Tuesday, May 28, 2024

9 Mistakes Authors Must Avoid



There are many mistakes that authors must not make. Some will waste your time and others will destroy opportunities or cost you money. The good news is that the vast majority of these errors are identifiable and avoidable.

Let’s examine what could and should be averted — and may this exploration process encourage authors to take ownership of their marketing. You don’t need anyone’s permission to succeed, so get out there and make your book a success!

1. Missing Deadlines

This is a no-brainer. Promoting a book has a definitive timeline. There are things you can do as much as six months prior to publication — establishing your social media presence, creating a website, conducting marketing research, seeking out testimonials, etc.  Concretely, certain types of news media demand you send them a galley or advance review copy a good four months prior to your planned publication date. For instance, a woman’s magazine, a book review publication like Publishers Weekly, a national network or cable morning television show, or a major trade publication each require a good amount of lead time to determine what or how they plan to do with you and your book. Work ahead and honor real deadlines.

2. Failing To Plan

Book marketing effectively requires a solid plan. This includes budgeting your time and money towards identified goals. Factor in who may help you, timelines, and costs, and identify the metrics to judge the efficacy of your actions. Plan ahead and focus on details. Think of what you want to accomplish and work backwards from there. For instance, say you want to speak at a bookstore in a city you will be visiting. You will need to contact them 8-12 weeks prior to that date. Want to advertise at a conference? Find out when the deadline is to buy space and to supply the ad content. Want to market your book as a tie-in to an event, holiday, or anniversary? Plan ahead by several months or more. 

3. Not Executing Regularly

You can analyze and plan — but then you need to execute said plan. Not just once or every now and then, but every day. You must persist and push forward, building on yesterday, striving towards a better tomorrow.

4. Acting On Bad Advice

Many authors act on little guidance, and of what they do consume, much of it can be lousy advice. They learn from authors who failed. They learn from people who don’t know better. They must rely on useful and respectful sources of information and not think that a random YouTuber is going to save them. Worse, sometimes, is to rely on a successful author, one who perhaps merely broke the odds and had a lucky breakthrough or had help from people that you could never have access to, and all of a sudden you take advice from a unicorn.

5. Falling For BS Offers

Authors, beware. There are a lot of crappy offers out there from some very good hustlers. I have seen what authors receive because they share them with me. They get emails saying they were selected to be considered for representation by a literary agent or that someone wants to seek out a film deal for their book. They are usually just solicitations to get authors thinking they are closer to getting a publisher or Netflix to work with them when all they are really getting closer to is paying for something useless that never leads to what they were hoping to get. These letters usually capitalize the wrong words, have misspellings, and are generic. They may even address you by both first and last name instead of one or the other. These people can’t be trusted.

6. Not Allowing Enough Time To Market

This is an easy one to avoid or fix. Designate a certain amount of time daily to marketing your book. I know you want to write, have work, chores, and other desires and demands, but your book won’t market itself. Discovery depends on you. If you don’t schedule time to market, you quickly fall into a bad pattern, and then feel guilty and burdened. Simply put aside even 15 minutes a day to do something for your book.

7. Handling Rejection From The Media Poorly

Just because you got a bad review or the eight news outlets that you emailed for an interview ignored you doesn’t mean you failed nor should you give up. You only fail once you give up. Trying and falling short of a win is actually contributing to you breaking through. The more rejections you rack up, the more likely a yes is around the corner. It is a numbers game. Make them be in your favor.

8. Missing Opportunities & Failing To Create New Ones

If luck is about being in the right place at the right time, then authors need to get out there and put themselves in a position to take advantage of an opportunity. Often, successful authors create their opportunities. You can’t wait back for an invite to a party. Simply create the party. You don’t win by following all of the rules. Break a few. Be prepared to do what others don’t. Find a way to create circumstances that are favorable to you. 

9. Failure To Outsource When You Lack Marketing Knowledge & PR Skills

I admit I am not too handy at home. When I need a plumber, electrician, or roofer, I call one. Same can be true with book marketing for many authors. I am your book marketing plumber! Call in a pro when you lack the skills, knowledge, or confidence to promote yourself. 


Need PR Help?

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, with over 3.9 million page views, can be reached at brianfeinblum@gmail.com  He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres. Let him be your advocate, teacher, and motivator!


About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2024. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.9 million pageviews. With 4,900+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by www.WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and director of publicity positions at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America several years ago, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, Morgan James Publishing, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. His first published book was The Florida Homeowner, Condo, & Co-Op Association Handbook.  It was featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald.

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