Mistakes are inevitable, but if you know what they are in advance, you can learn how to avoid them. In this episode, Juliet Clark sits down with Joylynn Ross, a best-selling author and CEO of Path to Publishing, to discuss the ten mistakes both new and veteran authors make. From the internal with identifying the why behind writing to the external such as packaging and marketing, Joylynn covers the whole nine yards to help you for the next time you go through the process of writing and publishing your book. Join this conversation and learn how you can achieve your literary goals, skipping through the troubles that can be avoided.
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Watch Out For These 10 Mistakes Authors Make With Joylynn Ross
We have a guest that new authors are going to love. She’s going to give some fabulous tips. Before we get started, I want to remind you to go over to our YouTube channel, Superbrand Publishing and subscribe. Everybody you read about, if you’re reading, my blog is over there and you can see them on video. If you’re a video person, go over there, it’s really great. Don’t forget to go over and take our Promote Profit Publish Quiz. You can find it at www.PromoteProfitPublishQuiz.com. Find out if you are ready to publish. You put all that work into a book, now find out if your platform is built and let’s sell that thing, not just letting it languish over on Amazon. Our guest is Joylynn Ross. Joylynn is writing as BLESSEDselling Author, E.N. Joy. She’s also a national best-selling author and award-winning author as a literary consultant publishing coach and author of Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literacy Success, and the CEO of Path to Publishing. Joylynn has helped, and continues to help individuals write, publish and sell their books, as well as help them achieve their literary goals and reach their measure of literary success. Welcome, Joylynn.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited.
I’m excited to have you too. Joylynn and I met on LinkedIn in January 2021 and she was so busy. I couldn’t get her into even record until March 2021 and we forgot what we talked about but she showed up super prepared. Am I doing this one? Am I doing that one? Which I got to tell you, most of my guests don’t do that. Thank you. We’re going to talk about the ten new mistakes that authors make and they make a lot. That’s why we have that quiz. Don’t make these. Start talking, let us know. Let’s go into it.Be clear about the words you are speaking, and don't just say what you think people want to hear. Click To Tweet
You Use The Same Reason For Why You Write, Why You Publish, And Why You Sell Books
These are ten mistakes that both new and vet authors make. I know people hear that all the time, 3, 5, 10 mistakes. I try my best not to be repetitive because whatever list it is and whoever created the list, I’m one of those people. I made every mistake on that list. I’m not scolding anyone. The message is where the messenger first. These are mistakes that I have made. No judgment zone. No shaming. I definitely want to share those. The first one is you use the same reason why you write as the reason why you publish and sell books. Those are three different thought processes. Why do you write your book? Why do you decide you are going to publish that book? Why do you decide you’re going to stick a price tag on the book? It’s a mistake I see both new and vet authors making. Trust 23 years in the business, I made that mistake the earlier part of my career. I hear authors say, “I don’t write for the money.” You may not write for the money but perhaps you publish for the money because otherwise you can blog your message for free. Don’t stick the $14.95 price tag on it if you are doing this for free. Know why you are writing. Don’t just come up with the humble thing to say or the diplomatic thing to say. I really want you guys watching to grab your journal, pen and paper, planner and write out the reasons why you are writing your message regardless if it’s fiction or nonfiction. Why?
This is such a great point. Many of you are writing your books for all the wrong reasons. When you are writing your books for all the right reasons, you have your messaging done in advance. All of this is synergistic. That’s a great point. Thank you.
Failure To Determine Your Measure Of Success
Feel those layers. It’s just you and that piece of paper. Feel the layers and be honest with your answers, “Why am I writing this book? Why am I publishing this book? Why am I selling this book?” It can be for literary success. It can be for financial literary success. This is your why. You have to own it. You have to be intentional about it. Number two, we failed to determine our measure of success. What does it even look like? How do you know when you’ve even reached those benchmarks, milestones, your goals when you haven’t even set down and determined what are my writing goals? What are my publishing goals? What are my financial goals? We fail to determine. We know we had this message burning inside of us and we want to get it out there. That’s another thing. You don’t want to just get it out there. Folks, you want to keep it out there in the hands of consumers. What does success look like to you? What does literary success look like to you? What does financial literary success look like to you? If you want to make a living as a writer, what does that look like to you? Determine what it is and be intentional about reaching those goals.
