Monday, January 2, 2017

9 Mistakes Most Authors Make

On January 16, 2015, I listened to a fine webinar by marketing and publicity expert Steve Harrison (@PublicityGuy on Twitter, head of Bradley Communications Corp.) on nine common errors, to which he added a tenth. He emphasized that your book represents you, so make it as good as you can.
The errors:
1.  WRONG STRUCTURE: Don’t deviate from the tried and true, such classics as Covey’s itemized 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Blanchard’s parables in the One-Minute Manager, or the classic How To…. Imitate what has succeeded in the past.
2.  WRONG PUBLISHING OPTION: Your choices include self-publishing, co-publishing with a subsidy press, getting an agent and a conventional publisher. Then, too, there are print and digital. Each has its plusses and minuses.
3.  WRONG TITLE: Keep it short. Make it intriguing. Make a promise. Bust a myth. Quantify, such as Tim Ferriss did in The 4-Hour Work Week. Get advice from others; even run a focus group.
4.  NOT MEDIA-GENIC: Need a hook to get attention: Fame. Celebrity. Current event. How to. Myth busting. Controversy.
5.  WAIT UNTIL PUBLISHED TO START CASHING-IN: No, start as soon as you have a good title and some work done on the book. Pre-sell, if you can. Lecture. Do interviews.
6.  TRYING TO SAY EVERYTHING IN ONE BOOK: Pick your best, save the rest. A few key ideas you can explain clearly, forcefully.
7.  NOT IDENTIFYING A “CHOIR” TO PREACH TO THAT WILL SING YOUR PRAISES: Need a tribe to help promote you. Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life advanced by congregations he contacted. Robert Kiyosaki (2000) pushed Rich Dad, Poor Dad with help from multi-level marketing contacts.
8.  NOT DESIGNING YOUR BOOK TO FACILITATE FOLLOW-UPS: Make it easy to know how to reach you. Solicit email addresses from fans. Much money from books comes from follow-up activities, like speeches.
9.  NOT HAVING A TEAM: Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor single-handedly. Others help with ideas and actions, serve as “multipliers.”
PERFECTIONISM: Promising nine items, Harrison delivered one more: the French say, “the best is the enemy of the good.” Nothing man-made is perfect, and if you wait to reach perfection, you will not publish. 
Excerpted from my book, Write Your Book with Me, published by Outskirts Press in 2016 and available from OP and other online booksellers, including and See also my site,

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