Ever wonder what NOT to do when writing, publishing and marketing your children’s book? In this article, I’m going to tell you about 9 mistakes first-time authors make AND how to avoid them.

9 Mistakes First-Time Authors Make

3 Writing Mistakes First-Time Authors Make

Describing Too Much

This is one of the top 3 mistakes first-time authors make because, oftentimes, first-timers forget that their manuscript will eventually be paired with illustrations. This leads them to over-describe in the story, without considering how the illustrations can lighten the load. 

The Child Isn’t the Hero

In children’s books, it’s so important for the child to save the day and discover the solution to the problem. If an adult comes in and steals their thunder, your reader won’t feel empowered, and they definitely won’t see themselves in your main character. Let the child be the hero in your story.

This is arguably one of the most detrimental mistakes first-time authors make.

You can learn more about making the child the hero of your story in THIS blog post.

The Story is Too Lesson-Heavy

Children can smell a lesson a mile away. If your manuscript is too teachy, then your reader won’t stick around long. Make sure to bury the message in the story by focusing on plot and characters instead.

Then, you’ll be sure to avoid these mistakes first-time authors tend to make.

3 Publishing Mistakes First-Time Authors Make

Not Using a Work-For-Hire Contract with an Illustrator

Simply put, if you’re self-publishing your children’s book and hire your own illustrator, 

make sure you hire them under a work-for-hire agreement. Then, when all is said and done, you’ll own the rights to the illustrations and can use them as much as you please.

Not sure what you NEED in your illustrator contract? Check out THIS blog.

This is one of my #1 pieces of advice I give to my students so they can avoid these mistakes first-time authors make.

Not Hiring a Book Designer

If you don’t know what a book designer is or why they’re a MUST-HAVE, make sure 

to read up on THIS blog.

To sum it up, book designers will make sure that your book looks its best before and 

after printing. They really make the difference between a low-quality and high-quality children’s book.

A book designer will help you dodge lots of mistakes first-time authors make.

Not Asking Their Printer the Right Questions

If you hire a printer, you should know everything about what kind of printing job they’ll 


Will you get a matte or glossy finish? 

Will the book be glue or thread bound? 

Do proofs come with the printing fee? 

Do you need to purchase any additional insurance? And so on…

Make sure you ask your printer lots of questions before signing the contract. The last thing you want are unchangeable errors in your children’s book. 

Then, you’ll be sure to avoid making detrimental mistakes first-time authors make.

3 Marketing Mistakes First-Time Authors Make

Stop Promoting After Launch Day

This is one of the BIGGEST mistakes first-time authors make. They often believe that once their name is in print and their book is in their hands, they can move on to the next project. 

But if you don’t market your book, you won’t make sales.

Marketing is a continuous effort, so make sure to keep at it even after launch day is over.

Not Posting on Social Media Consistently

Social media marketing is a great tool for authors. But one of the mistakes first-time authors make is that they don’t post consistently. 

If you want your audience to remember who you are and why they should buy your book, you need to show up regularly. Whether you’re using Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, the same rule applies.

Not Having an Ambassador List

When it comes time to launch your book for the first time, you’ll need an ambassador list. This is a list of trusted friends and family who you can ask to share about your book when it comes out.

With an ambassador list, you’ll widen your reach and avoid one of the simplest mistakes first-time authors make.

How to Go Above and Beyond

Odds are you don’t only want to avoid these mistakes first-time authors make. You probably want to achieve greater things than most first-timers. If that’s the case, then you’ll need passion, diligence, and a supportive community.

It’s especially important for authors to connect with other writers and publishers. An online forum is one of the best places to facilitate that network.

Not sure where to start? Join my FREE Facebook Community.

Who can help you get started, navigate your biggest questions, and celebrate your success?

If you avoid these 9 mistakes and have a support system in place, you’ll set yourself up for a successful author career.

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