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Common Mistakes Authors Make

Submitted by on February 14, 2011 – 5:00 pmNo Comment

Taking a shotgun approach to selling your book simply doesn’t work.  The marketplace is overcrowded with authors self-publishing, while high-profile New York Publishers continue to woo celebrities with massive followings. 

Over the last several years, the publishing landscape has changed and news of Borders potentially filing bankruptcy this week adds fuel to the fire. With the continued rise of eBooks and eReader devices, publishers are shifting their sales and business from B2B to a B2C model now that bookstores are being taken out of the picture. The challenge with this is 95% of publishers are playing ‘catch-up’ because they don’t have teams built just yet to handle that model. 

Authors need to become their own sales channel, building an audience of followers and connecting directly with consumers. Here are some common mistakes we have heard from authors themselves that have cost them sales:

 –          I thought the publisher was going to sell my book – why else would they publish it, right? Wrong. By the time one author found out this wasn’t the case it was 4 months from the pub date of the book. The typical trade shelf-life of a book is only 90 days; in fact, it may be less these days. Pre-publicity is just as important as post-publicity. Start earlier. Also, as the author, you are the best seller of your own book. Carry a book with you wherever you go. 

–          I don’t do social media or blog or whatever all that is called.  You’re in major trouble if you don’t.  Why rely only on the media to tell your story when you can go directly to the consumer and tell your own story? The most successful authors find the marketplace need, and meet that need by discussing it with the public. They offer “freemiums” (i.e. free content) and supply the public with good information.

–          I don’t read ebooks and only believe in carrying a physical book around – You would have already lost 10% or more of your sales.  Not to mention last quarter Amazon reported for the first time their ebooks outsold paperbacks.

–          I want to do bookstore signings in 20 of the top markets – most book signing’s are dead. High-profile authors who used to draw a crowd of a few hundred people are pulling in only 25-30 people a signing. What are you doing to hit those markets before you get there?

–          You can buy my book wherever books are sold – as an author you NEED to know where your book is being sold and which channel is most important to you before going on an interview so you deliberately send people to purchase your book through the correct channel. It matters. Be intentional.

 As an author, what advice do you have to share with new authors? What has been your experience?