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What Are Some Common Self-Publishing Mistakes Made by Authors?

Updated on July 6, 2016

Self-Publishing Your Book

You want to become a published author and you want to publish your own books. You've made great progress in publishing books, you've written your manuscript, and had it edited by several editors, and you've rewritten it, and nothing happens. You get worried, and begin to see visions of money or some money disappear.

You've gone and rewritten some more and gone to some writing classes, either in person or in an online writing class, you've taken the suggestions of others, and still nothing. you've sent out more paper to literary agents, and publishers, and politely speaking the answer is nothing or no. So more money and more tips and more money spent to get this book published.

So, you are sitting in front of your computer wondering what is wrong. I can only say that there is really about 5 things that are so common that make a no. Publishing a book is easy, it is, and there are so many options, but here are a few tips to help. One thing no matter which route you decide to publish is is this: this is a business and the publishing business is like no other. It is a bsuiness but a special sort of business.

the art and tips of the pen and ink.
the art and tips of the pen and ink.

Who Are You Publishing For?

Not knowing who this book is for:This is basic marketing, and believe me I get this all the time. Someone writes a book, say a mystery or a romance, and they will say in their query letter that the book will be published for "everyone" since it has everything there-- romance, mystery whatever you name it. Would you as a business person not know who to market for? Be it online marketing or traditional marketing?

Sorry, publishing a book needs to be a bit more focused than this. A publisher and marketeer want to sell books, and they need some help. You. If you can't tell them where this book will sell, they won't say yes.

Which sadly is why self-publishing companies, or vanity presses more specifically, love these people, since at some point after not knowing who the book is for, or have expectations that are more realistic, they will spend money, sometimes a lot of money, on marketing.

So who is your book for? Answer this simple question and you'll have a better book and a better knowledge of your audience, and the publishing industry. You'll also enjoy the experience of publishing and making money more in this business.

Follow some quotes on writing
Follow some quotes on writing
write and then edit
write and then edit
then do it again
then do it again

Not Understanding Publishing in General: When you write a hub, or any online article and publish it, you are self-publishing that article, when you write a blog, your self-publishing it. If you then want to publish in a traditional way you don't want to say you are a book publishing author. The fact is you are a writer, of some skill and of some success, but you haven't published a book, and if you have published your blog in a book format it is still self-published (unless it is by a small traditional publishing house.)

You aren't a published author. That is something different.

You work, say freelance, as people in general will come and if they like your writing, will "click on" an ad, and give you money. Do this a lot and you have a bit of extra money. Got that?

Same as saying to people that your are a published author, if you paid for the services and it is good, the correct term is self-published. many good authors have done this but until you are proven to be a good writer, don't inflate the ego, in the publishing industry there is a bit of learning that takes place. Accept this.

Not that you aren't a writer of talent and success, you simply aren't a published author.

Saying You Are Better than a "big name": Okay big one, big one, never never ever say you are going to be bigger than "the author of Carrie" or "the author of Harry Potter" this is bad, very bad. It's akin to saying you know a lot about say, publishing and asking basic questions.  And if you do begin to ask basic questions after making said statement, well, you get the idea.

Or here on hubpages, saying you know more than what you think you know. By the way, it's bad taste to even suggest you are bigger than some, it's foot over mind in this case. If you are that big your sales will prove it. So will your fans.

Until then not such a great idea. Mimic them yes, don't copy them, and write your finest book you can possibly write. That will help.

Now, of course unless you get as successful with a book as say Harry Potter or Carrie or Hitchhikers Guide... then you can say that.  To your future success, but that doesn't come until after you've proven yourself.

 

Publishing and Types of PublIshing

Saying that since you've had success in one type of publishing and therefore...: This is another biggie, I mean yes you've had success in one type of publishing area, say self-publishing or in traditional publishing or on e-books. This doesn't mean that the others won't work for you. Yes you have tried but this might be the cause of all the problems with publishing...

The type of publishing you do might not work for an other author.

I'll liken it to people saying self-publishing is better because they never got a good sale from the traditional sources, but now they are making money with self-publishing. I ask them what did you publish?

Often it is how to books, and the "for dummies" have the market on that one! or cookbooks or anything like that.. if your name ends with "child" you might have success, but even then, self-publishing is best with certain books.

Same as with Traditional publsihing it is better for some types of books fiction in particular, but it isn't all that great either. Little money long hours, and editors, and marketing and everything else in between.

There are drawbacks to both, but can you say them with an idea towards how to sell your book to make a profit?

