Simple writing mistakes that indie authors make: and the excuses they use to justify them

The literary world has opened its gates to a flood of indie authors, thanks to platforms that allow them to self-publish with ease. While this democratization of publishing is overwhelmingly positive, it also means there’s a deluge of books out there that, perhaps, didn’t go through the rigorous editing process traditional publishing once guaranteed. Here are some common writing mistakes indie authors make and the justifications they sometimes offer.

  1. Overuse of Adverbs
    • Mistake: “She ran quickly.”
    • Excuse: “It emphasizes the action more.”
  2. Telling, Not Showing
    • Mistake: “John was angry.”
    • Excuse: “It’s clear and straightforward.”
  3. Purple Prose
    • Mistake: Describing a sunset as “a symphony of shimmering shades, cascading across the cosmic canvas…”
    • Excuse: “It’s poetic and paints a vivid picture.”
  4. Head-Hopping
    • Mistake: Switching point of views in one scene without clear delineation.
    • Excuse: “I want to show what everyone is thinking.”
  5. Repetitive Information
    • Mistake: Reminding readers of a fact they already know.
    • Excuse: “It’s for emphasis. Not all readers might catch it the first time.”
  6. Lengthy Dialogue Tags
    • Mistake: “I don’t know about that,” she opined.
    • Excuse: “It’s more descriptive than ‘said.'”
  7. Neglecting Setting Descriptions
    • Mistake: Not grounding scenes in a specific time or place.
    • Excuse: “I want to leave it to the reader’s imagination.”
  8. Using Clichés
    • Mistake: “Avoid it like the plague.”
    • Excuse: “It’s a phrase everyone understands.”
  9. Inconsistent Character Development
    • Mistake: A character behaving contrary to their established nature without explanation.
    • Excuse: “People are unpredictable.”
  10. Not Proofreading
    • Mistake: Publishing a book with glaring typographical errors.
    • Excuse: “Readers know what I meant.”
  11. Over-relying on Flashbacks
    • Mistake: Using excessive flashbacks instead of integrating the backstory.
    • Excuse: “It adds suspense.”
  12. Info Dumping
    • Mistake: Introducing too much information at once, bogging down the story.
    • Excuse: “Readers need to know the backstory to understand.”


While it’s true that all art, including writing, is subjective, there are still industry standards and best practices that should be taken into consideration. Indie authors, while they have the freedom to break rules, should also remember the wise words: “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” Before justifying a writing choice, it’s crucial to understand why the rule exists in the first place.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *