January 15, 2024

Episode 53: 7 Mistakes That Sink Authors:

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Are you making these common author mistakes that could sink your book?

Episode 53: 7 Mistakes That Sink Authors: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

by Carma Spence | The Author Switch Podcast


In this episode of The Author Switch Podcast, I share insights on the seven pitfalls in your path while writing a book. Discover the top errors that many entrepreneur-authors make and learn how to steer clear of them, ensuring your book not only survives but thrives in the competitive world of books.

Recap & Takeaways

  • 01:11 Pitfall #1
  • 02:39 Pitfall #2
  • 03:13 Pitfall #3
  • 04:17 Pitfall #4
  • 07:29 Pitfall #5
  • 09:06 Pitfall #6
  • 10:04 Pitfall #7
Purple Cow Video 1 - Book Titles and SEO
Purple Cow 2 - Book Subtitles and SEO
QuickStart Guide to Writing Your Authority Building Short Book
It all starts with an idea cover

Transcript for Episode 53: 7 Mistakes That Sink Authors: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

If you’ve ever felt like you’re just drowning in the overwhelming options that are available on your author’s path, This episode of The Authors Switch Podcast is for you because I will be sharing seven common pitfalls that authors fall into and how to avoid them.


Welcome to episode 53 of The Author Switch Podcast. I am your host, Carma Spence, and I help entrepreneurs write lead-attracting books in 90 days or less. In this episode, I’m going to share seven of the most common pitfalls that newer authors fall into and how to avoid them.


So, pitfall number one is neglecting to identify your target audience. If you don’t know who you’re writing your book for, you’re not writing it for anyone. And the reason why I say this is you can write a book, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, you’re writing a book about golfing. Who are you writing it for? That book will be different if you’re writing it for pro golfers, for women over 50 who’ve decided to pick up golf for the first time, or for teenagers who’ve decided they want to go for a pro career in golf.


Same topic, golfing,  different audiences, different content. So, for example, in my book, Public Speaking Super Powers, my ideal target market was someone who was newer to speaking and wanted to not only improve themselves as a speaker in general but might even want to give the idea of using speaking to grow a business a try.


It’s a very different book than someone who’s an established entrepreneur and just wants to know the facts that will get them to their TED talk. Very different audience. Mine’s a basic 101-type book, not an advanced book. So knowing who you’re writing your book for is extremely important because it tells you what kind of content you need to put into the book, as well as the voice that you use while you’re sharing that information.


Pitfall number two is overlooking professional editing. Look, I’m an award-winning editor, and I still hire editors to edit my book. Because the thing is, when you’ve been knee-deep in the content of your book, you will often see what you wanted to put there. And not what’s there.


Now, yes, I do edit my own work, because I want to give it to the editor as cleanly as I can. But I do hire an editor because I can’t edit my own work, and neither should you.


So, pitfall number three,  that’s failing to set and define clear objectives. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you expecting to get there? So, if you don’t know what the objective of your book is, how do you know if it’s met its goals? Now, that doesn’t mean you have to have a particular set of goals, your goal for a book may be just to get it published.


And that’s often what it is for the first, that’s what, that’s what the goal was for my book, my first book. And honestly, it killed that. Yeah, I totally did because I spent like 100 to get an ISBN because that’s what it cost back then. I made back that money within six months with very little marketing because I didn’t know what I was doing.


But my goal for that book was to publish my first book. And I accomplished that goal. And every book I’ve published since has had a different goal. And so far. I’ve reached every goal. But I wouldn’t know that if I didn’t have a goal in the first place.


Pitfall number four is  underestimating the power of a good cover and title.


Now there’s a lot of information going out there. about titles, the most common one being you’ve got to have it SEO’d and although that can work, if you look at the top titles, they don’t do that. And I’ve released two videos, one about titles and one about subtitles  that I will link in the show notes.


But what you want to do with your main title is have something compelling. Can it be SEO’d? Yes, but what you want is to have something that stops the scroll that stops so someone says, ooh, I’m intrigued I want to know what that book’s about. Your subtitle usually explains what the title means or goes further into it. So for example Public Speaking Super Powers, yes It has the keyword in it public speaking, but it’s kind of a fun title. And so people may not wonder gee I wonder what that’s about. They’ll know what it’s about. But they’ll be Oh, Superpowers, what is she talking about there? And then my subtitle was Communicating, I can’t remember the subtitle of my own book, but it was something that to the effect of developing better communication skills or something like that. But I mean, it basically expanded upon the top title.


I probably should have been more uh prepared for that one. Anyway. your title, your main title is something that must intrigue someone enough to pick up the book and wonder. So for example, here’s a book that just happens to be on my desk right now because in 2024, I plan to write a book a month.


