Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ten Mistakes Authors Make

During Gary's visit on June 16, he shared experiences in his career as an agent, book coach and reviewer. From this I gleaned ten pitfalls for us to avoid.
1. The 'been there, done that' novice: This has to do with attitude, specifically a know-it-all attitude. Usually found in first-time authors who, even though they only possess a much-rejected manuscript, shun the advice of those who have actually travelled the road to publication. Overcome this attitude by finding an agent or a book coach who can take you through the process.
2. That's how I roll: This is the author who won't take constructive criticism from a teacher, mentor, critique partner or agent. The author wants to preserve the integrity of her words, but every suggestion deserves review and consideration of its merits.
3. #$@**!: In reviewing books, Gary has found that the use of foul language and potty humor is rampant, but is only necessary on very rare occasions. He states that good writing stands on its own.
4. The princess syndrome: This author calls daily or sends e-mails with subject lines of "second notice." Gary states this only irritates editors, reviewers and publishers. A good author knows how long the process takes and doesn't try to rush it. If no response is received after the standard time frame, a gentle request for status is certainly acceptable.
5. Putting the cart before the horse: Gary relates the marketing genius of one wannabe author. His plan was to obtain a table at a national convention and sit there. No book (because it wasn't yet written), no marketing materials to build hype for the book, just a table and a would-be author. How lame.
6. Dissing your readers: Next in line is the author who had a published book, but didn't bring any copies for his readers to buy and get autographed. His plan was to send them to his Website to make the purchase. On the flip side, Gary praises the innovation of the author who brought marketing material for his upcoming book. When people picked up the free literature he would offer, "Let me autograph that for you." That's building rapport and respecting your readers.
7. Network Profiling: Gary tells the story of an author who refused to network with anyone wearing a wedding band on the basis that they wouldn't be interested in her book on dating. How short sighted! Misery loves company, so that married person would surely want to give the book to a single friend, sister, cousin or co-worker.
8. Please don't read my book: As a professional book reviewer, Gary expressed surprise at how often authors turn down his offer to review their book. Do they not want to reach the thousands of readers from a Midwest Book Review?
9. Skipping to the 'big show': Wouldn't you prefer to find out that you constantly swivel or have some other irritating nervous habit before you've been seen by millions on national television? Gary helps his clients get booked on local radio and TV shows. This allows him to review their performance and help them improve before they make their debut on Fox and Friends.
10. Ignoring opportunity's knock: After doing the local shows and polishing your performance, don't do like one of Gary's clients and blow off your big break because you don't like the topic. Wow 'em with your professionalism and soon you'll have the pick of shows and subjects.
Happy writing!

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