How to Overcome Your Fears and Write Your Book

Writing a book is a significant undertaking and takes a lot of work. However, it’s an important milestone for any expert, helping you build authority in your industry. A book can provide you with a significant increase of visibility and “overnight” credibility.

Get out of your head and start writing

  1. Understand the source of your writing fear. Being afraid that you just “don’t have a book in you” or “don’t have the skills or know-how” is completely natural. It takes a long time and a lot of energy to write a good blog post, and even longer to write a book. And even if you spend all that time and effort, the outcome is uncertain. In order to start overcoming your fear, you need to ask yourself:
    – Do I know more about this topic than a layperson? (You don’t have to be #1 in your industry; you just need to know more than the people you’re trying to help; or
    – Do people pay/ask you for your expertise? If the answers are “yes”, you have a book in you; or
    – Have you any one of the following expertise-types? i) you have personal knowledge of the topic, ii) you have achieved a result in the the topic, iii) you have researched the topic and can share valuable information with others. Any one of these expertise-types qualifies you to write a book. In short, you don’t have to be the expert.
  2. Do research on Amazon about your topic. Once you conquer the fear of not having a book in you, do some research on Amazon or other online bookstores in order to see whether people purchase books on topics similar to what you’d want to write about. If you find that there are books of the sort, it means that people want to read about it, i.e. there’s a market for your know-how. If there does not appear to be sufficient interest, can you modify the topic? Or if your expertise is your research ability, can you choose a hot topic to write about?
  3. Is there a market for your book? After you establish that people are going to want to buy your book, you need to figure out who these people are. This can also be discovered during your Amazon research from, for example, reading reviews. There is no need to do too much market research though – chances are that you already know your target audience. It’s more important to determine whether there is a market for your book idea.
  4. Don’t equate success with popularity. Understandably, you have certain expectation about how well your book performs sales-wise. While these are absolutely valid, we advise that you take into account that even though the market for your book might be small and it doesn’t sell as well as you expect, it doesn’t mean that you are a bad expert or businessperson. We recommend that you adopt the following viewpoint: if you’re helping your target audience solve a problem, you’re successful. Can you be more successful? Sure, we all can. But it’s a good start and the hands-on experience of writing a book is invaluable for any future products you might create.
  5. Understand that your book isn’t about you. This is another fear many writers struggle to overcome. Some refer to it as “imposter syndrome”, the fear of being found wanting in some way or being “found out”. It is quite difficult to overcome, even if you have track record of delighted customers. However, there is a way to deal with the imposter syndrome and not let it stop you writing your book. Evidence that there is a market for your book is a place to start, but you also need to understand that your book isn’t about you personally. You are writing it because you want to use your expertise to help people with their problems. The only yardstick against which it would be measured is the extent to which it has, or has not, helped the readers – not the extent of certain qualities that you possess.

Takeaway points

  1. Fears of writing a book are a normal part of writing a book, and can be overcome.
  2. Evidence that there is a market for your book, and that people are willing to pay for your expertise, can be instrumental in overcoming your fear of writing a book.
  3. The Imposter Syndrome will most likely be an issue at some point, and the best way to deal with it is not to equate your self-worth with your book. You are more than what you write.

Action steps

  1. Before spending time, money and effort writing your book, create a landing page to gauge whether there is sufficient demand.
  2. Plan out your book with a mind map.
  3. Create products your audience will love. List the most valuable solutions you can provide to your audience. These can serve as a starting point for your book.

Photo credit: Alejandro Pinto via Flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

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