Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

5 Mistakes Authors Are Making When Trying to Build Their Careers

5 min read
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Too many times, authors are making mistakes that cause their careers to stall rather than grow

Achieving the dream of building a writing career as an author is a tough one to achieve.

Mainly due to the subjectivity of content from their audience and a changing publishing industry over the past decade.

Yet, there is a percentage of writers out there who are either slowly making their name known to the reader community or who have already made it big. And this is a result of a few things.

  • Trial and error

  • Consistency

  • Persistence

  • Continued Learning and Research

So for the many writers out there who are questioning the chances of luck and happenstance that are involved with the success of a writer, I want to point out five mistakes writers make when trying to build their careers.

Waiting Game

Too many writers choose the path of lying in wait for the tide to change.

However, in reality, if you aren’t out there engaging with a potential audience and making your name known, you are the only obstacle standing in your way.

Publishing your books and waiting for people to find them and discover how amazing they are isn’t enough. Market them.

Querying agents and praying they can launch you on the path to a best seller with the help of a publisher isn’t enough. Build an audience for the book on your own.

Building a career is an active thing, not a passive one.


Too many writers pay others to do a ton of work for their books, hoping it will bring them all the success they desire.

When in reality, before you jump into the publishing world (self-publishing or traditional), you should be researching. Because this research is going to tell you so much. Like…budget, market, tips and tricks, and so much more.

And, wouldn’t it be wonderful to start off on the right foot with some money to spend in the right places?

Writers that end up overspending to publish their works typically want to stop publishing altogether. And other tricks of the trade you won’t learn from the internet, you will learn from other seasoned writers who have been right where you are! So connect with them, and you’d be surprised how many seasoned writers are willing to share a few tips.

Under Marketing

Believe it or not, marketing doesn’t always mean running advertisements on Amazon, Facebook, Google, and all the other places you can run an advertisement.

Marketing is also just plain old talking about the book as you go through the process.

Writers who under-market their books end up wondering where their audience is at sale time. Writers who under-market their books tend to blame the conglomerates for poor sales later on. And writers who are under-marketing will always fail to find their audience.

From day one of writing your book, you need to market it.

This can look like simply sharing that you started a fantasy book and you just wrote 4,000 words. It can also consist of a post where you talk about how tough it has been to write a hateable character for your story. Or, why not talk about how you took a writing break to start working on some cover samples?

All of these and more are simple ideas to gain an audience for your book.

Making Comparisons

Not one writer's journey is going to be similar to another.

There may be a couple of similar instances within their storylines, but on the whole, no. What brought one book's success to the bestseller list won’t always work for another book. And, what one author did to bring attention to their book won’t always work for another author.

So for authors to compare their successes and failures to other authors is simply unfair.

Each story has unique aspects that set it apart from other books in its genre. And that is what authors should be focusing on. Their stories and their own successes.

Giving Up

To give up after one or two published works is a mistake.

Because most authors who manage to build momentum for themselves don’t manage to do so until they have 3 to 6 books under their name. And this is because it's easier for a reader to keep up with your works when they are able to grab another one of your books and begin reading. But, this doesn’t happen until you have those few books built up.

I hear it more and more these days, about how authors decided to throw in the towel when their book didn’t do as well as they’d hoped it would.

Let me phrase it this way…how many well-known authors are famous among readers but only have one book? (It’s not a large percentage, I assure you.)

The point is, along your journey to building a successful writing career, you are inevitably going to hit some bumps.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them.