Wednesday, March 06, 2013 | By: Lynny Prince

Three Self- Published Author Mistakes

From my favorite book coach, Judy Cullins, come these tips that every self-published author MUST read!

While we can learn from our mistakes, we don’t have to. In life, we don’t know what we don’t know, and most authors do not know the book business in order to make their books attract a strong fan club and sell well. If an author just writes without a strategy, without professional help at the beginning instead of an edit at the very end, she’ll miss out on getting fan help and the sales she really expects.
It’s such a disappointment to go to all that work and then not make more than 150 sales.

Take this Reality Check and Avoid These 3 Mistakes

Mistake 1. You don’t know your book’s “9 hot selling points.”

Before you write your book, your blog, your website, your higher cost home study courses, and your trainings.
Pre-marketing strategies (9 Hot-Selling Points) make your book financially successful the minute you publish. This part of your book almost guarantees your book sales. Authors need to know them and write them before they write the book.

They include your…

  • book title
  • book thesis
  • preferred audience
  • testimonials
  • and 5-10 benefits of your book or other products or services
For every book and email promotion to your subscribers and fans, you need to include 5-7 benefit statements. Not just two words, like “save money, “, but start with a command verb such as “discover,” “see,” or “feel.” Engage your readers and give them enough information that they’ll want to buy your book. Give them reasons to buy – much more powerful than features such – tips, stories, # of pages, and quotes.

Mistake 2. You don’t know your primary audience before your write your book.

Most book coaching clients come with a laundry list of all their interests and projects. My job is to get them to let go on the non money makers and focus on what will bring them the fans and sales they deserve. Even when a client swears he is committed, you’d be surprised at the stories I hear so they won’t have to move forward, finish, and make money. With gentle persuasions, they see the “light” and trust that a 25-year book coach knows. What makes a great book and what strategies one needs to market it and create themselves as a leader in their field – even with big competition.
One recent client said in meeting one, “But I have a lot of different audiences, not just one!”
Yes, and you need to focus on one at a time, the best primary audience, and after you establish sales with this one, you create marketing for the other groups. Most authors don’t realize that it’s the kiss of death when you write a general book aimed at several audiences. They won’t appreciate it because they don’t think you really care about them individually. That was tough even with the Chicken Soup series. Their specific titles sold better than the original one over the years.
My advice, “Write a Series of Short Books aimed at one audience per book.”
The short ebook is the answer! You can now write an ebook for each audience and sell a lot more books this way too. Write a series of them and blog about each one – giving useful information in both the book and the blog. The ebook and the blog are a marriage made in heaven. Each markets the other.

Mistake 3. You didn’t do a reality check on your book before you wrote it.

You have an idea you love, you start writing what you know, maybe an outline.
Yes, have fun writing, yet…
Think what do my readers want? Do they have concerns, challenges, or problems about a topic? Yes, like me, you know too much about your topic and your writing shows it. You tell; you lecture; you report. Your audience just wants answers and solutions to their problems!
If you don’t consider your audience’s wants, your chapters will be dull, ordinary, and not engage them. The consequence of this is that they won’t finish your chapters. If they don’t finish your chapters, they won’t become your 24/7 fans and sales team. Remember, you also want strong testimonials and reviews for your book. Word of mouth still accounts for a lot for a book’s success.

Judy's column can be found here: JUDY CULLINS