We all start out as rookies in everything we do, whether it’s our careers, hobbies, or even life in general. There’s no shame in starting out not knowing a thing about what we’re doing, but if we want to succeed, we need to pay attention to the mistakes we make. Not only to rectify them, but to understand that we have made a mistake in the first place.
When we know next to nothing about a subject, sometimes we don’t know the difference between an action that will help us grow and succeed and one that will hold back our development. In the early stages of any endeavour, whether it’s professional or recreational, we really need to keep our eyes wide open.
New writers, especially those who are aiming to publish books one day, often make the same rookie mistakes. While asking questions on social media is a great idea, sometimes the advice we receive is from fellow rookies who give incorrect advice. We never stop making mistakes, even after several years in the indie publishing industry, but if we can avoid rookie mistakes altogether, our careers might be better for it.
Here are three rookie mistakes that new authors make and how to avoid them.
Cheaper Is Almost Never Better
Self-publishing even one books is expensive. Book covers, editing, and advertising are covered by traditional publishers in the event of a book deal, so taking on the whole cost of publishing a book ourselves can be daunting. With the abundance of cover artists out there, some of whom are only charging $25 for a custom book cover, how hard can it be to cut the costs?
For authors who just want to see their book in print and don’t wish to make money from their books, these cheaper options are perfect. But new authors wanting to make a career out selling their books, choosing cheap book covers and editors will make achieving that goal much harder. There are millions of self-published books out there on the internet now, and the ones that bring in a profit are the books that have the best covers and the best editing. Naturally, these things don’t come cheap.
The most common response I see from people regarding this issue is: “But what about those of us that can’t afford covers and editing?” That’s a fair enough question. If this is the case, then there are two routes to take. Either wait, save up, and give our books the quality treatment they deserve, or pay for the cheaper services and publish anyway. We’re at liberty to take whichever path we like, but one is far more likely to result in success.
Don’t Get Book Cover Advice From Social Media
Social media isn’t always a pleasant place, but there are some really supportive author communities in places like Facebook. This support is fantastic when we’re starting out on our author journeys and learning new things about the industry, and can really help us feeling like we’re part of the community. However, asking for cover advice in these groups isn’t always productive.
Because these communities are so supportive, many people within them are hesitant to criticise. Criticism can of course be constructive, but some people are just too darn nice and will heap praise on book covers, whether they need small tweaks or lots of work. For this reason, it’s best if we find authors who are happy to give their feedback and who will give their honest opinions rather than what they think we want to hear.
Positivity is warm and fuzzy, but at times, it isn’t necessarily that good for growth and development.
Argue With Seasoned Professionals At Your Own Peril
Confidence is key in any new endeavour, but having too much of it can really come back to bite us in the butt. Over the past few years in writing communities online, I have watched in horror as rookie authors snap at, degrade, and otherwise verbally attack bestselling authors who dared give them constructive feedback.
Some of these authors are USA Today bestsellers who make a living off their books, and were kind enough to want to help out a new author by providing polite advice. This advice may not always be what we want to hear, but these authors are often highly knowledgeable and have made plenty of similar mistakes themselves in the past. Ignoring their advice is one thing, but arguing and belittling them will make it much harder for the argumentative author to network in the future. Not to mention, it’s plain rude.
I admit these are fairly harsh truths that aren’t necessarily comforting to new authors, but working to gain success as an indie author will not be comfortable. At times it is difficult, frustrating, and tests our patience. If we can swallow these particular truths, we can avoid rookie mistakes in our first steps towards a dream career.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!