Sunday, April 14, 2019

Five Sure-Fire Ways to Fail as a Book Author

For many years I've written on the positive ways to succeed as a book author in these articles. Yet there is another path which many people take on the road to publishing their book. Here's five sure-fire ways to fail as an author:

1. Believe if I build it, they will come. These authors pour energy and effort into building a great website for their book. While a website is important in your book marketing, it isn't everything. You may have the slickest well-written website but without telling people about it, no one will come. There are millions of websites online. If the author doesn't drive traffic and eyeballs to see your content, then it does not help you or your book sales. There is much more to the process than simply building a website and hoping (without action) that people will come.

2. Believe I know everything there is to know about publishing. I've met authors (some of them even well-known bestselling authors) who believe they know everything there is to know about publishing. These people ooze confidence. I've spent decades in this business and read the trade magazines and other things constantly. Things are constantly shifting in publishing and there is always more to learn—and I do learn new things all the time. Overconfidence can be a pitfall for authors. It is great to believe in yourself but be balanced in that view.

3. Believe the publisher will sell my books for me without marketing. Publishers make and release amazing books. Yet without marketing and telling someone about that book—then no one will purchase it. No matter how you publish your book (traditional, hybrid or self-publishing), the bulk of the marketing effort will fall on the author. Authors are fooling themselves if they believe their publisher will sell the books—with or without marketing. Yes publishers can get your book into bookstores—but it is the author's marketing efforts that get readers to purchase the books.

4. Believe attending a writers' conference is a waste of time. For an author to go to any event (local or far away), you will invest time and money in this process. If you attend these events with the wrong expectations or attitude, then you will set yourself up to not get anything out of it. I believe every author can cut down their learning curve from attending writers' conferences, meeting the right people and applying the information they learn to their book and marketing efforts. Knowledge without action is worthless but you can certainly meet many of the right people at a conference. If you haven't been to a conference or haven't been for some time, I encourage you to make plans and a commitment to get to a conference (check out this link for a list of some conferences). Attending a conference can invigorate your writing life and success as a book author.

5. Believe the title, cover and publisher do not matter. Each of these elements are critical in the book purchase process. I've bought books because of a title or a cover design. I've also not purchased books because of the publisher.  Many consumers do not notice the publisher and I admit to being a more sophisticated consumer than many people. These elements are a critical part of the book production process and essential for your success.

I've written about only five of many different ways a book author can fail. The details are an important part of the process. Maybe I'm missing a critical way for an author to fail? Let me know in the comments below.


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