Not Identifying Your Intentions In Being Intentional In Your Efforts
Third mistake, not identifying your intentions in being intentional in your efforts. Being intentional about it, not just saying it because you saw a podcast, heard a podcast or you saw a video or a webinar and another author said something like, “That sounds really good. Me too.” No, this isn’t a #MeToo Movement when it comes to our literary works. This isn’t about you and your audience movement. Identify your intentions for everything you are doing related to your literary journey.
I want to stress this point with you because our most successful authors come in and they have a plan. They’re not writing the book and saying, “I’ll worry about marketing later.” They know where the book is going to be in their funnel. What is the upsell? When are they going to do contact to have a bestseller campaign? What happens beyond the bestseller campaign? What are you aiming for? Is this a loss leader? What she’s saying is the difference between success and the book just sitting there and you’re not getting your money back on the sales.
I love it. Thank you. I know I’m talking right. I got back up here.
I know you are. Sometimes they don’t think when you said that, it’s easy to be intentional, “What am I being intentional to?” You have to have that whole plan laid out in advance before you start writing that book.It costs to move a message to the masses. Click To Tweet
Wanting To Make A Living As A Writer Without Determining What Making A Living Means To You
There’s YouTube university. There’s Google university. You’re going to hear so much advice to the point where you start to make what somebody else’s journey and path is yours. That’s not being intentional, I’m sorry. I’m not sorry because I want you to win. I want you to succeed. Mistake number four, wanting to make a living as a writer without determining what making a living means to you. What does that look like? Is it a little cabin in the woods? Is it struggling author because some people love using that #StrugglingAuthor? I’m here to tell you, with all of the resources and the provisions and the industry experts out here, you don’t have to be struggling anything, but maybe that’s what your image and view of an author has always been. What does making a living as a writer or author look like to you? Does it financially look like a five-level split home for your family? Being able to send all of your children through college without having to fill out the FAFSA every year?
I filled that out. That is really a nightmare.
Only Focusing On Packaging Your Book And Not Packaging Yourself
I want you to get that down. It’s okay if you want to make money because it costs to move your message. We want to move our message to the masses. I hear you guys say it. I want to help people. If you’re intentional about that, if that is your truth, then you know it costs to move a message. Making money with your books, with your publications, with your intellectual property, it’s okay my friend. Number five, only focusing on packaging your book and not packaging yourself. That’s a mistake that writers make. Only focusing on packaging your book and not packaging yourself. Publishing is a business. Businesses don’t make money, people do. It’s the author’s job to make the money, the author that’s the people, it’s your job to make the money and the book is the product. You are that spokesperson. You are what people are going to see in here more than likely before they add we’re here and see about that book. When you are packaged and I’m not talking about nice hair, the good wig, nice clothes and all of that, the best tie. I’m not talking about that as far as package. I’m talking about being intentional, showing up, knowing your why, knowing your reasons, the entire package, what you say, what you do. Packaging yourself, branding.
Not Creating A Plan For Marketing
Number six, not creating a plan business or marketing. I mentioned to list your goals, to write down your goals. Goals are not a plan. The plan is the GPS that’s going to get you to the final destination of achieving your goals. I know people will hear marketing plan, business plan and try to get all technical. My friends, it’s just as easy as that, writing your goals and then creating a plan on how you are going to reach and achieve those goals. It will grow. It will grow as you are on your literary journey and it will build. If it starts off with 3 goals and 3 steps under each one, that’s where you are now. As you travel along this literary journey, build up on those goals because you’re going to reach different benchmarks. You’re going to reach different milestones. You’re going to achieve those goals. Like Kobe Bryant would tell his teammates, “We won. We’ve got the championship ring. Celebrate for a couple of days. Now, what? What’s next?” You’re going to build and you’re going to grow.
When she says plan, you have to understand what you’re doing because there’s a learning curve here, especially for new authors and it’s digital marketing. It’s, “What do I need to do to get that book out there? What do I need to do to get myself out there?” When she says packaging too, the book is not about you. It’s about who you’re in service to. There’s nothing worse than seeing a book that is all about the guru instead of the people that he or she is in service to. Remember that when you’re packaging, it’s not about you.
