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Three Self-Published Author Mistakes that Hinder Financial Success

While we can learn from our mistakes, we don’t have to. In life, we don’t know what we don’t know, and most authors do not know the book business in order to make their books attract a strong fan club and sell well. If an author just writes without a strategy, without professional help at the beginning instead of an edit at the very end, she’ll miss out on getting fan help and the sales she really expects.

It’s such a disappointment to go to all that work and then not make more than 150 sales.

Take this Reality Check and Avoid These 3 Mistakes

Mistake 1. You don’t know your book’s “9 hot selling points.”

Before you write your book, your blog, your website, your higher cost home study courses, and your trainings.

Pre-marketing strategies (9 Hot-Selling Points) make your book financially successful the minute you publish. This part of your book almost guarantees your book sales. Authors need to know them and write them before they write the book.

They include your…

  • book title
  • book thesis
  • preferred audience
  • testimonials
  • and 5-10 benefits of your book or other products or services

For every book and email promotion to your subscribers and fans, you need to include 5-7 benefit statements. Not just two words, like “save money, “, but start with a command verb such as “discover,” “see,” or “feel.” Engage your readers and give them enough information that they’ll want to buy your book. Give them reasons to buy – much more powerful than features such – tips, stories, # of pages, and quotes.

Mistake 2. You don’t know your primary audience before your write your book.

Most book coaching clients come with a laundry list of all their interests and projects. My job is to get them to let go on the non money makers and focus on what will bring them the fans and sales they deserve. Even when a client swears he is committed, you’d be surprised at the stories I hear so they won’t have to move forward, finish, and make money. With gentle persuasions, they see the “light” and trust that a 25-year book coach knows. What makes a great book and what strategies one needs to market it and create themselves as a leader in their field – even with big competition.

One recent client said in meeting one, “But I have a lot of different audiences, not just one!”

Yes, and you need to focus on one at a time, the best primary audience, and after you establish sales with this one, you create marketing for the other groups. Most authors don’t realize that it’s the kiss of death when you write a general book aimed at several audiences. They won’t appreciate it because they don’t think you really care about them individually. That was tough even with the Chicken Soup series. Their specific titles sold better than the original one over the years.

My advice, “Write a Series of Short Books aimed at one audience per book.”

The short ebook is the answer! You can now write an ebook for each audience and sell a lot more books this way too. Write a series of them and blog about each one – giving useful information in both the book and the blog. The ebook and the blog are a marriage made in heaven. Each markets the other.

Mistake 3. You didn’t do a reality check on your book before you wrote it.

You have an idea you love, you start writing what you know, maybe an outline.

Yes, have fun writing, yet…

Think what do my readers want? Do they have concerns, challenges, or problems about a topic? Yes, like me, you know too much about your topic and your writing shows it. You tell; you lecture; you report. Your audience just wants answers and solutions to their problems!

If you don’t consider your audience’s wants, your chapters will be dull, ordinary, and not engage them. The consequence of this is that they won’t finish your chapters. If they don’t finish your chapters, they won’t become your 24/7 fans and sales team. Remember, you also want strong testimonials and reviews for your book. Word of mouth still accounts for a lot for a book’s success.

Sharing is Caring!

What did you learn that was new to you in this blog? Share that here and ask questions to help me help you.

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About the Author, Judy Cullins

Book and Blog Coach Judy Cullins helps you gain confidence and transform your ideas into life-long money-making content. Author of 14 books for business people and authors include “Write your eBook or Other Short Book–Fast!”Judy offers free, up-to-the minute weekly publications on book and blog writing and online marketing at

*You are welcome to reprint this article provided the above bio is included.

Published by Judy Cullins

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  • Zamboni

    I enjoyed reading your counsel, and will certainly take it into consideration.

    I have written about 40,000 words about my time in what most people would call a Christian cult. I was 19 at the time, spent about 2 years in the group in Italy, and I am now 56. I had been meaning to write about this forever, and finally got around to putting something down this last summer. The twist is this – I had a great time in the group, I wasn’t exploited or abused, and I consider those two years some of the happiest and most fulfulling of my life.

    I don’t want to bore people, however, and I would like to publish the story in sections.

    So – my question: How long is a short ebook?

    Thanks for your help.

  • PJ Rogers

    This is great advice. I will be reading your posts from now on. I am presently writing for children, “Grandma’s Magic Peaches” is published on kindle and I have five more in the series to finish before there is enough to go into print,but I have an inspirational book in the works and I am taking to heart what you have written.
    thanks, pj

  • Sheila Brodhead

    great suggestions — especially the 5-10 benefits- I have never really thought about this aspect of marketing my book — I’m going to use it!

    Sheila Brodhead

  • http://peat Keith Jahans

    I agree with your advice but like to add that the biggest mistake a self publishing author can make is to order too many copies of a new book. Nowadays you can order as few as one. I never order any more than 20 unless I am sure that I can sell them all.

  • Timothy McKeown

    I am in the early stages of publishing some of my works so thanks for your insights.

  • M Prabhakara Rao

    It was a wonderful experience to read this article. Very good counsels on how to write an eBook that is marketable without hitches. Please advise me on the length of an eBook wrt number of pages or words an ideal eBook should have!

  • Judy Cullins

    Zmboni, Thanks for your thoughts. Your book will be a good balance for the negative approaches.I wish you well on its progress and glad to have you here.

  • Judy Cullins

    PJ, Glad you got value here. Of course you are marketing to parents of children, so you need to reach them online.

  • Judy Cullins

    Shiela, Thanks for leaaving your title. So many people have sleep apnea and suffer. Is it a how to book?

  • Judy Cullins

    Keith, Thanks for leaving your tip on not printing many copies. I agree 100%.

  • Judy Cullins

    Timothy, Thanks for stopping by. It’s good to get help early one before you make all those mistakes!

  • http://Donningtoncat.wordpress Henrietta Benjamin

    Sounds Good, as you say we can learn from others, especially their mistakes.
    I have just self published my first in a series of childrens books. “Donningtons Reef” is now out on Authorhouse and amazon… Its getting the message out that takes up the energy, but in the end it will be worth it.Thanks for the advise…

  • Judy Cullins

    Henrietta, Glad you got value from this blog post. Yes, marketing and getting the word out takes at least double the time you spent writing the book.

    Most authors want to get somone elee to do the marketing and that’s not the answer. I suggest you get some marketing coaching. See my page on that at

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