Tips for Writing and Publishing a Book: Part II

Yesterday’s post listed four of my big mistakes in writing and publishing my first book. Here are five more:

Mistake #5: Don’t get lots of feedback

Feedback is essential to any writer. Not only can other readers pick up pesky typos or clumsy sentences, but they can help in numerous other ways, as in pointing out unclear sections or inconsistencies. If you find readers who are skilled critics, they will tell you which places are boring and which ones were page turners. Believe me, you will need lots of confidence to successfully market your book, and getting honest feedback that helps you write a top-notch book is essential.

If you don’t believe in your book enough tell all your friends and family about it, you won’t be able to sell it to strangers. Much less call book stores to arrange signings, or schedule speaking engagements, or actually put into place any other book marketing strategies.

Mistake #6: Don’t attend writers’ conferences and meet with editors

One of the biggest challenges facing any new author is getting a publisher to even look at their manuscript. A great way to overcome this hurdle is to attend writer’s conferences. Here you’ll be able to get a short meeting with an editor who will either invite you to send a book proposal, give you suggestions of publishers that may be interested, or give you feedback on why he thinks your work isn’t publishable and how you can improve it. This is information you’ll never get from a rejection letter.

Mistake #7: Take your time publishing electronic versions of your book

I didn’t get into eBook formats quickly because I didn’t want to hurt my paper copy sales. Big mistake. My royalty on paper copies sold through is about $1.50. My royalty on the kindle version is about $5.00. Enough said.

Mistake #8: Wait until the book is done to start marketing

Book marketing experts say that if you wait until you are ready to publish your book you’ve waited too long. They are right.

Think about new products that sell really, really well, like the iPad. Apple spent months generating a lot of buzz in the media and technology circles so that there was pent-up demand for their new product. By the time the iPad was released, there were millions of customers ready to pay whatever Apple charged.

While your book may not sell as well as the iPad (don’t we all wish for a fraction of those sales!), the idea of generating buzz—getting people talking about your book—beforehand is a key part of a marketing plan.

If you’ve already started writing, or have even finished, don’t despair. Depending how hard you work, you still could sell quite a few copies. It will just be harder for you to get your sales to take off.

Mistake #9: Don’t pursue marketing strategies with enough focus and energy to get results

Marketing takes work, time, and energy. With so many possibilities, it’s easy to get distracted, or start one, dabble with it a little, and move on to something else.

What I’ve learned is that it’s much more effective to pick one or two strategies, and work on them until they are implemented well. Then add another approach, and another. So write your marketing plan, set some goals, and get to work.

So here you have it: my biggest mistakes in publishing my first book. Avoid these and you’ll save yourself lots of time, money and lost sales.

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