Top 10+ Mistakes That Are Costing Authors Their Coins
Let's just say that this blog has been burning my soul for over two weeks. I've been trying to decide on a less aggressive title than my former one, "10 Most OBVIOUS Mistakes Authors Are Making." I didn't want to come off as rude, or even as a know it all. Because, facing the facts, I don't know it all. However, I'm aware of common mistakes that are costing authors precious coins, at their own hands and at the hands of others.
As you may know, I'm Mercy, and I want to share with you some pretty intense mistakes that authors are making each day that are costing their pockets to either dry up or continue the drought they are currently in. Publications is a trillion dollar industry, leaving no reason for you to be anywhere near penniless when writing is the sole provider for some -including myself. I'd be lying if I said I had a backup plan or another way out in case writing didn't work out for me. Why should I, knowing the benefits that are possible being that I have a way with words. As long as my brain and hands can function in union, I vow to never be broke or miss a coin that I know should be mine. You should declare the same, and from that day on you'll never miss another.
Without further hesitation, let's find out how you can avoid these mistakes, and live your life in financial freedom. Remember, this content is in no particular order.
Warning: These are MY thoughts and even some experiences. You do not have to agree with them, and some may not apply to you. Enjoy!
1. Releasing content too soon, or during trying times.
(This is going to be a long one, being that I feel strongly about releasing content too soon.)
We all like to push our content into our readers faces, knowing that they're anxious to suck up all of our goodness inside. Of course this is the case, most times, but what about the fact that you just released two weeks prior? While some may be homemakers, and have the time to sit with their feet kicked up and read all day, what about the workers with 3 children and barely enough time to shampoo her hair? She's apart of your audience, too, or do you ever think of her? What about the tired college student in her last semester, studying for finals? What about the mother with the newborn?
Off the topic of time, and onto the money issues of most readers. That's half the reason I'm writing this post. Just like you, readers run low on funds as well. Some can't even afford Kindle Unlimited, so they are buying books one by one. Personally, I used to be scrambling for $2.99 books, using everyone's credit card in my family. I was the avid reader without the appropriate funds. I'd push my pride aside to ask for a few bucks to support my reading habit and my favorite author in the process. Think about them... too.
The only way to deliver content in a manner that resonates well with your audience is to find out who they are, and what they have going on.
Let's take well represented authors into consideration... Think about their release pattern.
Takerra Allen, take a look at how often she releases, and the response she gains from her releases.
Ivy Simone, how often does she release, and tell me how thirsty her readers are when she does.
Chenell Parker, check out the proximity of her release dates.
Love Belvin, is she releasing every other week?
Another thing that the authors above have in common is well-developed storylines. The time in between their books is required, mainly because they like to connect with their characters and perfect their storyline. In my opinion, if you're spitting out books like rapid fire, either the character development or the storyline is underdeveloped -or the book is just plain short (another reason you're losing coins). A book a month is pretty good consistency. Anything sooner, please reconsider.
2. Bribing Readers
Geez, this is a tricky one. Of course you want to reward your readers for rocking with you, but if you're on the giveaway tip for every detail of your book process, then you're doing it all wrong. Don't ever give too freely, because some readers will begin to only ride with you when you're giving. Others will grow to always expect something in return for their support/prior addiction to reading. Be mindful of why and what you are giving away!
3. Collaborations + Anthologies
I know. I know. You're ready to click off, because you have collaborated or are apart of an anthology. Hear me out. I, once, collaborated, too. Honestly, I didn't know what the hell I was doing, and why I did it, but I don't regret it. Never regret a lesson.
Collaborations aren't the problem, who, how, and why you're collaborating is. Collaborating should always be used as some type of leverage. Always. That's on both/all parties ends. Collaborating for fun isn't an option when coins are involved. There has to be another reason. Always.
Here are some of the reasons you should not collaborate.
- The person you're collaborating with is not of value to you and vice versa.
- Your writing styles are not compatible.
- You have yet to establish your own. What's collaborating going to do for you?
- You are just another name amongst many others. (anthologies)
- You did not properly research your partners reach, goals, or morals. Do they align with yours?
- Your drive is on a much different level than who you're collaborating with.
