Cindy Bates is a freelance writer and blogger. She has kindly shared with me this guest post, on some mistakes made by new new authors. Aaand… take it Cindy! 🙂

The 10 Biggest Mistakes New Authors Make

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Have you brushed your teeth? Washed your hands? Proofread your book?

New authors are going to make newbie mistakes–it is only natural. But, a lot of them can be avoided by simply reading articles like this one. Most of the mistakes an author makes are ones that he or she can live without. Sure, they are learning experiences, but you can learn them from articles and save yourself a lot of struggling.

1 – Writing to be a success or to earn big money

You think you can take up writing in order to become successful or to earn big money? To quote the fates, “Ha…Ha…Ha…” Fame and success happen by accident. Sure, you can tip the scales in your favor such as writing ten pages per day, every day, like Stephen King does (even on holidays), but otherwise your success is based on luck 95% of the time. It just depends on the thing you are writing being particularly popular at a certain time or it having a particular effect on a publisher as explained to him by his secretary’s assistant’s clip notes.

2 – Not proofreading your work

It is horrible to think that you have just written a massive piece of work and now you have to proofread it. Some people will give it a half-hearted go, others will just read the text (which is not good enough), and some people will only run a spelling and grammar checker. None of these are good enough—you need to go over your work with a fine toothcomb.

3 – Being cheap with a proofreader

You may not have much money as a new author, but if you want something published then you need a good proofreader. A cheap proofreader will miss things because he or she cannot afford to spend a lot of time on it.

4 – Trying to write with a voice that isn’t your own

For example, a person may imagine they are writing their words in the lyrical voice of a Shakespeare play, or a Stephen King movie. The trouble is that the style soon reverts back to the writer’s real style because it is difficult to keep up something like that.

5 – Not having recommendations from other authors

You are not going to get your book published unless you have a recommendation from a published author or unless you know someone in the publishing business. You need to get recommendations from other authors before a publisher or agent will even hear you. The more popular the author is, the more chance their recommendation gets you a “sit down” with a publisher.

6 – Trying to get recommendations from other authors

“Ha, ha, ha.” Get used to that sound because if you want to be an author, then you are going to hear it a lot (maybe you should write comedy books). Real authors are asked for recommendations all the time and they just ignore people or tell them to “go off” (I cleaned that up for you). At the very most, you can send them your book that is printed and made into a proper book with a note telling them it is a free book and if they ever read it that you would appreciate some feedback. If they give positive feedback then you can take that to an agent or a publisher if the author agrees to it.

7 – Writing more in order to get more money

This is called fluffing up a word count and it means adding in words and sentences to increase the word count for more money. It lowers the quality of your work and will only help you lose clients.

8 – Using words they do not understand

There are times when a word sounds like it will fit into a sentence very well, even though you as the writer do not understand what it means. This almost always makes the sentence and paragraph confusing.

9 – Switching from first, second and third person

It is up to the writer to stick with a style. The proofreader/editor should be looking out for this sort of thing too.

10 – Applying to be published without ever having written a book

There are many people that want their book on the shelves right now, so they will crank out a book and send it to an agent and a publisher expecting a good response. They often get no response or a straight rejection. You need to have written a few books and have refined your style before you go for publishing. You also need to keep going back to your older books and changing and fixing them as you grow as a writer. This will make your older books more valuable than the ones you just wrote. The older books you wrote (the ones you did first) will have had more refinements and will read a little better.

About the author:

Cindy Bates works at as the freelance writer and blogger. She used to write and shares her experience and knowledge in the educational sphere.

Thank you Cindy for sharing with us! People, don’t forget that, for a few more days, The Power of Six will be on sale. Read seven short sci-fi stories for only 99c!