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The Cost of Mistakes

Updated: Oct 29, 2023


I am a contractor at the University of Calgary and recently met another author simply because they overheard a friend ask me how my latest book was going.


After my friend and I finished our conversation, this other person introduced themselves as a fellow author.


We got talking about writing and about our books. Turns out we both write science fiction and neither of us currently use Amazon or any of the big retailers, but they had gone as far as to actually have copies printed whereas I've stuck to eBooks only.


After exchanging website addresses, which I just gave a business card with my logo and website address on it, they asked about my Dawn Patrol Publishing info that's on the back of the card. I pointed out I do websites and can help with some aspects of self-publishing.


Eventually, the conversation came around to how many books we've sold. We've both been writing for about the same time, but I've got three books out, whereas they only had one out, with a second hopefully out next year.


I'm not saying they're great, as I've only sold 600 books, but considering we were both doing the same things... simply word-of-mouth, social platforms and some other websites, but they hadn't even sold 50 books yet.


I loaded the website and looked up their book, which had a nice cover. Then they asked why I thought their book wasn't selling as well as mine?


For starters, we're slightly different genres since mine is borderline erotica, which has it's own nuances and audience. It's also why I was pretty much forced into self-publishing!


As soon as I read their blurb, I knew why it wasn't selling! I cringed as I thought about how to phrase my response politely. "The cover is nice, but based on the blurb alone, I would not buy the book."


"Why? Be honest. I'm obviously doing something wrong."


Typos and poor sentence structure on a blurb, would immediately make me not buy the book. If they can't make a proper blurb, I won't risk wasting money to see if the content is any better.


I then proceeded to point out the mistakes, to which they said they hired a professional editor and even had beta and ARC readers.


I just said, "You need a better editor then! There's no way that should've got by a good editor, beta readers or however many people saw it before it was available for the public."


I then went into a bit of a branding spiel, since that's one of the things I am passionate about. Social media posts and casual blog posts, I would forgive the occasional typo... Permanent information like book blurbs and author bio... or any non-blog content on a website, should never have any typos. It taints your brand!


That last part came about because I pulled up their author bio and saw typos there as well and it looked like a 10-year-old kid made the website, but I didn't comment on the website.


I had to go, so I more or less left with, "You have my card, contact me if you need a website redesign."


Their one statement bugged me for the next while. If they actually used editors, like they claimed, I hoped they were NOT named in the book or on their website. Something that blatantly incorrect would steer me clear of that editor for any future use. So not only are the typos costing the author sales, but it's possibly costing the editor jobs as well. I think the term, shit flows downhill, fits!


That night, my wife then pointed out that my mind works different. I'm very much a perfectionist and everything is about my brand and reputation, which is probably why I have no problems giving my rough copies to the public to read.


Seriously, if you're an author and don't have a decent website contact me. And for your own good, make sure you actually use an editor and have somebody credible and competent look it over before you kick your book out of the nest.

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