The publishing world is daunting. How do you navigate contracts, promotions, and events while also producing your best work? Even seasoned authors struggle to find balance.
But don't worry; we’ve compiled a list of the biggest mistakes new authors make. Avoid these common missteps and you’ll have that much more time to work on what really matters: your writing!
Many new writers shy away from harsh criticism. While it might be less painful to have your mom read your manuscript and tell you it’s the greatest thing she’s ever read, it certainly isn’t all that helpful. After all, nobody’s perfect! Embrace critiques and seek them out, even if it makes you uncomfortable. You’ll thank yourself later.
Ignoring Digital Tools
Many authors write exclusively on Word or Google Docs. Why not explore more writer-friendly software? Check out our blog post on the most helpful online tools for authors: [insert link]. These programs will manage formatting and basic editing, so you have more time to write.
Let’s get real: We can’t all be Margaret Atwood or Stephen King. It takes time, patience, and a little bit of luck to become a prolific, published author. Make sure you remain realistic about your circumstances. Work on a game plan that lays out your goals and intentions. This roadmap will help you stay on track without getting too ahead of yourself.
Not Marketing Yourself Effectively
Authors should never underestimate the importance of a platform and an audience. Build a following—even if it's informal—before your release. You want your book to reach the most people possible. Lucky for you, apps like Twitter and Instagram make marketing yourself easier than ever. Just remember, publishers and literary agents will definitely take a look at your social media. Keep it professional!
Telling, Not Showing
You’ve probably heard this classic writing tip: show, don’t tell! So why are we repeating it? This simple lesson can truly transform your writing. When writers work on a new book, they often rely on telling to keep up with their new ideas. But for readers, less is often more. If you find yourself telling and not showing, don’t fret. There’s always time to edit!
Only Editing Typos and Grammatical Issues
That brings us to our next point. Don’t just edit to fix your typos and grammatical errors. Edit to make your writing the absolute best it can be. You might find that your second draft looks nothing like your first. If so, applaud yourself! An author’s hardest work often occurs during editing sessions.
So many new authors feel discouraged by the competitiveness of the publishing industry. You might feel like giving up. While it’s okay to take a break from writing, don’t step away forever. With hard work and a willingness to learn, anyone can become a published author.
What hardships have you faced as a new author, and how did you overcome them? Let us know in the comments!
By Sydney Meve, Intern