So I bought this book, 28 books to 100K. Now that’s very clear what it’s about. But really? Hmm. Only 28 books? What is she talking about? Then the subtitle is A Guide for Ambitious Authors Who Want to Skyrocket Their Passive Income by Writing a Book a Month. Now, honestly, it was a book a month that caught me. But, also, I’m an ambitious author. I want to be an ambitious author. That’s what a title does. Again, watch the videos that I put in the show notes  because they will help you further. But titles and subtitles are very important, so don’t just randomly create them. Think them through. And then you need a catching, bold cover.


There’s a, there’s a good cover. There’s a good cover. There’s an interesting cover. You want to cover that. Looks good when it’s tiny on Amazon, but also looks good when it’s full size. And I highly recommend that you get it professionally done. It doesn’t cost that much to have it professionally done.


There are some companies that will do it for as little as $300. If you do it on 99designs, you can get a whole bunch of designers clamoring to do it for you for $300. And it’s well worth the investment. Don’t DIY it. unless you know what you’re doing.


Pitfall number five,  ignoring marketing and promotion.


Oh, I do this all the time. But I ignore it on purpose. But newbies tend to ignore it by accident or because they just don’t know any better. Books aren’t like you just publish it and people magically come and buy it. That only happens after you’ve done a lot of other stuff so that your book pops up.


If you’re a new author, that isn’t going to happen. You need to market it, which means you’re going to need to email your email list. You’re going to need to post it on social media. You’re going to need to do. All these different things, not necessarily all of them, because remember, I’ve said this in previous episodes, book marketing is a buffet. You don’t need to do all the things, but you do need to do some of the things, and you need to do the things that work for your personality and your target market. Again, why is target market so important? You need to understand how to market to that audience. Not only does it help you do your content, but it also helps you market to that audience.


So. Cover, design, and title, and subtitle are highly, highly important because they are what get people to even go onto your book page and read the description to decide whether or not to buy your book. If your cover isn’t interesting, they’ll just pass it by. If it looks unprofessional, they’ll pass it by. Because there’s plenty of other competition and if your competition looks better than you. Guess where they’re going. I know they say don’t judge a book by a cover. But, you know, that’s a lie! People do it all the time! We do it all the time.


Pitfall number six.  That is overcomplicating the language. Now, there are lots of books out there that have very complicated language, and most of them are called textbooks.


So you’re not writing a textbook here. If you’re my audience, you want a book that grows your business, which means you want a book that will attract leads. That means you need to use plain, common English in your book. Don’t overcomplicate things. The only time you’re going to use jargon is when you’re talking to an audience who expects it.


So this is another reason why you need to know your target audience. Because then you know what kind of language to use. Do you use the three, four, five syllable words? If your audience is used to that, wants that, expects that, yes. But if you’re going for more general, like entrepreneurs, No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, don’t overcomplicate the language.


And now pitfall number seven.  That is lacking a strong call to action. Now, if you pick up any like fiction book, you’re going to find at the back of the book, most of the time, a list of other books by the publisher. That’s their call to action. They’re saying you like this book, you might like these other books, buy them. When you are publishing your own book, you need to have a strong call to action.


I recommend doing something like what this book, 28 Books to 100K does, right in the front cover. She’s got a magnificent, magnificent, free gift for my readers. And what is it? It is a write a book a month kit. So you’ve read this book. You might want some additional information to help you implement what’s in this book.


She gives you a gift to do that. That’s what you need to do if you want to grow your email subscriber list. You want to have a strong call to action that provides something related to the book so that people make that connection and will join your email list and therefore then you can market to them other things.


So there you have it. Those are the seven pitfalls that newer authors fall into. Neglecting your target audience, which has cascading disasters if you don’t do it. Overlooking professional editing. Failing to define clear objectives. Underestimating the power of a good cover and title. Ignoring marketing and promotion.


Overcomplicating the language. And lacking a strong call to action. If you avoid those seven pitfalls, you are well on your way to attracting leads with your book. Now, if you haven’t started working on your book yet and you’re wondering what kind of idea you might want to do your lead attracting book with, I recommend that you get my Quick Start Guide to Writing Your Authority Building Short Book.


 It walks you through my three-step process, which I call the MSV. That’s for Mindstorm, Sift, and Validate that helps you identify your perfect lead attracting book idea in as little as 15 minutes. I will put a link to that in the show notes and this is the end of this episode of the Author Switch. I hope you enjoyed it, and this is Carma Spence saying ciao for now.

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The Author Switch is a podcast dedicated to helping experts, entrepreneurs, and small business owners turn on The Author Switch — and keep it on — so that they can leverage the power of books to take their businesses to a whole new dimension. Learn more about the show and where it is available on its page.