The top ten mistakes authors make, new or not!: from getting-published.com

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,

Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
phone: 407-495-4801 (temporary)
text: 832-233-0041 (temporary)

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