Author Mistakes (continued)... (continued)
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For many first time authors, I know that the publishing process can be very overwhelming with a seemingly endless list of choices. Below, I’ve highlighted what are some of the most common mistakes that authors can make and how to avoid them:
1. Sometimes You Get What You Pay For
Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to pay a publicist tens of thousands of dollars to be successful, but if you find someone who’s willing to market you for $200, ask questions about what you get for your money, because while $200 dollars isn’t much, it’s $200 here and $99 there. Eventually, it all adds up.
Similarly, I always find it interesting that authors will sometimes spend years writing their books and then leave the cover design or website design to someone who either isn’t a designer – or worse, they do it themselves.
Consider these facts for a minute: shoppers in a bookstore (online or brick and mortar) spend an average of 3 seconds looking at the front cover of a book and 7 seconds looking at the back before deciding whether to buy it. The same idea goes for your website, if you are directing visitors to your title, but your site is not converting these visitors into a sale, how much money did you lose by punting the web designer and doing it yourself?
2. Overnight Success is a Myth
Hope is a wonderful thing, but it’s not a marketing plan. There’s a real fallacy that exists in publishing and it’s this: “instant bestseller.” Overnight success is never really overnight, per se, but rather the result of a consistent effort to market your book. This doesn’t have to be a full-time job, but you should find time each week to push the book in some form or fashion. You should be engaged in your own success, even if you hire someone to do this for you, you should still be involved. Sometimes it doesn’t take much, but it does take a consistent effort. I also call it the compound effect: everything you do adds up.
3. Plan Ahead
You’ll want to be prepared with your marketing early – I suggest having a plan in place months before the book is out. To understand when you should pitch your book for review, start to get to know your market and the bloggers you plan to pitch. Create a list, and keep close track of who to contact, and when you need to get your review pitch out there. A missed date is akin to a missed opportunity.
4. Be Grateful
In this industry there is a lot of competition. Let’s face it; you need the media more than they need you. So here’s the thing: be grateful. Thank reviewers for their time. Send a follow up thank-you note after an interview. Don’t be a diva – be grateful for every opportunity handed to you. Show up on time, show up prepared, and always, always, always be grateful.
I know that the publishing process can seem like a never-ending to-do list, but with the guidelines above, I hope to empower you with an understanding of how to invest your time and money wisely.
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Publishing New Writers,
November 2015 (no. 1611)
Dr. Bruce L. Cook
1407 Getzelman Drive
Elgin, IL 60123
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