People, writers, really shouldn't

See results
twenty dollars can mean going over the rainbow and
twenty dollars can mean going over the rainbow and
money
money

Last but not least:

Not knowing why you are writing: See, most people talk about when they write, or how they write, or who they write for, or where they write.

Can you tell me in twenty words or less why you write?

Looks easy but twenty words, and put it into a query letter, or in a published book. Not so easy, because we as writers in a sense fear the why of writing. for some it's the admission that they write for money or that they write because they want some success, or they write because they have something to prove.

Why is important, if you can say why you are writing things will fall into place a lot faster. My mentor and friend told me this why she writes " I write to share knowledge and to make money doing it."

The first part was easy to digest the second not so much, and it is twenty words or less. But according to her, when the second part came out her success with sales went sky high. Why? because she told her publishers that she wanted to make money for herself and them. They helped her thankfully.

Yes you can add passion and power and writing and enjoyment, but you need to be honest to yourself and to others. Why you write and want to publish a book is far more valuable than all the rest.

So there you have it the five most common mistakes I find in publishing, some of course are easier to fix than other and some are a bit harder all will ensure continued success in this business of writing and publishing.

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    • Kukata Kali profile image

      Kukata Kali 3 years ago

      Thank you, I've been struggling with all of this. My book is about being human. I really do think it's for everybody. I'm having a hard time with the "basic marketing". Great expression of your own experience, enjoyed it.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

      James-- I'll have to go back and fix that part of this hub, thanks for bringing that up here.

    • profile image

      James 5 years ago

      I read this earlier- but you've got some key elements in this hub. Did you ever publish a book or not? (I know you did- but it would help by adding that part!)

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      jeremiah-- take all of it and work hard, and publish something of great quality.

    • jeremiahjpwalton profile image

      Jeremiah Walton 6 years ago from New England

      Great hub! Very useful read! I'm self publishing and just learning the ropes. I'm going to learn from my mistakes as I proceed in the process of publication.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      htodd-- happy to help.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 6 years ago from United States

      Great post...Thanks

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Samasons1-- thanks, it's a gong show some days, but you really need to give it your best.... I still find mistakes on my work even now.

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 6 years ago from Tennessee

      Well written and informative. Good info, rated Up and Useful! Thanks for the 'tid-bits' I need to work on...

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      John-- I would go with self-publishers, and the reason for that is that it is possible to make money with your self-published work, provided you market it correctly.

    • profile image

      John 6 years ago

      Interesting view, now with the publishers going bankrupt would you go for self-publsihing? Why or why not?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Charles- I can't wait! I shall certainly go and look at yoru hubs!

    • Charles James profile image

      Charles James 6 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      "Guide to Packaging and Labelling Law 2011" - out towards the end of February. I have written hubs you might enjoy about the process of production and the marketing strategy.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      Charles-- good to hear, tell me when it comes out, love to know the title

    • Charles James profile image

      Charles James 6 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      I am just about to publish my first book, and I have found this and other Rebecca E pieces enormously helpful.

      Thank you

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      Jed-- love that! great work, and so true!

    • Jed Fisher profile image

      Jed Fisher 7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Why I write in 20 words or less?

      "I write because I feel an obligation to give something back for all the benefit I have received from reading."

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      bagbrian-- keep on writing and building and think of your online work as being a self-publsihed work and things will go better.

    • hagbrian1133 profile image

      hagbrian1133 7 years ago from North Carolina

      I enjoyed reading this hub. I found it very helpful. It has given me a better understanding about getting published and being published.Thank you.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      Eiddwen-- good for you, sharing is important and I value that you took the time to come and read this hub, blessings to you.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 7 years ago from Wales

      I found this hub so useful and well thought out. I am pretty new to sharing my writing and hubs such as these are priceless. I am bookmarking it so I have got it on hand when I need to check it out. I will also give it a useful and vote it up. Thank you so much for sharing . Take care.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      majalah--- write what you love first and formost, and also write a bit on market , but it might not be profitable in the long run

    • profile image

      majalah 7 years ago

      Hi Rebecca,

      Which one is better, write base on topic that we love or write base on market demand (profitable)

      -Andy Majalah

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      james-- yes I find that these are, thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      James 7 years ago

      yes all the common mistakes are here. Informative.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      celticmelody-- yes tehre is also an element of fear, but really it is quite fun. But you need to think like business. But I never thought of poetry!

      Yes that is what i found about tradional publsihign as well i thought I was the only one!

