Is there anything worse than coming in last? Well, it happened to me this past week. I entered a cherry pie contest. I shouldn’t have. I’ve never baked a cherry pie in my life, but I thought, how hard can it be to bake a cherry pie? And then, my pie came in dead last.
In retrospect, I made 3 huge mistakes:
1. Instead of making a traditional cherry pie, I made an unusual cherry pie.
2. I made the assumption that I was better at baking than my competition without knowing anything about my fellow bakers.
3. I assumed that knowing the basics of how to bake a pie would be enough to bake a great pie.
Mistake #1: Thinking you need a trick, a gimmick, or a hook to get your book to stand out. When people are looking for a way to solve their problems, they aren’t looking for any of those things. They’re searching for answers. Avoid this mistake by making sure your book truly addresses and answers your audience’s problems and needs. Don’t let the quality of your content end up buried under tricks, gimmicks, or hooks.
Mistake #2: Thinking about what your competition is doing in the wrong way. Don't focus on figuring out how to be better than your competition. This kind of thinking/strategy rarely works. Anytime you look at your work and think the goal is to be just a little bit better or different than your competition’s, it's highly unlikely your work will reach its full potential. Focus on bringing what you have to offer to the table knowing that you’ve done a first-rate job of preparing and presenting your quality content. Couple that with your sincere intentions and goals, and your audience will devour your content.
Mistake #3: Thinking that because you did some writing in high school and college, it will be easy for you to bake a pie—oops—I mean write a book. You’ve worked hard to become an expert at what you do. Writing a book requires a level of expertise too, but very likely, a different kind of expertise than you currently possess. Don’t hold yourself to writing standards you haven’t had enough experience or education to reach yet. There are so many ways to get your book written that don’t require sitting down and struggling with trying to write when writing isn’t your strong suit. The more you struggle, the longer it’s going to take, and the more likely your audience is going to notice.
Each of these mistakes can be avoided. And yes, you could scour the internet to figure it all out, but do you really have that much extra time on your hands? Consulting with an expert like me can shorten your learning curve, and help you get your book to market sooner. Like everything else in life though, it starts with a choice. Are you ready to write your book?
P.S. In case you're interested, I baked a black cherry pie with a chocolate pecan shortbread cookie crust. Delicious, but not what the judges were looking for.