- You have much different audience members.
- You don't know what you're getting yourself into.
- You haven't decided on what you want to gain from the collaboration.
I see collaborations falling out of the sky, and I wonder who some of the people even are on the covers as authors... That's a problem. Let's say that a huge author collaborates with an authors that's suffering in the industry. While the less noted author will gain a hell of a lot of readers in return, plus notoriety, what did the huge author gain? A check, split amongst the two of them... maybe three or four depending on if they have a publisher and are with a sub-company? Get where I am going here?
There have to be balance in a collaboration, where both parties are benefiting. That bigger author could've been rewarded more money by writing a book on their own. In return, they didn't gain anything in that release, but loss coins. That's not fair, in my opinion! Whereas, if they collaborated with an author of the same caliber, they could've joined forces, tore the charts down, gained an amble amount of coin, and new readers from the other highly noted author of the industry.
Example: Christina C Jones and Love Belvin collaborated. They wrote a series, and guess what? They are two separate books. The collab consist of a book from either of them. No one tapped into anyone's money, and they both came out victorious because writing styles weren't meshed... Readers were gained... and a lot of other accomplishments I am sure of.
4. Writing solely for funds.
If I had a dollar for the amount of authors I come across asking if I offer signing bonuses. Little baby, you've got to enjoy writing at least, or else you're just picking up another job. Who wants to feel like they're slaving, not me! The minute writing becomes a JOB in EVERY sense of the word is the day that I QUIT!
5. Neglecting to brand.
Branding, too, is a part of being an author. Can you believe the amount of authors without a headshot, website, business cards, and other obvious necessities of creating a brand worth remembering? Seriously.
Become who you want to be 10 years from now, today. There's no point in waiting. Everyday, you need to strive to resemble the person you want to be in the future.
It is important that you become someone other than a pen pusher sitting behind your desk with no type of uniqueness behind your name.
Ways/Things used to brand yourself as an author:
- Social Media Profiles
- Facebook Business Page
- Professional Photos
- Speaking Engagements
- Book Signings
- Web Series
Did you know that I created a list over over 300 character names for you to chose from?
6. Signing dead-end publishing contracts.
Geez. I could go on. When signing a publishing contract, instead of thinking short term, please consider your future. Many times authors jump from one publisher to another because of what they feel the publisher can do for them, but what about what you can do for your damn self? You're grown...
The last thing you want to be labelled as is... "That author that's signed to such and such."
Here are some things to consider when signing to a publisher.
- Does the publisher have your best interest at heart, or are you just another name on the roaster? Have you guys came up with a personal strategy to get you ahead of wherever you are now? Have you expressed your concerns, and mapped out how you're going to overcome them while under their wing?
- Do we have the same beliefs and goals for my career as an author? Is your publisher someone that you admire, and why? What is it about this team that made you want to sign?
- Do you share the same genre or have the same audience analysis? Many times authors sign to publishers without taking into account that once you sign to this publisher, you have signed to their audience as well. You haven't brought one with you (if so, you wouldn't have signed), so are you pleased with the crowd they cater to? Does it fit your writing style?
- Are we compatible, personally and business-wise? Sometimes, the work ethic can be there because of the greed. However, people can be very ugly creatures in private. Don't just go signing. Ask around to see how publishers REALLY are. Ask former and current authors who have been with them for lengths of time.
- What is my percentage of royalties?
- How much time do I have to review the contract?
- Am I able to release books on my own in addition to the contract?
- How long will I be under contract?
- If things don't work out, how will my royalties be handled and will I get my books back?
- Is independent publishing something that I can do? (My answer, YES!)
Following me on Twitter?
7. Not Supporting Other Authors
Connections are the root to success. Don't debate me. Debate your mother. (just kidding... a little). Come out of your shell, and mingle with authors who have the same agenda as you. Connect with others that you can bring value to and vice versa. The saying that implies we're more forceful together than apart is correct in this case.
Share links, it only takes a second. Congratulate others on their accomplishments. Read other's work. Show genuine interest in your fellow authors. The support will be returned, and you'll be introduced to their reader base by default. This opens a chance for you to capture their audience and bring them along your team as well.
