16 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your First Book

When writing your first book, you are definitely thinking about various aspects:

  • your audience,
  • your content,
  • how much the book will cost,
  • who will publish it,
  • and the strategic place to launch it, just to mention but a few.

It’s a good idea to think about the aftermath of your hard work, but do not be consumed so much by the thoughts that you forget to focus on the small things that matter when writing your book.

In this post, I will take you through some of the mistakes to avoid when writing your first book

1. Rushing into writing.

In as much as there is that urge to start writing your first book, don’t jump into it. Take some time and think through, plan how you going to do it, how it will appear.

You’ll find yourself repeating things, or wasting time exploring ultimately unhelpful tangents if you wake up one morning and start writing without any plan. This means you need to have a clear outline that has, at least, a title for each chapter to guide you through.

Try brainstorming or mind maps or index cards as creative alternatives to help get your ideas flowing.

2. Scrapping off your drafts.

Just because your first draft is not as powerful as the second one does not mean you do away with it completely.

If you change your mind about a whole paragraph or section, leave it in as is, but jot a note to yourself about it.

Give it some time and continue writing, look at it after some time, or ask a friend to help you read through it. It could generate an idea for the next paragraphs.

3. Being too particular.

If you start your editing by looking for minor typos, you’ll miss much more significant issues.

Try reading your book in a format where you can’t easily make small changes as you go along to force yourself to concentrate on the bigger picture.

Write down any issues you need to fix, like chapters in the wrong order, repetitive information, tangents that need deleting, and new sections you want to add.

4. Choosing a topic, you are not familiar with.

You’ll have to work your ass off, doing lots of research, interviewing experts, hiring pros in that field to help you come up with quality and quantity.

This is a waste of time and energy and you probably will not deliver something up to the standards. Write about something you actually know about.

Something that you are sure of, which you can easily source content and come up with something exclusive. This will save you time, and you’ll be able to deliver the very best.

The rule of the thumb remains: Go for something you are passionate about, otherwise you are going to doom your book before it is even written. Which topics do you often write about on your blog? What interests do you normally post on social media? You get the gist, right?

If your blog is about relationships, why would you go for something like, “Earning Money Trading Forex?” Be sure to be aware of Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your First Book

5. Ignoring the power of social proof.

Two heads are better than one. You need opinions, thoughts comments from your friends about your first book.

Be proactive and open-minded, send out review copies to fellow writers in that niche, and to any of your blog’s readers who’ve commented regularly or emailed you recently.

Social proofing your works does magic when it comes to sales. You need to deliver quality content into the world in exchange for cash.

Take the reviews and complements into consideration while writing your first book, to be able to deliver the best.

6. Writing what your audience needs.

There is always a topic you know your readers need, and you know you can write the perfect book on that just for your readers. That is good only that all too often, your readers always don’t know what they need and can easily be swayed by the different issues you write about.

Don’t give your readers what you think they need. Give them what they know they want. Talk to a few of your loyal readers and get to know what they love reading from you.

This is also a good opportunity to find out how much they share, and what they can pay if your work gets published.

7. Only writing when you feel like.

You don’t have to write thousands of words at a time. Find a consistent time each day, or several times a week, to work on your book.

Use your time effectively during short writing sessions. You can start writing in as little as just 25 minutes each day. Ensure you manage your time well and give it your best short.

There are several ways you can overcome writers’ block. Simply learn to stick to your schedule.

8. Thinking as a Writer, and not as a Publisher

This is one of the most common writing mistakes to avoid when writing your first book.

It’s not just about having your first book out. Think big, think publishing. How will your book sell, whether it’s in terms of money and content? Do not ignore the publishing bit, because figuring out how your book is going to sell will help you develop better content.

As an independent author, you will need to do everything that a publishing house does. Think of how you want your book to perform in the market. Come up with a great team… Cover designer, content editor, managerial editor, copy editor, testimonials in-charge, marketing in-charge, hard-core critique, launch facilitator, etc.

For a writer who wants to write your first eBook, you need to deliver great and competitive product to the market. There are millions of books already published on Amazon Kindle alone, how do you stand out?

Draft your sales page while you’re planning your first book. Do your homework well and use that pitch to drive the writing process.

This will make your book much stronger and will make your life much easier when you launch it.

9. Perfectionism

Perfectionism is one of the mistakes to avoid when writing your first book.

Accepting that you can’t account for all of your mistakes will help you move swiftly with your writing. Give yourself a deadline for finishing the editing phase.

