Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Eight Mistakes Indie Authors Should Avoid Making

Every author wants to have a bestselling novel. They have that daydream of collecting royalty checks, doing a spot on Good Morning America or Jay Leno, while sipping a fancy cocktail and writing by a pool. Truth is with the ease of the publishing now, good writers with great stories not only have to wade their way to the top through one hitters they now have to fight the stigma and the bad reputations given to Indie Authors.

I get asked quite a bit about how I do it. It’s not easy making a living as an Indie writer, it takes a lot of hard work, and there are times where I just want to chuck it all, trust me. But it’s my passion and my dream and I don’t give those up very easily. At least without a fight.

So, to be helpful, I have compiled a list of eight mistakes newbie and Indie authors make that should be avoided. It excludes the over advised grammar, book covers, etc ... It might be harsh, but it’s honest. I’m positive I have been guilty of a few of them at one time, early on. But as any established Indie will tell you, you learn. And the best way to learn is the first item on my list.

Eight Mistakes Often Made That Should Be Avoided

They ask but they don’t listen – Many times, in a state of confusion or loss at what to do, an author will reach out to a veteran author for advice. We give it. I know I spend time explaining why I am advising what I am. When we give the advice, we aren’t doing it to steer you in the wrong way, we do it because we have ‘been there, done that’ and paid the price. We honestly want to spare you. But I have learned, as many others, that 90% of the advice we give is not followed. I get so many emails stating, “UG, why didn’t I listen” to which I WANT to reply, ‘Why did you ask.”. But I don’t. The advice isn’t followed because it isn’t what they want to hear. I don't expect my advise to always be followed, but I hate hearing I was right and they didn't listen.  If you ask for advice and don’t follow it, do not express regret to the person who gave it to you. They’ll never help you again.

I’m a Writer but I don’t Write – This will be argued. Too many writers call themselves writers and are either not writing or working on multiple projects at once. I can’t tell you how many times I hear an author say they are working on three or four books and yet not one is near completion. Focus. Finish.  In this age of Instant books, no one wants to wait a year for your next project. They’ll forget you too easily, because are quick to take your place.  

Expectations and Laziness – Too many time Indies want instant recognition or sales and don’t want to work for it. They don’t seize every avenue or opportunity presented to them.  Big or small, if an opportunity is there to get one person to read … take it. You never know what that one person will do.  An example is, I posted on a big writers forum, about an opportunity to promote your work for free. A new opportunity. 10,000 plus members on the forum and I had 3 views. Pushed to the fifth page in a heartbeat, and replaced with threads griping about low sales and ….

They pimp their work to other authors – What is this? I don’t get this? Yet, authors continuously do it.  I kid you not, on that author board,  65,000 views 22,000 replies under a thread called “Authors Promote your work here’ To who? Other authors promoting their work. Really? How much sense does that make? I’d rather promote my work to five readers than 22,000 authors who will never look at my post. Insane. I guess it’s the lack of wanting to leave the comfort zone of one place. And on that …

They spend too much time on forums – If a writer wants bad reviews, torpedoes reviews, the best way to get them is too spend time on a writer’s forum. Try it, post about the success of a book and I can guarantee you’ll get a torpedo, negative review from a reviewer who never reviewed a book in their life. More so, they go to these forums and gripe about reviewers. I can bet reviewers are there.  Hit the readers not the writers unless you need advice and you can get that, one on one, on Facebook.

Loss of Marketing Tact – How many times have you seen this happen? You’re engaging in a  nice conversation about something on a forum or thread and suddenly some author posts ‘buy my book’.  Out of the blue, nothing to do with topic. Too often authors get pushy and post randomly about their work. It doesn’t get them noticed, it gets them ignored. Once I was watching a thread on Autism and a woman asking advice on how to handle her son and some author posted ‘Buy my book it has an autistic boy in it’. Grrr.

Hobby not a career – If you want to be a successful writer and make it your dream living then you have to work at it just like any other career. You wouldn’t tell your boss you can’t work because you have to sleep or watch a TV show. Writing shouldn’t play second fiddle to free time. I know how hard it is to write and work a full time job, while raising a family, but there is always time. Give up an hour sleep, a TV show. But work on it.

Readers Not Fans  - I love my readers but I would never call them fans. Me calling them ‘my fans’ lessens the importance they hold in my life. A good readership, like a friendship is built. It requires a building of trust. They trust you’ll deliver a good story, you’ll keep them reading, and trust you’ll appreciate them.  The best way to get readers is to stop being the author with a book, and be a person whose story they want to know.

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