The top ten mistakes authors make, new or not!: from

originally posted November 2, 2012
May 2021: reformatted; one link updated; some text revised as needed

Off the bat, let me warn you that I do not endorse the website, or the related website, or any of the products and services mentioned there, because I do not know anything about them; however, I present their list of “The Top 10 Mistakes New Authors Make and How to Avoid Them” as one of the most thoughtful, in-one-place lists of common author mistakes I’ve come across in recent times.

Below are the ten points of’s list—with a few editorial adjustments on my part and some minimal commentary of my own; for their complete discussions, visit their link above or  download an unaltered PDF copy  from our site.

  1. Placing a “forward” in your book  . . .  the truth is, few books should even have a foreward!  (And, be careful with spelling the title on that acknowledgments page, too!)
  2. Using a “spell checker” to substitute for professional editing  . . .  I don’t need to go any farther in this discussion, do I?
  3. Falling victim to predatory editors, designers, publishers, and agents  . . .  websites do exist to help you weed through the greedy, villainous, untrained, unscrupulous, ungrateful b$#@%t ads that give us all a bad name.
  4. Forgetting that your book’s title and subtitle are the most important pieces of sales copy your book has!  . . .  Seconded!  And, when your editor suggests that you might want to consider options, please, do consider them!
  5. Forgetting to apply the “Who cares?” test to every sentence of your content!  . . .  ’Nuf said on that one!
  6. Being ambiguous or unclear  . . .  The authors of the list discuss this so well that I won’t even bother trying to restate it:

This is one of the main reasons that authors cannot edit their own books. Ambiguity creeps in because they are too close to their own work. . . . The author can see [what they are saying, often] visually, because they are writing down what they see in their imagination; but [that vision] doesn’t always get communicated well in the text.

  1. Being inconsistent and arrogant  . . .  In fictional works, I’ve found that the major issue is inconsistency; in nonfiction works, it’s more often arrogance—as explained in their list’s full discussion.
  2. Placing the wrong information in jacket copy and other promotions  . . .  Their list’s wording provides a good, informative discussion of this point, too.
  3. Mismanaging schedules and sequencing of your project  . . .  In addition to their list’s issues with sequencing, I more often find that authors have trouble fitting editorial assistance into their project’s schedule. Editors should be involved in a project as early as possible so that a rapport can be established during substantive reviews, copyedits, and proofs. Nonfiction authors also need to allow time for research and fact-checking. And, if artwork is involved, additional time needs to be included for researching provenance and securing rights.
  4. Allowing “fear storms” to destroy your confidence  . . .  Yet another reason to form a publication team instead of venturing out on your own.  Run with your idea—write, write, write. But, then, rely on a good team for advice. A good team will not try to take away your authorial privilege; rather, its members will complement (not just compliment) and support you and provide professional assistance—and constructive suggestions, not destructive criticisms.

Remember to visit the original blog post at for complete discussions and to thank them for putting together such a good list.

Excellent work, guys,

editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
phone: 407-495-4801 (temporary)
text: 832-233-0041 (temporary)


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