By Winn Griffin, Publisher. HarmonPress
If you are publishing your first book, the following Ten Mistakes and How to Avoid Them! can make or break your efforts of having a successful book by just wasting your time and throwing away good money. Two very important ingredients are needed: careful planning and using your common sense. These will help you guarantee a successful book publishing experience.
Not appropriately targeting your reading audience
You know who you want to reach with your book. Some authors think that their book is for everybody. That is probably not the case. As an example, most young teens are not going to read about Alzheimer’s disease unless of course, someone close to them is ill with this disease. You have to craft your language and vocabulary to appeal to your readers so they can easily understand what you are saying. If you are writing a book on designing a script book or how to plan a one-in-a-life vacation, you don’t want to make the book read like a textbook in history or biology. So here’s the writing rule: know who your audience is and write specifically for those people.
Poor writing, no organization, and inaccurate information
So you’ve written a book, does that make you a talented writer? Authors may spend hours honing their writing craft. If you already created your manuscript, give it to a professional who can help you judge it fairly and accurately. You don’t want to spend your hard earned money putting out something that no one will read because of poor writing.
Organize, organize, organize! The flow of your content has to be easy for the reader to follow. If you didn’t start with a detailed outline of your book, go back over you manuscript and see if you can outline it in a logical sequence. If not, chances are your readers won’t be able to follow along, will become discouraged, and put your book down and never finish reading it.
If your reader picks up any current book and reads an inaccurate, incomplete, outdated, or any other kind of misleading information as a savvy reader, they will lay it down in a heartbeat. The same is true for you book. You don’t get a second opportunity to gain a first impression from the perspective reader. In fact, your credibility is damaged and the value of your book will be diminished. Do proper and current research. As an example, if you are writing fiction, make sure that the time frame that your characters are living is correct.
Watch out for mistakes by attending to the details
God is in the details. Write toward the goal of having no spelling errors, grammatical errors, information that is not accurate, such as names, phone numbers, web sites, statistics, and footnotes, to name a few. You might want to hire a professional to proofread your copy before it goes to press. We offer that service at Harmon Press.
Inefficient use of money and resources
As an author using Harmon Press, all the expenses related to designing, printing, and distributing your book come out of our pocket. While, your marketing and advertising costs are paid by you. Be aware. Ask questions about charges so you can best utilize the money you have available for your book project.
Having a poor cover and interior designed pages
The word’s inside your book may sizzle, but no one sees them because the cover is poorly created. Remember, first impressions are important and can make or break a book from being picked up by perspective a customer. The reverse is also true. Having a catchy title and an amazing cover, but the inside of your book looks like it came from an old typewriter can be devastating. Harmon Press uses a cadre of award-winning designers to give your cover a crisp eye-appealing look.
Selecting the wrong printing method
Print-On-Demand publishing is often the perfect solution for most authors. It is really inexpensive, quick, and allows almost anyone who has something to say in print, to get it into a book and then into the hands of readers. While, it is the most ideal, it may not be the ideal publishing solution for everyone.
No Comprehensive distribution
Yep, you’ve written an awesome book, had it designed and printed, but the goal is not yet reached until your readers can purchase your book and read it. For that to happen, you need to have distribution channels beyond your personal activities where perspective readers can have the opportunity to purchase your book. Think about how its going to be distributed outside of your circle of family and friends.
Not using the potential of distribution online
The gift of the Internet is wonderful for new and not-so-new authors. Sales through web sites like well-established online booksellers such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel.com are extremely cost-effective and powerful distribution channels that should not be ignored by authors who are interested in having the maximum visual benefit online. In today’s world, there are more and more people who are becoming Internet savvy and ordering thousands of books online. Some are doing so right now while you are reading this line of text. It’s so convenient, it’s hard to resist. Harmon Press offers the major forms of distribution.
Marketing and publicity campaigns improperly planned
Getting your book written, designed, printed, and having distribution channels is extremely important. In addition to all these items, it is also important to have a marketing plan that includes advertising (free and fee). This is crucial for your books long-term success. You can do-it-yourself or hire an expert to assist you.
Bad timing in the process of publishing
Make sure you set a schedule with your publisher and then stick to it. Make sure you are prompt and meet the deadlines imposed. Delays can be costly. As an example, say you missed a deadline set by your publisher for final permission to print by a few days and the end result is that your book was not printed and ready for distribution at the time that your publicity material says it would be. Costly, could be an understatement. Don’t rush the steps imposed by the publisher. Don’t look for corners to cut. Don’t take shortcuts. Set a process with your publisher and then work the process.
Of course, no one can guarantee a successful publishing experience. But, it you have a passion for your book to get into the hands of hundreds, if not thousands of readers, you will become really creative in the ways that you get your book in front of readers. Even John Grisham is reported to have sold copies of his book out of the trunk of his car.* This story shows what the results of following your passion can be.
© 2007-2013. Winn Griffin, Publisher, HarmonPress. All Rights Reserved.
* The Daily Beast. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/06/john-grisham-s-favorite-bookstore-that-one-in-blytheville-arkansas.html. (accessed March 7, 2013).