Sun | Jun 20, 2021

10 ways authors sabotage their books' success

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Authors go through a roller coaster ride from writing to marketing their books. When the book is published and ready to launch, they may see a rise in sales and then a sudden drop, to start the process of building sales all over again. Unknowingly, authors sabotage the success of their books by their own actions. Here are the top 10 sabotagers that were discussed in a free teleseminar I held recently. Feel free to share or ask a question via email to:

10. No online media kit

An online media kit is a collection of information about you and your book compiled specifically for the media and your readers. Not having one reduces your value, credibility and, just as important, visibility for your book.

9. No database of potential customers

Who are you going to sell yourself and your book to, if you do not have a list of persons subscribed or opted into a list? Many online marketers have realised that the conversion rate of using that list increases over time. Offer something of perceived high value to your online visitors, nurture the relationships and you will see your conversion to sales increase over time.

8. No testimonial or endorsements

A testimonial is a personal recommendation either from a friend, family member or reader of your book. An endorsement comes from someone in authority, a known expert on the topic, a public figure who is recognised and who is willing to put his or her "stamp" of approval on your book. Having an endorsement and testimonial will add even greater value to your book in the eyes of the reader and your target audience and thus increase your sales.

7. Do you judge a book by its cover?

The cover determines everything! That's the only thing a buyer sees to determine whether they will look at or purchase your book, and if you decided on traditional publishing and you have a hardcover book with a jacket for posterity, you have them sold.

6. No clear positioning or platform

A platform in this case, refers to your hub of activity, from where you can relate to your audience and generate sales. This is normally a website supported by social networks - Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. An author's website should not be confused with any ordinary website. There are specific features it must possess for the site to be functional and convert to sales.

5. No index

Specific to non-fiction authors, an index is found at the end of the manuscript. It's like the keyword search for exactly where to go in the book to find more information. Want to make things easier for a reader? Then this is a MUST. Traditional publishers will ignore your book if this is not included and not done well.

4. Inadequate editing and peer review

This is a critical step and sometimes an ignored or overlooked step in the writing stage. That WILL cost you! Editing and peer reviews will allow for errors to be picked up and feedback to be given. Invest in getting a professional editor and seek advice from your fellow authors and writers in your genre.

3. Confusing the reader with an unclear message

Here again, the point of knowing your target audience is relevant. How do you know what your audience wants to hear? And if they do, how do you know, how best they want to hear it? Are you speaking their language? And have you structured your thoughts in a manner they can follow? Knowing your target audience is crucial.

2. Writing for yourself and not your audience

While you may have a burning passion to share your thoughts and experiences with the world, is there an audience out there ready to hear you? Don't make this common mistake and be disappointed in the end when sales are not going the way you expected. Research your target audience and what your market needs.

1. No book development, publishing and marketing plan

Plan first. If you want to be successful and considered as an expert in your field, then you need to plan. Introduce your audience to your writing early on to determine whether they appreciate your writing. Find an appropriate space to share and invite others to follow you. Doing this will create a ready market and audience that will become your fans who would be willing to provide you with the necessary testimonials and endorsements

Interested in the event replay? Go to this link to get instant access

In the next instalment, I will feature an article on '5 Ways to create your own eBook'.

Corine La Font is a certified author assistant and online book marketing specialist. She can be reached at or or visit her website at