    • profile image

      celticmelody 7 years ago from Chicago IL

      Rebecca E: Great hub! When we decide to self publish, we in effect become our own business. And, that means we need to start thinking like a business owner. Asking, "Who is my audience? How do I want to help them?" is important to getting your work out there.

      I write because I HAVE to get it out. But, I also want to be heard. Call me narcissistic if you want. I say a little narcissism never hurt anybody.

      A person who self publishes poetry can still benefit from asking these questions. A poet should ask themselves, "Do my poems have a common there that some organization or group might identify with?"

      One thing I learned shopping around my own book to traditional publishers is that, in today's world, authors will be expected to do alot of their own marketing even if they are "traditionally" published. So, even if someone goes the "traditional" route, be prepared to do your own marketing.

      Kim

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      parrster--- That happens often as well, the slush pile, or the reasearch or even whatever... I'll definitely take a look at your work however.

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 7 years ago from Oz

      Hmm, food for my writers thoughts. Except, I think I've done these things already and still get rejected... except the vanity publishers of course, they won't stop sending me emails.

      To a tee almost every response has been, "we are not taking on new authors at the present time" (this from literary agents as well as publishers *sigh*).

      I think the stories are publishable (good even).

      Check them out if you want

      https://hubpages.com/literature/Terrors-Child-part

      https://hubpages.com/literature/Truth-To-Tell

      Good hub though, thanks.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      diedraholley-- thanks for stopping by and giving such a wonderful comment. I am so glad things worked out for you, and that you know why you are writing, it's great to read about the sort of success you are having. I hope your book does well, to your success, please tell me how it goes.

      Fiction should be exciting as well.

    • diedraholley profile image

      diedraholley 7 years ago from Killeen, TX

      Thanks so much for sharing this. Luckily, when I started writing my first book, I knew exactly why I was writing it, and who I was writing it for.

      I found it a little funny, you talked about self-publishers and how-to books. My first book is a how-to, and I did indeed self-publish it. I was horribly intimidated by the whole process of the book proposal (which I didn't even know about until after I finished the book), and the agents, the publishing houses and all that was involved. I had a gut feeling that my book just couldn't wait for a traditional publisher. Something told me the perfect time for my book to come out was the beginning of March, this year. Self-publishing was the only way to do that (because I finished my final polishing in early December) was to self-publish. I am in the final stages before the book is released, right on time, early March. I hope it does well.

      Strangely enough, right after I got the publishing process started on that book, I started a fiction book. Again, luckily, I know why I am writing it and who I am writing it for. I plan on this book going the way of the traditional publisher.

      I will keep your words in mind as I start querying agents, which I admit, is still terribly intimidating for me. Thank you for sharing.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      perrya--- Oh wonderful can you tell me the title, the Russian Civil war is one of my most favorite niche topics! yes one year for everything sounds about right.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 7 years ago

      Actually, I have had three books published professionally, all are available frm BN, Amazon. It was quite easy. I chose a niche market, military history. I wrote my first on the Russian Civil war, 400 pages. Sent an email to two publishers, both responded within days to read the manuscript. Both did, one rejected it, the other sent me a contract. That was in 2001 by Schiffer books, an impressive hardbound book. My two other books followed a similar path both published by Helion books in the UK.

      The lesson is: find a niche market that you love to write about. Find a topic seldom ever written about. Look for publishers and see what they have published and choose the ones that have not published something that you have written about. Don't expect to get rich off the publication. Allow at least a year from the time a publisher accepts your work to publication.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      Immartin-- thanks for coming by, yes it is so true it keeps going all the time, fiction unless of course you've got a two book contract is this way. Thanks for the comment. Good luck on your publishing goals and to your publishing success.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      An excellent hub full of necessary information for all those looking at publishing and the publishing industry. Good job. I am once more into the fray myself as I query, query on my second novel. And for those who think it is a problem only the first time around -- it isn't. Each work, especially in fiction means starting from the beginning.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      insearchof truth-- thanks for coming by and I hope it helps you a bit more. thanks for the comment.

    • insearchof truth profile image

      Josie Adams 7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for that, some great real advice tah.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      online scam check-- thanks for stoping by and commenting. I wish you success in the publishing world!

    • online scam check profile image

      online scam check 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good points on getting published.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      AdamGD-- should be up today or tomorrow.

    • profile image

      AdamGD 7 years ago

      I look forward to reading it

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      AdamGD-- I'l be doing a hub about this again with you in mind!

    • profile image

      AdamGD 7 years ago

      Awesome, thanks

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      AdamGD-- yes I have Two one is writers Market which gives an idea where you can seel certain books, this helps in terms of knowing if you can seel a manuscript to a traditional publisher, and I also use my networks, friends people I know and ask them what they like. It is sort of informal, but both have help a lot. The last thing is looking at google and typing in the subject I want to write about. Slower but it also helps.

    • profile image

      AdamGD 7 years ago

      Are there tools available for figuring out different markets and their expectations?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      AdamGD-- I do both actually I indentify a niche market first, mostly to see if I should go the tradional publishing route or the self-publishing route. After writing I do it again, and figure out if my market of readers could be expanded.

    • profile image

      AdamGD 7 years ago

      Should you identify what market you are writing for prior to writing the book or after?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      vannarith--- thanks for the comment, but it is the download part that makes it a tough niche to write on.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      tim-tim--- thanks for stopping by and making the comment it makes my day knowing you've bookmarked this.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Great hub. Need to take some time to read it but I will bookmark it. Thanks:)

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      James-- thanks for the comment, and I agree sometimes we just do.

    • profile image

      James 7 years ago

      I suppose anyone can make these mistakes, and it is hard not to. thanks for the suggestions.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      MightyMom--- send me an email, I might be able to help you =)

      yes marketing and publishing are two very different things. I am gald you enjoyed this and took the time to comment.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Rebecca -- Wanna be my agent? Seriously, this is a very practical hub. Being a good writer and being a good self-marketer of your writing are not necessarily the same!

      Thanks for sharing what you know. MM

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      Duchess-- my twenty words is this "To educate with my writing and to be profitable with it, to educate more"

      my big thing is education and helping others, so if I want to do this I need to be able to focus on it, so a profit no matter how small, will allow me to continue to write.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      Once again Rebecca_E, a great article. I have to come up with that 20 word reason why I write. You are right, it's not easy to come up with. What is yours if I might ask?

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      Pure--- thanks so much for commenting on this hub. Great to have you here.

      Petra Vlah--- thanks for the comment glad to see you back!

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      As usual very good information Rebecca, thank you.

    • profile image

      Pure 7 years ago

      These are fantastic!! Thanks for sharing.

      great dear. it is very inspiring.I'm very happy you enjoyed reading this. I enjoy your hubs a great deal, so consider that quite a compliment.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      s0126pheonix-- I hope it helps thanks for the comment.

    • s0126phoenix profile image

      s0126phoenix 7 years ago

      good info. i will make sure to keep this in mind as i write.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      uliveulearn--- it's not as complex as one may think, thanks for writing the comment

      Amez-- glad that I have been able to help you once again, I'll take you up on your offer.

    • Amez profile image

      Amez 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Ok Rebecca, you must be psychic, sense I'm actually spent the last few weeks, trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong, with my Hubs, I've got 535 Hits, on 10 Hubs, but only 17 Comments, I'm missing something in how I present my material, I'm hope my next one on Coney Island is going to fair better. If you find a few moments and wander over to take a look one at mine, you might give me afew pointers. Thanks again I enjoyed your Hub especially when one of your Comments said my major fear, I won't ever know how good I really was, till after I'm sitting over my love ones on the edge of a cloud. Ed

    • uliveulearn profile image

      uliveulearn 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for breaking this info down for me in an easy to understand manner. As a beginner in the area of writing, I have much to learn but enjoying the journey ever so slowly.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      J Rosewater--- once again an excellent point about publishing then and now. What is the title of you book?

      Laura in Denver-- yes e-books have that problem, i doubt it will be fixed anytime soon, but self-publishing or pay to print, or print on demand, has some advantages for cetain types of books. Target, as you said, is the key.

    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 7 years ago from Aurora

      Thanks for bringing up important points. There is a huge variety of ways to publish including e-books on a particular topic, which could be the cheapest, however may have the greatest potential for plagarism. Others I know pay to print the books themselves and then do all their own promotion. The most time-consuming would be selling to publisher.

      But always, always target audience must be key.

    • J  Rosewater profile image

      J Rosewater 7 years ago from Australia

      When Emily Dickinson was writing, publishing was not the industry it is now... not by a long chalk. It has evolved into a Behemoth, where it takes canny business knowledge, writing talent, a lot of luck, knowing the right people, a bundle of very hard work, knowing when to stop, knowing when to start, understanding that you are competing against every person who has a computer and has written a book, (a few million), and having a track record. Failing in even one of these areas can hold you up about five years. You are only as good as your last royalties cheque. Mine was dismal this time. Never mind, back to the submission queue.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      fastfreta-- don't be you are an excellent writer. and you will find success.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 7 years ago from Southern California

      This is very good advice. I began this odyssey, to try to make a little money online, then it developed into something that I just like to do, never once in the beginning thinking about a book. However like most, I've developed the fever, book fever that is. But, after reading all of the great authors on HubPages, I am intimidated, so here I am. Anyway thanks for the info, I'm going to bookmark this one for sure.

