coach, ghostwriter, and editor, as well as the author of eighteen books, six of which are on writing. Her passion is helping writers at all levels convey their messages through books. She has launched a successful online course and guided twenty-four published authors through the steps of writing, publishing, and promoting their nonfiction books. Bobbi can be reached at WriteANonfictionBook.com, bobbi@writeanonfictionbook.com, or 314-968-8661.