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How to Avoid the 11 Biggest Mistakes of First-Time

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“If you want to change your life,” Harry Beckwith wrote in The
Invisible Touch, “write a book.” But, writing a book can also be
tremendously frustrating and unrewarding.

Following are the 11 biggest reasons most first-time authors
fail to receive the rewards they are due.

1.Unrealistic expectations

Don’t expect to get rich off your book, even if it’s a success
by publishing standards. The vast majority of books fail to earn
out their advance.

Instead, develop a personal marketing plan to leverage your
career off your book. Instead of trying to make money on the
book itself, use your book to open doors, promote your
credibility, and build relationships with readers.

2.Writing without a contract

Never write a book without a signed contract. Instead, prepare a
polished proposal and two sample chapters.

Publishers are increasingly selective the titles they accept.
Often, less than 1 in 20 titles proposed are published. Writing
a book that isn’t accepted is not a good use of your time.

3.No agent

You must be represented by a literary agent. Publishers rarely
accept unsolicited book proposals. Unsolicited proposals are
frequently returned unread or are simply discarded.

The right agent will know exactly which publishers might be
interested in your book. Agents can also negotiate terms more
effectively than you.

4.Weak titles

Titles sell books. The title of your book is like the headline
of an advertisement. The title represents your one and only
chance to attract the attention of acquisition editors or
bookstore readers.

Successful titles stress the benefits readers will gain from
your book. Successful titles arouse curiosity and offer
solutions. They often include consonants and alliteration
(repeated “hard” sounds like G, K, P or T).

5.Title versus series

Focus on a series of books rather than an individual title.
Publishers want concepts that can be expanded into a series
rather than individual titles.

6.Going it alone

Successful careers involve a nurturing support group of readers
and peers.

Your quest should include the support of your friends, other
authors, book coaches, readers and others who will help you
maintain your enthusiasm while providing ideas, assistance, and

7.”Event” writing

Write a little each day rather than “going away” to write your

Stress is an author’s biggest enemy. When you attempt marathon
writing, you’re putting an unrealistic burden on yourself. “What
happens if I come back and my book isn’t written?”

Commit to write 45 minutes a day. This reduces stress and
continuously reengages your subconscious mind.


Avoid unnecessary self-editing. It’s far more important to
complete the first draft of your book than to agonize over the
perfection of every word.

Editors will ensure that grammar is correct and ideas appear in
the proper order. But, they can’t do anything until you submit
the final manuscript.

9.Failure to promote

Publishers are not promoters. Publishers are skilled at editing,
manufacturing, and distributing books. But, they are not set up
to give your book the marketing attention it deserves. A single
publicist may represent over 100 books!

If you want your book to succeed, you have to promote it as well
as write it.

10.Failure to backup and save

Save frequently when writing. Always save before printing. Never
turn off your computer without making a copy of your files for
off-premises storage. Never end a writing session without
printing out a hard copy of the latest version of the chapter
you’re writing.

11.Failure to plan future profits

Before writing your book, create a book marketing plan. Book
sales should be just the first step in an ongoing relationship
with your readers. Your plan should identify opportunities from
consulting, newsletters, audio/video recordings, seminars,
speeches, and yearly updates etc.


A book can, indeed, change your life. But, you must take charge
take a proactive role in promoting and leveraging its success.

To learn more Visit Subscribe to
Published and Profitable and download a free sample lesson from
my four-week Profit From the Author Inside You course.


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  • Posted On April 11, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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