So You wrote A Book - Common Mistakes New Authors Make

by Jacqueline Druga

Congratulations, you wrote your first novel. The fact that you started and finished a complete work of literary art above 40k words is something not everyone can do.

So you wrote the book, labored over it. Your best friend/spouse/brother … whoever, thinks it is the greatest thing they ever read. They loved it. “Yes,” you proudly proclaim, “It’s a masterpiece. Everyone will adore this.”

In the real world that is not necessarily so. Not everyone likes everything. And while somewhere in your forefront knowledge, you know this, in your heart, you refuse to believe this, which is why first time and newbie authors react the way they do. Every author has done it, I don’t care who you are. The difference is, today’s Indy authors have more of a chance to experience the backlash of bad behavior.

What you do and how you act upon the publishing of your first novel, will indeed reflect on how you are treated and viewed on the next.

This isn’t ten or twenty years ago. Getting published back then wasn’t a matter of clicking and go. It was laboring over queries and rejections. It was being so darned grateful to be published after desperately trying, that you kept your mouth shut and were glad someone … anyone bought it.

It comes too easy for today’s first time authors. With the ease, comes the consequences.

I have compiled a list of mistakes that first timers make. Hey, like I said, I made them, we all did. Hopefully, you can read these with an open mind. If you start feeling defensive about what I write, then pretty much you are a shoe in to break the first two.

Reviews - Perception
In 1994 getting a review wasn’t easy. If you didn’t like what someone said, you could complain all you wanted, no one heard you. Today, everyone hears you. No one likes bad reviews, most established authors don’t bother reading any reviews. Reviews are for the potential readers not the authors.

Reviews – Responding
Many times new authors respond to reviews, more so to the negative ones. Even if they are polite they are still responding. Reviews are opinions. Complain to your friends, your family, but don’t complain in any written or public forum. Everything you say and write will be used against you somewhere.

If you complain in any written form about an established reviewer, and you are trying to get your book off the ground, I can almost promise, the book will freeze. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, use it positively and keep away the negative.

Your Book is Golden and Perfect
No it’s not. Nothing I write is perfect or golden. Learn from the mistakes of one book and fix them to the next.

Rose Color Glasses Syndrome
So you know a writer who makes good money at writing. That’s gonna be you. Your book is going to just blast the charts and you’ll make tons of money. Reality check only 3-5% of Indy authors make enough money to ‘only write’. Because it was easy to publish, only means the competition is fierce. Success is work, work is more books. The trend today is to follow series and the readers are in a ‘want it now’ phase. They look to see if there is a second book available before they buy the firat. No one remembers one hit wonders.

Speaking of one hit wonders.

Your Next Book
Your next book is not a book until it is finished. It’s a work in progress. A big mistake first timers make is praising the next incomplete work, talking it up, even pre-selling it, when most of the general population of readers are still trying to find the first book.

Nothing worse than having your Facebook page hijacked with a promo of someone’s book.  No there is something worse, when a new author interjects ot of nowhere, ‘I wrote a book, buy it’ in the middle of a Facebook or forum conversation.

Author versus Writer
You are an author when you publish your first book. You are a writer when you write more than two. A writer writes. Period.  Whether it’s novels or short stories or screenplays, a writer is always writing and producing a form of readable work. You wouldn’t call yourself a baker if you only made one cake.

So my advice …
Listen to advice. Don’t ask for it and think the person doesn’t know what they are talking about because you don’t like what they have to say. There are reasons people are successful, and if you ask a successful person for advice and they take time to give it to you, listen.

Invest in advertising. Spamming a forum or Facebook page only gives you a bad rep. If you are friends with an author who does well, ask their permission before posting about your book on their page. There are tons of places to advertise for free or cheap. Start here. Free Advertising

Don’t respond to reviews. If you feel the need to read them, then learn from them. Look at the lower rating reviews. Write down the positive things they say and the negative and look at the possibility that they have a point.

Don’t just dream it, do it. You can dream of being a bestselling author all you want, but it doesn’t stop there. You have to stand behind your work and get more work out there. With the ease of today’s publishing if you don’t show you have lasting power, then you will easily be forgotten.

Write. Write every day. If this is what you want to do, then you have to do it.

Be proud of everything you do. Good or bad. That doesn’t mean publish it as is, it means, you worked hard, it wasn’t easy, you finished. That’s more than a lot of people can say. Be proud.

About the Reviewer:

Jacqueline Druga is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa and a fulltime author. She has written and published numerous novels in various genres, along with two full length feature films currently available on DVD. More than anything, she prides herself on being a kickbutt grandmother. To read more about Jackie’s work, read The Bookie Monster's review of The Forgottten.>