Tips for first-time authors

Last week I talked about 5 mistakes I made as a first-time author which were:

  1. Spending way too much on editing after being conned by two fake editors.
  2. Using a paid beta reader who didn’t read my book.
  3. Not setting any kind of budget.
  4. Hiring 2 dodgy formatters
  5. Giving away too much stuff.

This week’s post is going to be about what new author’s should do – or at least in my opinion.

1 Shop around for editors. Get sample edits and check testimonials to make sure they are real. The “editors” I had my first novel had good reviews but they all turned out to be from people who knew them. Despite my bad experience with my first book, I actually had a good editor on my second novel and I highly recommend her services. If you’re working on your first novel then you might need a developmental edit. But to minimise costs get your novel critiques and used beta readers. They can provide you with valuable feedback and point out weaknesses within your manuscript.

If you can’t afford developmental editing just go for a copy edit or proofread. Or try exchanging editing services with another writer.

2 Don’t spend a fortune on cover design. I didn’t mention this in my first post as I didn’t spend a fortune on my covers and I know this is a mistake new authors often make. Don’t spend hundreds on cover design as it is unlikely you will get any of that money back. There are a lot of good cover designers out there that can suit any budget. I get all of my covers from Ebook Indie Covers for a great price.

3 Use free beta readers. If you use a paid beta reader make sure they have  a good reputation or even ask other authors in your genre who they would recommend. If not, I recommend on using a freebase a reader to start off with as again this isn’t money you can get back. You can always ask a friend or relative who you know will give you honest feedback.

4. Set a budget. Try to set I budget for each book that way you don’t overspend or buy things you don’t need. I spent way more on my first book than I needed too and it’s hard to get any of that money back when you are first starting out.

5. Learn some formatting. Formatting ebooks it’s not hard you think if you use Microsoft Word. Print books, however, are harder to format. So if you really don’t want to do the formatting yourself shop around, read reviews and check samples of people’s work before you hire a formatter.

6. Don’t pay someone to run a blog tour for you. This is a mistake I have heard the many new authors make. You can run a blog for by yourself. I’ll write another post on this as it’s too long to write in this post.

7. Don’t buy too much stuff. When you’re first starting out it can be tempting to buy lots of swag for your book launch but the truth is no one is really going to want it – at least not from a new author. Give away a couple of paperback in a giveaway and have a few bookmarks printed with your cover on as this can be a good promotion tool.

 

Photo by rachaelvoorhees

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