Today, I’m going to eat a huge slice of humble pie and talk about all the mistakes I’ve made as an authorpreneur. Hopefully, someone can learn from my mistakes. Lord knows it took me forever to learn from them. So, without further ado, all the mistakes I’ve made.
Not using an editor. Hangs head in shame. How could I have been soooo stupid? I was convinced I didn’t need an editor (and couldn’t afford one) when I started out. It took me three (3!) books to realize what a colossal mistake I’d made. Don’t be like me. Use an editor from the get go. There are plenty of affordable ones out there.
Formatting. As someone who is detail-orientated, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t really notice formatting when reading. Since I didn’t notice it, it didn’t matter, right? Um, no. Who cares if readers complained about margins and such? No one pays attention to that stuff. Amazing how much we can lie to ourselves.
Pen name. This is a big one. I write in several different genres: historical fiction, romantic comedies, and cozy mysteries. In the beginning, I even wrote more genres – military suspense and suspense. I didn’t think it was a big deal. After all, I read anything that catches my fancy. *Pounds head against table* Stop thinking like a writer and think like a reader, Dena. Because readers are extremely faithful to their genre. I should have created a pen name for each genre. (More about this in a future blog.)
Newsletter. More head banging. I wish I would have taken my newsletter seriously from the beginning. I’ve been writing for several years now and instead of having a large newsletter following, I’m only now building one. Plus, I didn’t pay any attention on what to put in a newsletter. So, I still have a ton of subscribers who are inactive. I’m only now starting to glean the benefits of newsletter swaps.
Genre specific covers. I was listening to a podcast yesterday that described my problem to a T. Your cover shouldn’t be about the story but about what readers of the genre expect. Why oh why didn’t I hear those words earlier in my writing career? Because that is exactly what I did in the past – I found a cover to match the story. This mistake cost me sales. By changing the covers in my Death by Cupcake series, I’ve been able to increase sales without doing extra marketing.
Marketing courses. As a writer, I check the tiniest details in my books. What time does the sunrise in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 15th? Hold on. I’m checking. But I didn’t do any research about marketing or take any marketing courses until I was years into my writing journey. WHY? Sure, some of the courses are expensive but podcasts are free. What was wrong with me?
I’ve made a ton more mistakes, but the above are the big ones – the ones that cost me sales and readers.
This blog post is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. This is a monthly blog hop hosted by @raimeygallant. Make sure to stop by the other author blog posts in this month’s blog hop to fill up your author toolbox! Just click on the graphic to take you to the list.