Off the bat, let me warn you that I do not endorse the Getting-Published.com Web site, or the related BooksToBelieveIn.com Web site, 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 Getting-Published.com’s list (with some needed editorial adjustments on my part), along with some minimal commentary of my own; for their complete discussions, please visit their site.
1. Placing a “forward” in your book . . . the truth is, few books should even have a foreward! (And, be careful with 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 . . . Web sites do exist to help you weed through the greedy, villainous, untrained, unscrupulous, ungrateful b$#@%ds 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 can not edit their own books. Ambiguity creeps in because they are too close to their own work. . . . The author can see it very visually, because they are writing down what they see in their imagination, but it just doesn’t always get communicated well in the text. [all errors in original blog text]
7. 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 at the blog.
8. Placing the wrong information in jacket copy and other promotions . . . The blog provides a good, informative discussion of this point, too.
9. Mismanaging schedules and sequencing of your project . . . In addition to the blog’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.
10. 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 and support you and provide professional assistance—and constructive suggestions, not destructive criticisms.
Remember to visit the original blog post at http://getting-published.com/toptenmistakes.php for complete discussions and to thank them for putting together such a good list.
Excellent work, guys,
editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
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