Wednesday, December 9, 2015

8 Common Mistakes Short Non-fiction Book Writers Make

Reading four non-fiction Kindle books a day is common for me. A lot of these books are absolutely great, but then there are the duds. Here is a list of eight common mistakes made by writers of short non-fiction Kindle books.

1. Assuming the Reader Already Knows

One of the biggest mistakes short book writers make is assuming that the reader already knows what they are talking about. For example, let’s say that I know nothing about how to change a car tire (I don’t) so I buy a short book on how to change my car tires. I am excited because this book seems like it is going to teach me about this subject and walk me through it step by step, but when I start to read the book I find myself lost because the writer mentions tools and car parts that I don’t know unless I see a picture of it. Never make the assumption that the reader knows technical jargon. Give definitions and, if possible, provide illustrations or photos to clarify things.

2. Talking Too Much About Yourself

This happens all too often with short books. The author needs filler to justify the cost of his book, so he writes about himself and tells personal stories that are not even remotely related to the subject of the book. If you are going to talk about yourself in your short book, keep it brief and relevant. In one to two paragraphs, tell your readers why you are qualified to write this book. Give a few, short anecdotal stories throughout the book, if they are relevant. Mostly, stick to the facts and stay focused on your book’s topic.

3. Too Many Links

Open up some Kindle short books and your eyes get assaulted by all of the links: go here to download this, read more about that here, check out my blog post on such and such, etc. I am a firm believer that you should only put your link in the front of your book and at the end of your book. Too many links in the actual text of your book looks spammy and you will quickly lose your readers’ trust. If you want to recommend further reading links, do so at the end of your book in the “Recommended Reading” section you can add.

4. Not Scheduling in Breaks

Yes, if you are a nut you can actually try to write a book a day for an entire month. Take my word for it, you will burn out long before that month is through. How do you recover from writer’s burnout? By taking off many, many days, weeks, or even months. Play it safe. Take a day or two off between writing books and avoid the burnout.

5. Skipping the Editing Process

Edit. Edit. Edit. Just because the book is short does not mean you should edit it at least once. Even better, hire an editor or proofreader. Since your book is a short one, you will not pay as much for editing services as you would a full length book.

6. Listening to Naysayers

Never pay attention to the poo-poo heads that nay everything you say. People who doubt the power of short books never tested them out or never managed to find the right, profitable niche for their short books. In fact, only recently I was a negative Nelly when it came to short books, but after testing them out and comparing the sales, I know that short books sell well and can bring in a good amount of money.

7. Not Researching Your Audience

When I set out to test short books (books that have a word count of 2,500 to 5,000 words), one of my first steps was to get to know my audience. I checked out their favorite magazines, forums, and checked on Amazon to see what their favorite books were. This resulted in some really great sales. Research your audience, learn their vocabulary, and find out what they want to learn before you ever start writing your book.

8. Sticking to Trends

Trends come and go, and while writing a short book on a trend topic can bring in a lot of cash in a short amount of time, the book will quickly lose its selling power and will finally die a quiet death. Instead, work across numerous topics, including trending and long-standing popular topics. You want a list of books that will have high selling power, steady (evergreen) selling power, and even seasonal selling power.

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