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Saturday, September 5, 2009

10-Pitfalls Continued: Jackie Perseghetti

Pitfall #6: Stepping away from your content because you were saturated with it! This is a very easy pitfall to step into, and one I had to climb out of. I was so entrenched in my writing that when I was done with the books, I was emotionally done—at least for a while. I stepped away to take a deep breath, do a victory dance, and celebrate. The problem was, I forgot to step back again.

Whatever you write, you need to remain fresh. Review your written work periodically to keep yourself excited about it. This will not only motivate you to promote your book, but it will make it easier when asked to talk about them. You wrote what you wrote for a reason and generally with a passion. Don’t lose that perspective!

Pitfall #7: Mis-focus – Thinking of what your book can do for you (success; notoriety; respect) rather than what your book can do for others. If you’re in it for yourself, your enthusiasm will dry up. So will your market. A mis-focus can cause you to become distracted and tempted to chase after things that could undermine you in the long run. To stay out of this pit, ask yourself: “Why am I writing this?” or, “Why am I a writer?” Then, keep that in mind.

It’s hard to sidestep this pitfall when trying to build an author platform because success and fame is often given as a motivating factor. You see this all over the Internet—especially with the current economic times. Writing a book is not a “get rich quick” deal, and while it could possibly brand you an “expert,” it isn’t a cure for the emptiness you may feel in your life. Don’t go down the arrogant author avenue, or the respect -seeking road. It’s a dead end. Literally.

Pitfall #8: “Looking left and right” syndrome. This pitfall is an unhealthy comparison of your books to other books in the same genre. While it is good to know what’s out in the market and how your product compares, you need to be careful with what you do with that information. Does it inspire you toward great things, or does it spiral you downward in envy? Does it make you more creative, or does it make you more critical or bitter? If you step into this pitfall, you will soon find yourself criticizing other books in order to make yours look better. Keep a check on your heart. This is a very subtle pitfall to step into!

Pitfall #9: “Holding the apron strings too tightly.” As an empty nester, this has been on my mind recently. Just as there are seasons of change in life, there are times to change and launch in a new direction as a writer. While this can be true of developing a platform, it is hardest when dealing with something you’ve already written. I fell into this pitfall when “Caution: Dangerous Devotions” and “Caution: More Dangerous Devotions” were being redone. (The current “Faith Factor NT” and “Faith Factor OT” -- thru the Bible devotions are simply Dangerous Devotions on steroids, with additional sidebars, a timeline ticker tape running along the bottom of the pages pitting secular and biblical history side-by-side, and additional sidebars. For the OT book, it is new material to complete where I left off in the original book.) Oh yes, and there was a title change.

When I first heard my books were going to be given a new title, I balked. I had come up with the title of the original books and they were quite the attention getter. Upon hearing my books were now going to be called “Faith Factor,” I cried. (That was after I gagged, got angry, and wondered “Who came up with that dumb name!”) As you can see, it was a classic cased of holding the apron strings too tightly. I was afraid to re-examine my work and/or revise it. After all, it was a best-selling title for the publisher; why mess with something that was a proven seller?

This pitfall is one authors can easily step into anytime they write—with or without having a published book. For instance: have you ever asked for feedback on something you’ve written, and then gotten angry at the comments or editorial remarks? Apron strings. Case in point! While writing a book is a lot like giving birth (book idea growing and developing inside of you; you imagining what life will be like once the book is out; expectations; dreams; then the uncomfortable birth pangs and demands of deadlines; scurrying around to finalize edits; the transitional time squeeze of last minute checks, and then viola! Book!)—Writing a book is NOT a baby! Never forget that.

Pitfall #10: Self pressure to “climb the author ladder” – Falling into the temptation to become something you are not, or are uncomfortable becoming because that is what is “expected.” How well you avoided some of the other nine pitfalls will influence your success in avoiding this one!

This last pitfall reminds me of the old junior-high syndrome of trying to be like someone else who has success with friends and popularity, or who is cool because he/she is an athlete. While it is good to observe and learn, it is not good to lose your identity or become something you are not. As an author, if you are not a speaker, don’t feel pressured to go out on the speaking circuit just because it’s expected! Instead, you can blog where you have time to develop your thoughts, and the only audience you face are the letters on your keyboard. There are many ways to climb a ladder – take the next steps – without making yourself into something you are not, or something you regret becoming.

So, a practical suggestion in how to avoid this pitfall? Be yourself. No one can be that better than you.

Jackie Perseghetti is an author of Faith Factor O.T. and Faith Factor N.T. visit her on her blog at and come be refreshed!


  1. This was worth waiting for! Jackie you have a great insight! Thanks for being the guest blogger this week.