More Common Mistakes Authors Make

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I spoke at the APSS Virtual Book Selling University on the subject of How to Get Media Attention When No One Knows Who the He** You Are. During that presentation, I shared some of these common mistakes authors make, along with their solutions. I posted the first list in Savvy Sunday News here. Today we are going to continue that thread.

Common mistakes authors make and their solutions:

Mistake #3: Not having a strategy

Many disappointed authors approach me after they have run their own campaigns with questions about what went wrong. My first question is almost always, “What did you want to accomplish by running that particular campaign? What was the purpose?” More times than not they couldn’t give me an answer; they simply didn’t know. Someone told them it was the “thing to do” so they went forward with it.

After some discussion, I would discover that they had attended lots of different seminars, classes and breakout sessions at conferences before Covid, and had attended many webinars and events virtually over the past year. They tried to implement what they learned, but weren’t getting the results they were hoping for. What was the problem?

Solution: Consider customization beyond generalization. Every author is different. Every book is different. What was missing for these authors was the customization. We can all get great advice, but the key is to make sure that advice is actually appropriate to you, your book, and your vision.

Attending appropriate classes and webinars can be immensely valuable for the educational element, but the ideas can only go so far. The sessions must be somewhat generalized so that everyone in the audience can get some value. Therefore, by their very definition the sessions aren’t going to be tailored for each author or book. The presenters can’t take into consideration every individual in the room and speak to each person’s situation. It isn’t going to meet your specific goals.

Example: When you do a podcast interview, you need to be strategic as to the content you share. Be sure you have created a compelling way for listeners who are really interested in you and your book to continue to stay in touch you. Just giving a website address isn’t enough anymore. You may need someone else to help you create a strategy and plan customized for you, and the earlier you do this, the better.

Mistake #4: Camping out in Overwhelm

We’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth touching on again since I hear from people almost daily that they are overwhelmed and simply don’t have enough time to do what is on their “to do” lists. Something to remember here is that many times overwhelm is taken care of when the solution to Mistake #3 is taken to heart: Having a clear strategy cuts down all on the wheel spinning going on in one’s head. Clarity is everything.

There are certain phrases that, when used regularly, tell me the person is overwhelmed. It’s always in the form of resistance. Do you find yourself saying any of these words or phrases?

“I don’t want to do it, I want someone else to do it.”

“I’m too busy.”

“I don’t get it.”

“I don’t have time.”

“I’m not good at technology.”

“I’m too old for this.”

Listen, if your budget is unlimited you can hire people to do most everything for you. Not quite everything because you still have to be present and part of your own brand and networks, but many tasks and efforts can be done by someone else. Most authors, however, do not have an unlimited budget and therefore will have to perform some of the tasks themselves.

Side note: It’s a very interesting situation. The tools for visibility and influence have democratized. Everyone has access to them now. However, each has a learning curve and even if you’re hoping to delegate the tasks to someone else, you still need to have a basic idea of how they work. Otherwise, you won’t know what you’re asking your team to do.

Solution: Inoculate yourself. I’m a huge fan of not going into overwhelm in the first place, and in order to do that you have to catch yourself before you descend into it.

Listen to your own self talk – what are you saying to yourself, and then whether you need to change your internal conversation. If you’re saying, “Technology hates me,” I guarantee you you’re going to have some frustration. How about trying something else, such as: “You know, there was a day when I didn’t know how to read and write. There were all these squiggly lines, and then I learned what they meant. If I can learn that, then maybe I can learn this too. I just have to be patient and try.”

There is always a learning curve when it comes to using new tools for book publicity and marketing. That’s just the way it is, so the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can actually use them for our benefit.

You know how to learn. We are all learning machines from the day we are born until the day we die. Yes, we’re older than when we were six, but the brain is designed to learn and it continues to do so every day of our lives. Some of that learning may need to be unlearned, however. Such as our quick route to being impatient and frustrated when faced with something new. As kids we loved learning. We were curious and excited, so let’s bring more of that into ourselves. For some reason, as adults we often think we should automatically just know how to do things, but it doesn’t work that way.

Example: I have a client who was very frustrated over using Mail Chimp to communicate with her email list. She needed to decide if she was going to stick with that company or move to a different one for a variety of reasons, but she couldn’t make up her mind. Not making a decision, which she could have done in seconds, led to indecision and procrastination until she finally backed up and took some action.

Do you need to make a decision? Make it, find someone to help you, or map out the steps you need to take to be able to make the decision.

Mistake #5: Resistance to technology

Similar to the one above, this one deserves its own spot on this list. As we all know, technology is constantly changing. Right now as I write this, Zoom is all the rage. Even before the pandemic began, many of us had been using Zoom for years, and now everyone is. The challenge for us has been that Zoom’s sudden growth forced all kinds of changes for its regular users, including having a password for just about anything you want to use Zoom for. Learning that was challenging.

Solution: Embrace your own learning. Zoom and any other popular technologies you’re using are going to change. Nothing remains the rage forever. New platforms and new technologies are already coming along.

One has to step in and embrace it. That doesn’t mean developing the SOS (Shiny Object Syndrome), but it does require you to pay attention and make decisions and changes when it’s best for you. The good news is that this kind of learning tends to generalize. For example, when you first learned to open a door, that knowledge generalized — your mind learned and remembered how doors open. You didn’t have to relearn the process with each door. When you learn a new technology, some of that knowledge will generalize, and that will make the next learning experience easier than the last.

Bottom line

We all make mistakes, including authors. Not having a strategy, camping out in overwhelm, and resisting technology are all very common mistakes, and fortunately, very correctable. Embrace these solutions and I guarantee your book’s promotion is going to be a whole lot more fun.

To your success!


P.S. Every now and then I love to give a shout out to my clients. Many are here. And here are some more, including Rabbi Daniel Cohen, Jane Finkle, Dr. Stacee Reicherzer, Jean Walters, and Melody Beattie, who are doing amazing things to get their books and messages out into the world.









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