5 Mistakes First-Time Authors Make

Have you been wanting to write your book? Take note of these mistakes first-time authors make so you can avoid them.

Like many who have been stuck at home, my hair needed some attention. Now, I’ve trimmed and cut my hair before but this time, it went a little haywire.

And it made me think — a lot of times when we do things for the first time, we don’t know what we’re doing. So today, I’ll be covering the Five Mistakes First-Time Authors Make that keep them small and unprofitable and how to avoid them.

This for those people who have said to me: 

  • I really want to write my book right. 
  • I want to make sure it’s impactful. 
  • I want this to be meaningful.
  • If I can help just one person, it will be so worth it.

With your book, you can change and transform one person, and so many more lives too.


Mistake 1: Not knowing whether you are an author-author or an author-entrepreneur

Table of Contents


An author-author is someone who makes a living off of selling books. It’s someone like James Patterson or JK Rowling. They’re usually fiction authors who write these books. Books are their “thing” and this is their livelihood.


An author-entrepreneur is someone who is an entrepreneur first and an author second. Their book is a tool within their business to grow it. They use their book to gain more credibility, get more clients, get their message out there, and share their story. They’re using this book as a marketing tool and something to leverage to get readers and turn those readers into clients.


Too often, people don’t think far enough into the future about what they want the book to do and what role it plays in their business. So think about the future first so that you can aim towards that thing. Otherwise you’re aiming at nothing and you’re just going to have a book.


More on the difference between an author-author and an author-entrepreneur in this article I wrote for Writer’s Digest: The Difference Between an Author-Author and an Author-Entrepreneur and Why You Need to Know


Mistake 2: Thinking that your book is a sort of brain dump


We have so much inside our heads, don’t we? So it might feel like you have to put every last thought you have into your book.  Or it might seem like a good idea to put everything you’ve ever learned in your life into one book. But this is actually a huge blunder. 


I had someone tell me once that they were going to wait another year to write their book because they felt like they would have more to say and learn more in the upcoming year. Here’s what you need to know: you are expert enough right now in what you have to say and what your experiences are and what you can share with the world to transform people’s lives and help them during their times of need.


You have exactly what you need right now to put a book together. You have all the knowledge, stories, expertise, experiences for a book. And If you really have the urge to write about additional experiences after the book you’re writing about right now, just write another book.


Just make sure you have a specific topic that is fully aligned to your business that you can share stories, expertise, connection, case studies, etc. Then you can transform lives and make money in the process.


Mistake 3: Thinking that your memoir is all you need


I love stories.  Stories are the crux of the human connection. I’m all for sharing your stories (and sharing a lot of them) but your memoir is not a good idea if you’re using a book to turn readers into clients. And while your friends and family may tell you that it’s interesting, it’s probably because they know you and are already interested in you. 


Usually people become famous and then write their memoir. Not the other way around. 


So while I fully believe your story is what’s going to encourage people to choose you over somebody else, your memoir is not going to cut it. It is a story about you. The perspective is all about you and people want things to be about them. 


So when you tell engaging, transformational, and helpful stories, the key is to turn your story into a story about them. The story needs to come from your heart but you’re sharing how that applies to somebody else’s life. This is when people are going to start talking about your story with their friends. And that’s great because eighty percent of books are sold on a referral basis.


Key takeaway here: people are not going to think it’s interesting until you apply your story to how it helps them in their life.

Want to find out if your book topic is on the list of the Top 10 Most Profitable Best Selling Book Niches? Grab it for free!



Mistake 4: Not promoting your book while you're writing it


I know that writing a book may feel like a monstrous, sometimes overwhelming task. The idea of marketing it while writing can feel like just another huge thing for you to do. This is why so many people skip it. And then people come to me after they’ve written and published a book with regrets they didn’t market it beforehand. See, the marketing of your book can’t be an afterthought. 


Now to explain this mistake, I need to first share my FAME Formula for Legendary Impact. It’s an acronym that shares the pieces you need in order to get the most out of writing your book. 


FAME Formula for Legendary Impact

  • F is about growing your following before you write, while you write and after you’re done writing so that you can get your book consistently into the hands of the right people and grow a community of raving fans.


  • A is authoring where you write the book as an experience with all the right structures, pieces and storytelling so that your reader wants to become a client. I have a 5Ss Formula for putting the book together right.


  • M is multiplying where you may create your book funnel or turn your book into a course (or both) to get consistent sales


  • E is elevating where you’re using your best-selling title or author title to leverage, open doors, and get more features in media like podcasts, interviews or speaking gigs.


When you have FAME all come together, it's where your book is fully supported. Otherwise, if you just write your book, then all you have is a book and it will end up sitting on the shelf collecting dust. 


You want to make sure you have a plan to market that book from before you start writing it all the way through publishing it and beyond. That strategy has to be put in place well before you launch it. 


More about FAME below: 


Mistake 5: Thinking that your book is the project


Your book is a piece of the project. Now, I know like I mentioned before that the book itself seems like a big thing in and of itself.  That’s why so many people make this mistake.  They think, “If I can just get the book out there, then I’ll think about the rest later.”

Problem is, “the rest” has to be pre-planned like I shared in Mistake 4. 

List of the 5 Mistakes First-Time Authors MakeWhen you're in business, the book is about creating a community that is willing, eager, and able to buy your offers. The real project is about how you’re going to support this book to grow your business. Use my FAME Formula for Legendary Impact. 

The thing is, thinking of the book as the entire project makes it smaller than it is. It can be so much more if you just do the planning that will make it bigger. If you want more than just a nice read or a book that you have just to say you did it, your book has to have a bigger vision.

So ask yourself these questions:

  • How is this book going to change somebody's life?
  • Why are you writing this book?
  • What does that mean for you?

And when you can tie these things together and align it with your business, you’ll truly have a book that’s not just a “great read”. It will be a transformational experience for your reader. They will not want it to end. And then they’ll want to join your programs and packages. 

That’s true success for an entrepreneur writing a book -- impact, transformation, reaching more people, connection, business growth and legacy. 


I'd love to hear your thoughts on these mistakes -- Comment below!


Vickie Gould is a storytelling, marketing and book coach.  As a result of working with her, Vickie’s clients are able to grow their reach worldwide, create more impact and turn their readers into clients while they sleep.

Join her free Facebook Group her: Write Your Biz Book.

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