It’s hard to admit you’ve made mistakes. However, admitting your mistakes, at least to yourself, is the necessary first step you must take to learn from them. We all had moments where we wish we had someone to mentor us at the start of our writing careers. Wouldn’t life be easier and less stressful if we could learn from someone else’s mistakes? Well, here’s your chance to learn a thing or two from someone who’s made a few mistakes over her eight-year writing career. Below are some mistakes I’ve made that, hopefully, you’ll never make yourself. And here is a list of 4 MORE mistakes I've made in my writing career that you can learn from.
Failing to acquire the proper editing
I’ve actually paid a couple hundred dollars to have one of my earlier books edited. When all was said and done, it turned out I got a critique of my book instead of an actual line edit that I thought I was paying for.
My Mistake: Not understanding and verifying what type of “editing” I was paying for.
The Lesson: Make sure you understand the exact service the editor will provide and agree to those services before paying a cent.
Waiting too long to revise a published manuscript
I’ve self-published a book (or two) at the start of my writing career that, looking back, I realized needed a hefty dose of revision. And being a better writer today than I was eight years ago helps in identifying poor writing.
My Mistake: I didn’t revise and republish the book sooner. If I tried to revise the story now, it will take time away from my recent projects and delay the completion of future projects. I’d still be stuck in the past!
The Lesson: If you have a project (book, article, poem, etc.) that is published (i.e. self-published, published to a blog or other website) that’s in need of a revision, do it now or soon. Starting more projects before finishing current responsibilities will keep you from ever revising, or can make it more difficult to go back and revise in the future.
Writing several stories at once
Writers have so many ideas, don’t we? Can’t wait to write them down and start working on some. We get used to having several Word documents opened at the same time, or a different one opened every other day. How did I manage to finish anything if I was working on everything at once?
My Mistake: I’ve had too much going on to focus on anything. And worse, it was hard to keep up with the many characters and plotlines. I ended up scrapping some of the stories and never finishing others, and looking back made me realize that time could have been used much more productively.
The Lesson: Like the lesson above, stick to one project until it’s complete. At the very least, stick with just a couple of your very important projects (i.e. projects with fast approaching deadlines) to make sure you stay focus.
Not marketing my work
I used to think that if you write a book, readers would come. That’s kind of funny now that I think about it. No, not really. That’s sad. How would anyone ever know about my book if I never let people know it exists?
My Mistake: I told a couple of my friends and family about the book I was so proud of, I made a website and added the cover and back copy description, and then I sat back and waited. Watching as I sold 4 copies this month and 8 copies the next.
The Lesson: If you want readers and sales you have to make your book known to more than your close group of friends. You can’t only rely on word of mouth advertising anymore. You have to get out there and participate in some online activities, make some friends, join a group or too, be a guess blogger, connect with your target audience, make a presence, etc. Here are some Simple Online Book Marketing Tips you can refer to.