Did you start writing your book and quit? Yes, I know you’re not a quitter. Like many of us, you may be making some simple mistakes that block your book’s progress and success. Correct the following mistakes; complete your book and prosper:
Mistake 1: Failure to start small
Inexperienced book writers aim too high. Don’t try to fit everything you know or researched into a one big book. Plan too big and you may end up with a monster book that turns your potential readers off. Remember many people in the new millennium are busy and impatient. They look for short, quick easy reads.
Solution: Plan a short book first. If you have loads of interesting information, consider breaking your book into parts. Even a series of books is better than one large volume in the non-fiction genre.
Mistake 2: Failure to educate oneself about book writing
Many novice book writers fail to educate themselves about book writing. If you’ve never traveled this road before, enroll in a book writing course. If you have little time, sign up for an email course to jumpstart your writing. Invest in your book project by hiring a professional editor to edit your work.
Solution: Invest time to learn about book writing. A client of mine said, “I want to invest in my work but I have no budget to start with.” No worries; more book writers than you know have started with a low to no-string budget. Enroll in free book writing courses. Invest time in learning to self-edit your work until you can afford to hire a professional.
Mistake 3: Failure to target your audience
If you fail to pinpoint who you are writing for, your chapters will lack focus. Your copy will fail to connect with readers. If you do manage to hook your readers, most won’t make it to the end of your book. Beginning writers who make this mistake bore their readers with flat, lack luster writing.
Solution: Target your book audience. Create a profile of your reader. Write down their complaints, their needs and/or problems that your book solves. Write your book to that person. You will have tight focused copy that compels your reader to keep reading to the end.
Mistake 4: Failure to develop a sizzling title and back cover first
Most newbie book writers stall at this one. They don’t realize a hot title helps the author stay motivated. Writing the back cover first helps crystallize your book’s message. With a clear message in front, you can write compelling copy that draws your readers to keep reading.
Solution: Develop a hot title and back cover first to write tight focused copy that sells. A hot title includes the top benefit of the book. It is usually short, clear and/or tells a story.
Mistake 5 Failure to keep writing in the midst of everyday life
Many writers believe you have to get away from everything to write a successful book. No you don’t. I know several novelist and non-fiction book writers who had to write during a long commute to get their best book written and out to the world. They accomplished it because they systematically worked on their book until it was done.
Solution: Avoid marathon writing. In the midst of your busy life, designate your time to write (work on your book) with a goal to completion.
Mistake 6 Failure to keep going after life interrupts.
It is a common challenge to find your place after being interrupted by family, work and daily life. After all that’s why many think you must get away to get it done effectively. Yet, there’s hope for those who can’t get away or choose not to. Successful writers all over the world use the tracking approach. They succeed because they commit to doing a little each day.
Solution: Set yourself up for success; use the tracking approach. The most popular method to use for tracking is time. Time is the method where you commit to a writing a certain amount of time each day. With the cumulative factor involved your commitment doesn’t have to be that much. For example, to accomplish my book writing goals I commit to writing one hour a day in a.m. (my most productive time.) With this method don’t be overly concerned about how much you write, just keep the time commitment.
Mistake 7 Failure to find writing rhythm
You don’t have to write each chapter one after the other. If you get stuck on chapter two, you could be stuck a very long time. This type of thinking comes from grade school where we are ritually taught to do everything in order. If you have been thinking that way stop right now, no need to raise your hand. You have my permission to work on whatever chapter moves you or you feel passion bubbling for at the moment. Feeling stuck on a chapter, try another. There you have it now go with the flow.
Solution: Don’t become chained to writing in order. Jump around and fill in the blanks. Review your chapters and whatever subject or topic you most drawn to, begin there.
Mistake 8 Failure to push past writer’s block
I am stuck. I have to stop writing until I feel it again. Unseasoned writers may play the martyr, give up and try again another day. We would never get it done like that. When you get stuck simply close that chapter, pull out your chapter outline and choose another chapter. Choose a topic from that chapter and begin there.
Solution: Keep going; stay on course. Maintain your writing commitments. Go around writer’s block by working on another chapter. For example, while writing this book in one of my writing sessions, I wanted to finish my fourth chapter on titles but I ran into a writer’s block. Instead of breaking my momentum, I came down to chapter eight about easy writing and began there. I was able to complete my time commitment of one hour and keep my momentum.
Mistake 9 Failure to turn off editor mindset when writing
Many newbie and seasoned writers are perfectionist. When writing, they feel the urge to stop and change something every few paragraphs. Or they finish a page and want to perfect it before continuing. Turn off your editor voice while writing your first draft. Your goal should be to get the message on paper.
Solution: Avoid re-writing during your first draft. After your message is written completely out, then you can turn the editor’s voice back up. It’s true successful authors rewrite and organize their ideas for the strongest impact. But in the beginning stages of writing your book, concentrate on finishing each chapter. Use later writing sessions to self-edit. When it’s time to edit, check your ideas for flow, grammar, spelling, and chapter endings. Work on your chapter titles and lead in introductions.
Mistake 10 Failure to ask for help
Many writers are natural loners. So it’s no surprise when they fall into thinking, “I have to do it all myself.” Do your research and reading time apart from your writing sessions. You may be able to ask your spouse, a teen-aged son or daughter, a friend to help with your research. Know when to let go of your chapters and book. Don’t self-edit and pick your book apart word by word.
Solution: Learn to use your skills at the highest level possible. Some of the mechanical tasks of proofreading ask a family member, part-time employee or again a friend to help. After you have done the best job you can with your manuscript, don’t be afraid to pass it to a professional. Learn to delegate faster and faster.
You may not be making all of these mistakes. Yet one or two will stop your book dream in it’s tracks. Your audience is waiting. Implement the above solutions, get your book written, release it to the world and prosper.
Are you ready to get your book writing back on track this year? Go get my free 7 lesson mini-course Jumpstart Writing Your Book! You can get instant access to this little ecourse a webcast recording at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here http://writetowin.org/jumpstartyourbook.htm to receive the insightful iScribe newsletter
Earma Brown, Author, Founder of WIN (Writers Information Network)