Juliet, by no means am I trying to take over. That goes for your social media as well. That’s something I’m learning because I’m in several years of business. I don’t do fake humbleness. I’m like number 23. I’m the Michael Jordan of literary educators out there like dunking on them. I have to remind myself, “This is about your audience.” It’s okay to acknowledge your accomplishments and your achievements but a lot of times I’ll put out content and my social media strategists and culture will come in and she’ll change the me’s and the I’s to you. I get it wrong because I love patting myself on the back. This was hard freaking work. Sometimes I just got to acknowledge myself. More importantly, I got to remember who I’m talking to. It’s so not about me.
Not Creating A Budget For Both The Literary And The Business Side.
Not creating a budget for both the literary business side. Remember, you could call it a book hustle. You could call it a side gig. You can call it whatever you want to but treat it like a business, to read it like a business and create that budget. Even if your dreams and visions are bigger than the budget. I told you to write down these goals, these dreams, these visions even if they are bigger than your budget. At least know what this is going to look like, know what this is going to take because I’m a unicorn person. What that means is some people, when they were little, they always dreamed of having a pony. Maybe when they got older, they wanted a horse. I’ve always been a unicorn chick. I see the unicorn and I aim and I strive for that unicorn. Sometimes, do I have to settle for the pony? Sure. Sometimes do I have to know horseback riding? Sure. I’ve got that image of that unicorn and by golly, I am going to be intentional about building that unicorn.
I try to make all of these tips cohesive but have that budget. Whether it’s $5, there’s Fiverr.com. There’s a lot you can do with $5 these days, $500 or $5,000. Have that budget and grow. Look at your visions, your goals, that budget. I try to make it work. Put your dreams and visions on layaway if you have to. Think of a payment plan for the experts you’re going to need to work with. If you have to put them on layaway, be upfront. Be transparent. I’ve got $500 down and I can afford this much for many months until I get this paid. We understand especially when you are working with literary industry professionals who have been where you are. We understand and we will work with you. If that person won’t work with you, there’s a ram in the bush. There’s someone else you can use in which their budget and payment plans will line up with your vision and your budget. Please start with something, work with something budget-wise.
Putting Into The Atmosphere That You’d Write Even If You Didn’t Get Paid
Number eight, putting into the atmosphere that you’d write even if you didn’t get paid. I don’t know how many times I hear, “I would do this even if I didn’t get paid.” When you don’t get paid, you do a social media rant. I’m like, “Which is it? The universe heard you. God heard you. We all heard you. The universe is just giving you what you say, ‘I do this even if I didn’t get paid.’” You would do what? What would you do? Are you talking about you’d write even if you didn’t get paid? You can do that. You can put it up on a blog for free. You can put it up in social media. Be clear about the words you are speaking and don’t just say what you think people want to hear. Say what is your truth.
I want to say, if I hear one more person say, “I don’t care if anybody actually reads my book because I did this to be an expert.” I will barf. You’re asking for people not to read your book. You’re asking the universe. Go into it with a plan.
Listening To Other Authors Tell You Not To Get Into The Business Of Writing For Money.
Number nine, listening to other authors tell you not to get into the business of writing for money. Don’t get into the business of writing for money. Who goes into business not to make money? All of a sudden, nobody cares if they make money anymore. I can’t tell you how many conferences I’ve been to, how many networking events and the person is saying, “It’s not about the money for me.” It is for me. I’m going to be honest with you because I know that impact you can make when you have the funds to fund your dream, your vision, your goals. I know what that looks like. I’m not saying I’m in love with money and I’m money-motivated. I am very much passion-driven if you can’t tell. I am mission-driven but I know the impact. I’m making a difference but money makes an impact and money talks. People listen. It’s things like when you don’t have the trillionaire status, the billionaire status, you can’t go on stage and wear the hoodie, sweatshirt and tennis shoes, and everybody takes everything you say for bond and Bible.
I see the impact money makes. I see how people pay attention. They pay attention and money is a resource. When you are building your book, building your book business, money is a resource you need in order to do so. It is okay to go into any business to make money. We have livelihood. We have children who we have to put feed and put through college. We have parents we have to take care of. We want to be a living legacy and we want to leave a financial legacy. It is okay to want to get into this writing thing, turn it into a business and to be able to support yourself. Every business starts with a thought, idea and a concept. It only makes sense to turn your book into a business. Your thoughts, ideas and concepts, that’s your intellectual property. That is your IP. Your gold mind is your gold mine.
