The essence of learning is to be better.
The essence of change is to thrive, grow and develop because of the level of information acquired and knowledge absorbed during that change process.
Mistakes are inevitable because it is meant to teach us a lesson and we are expected to learn from them and avoid making the same errors again. Now, some mistakes are costlier than others because spilled milk can never be recovered.
The beginning is always rough for every young and aspiring author, there are bound to be several mistakes made along the path especially if you are planning to independently publish your literary works. Learning from experience is paramount to positive change but sometimes, it is way easier to learn from the mistakes of others.
I am a self-published Contemporary Romance and Erotic Author, but before I settled for this, I have written crime fiction, non-fiction anthologies, short stories anthology, self-help parenting guide, and some more, all of which taught me a lot in the long run.
There are mistakes I’ve made, that I need to share with you, so you don’t make the same errors and pay dearly for them with your time, money, energy, and sanity, because I paid for them and still paying for them.
Starting this journey takes a lot of guts and a personal declaration of accepting the pains and joys that will come with the process, but beginning without an anchor is far worse because at some point all the efforts you have put into becoming who you are will feel wasted and inconsequential in proportion to the cost incurred because of errors made in the process.
Here are 5 Costly Mistakes To Avoid As An Aspiring Author that cost me a lot to fix and some are irreparably unfixable – don’t neglect these mistakes or regret them later.
1. Starting Without Choosing A Genre/Niche
Kill me already.
Don’t ever make the mistake of not defining your choice of genre or niche or sub-niche before you begin to think of writing anything at all. Choosing a genre is important because it will help you pick a niche to identify with and a sub-niche to explore further if you want.
As stated above, I have written several stories in a different genre that although I am proud of it, isn’t what drives me. I can’t undo that error because these books are in my original name which hinders me from separating my romance books from all other types of books I have written.
Picking a genre early on will help you focus and narrow down your wandering mind on a subset that will give you room to flesh out stories that are particular to your area of concentration.
Alternatively, if you find it important to try your hand at different other types of a genre so you can pick and choose what you’re good at, I suggest doing so by writing short stories or novellas, published under a pen name.
This way, when you are ready to go all out to the world, you will present yourself as a learned professional in the making who understands the antics of the game.
2. Learning About The Writing Craft After Writing Your Book
That is a bold X checkmark on this point.
I did it, you shouldn’t do the same. It’s wrong and will cost you dearly because there is a lot you’ll not be able to amend after the deed has been done.
It is exciting and intoxicating to jump right into creating stories and pouring out our ideas onto paper, racing towards the finish line to get our work out there as soon as possible but as much as I appreciate your enthusiasm, you’re making a grave mistake.
In my resource ebook: Authors: Get It Right From The Start – I made a detailed outline of 30 things I wish I did as an Aspiring Author, broken down into 30 checklist boxes and four (4) subheadings.
You shouldn’t jump in blindly without taking out time to make extensive research about the writing craft, especially about the Genre you’re interested to write in. I eventually worked my way back to learning these secrets, at which point, I had already published some books and now have to find time to work on them.
This doesn’t have to be you.
3. Disregarding The Rules of Success In The Industry
Success comes from networking.
You cannot write your book and wait for the heavens to show you to the world. No. You’ve got to put yourself out there for the world to see, do not allow FEAR to hinder your progress or stop you from doing what’s right because you don’t know how people will receive you.
There are rules to succeeding in the writing industry, one of which is to show up and engage. I wasn’t savvy at any social media platform and was so shy, that I curated the kind of content I posted online.
First I was shy about writing erotica and romance and didn’t want to associate my books with me in person until I started getting the push from my support team to put me out there.
In all honesty, I have come a long way since October 2020 and you can do the same too.
When you learn about the industry, you find out subtle things/steps it will take you to stand out and join the moving train. Don’t ignore it. Implement it, if you can, or adopt a similar style if you can’t.
4. Doing All The Work Alone
This is the most burdensome of all.
A man/woman is not an island of himself. You need help to pull through in your early stages because you do not know enough to carry you through on your own. I tried it and I must say, it was hard.
There are things other humans can do for you and some things simple tools online can help you achieve with ease. Use as much of the help you can get from both ends.
Writing is hectic on its own, topped off by editing, cover designs, branding, setting up, and formatting, which is difficult to carry out all on your own.
I had to change most of my covers at least twice because I designed them myself. Editing is a bitch and still is a bitch – I only discovered Grammarly at the end of 2021 after writing books for an entire year which I know now, needs a revisiting.
It is going to be exhausting, back-breaking work that will drag into my productive time, so I’m just going to hand it over to someone else to do it while I focus on the now.
Find out ways you can make your process easy and less painful with the aim of getting it right from the start. Don’t present your work haphazardly or it comes back to bite you hard in the ass – like mine.
This is the highest height of it all.
Naivety exists and is a real thing at the start of your journey when you are on a quest to acquire more knowledge about your craft, build an audience, show up to the world, and advertise who you are while waiting to make connections. It is the tentative steps we take towards breaking out of shells, it doesn’t mean you have to be unprofessional about it.
Simply coming out to announce that you are an author does nothing to place you on the microscopic scale of emerging authors because you are not perceived as ready to be heard.
There are basics to put in place before you even begin to think of talking about your story and these I have outlined in detail in my Ebook: Authors: Get It Right From The Start.
This checklist will help you ground your feet in the foundation of things to do before you begin to show up. It gives you an air of authority without even publishing a single book. It makes people stop and interact with you, it gives you a brand representation of who you are and speaks for you even before you are present.
Take advantage of the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and do the right thing first before jumping headfirst into writing.
The fact that I’m guilty of all these mistakes and many more is the reason I have created this blog post for authors like me who are currently stuck in a loop and can’t get around these mistakes.
This is also created for the proactive author who is mindful of her profession and wants to excel the right way, free of chargebacks and unnecessary costly mistakes that can easily be avoided.