We were all first-time writers once, and some of you still are. Writing a book is hard work, but rewarding too when your story finally comes together. Most first-time writers don't think much beyond getting to the end of their book, but you need to consider what happens after you finish and create a plan. Here are five mistakes I see first-time writers make and I have made some of them myself.
1) Once your book is completed, it needs to be professionally edited. There is no way around this. Even if you are an English Major, it still needs to be looked at by a professional. Putting up a book with a lot of typos or spelling mistakes will put readers off and they may give you bad reviews. A professional editor can polish your manuscript and ensure you are putting up the best version of your book possible.
2) Consider your audience. What genre is your book? Who are your potential readers? You need to be sure that the book appeals to them. For example, if you market your book as a romance, but the story is full of adventure scenes with romance playing second fiddle, then you have it in the wrong category. Genre is something to be considered before writing as you need to make your book as appealing to readers of that genre as possible.
3) Being unfamiliar with the genre you are writing. Never write a genre you haven't read extensively yourself. Most writers will write horror for example, because they are huge horror fans themselves. They know what works and what doesn't for that genre. If you have never read a thriller before, do not attempt to write one. Do your research first. Read as many books in the genre as you can and learn what tropes work best for that genre.
4) Cover Design is key. If you plan to self-publish your work, a great cover can really improve sales. This can be daunting because some covers are quite expensive. You will find though that they make all the difference when it comes to getting readers to notice your book. Don't be tempted to use the cover creator tools on sites. They do not make your book stand out.
5) If you choose to go down a traditional route for publishing, always do your research. You need to be sure that you are sending your book to a publisher or agent who deals specifically with your genre. Check out their websites for the submission terms and always follow them to the letter. If they say they are currently closed for submissions, don't send your book anyway. If they expect a cover letter and synopsis, be sure to include them. You want them to take the time to read your book and that means following their guidelines.
When you are first starting out, you may find that a lot of writing is trial and error. Take on board any advice offered, and do your own research too. Writers rarely become overnight successes when starting their careers. Perseverance is needed and the ability to learn and adapt to new changes. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Take the time to get it right and you can have a lasting career as a writer.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”