Don’t agonize over the possibility that a typo may still be present. Readers aren’t likely to notice. Give your work to friends so that they might identify the mistakes that escape your eyes.

Perfectionism might pin you down if you let it. However, there are several ways to deal with it.

10. Using random titles.

While writing your first book, you probably had a lot of titles running through your head. Just because one feels better than the other does not mean you rule out all the rest.

Choosing a title for your book requires time and a lot of considerations. You might want to ask your blog readers to vote on different titles, to find out which is the most compelling.

You definitely want something catchy to sell big, which means you might need other people’s ideas and opinions.

11. Failing to look for an editor

Looking for an editor to review just the first few chapters of your book will save you a lot and help you avoid grammar mistakes.

Many problems the editor identifies will probably occur throughout the writing your first book and you can fix them yourself once you know what to look for.

Seek out help in editing. Ask your readers or members of any blogging community you belong to.

Every writer needs an editor. We are rarely 50% when it comes to our grammar and workflow. Some newbies are eager to have their books online, and also want to get away with some editorial fees!

I understand that editing can sometimes be very expensive, especially if you go for the experts in the field. But sometimes you do not necessarily need money. You need connections and good relationships. This way, you can have a pro do it for you for free or at great discounts

12. Bringing all Ideas Together.

If you have lots of extra burning ideas, write them down in a separate place and use them for your next book.

Don’t get too excited and mix up so many ideas in one book when you can pick one idea and write exhaustively on it. You can as well explore them in a detailed blog post.

If you miss something crucial, you’ll find out when you get feedback, and you can add a new section or chapter to address that point.

13. Starting with the Front Matter.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when writing your first book. Be flexible. Beginning with the introduction is not necessary. Start with your first best chapter.

Once you’ve drafted the rest of your book, you’ll know what needs to go in the introduction. Start anywhere, but remember to transition well and keep the flow.

14.  Not Editing and Rewriting their own Work.

Before you submit your book to an editor, you need to review your book a couple of times until you are convinced that your book is worth someone’s time.

Cut off meaningless sentences or even paragraphs. Reorder headlines and chapters until your book gets the flow you desire.

By reviewing and editing your book severally, the content gets to stick to your head, and the message becomes even clearer.

15. Being Your Own Proofreader.

As a writer, you are the world’s worst proofreader for your own work. Do not hire yourself as your own proofreader.  Find an experienced proofreader, or sweet talk an expert friend. A third eye will be able to spot mistakes that you couldn’t tell as the writer.

Did you enjoy this post on Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your First Book? Then you will love these  nine self-publishing sites to get you started

16. Being Your Own Book Cover Designer.

You are pretty the worst applicant for this job. Outsource eBook Cover Design from relatively cheap designers on freelancing sites like Upwork, Fiverr etc.

Over to You!

What writing mistakes did you make when you were writing your first book? Are you guilty of any of the mistakes above? What are other writing mistakes to avoid when writing your first book? We would love to know your views in the comments below

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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As an SEO freelance writer for hire, Mysson creates compelling content in online business, SaaS, and Digital Marketing niches for clients just like you. Hire Mysson for powerful business storytelling, crispy copy for service business or insightful articles that spark online conversations, attract links and boost conversions. Connect on LinkedIn @Mysson
Picture of Mysson
As an SEO freelance writer for hire, Mysson creates compelling content in online business, SaaS, and Digital Marketing niches for clients just like you. Hire Mysson for powerful business storytelling, crispy copy for service business or insightful articles that spark online conversations, attract links and boost conversions. Connect on LinkedIn @Mysson

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9 Responses

    1. Hey Nelly, good to see you here. I am glad that this post was of great help to you. The very best in your venture, and be sure to let me know how it goes

  1. I agree on all of these, and thank you so much! I’m not a published author, still trying :), but I disagree on the last. I’m sure I can make use of majoring in graphic designing..

  2. EditingMy pastor just said we have meeting at church any time soon. Can we meet another time? is a real challenge, but doable when there is a good reason. I can’t really wait for a year or years to work on one book. I love the 16 points. It’s a condition to write, self-edit, self-publish, and self-market your books, but I have learned by doing over the years. If you have that confidence, go ahead! If not, don’t try…

    1. Hey John. Thanks for taking time to read through the tips. The good thing about self-publishing is that there are tons of writers who are willing to hold your hand if you let them. Nevertheless, you need to go show up. Attending writers forums and book marketing sessions are some good places to start.

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