Recently I had coffee with Jennifer Wilkov, an award-winning writer and host of the popular “Your Book Is Your Hook” radio show. She also runs a successful business helping authors navigate the writing and publishing process. I told her that I write a blog for aspiring authors and asked her what advice she’d give specifically to self-published authors.
She said hands down the two most common mistakes she sees indie authors make are the following:
1) Lack of professional editing
2) Lack of a marketing plan
If your book is full of errors or isn’t well constructed, readers won’t recommend it to others – period. No matter who we are, we all need an editor! You’d be surprised at how affordable some services are, both on the copy editing and creative/developmental editing side. In a previous post, I discussed the difference between these two functions, but here’s a quick recap:
Copy editors have eagle eyes for typos, missing words, punctuation, grammar, repetition, consistency, etc.
Creative editors (also called developmental editors) help identify and fix problems with the major elements of your book, such as plot, character development, pacing, and style.
If you don’t have a plan for reaching people who aren’t your friends and family, the harsh reality is that you probably won’t sell very many books. Having a “marketing plan” doesn’t necessarily mean spending lots of money on advertising. There are tons of things you can do on your own that cost little more than your time. The key is to write a good book first, then be creative and persistent in getting the word out.
Remember, it won’t happen overnight!
Palo Alto native Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.