Failing To Put A Price Tag On Your Intellectual Property
Number ten, failing to realize your intellectual property is priceless and then putting a price tag on it. It is okay to not only put a price tag on your book but put a price tag on your brain, that whole ‘pick your brain’ thing because you have an area of expertise as an author already, whether you’re a fiction author or a non-fiction author. For my fiction authors, we tend to write about what we know first. That’s something natural. We tend to write about what we know. We research what we don’t know. We make up all the rest or sometimes we even write about what we don’t know. Nonetheless, there is a piece of us in that book.
Even if it’s from the research where we have studied and are either right at that area of expertise if we’ve lived what we’re writing about or we’ve done the research. We’ve done enough where say for example, in your non-fiction book, maybe one of your main characters deals with domestic violence, abuse, a divorce or betrayal. There’s some level of expertise where you can speak to your audience, where you can help your audience whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, people are looking for help. Whether it’s through the escapism or the non-fiction facts, they are looking for help. You need to be able to connect your expertise as what you are writing about. It’s okay to put that price tag on it. When people find out you’re a writer and they start inboxing you, “I’d like to pick your brain for a moment.” Coffee is not currency and neither is that sandwich.
I had somebody complain about this exact thing. When you walk up and you say, “Let me pick your brain, Joylynn. Let me buy you lunch.” I charge $350 an hour. I don’t think that $10 sandwich is going to be sufficient. People have to not be shy about owning their value in that sense and stepping up and saying, “Yeah.” I love that coffee’s not currency. I’m stealing all your stuff. I’m stealing your act.
I probably stole that from someone else but I’m just saying. It’s your intellectual property. That’s one of the first things I tell my clients to do because the minute people find out you have an area of expertise, they want to pick your brain. Create a pick your brain service on your website. Call it that, my ‘pick your brain’ service, which is really consulting. When someone says they want to pick your brain, send them the link to sign up and pay. You can’t pick my brain but you can retain my brain.
That is awesome. I think my friend, Karen Leland, has that right on her site where you can do that. She’s picked my brain. That was ten. That was amazing.
I have one bonus. Spending more time getting people to visit your social media accounts than to visit your website is a huge mistake. We’re pitching tents on the social media platform but your website is your virtual real estate. That’s where you want to get people. Get them on social media, get them over to your website and you have that opt-in to get the email addresses. Now they’re your connections to be able to turn into your clients and your consumers or customers. That is all I got, Julia.Your gold mind is your gold mine. Click To Tweet
That was amazing. On that bonus, you always have to remember she’s talking about intellectual property. You don’t own Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube. You don’t own whatever the other platforms are. I’m only on LinkedIn these days because I got sick of social media. Remember at the end of the day, you don’t own those platforms. Your algorithm can destroy an entire audience that you have built for years, just the change of an algorithm. I’ve seen it happen to people. She is right about this with get people to your site, get people into your opt-in so now they’re in your list. They are yours and no one can take them away.
You can have this one too. I always tell my clients, “Don’t let a change in the algorithm affect your change.”
Joylynn, this has been amazing. Where can we find you if we want to reach out, get more and hear more from you?
You can visit my company website at www.PathToPublishing.com. You can find Path to Publishing on all the social media handles. I’m not all the way active on all of them but if that’s where you hang out, you can at least google me, search me and you can find me. You’re going to get taken to my website anyway, so you can find me as Joylynn M. Ross. You can find me as Path to Publishing. For those of you readers, I’m BLESSEDselling Author EN Joy. You can find me as E.N Joy and you can even visit my reader’s website, www.ENJoyWrites.com.
Thank you. This has been really informative.
- Superbrand Publishing – YouTube
- Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literacy Success
- Path to Publishing
About Joylynn Ross
Joylynn M. Ross, also writing as BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy, is a national best-selling and award-winning author. As a literary consultant, publishing coach, author of Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success, and CEO of Path To Publishing, Joylynn has helped, and continues to help, individuals write, publish and sell their books, as well as help them achieve their literary goals and reach their measure of literary success.
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