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      Nicks-- thanks for the comment, non-fiction in how tos and other books are becoming a good market since recently they've taken narrative form as the basis for more "popular" writing.

    • profile image

      Nicks 7 years ago

      Sound advice - certainly writing for an identified market is critical. Equally, if you want to get into print, it is easier to do so by writing something factual rather than fiction. The latter is so subjective that it is a publisher's nightmare and a terrific gamble on their part...

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      creativeone59--- you are so very welcome.

      hypnodude-- wouldn't we all be bestsellers i might add, and yes you are good enough as a writer.

      Pamela99--- I hope this helps and you are welcome.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      This is a very informative article and certainly gave me some things to consider. Thanks.

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrea 7 years ago from Italy

      I guess each one of us here on hubpages would like to be published, in the "real world". That's one of the reason why I write here, to see if other people think I'm good enough as a writer; this kind of feedback is priceless. And of course I write because making money expressing yourself and saying what you have inside it's great. So when I'll begin to make some money I'be even happier.:)

      I like this hub as it makes good points to ponder before trying to enter the big business. And I'll bookmark it for further reference. Great work Rebecca.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for a fantastic hub on publishing b ooks. i appreciate you and your info. Thank you for shari

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for a fantastic hub on publishing books, Thank you for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • Rebecca E. profile image
      Author

      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      RSMSN-- yes that is the "question" and when you have a spirit like your own, you will find success.

      loriamoore--- yes marketing was something I did myself, which is why I mentioned it, no everyone will want ot read your writing, so make it easy on your publisher and editor. congrats on your upsoming books! I will read them I am sure.

    • profile image

      loriamoore 7 years ago

      Rebecca,

      I made one of those mistakes you list in your hub -- not thinking first about the market, but it turned out okay. I wrote about my experience with something that would help others know that they too can overcome something and I got published with my first submission of the manuscript. Looking toward my next two upcoming published books though, I did consider the market before completing them.

      Lori A. Moore

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I have always loved Dickenson/mostly because I recogize in her the reason I write

      just to GET IT OUT

      now, my nursing articles, thats different, I write them in anticipation of the day I can stand in front of a group of young women/men and light their fire for the art of nursing!!

      but the rest? it is just because if I dont write evey day..even when the days are bad and the words stay in the word doc..its because I MUST//// I have to write .. or shrivel up and stop being

    • Rebecca E. profile image
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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      Aya Kratz--- excellent points, something to think about, I was mostly thinking of people who write, but who will say they are better than what they are. Dickinson of course, I believe was the opposite, not relizing she was very good. I think that is the inherant difference maybe in her case to much modesty.

      And of course people have been known to make mistakes. But in the beginning part of the writing business I'd lean towards less ego and more learning.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

      Rebecca, you expressed all of this very well, and from the point of view of hoping to fit into the current market, many of your points are well taken.

      However, I'd like to point out that many writers who historically turn out to be "big", as you put it, do not get the publication success that makes them known to be "big" until well after they are dead.

      Take Emily Dickinson. I quote from the wikipedia: "Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, it was not until after her death in 1886—when Lavinia, Emily's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that the breadth of Dickinson's work became apparent. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, both of whom heavily edited the content. A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by scholar Thomas H. Johnson. Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism of her literary prowess during the late 19th and early 20th century, critics now consider Dickinson to be a major American poet."

      Now, did Dickinson work on her craft after her death in order to become a better writer? Or is it possible that she was "big" when she wrote those poems, and people who thought that she wasn't were mistaken?

      Who was Dickinson's intended audience? A small circle of friends? A fly on the wall? Does that even matter?

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      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      juneaukid-- hope this helps you all the more.

      hello, hello-- I think my rejectino paper/slips in my rejection file is about 3 inches tall! so hope this helps (It is a lot thicker than my acceptance file.)

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      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      It was very interesting to me because I have tried to publish and managed to receive a lovely collection of rejection letters or not even an answer. Thank you for your great advice.

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      Richard Francis Fleck 7 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Very sound advice! I enjoyed reading this.