I stared writing when I was very young- I’ve always had a love of short stories and poetry, and in grade school I picked up a pencil and never looked back. I’ve written everything from advertising and newspaper articles to blogs and movie reviews. I’ve even written a book. It’s about a family of vampires who just happen to be mobsters. But you don’t want to read it. Believe me, it’s terrible.

Why is my book so terrible? To be blunt, I messed it up myself. I made a lot of mistakes that could have been easily avoided during the publishing process and my book suffered for it.

Avoid these simple goofs and your own first book will be one you can be proud of.

Don’t Be Afraid of Editing

A problem many first-time authors face is editing. Sure you just spent a lot of time writing dialog and developing your characters- but if something doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work.

Don’t fear stripping out or changing parts of your book; Characters that don’t fit the story won’t be missed. Odd sounding bits of dialog that could confuse your reader should be changed or removed. Spelling should be checked and rechecked as often as possible to catch any mistakes.

Remember: Editing is your friend.

Don’t Miss Deadlines

Even in self-publishing, there are deadlines that will have to be met if you want your book to be a success.

You should have a schedule for all the different things you have to get done in order to get your book published and on the market.

Editing done? Check. Final draft ready? Check. Cover art finished and ready? Check.

Keeping deadlines and checkpoints for your book will ensure you stay focused and on track- and will help your finished product be as polished as those from popular, successful authors.

Watch That Formatting

One of the worst mistakes a would-be author could make is to be careless with formatting their book.

Most publishers offer a wide range of book sizes and styles to chose from, and this is where the formatting of the final draft becomes critical. Formatting your book, as I’m referring to it here, simply means adapting the final draft to fit the size of the book you want to publish.

This is where I made my most devastating mistake. I chose a book size that was incompatible with my formatting. In fact, I had no idea what formatting even was.

This caused a lot of my story to not end up in the book, as the software the publisher was using simply did the best it could, squeezing in various bits and pieces, and leaving out the rest.

Had I known about proper formatting and then adapted my final draft to fit the style and size of book I wanted to produce, that embarrassing mistake could have been avoided and my book would have been much better.

Take Your Time

Taking time to ensure the quality of your draft, keeping track of your progress by meeting goals and deadlines, and properly formatting your book will ensure you put out a product you can be proud of, each and every time.

Doing these simple things will greatly improve your writing and your book’s chance of success, bringing you one step closer to becoming a successful writer.