Let's take ME for an example. I spend hours writing blogs such as the one you are reading now. Authors pile in to read the helpful info, yet skip this vital step... won't spend a second sharing a cover or link of mine. It's so confusing. *laughs*
8. Refusing to Invest In Your Craft
Authors don't seem to see a point in investing when the bulk of them should, whether it is for graphics, development courses, writing courses, editing, proofing, formatting, and so forth. I, personally, have a plethora of products and services that one could benefit from, but most often it's a tug of war to get authors to invest. Less than $100 with ME, and many others, can reward you with at least triple the amount if you just follow the proper steps.
Example, The Mercy Method is only $45, and will help you write 4 stories. Let's say you make $500 off each story that you wrote. That's $2,000. Your investment has been returned with crazy profits.
9. Substituting Quality for quantity.
There are many ways this can be spun.
Books, don't substitute the quality of your writing to produce more. It's not worth it. Your readers will be waiting on you, regardless, so take your time and make sure you're producing quality work.
Graphics + Covers
"Don't be cheap. Invest in quality, not quantity. The entire package matters in the end, even when it seems as if it doesn't. You want to look the part when it's time to play the part. Steer clear of trashy, LOW QUALITY graphics that are not aligned with the goals that you're attempting to reach. I can't stress this enough. Luckily, I make my own graphics, other than my Urban Romance covers. Brittani Williams makes the complicated covers that I can't, while I create my Romance covers. Graphics, they're all done by me.
Many have the excuse of not having the funds to invest in high quality graphics, but excuses are assholes... Everyone has them. Babies don't come out of the p*ssy walking, but they learn, right? Exactly. If you can't afford expensive graphics, then I suggest you utilize the many FREE graphic design websites such as Canva and PicMonkey and learn to create your own."
10. Relying on the industry to build YOUR confidence.
You have to be confident in yourself. Don't let the charts, the people around your, or the messiness of any field fog your vision or cause you to forget why it was that you started. Often times, we get caught up in the hype, feeling as if we're not doing enough because we aren't doing what others are. That's the quickest way to kill your career as a writer -comparison. You're not like them, and they are not like you. That's your weapon, so use it to the best of your ability.
11. Writing Short Books.
Girl, you tried it. We all know that Amazon pays by the page read if readers aren't purchasing the books right out. Lights should be going off in your head. Write longer books, and you will be more prone to bigger payouts and better chart positions.
12. Not giving Sneak Peeks, Teasers, and More
Give your readers something to look forward to. Let them know what they're in store for. Drive their anticipation levels up the wall! Give them just enough to peak their interest, and then leave them hanging. Sorry. That's just the way it works. When choosing sneak peeks, think of the movie trailers, and how they play with our emotions.
On your amazing website, tap off a spot for your readers to grab a glass of wine and indulge in snippets of your upcoming releases. I used to send sneak peeks through emails, and discovered that it wasn't anything to hold on to. That's when I had just started up until I realized I needed something more solid... tangible... something readers could return to or new readers could always find.
EX. If I send out a sneak peek through email in May for my upcoming release, and then get at least 200 new subscribers and readers within a few months... The new 200 will not have access to the sneak peek I sent out months prior. Gosh darn. being that they are new, they probably haven't read my past releases. Now, I don't really have the chance to entice them with sneak peeks, because they're already sent out.
If I only post sneak peeks on my website, at any given time readers can view them. New readers can sift through my collection of sneak peeks and discover new stories that they never knew existed. They'll be just as interested as when I first posted it for readers that I had already acquired at the time it was released.
Lastly, the readers have a chance to leave responses, likes and comments. By others seeing these responses, you have a more heightened level of interest. They want to know what the raving is about.
13. Neglecting to use social media as leverage.
Social media is FREE for the most part. Please use it! Here is a guide on how you can start branding yourself right now using social media and other forms of branding.
14. Not being consistent in delivering content.
15. Not connecting with Readers as often as you should.
16. Worrying about everybody but yourself.
17. Sticking with your publisher, when Indie is probably the route you're ready to take.
18. Straying away from your flaws rather than embracing and overcoming them.
19. Not saving to prepare for independency.
Please, don't forget to comment and share. Blessings.