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Why is it so hard to write a book?

Book is your client

by Yvonne DiVita, Book Coach and Author Advisor

The question of why it's so hard to write a book confuses me. I have never had a problem writing or thinking of things to write. Admittedly, not all of my ideas have merit and I've started and stopped many books. Many being more than four. But when it came down to the wire, I knew what I wanted to write and I wrote it. That's where The HOW TO WRITE A BOOK Book comes from. And, I am now working on version two. 

I finally started asking people why they thought it was so hard to write a book. Here's what they told me.

11 Reasons Why It's Hard To Write A Book but You Should Anyway

One. A book takes time and effort. Many people feel overwhelmed in their work, whether they are entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, employees, or  executives. The idea of writing a book seems like putting a great big rock on their shoulders. A great, big, heavy rock.

The folks who are afraid of the time commitment have big ideas, good ideas, ideas that would be marvelous for a book, ideas that would help build more business and create community around their shared message, but they keep putting off writing their book until "sometime later on."

Later on when they have time. Or, later on when they retire. Or, later on when this big project they're working on is done. Just, later on. 

Of course, just like tomorrow, later on never comes. The best time to write a book is now. Take 15 minutes a day and dictate your book, then have the dictation transcribed, and voila! A book. There is more work after that, but most of your work will be done.

Two. Writing a book takes commitment. Not merely time and effort. It takes focus. It takes getting out of bed and to your desk, every day, for a set amount of time, writing a set amount of words.  

That might mean finding your circadian rhythm, as the link above demonstrates.

I say, your book is your client. Your client wants you to do the work that's necessary. Your client has a deadline for each chapter written. Your client won't take excuses and mumbles of 'but it's hot in here.'  

Do what your client needs you to do. Write. Commit to the process. Know that the book isn't as much about you as it is about the people who will be inspired by you when they read it!

Three. Writing a book means putting fingers to keyboard and composing at least 1000 words a day. This post will be at least 1000 words. If you speak your 1000 words a day, or if you write them, you will have a book in one or two months. That's 60,000 words! Just to put this in perspective, the average 6×9 trade paperback has approximately 250 to 275 words per page. That means a 35,000 word manuscript, will be around 140 pages. 

That's not bad. In today's market, that 140 pages is golden. Go for the 250 if you must, but do it now. While the content is still fresh in your brain.

Four. You've heard there is so much more to this writing a book thing and it scares you. You are correct - there is more. But it shouldn't scare you. It's true that you don't just write and write and write and give your Word doc to a publisher and voila! you have a book. 

Nope. Doesn't work that way. Yes, the writing commitment and time and effort commitment is key, but then you have editing, revising, more editing. creating a cover, a back cover, don't forget the spine, and figuring out a marketing strategy you can fulfill. 

Writing a book is like starting a small business. Yes, there are elements you don't know or understand yet, but you will. You're a fast learner. Plus, you have me. I can take that burden off of your shoulders right now. Book coach. Author advisor. At your service.

Book writing 1000 words a day

Five. Writing a book isn't the same as publishing a book and you don't know even a little bit about publishing. I get it. The publishing part holds a lot of people back. They know big publishers eat new writers for lunch. And you don't want to be anyone's lunch. 

That's fair. I wouldn't want you to be anyone's lunch. And yes, you have to also consider how to publish the book, once it's written. Many folks worry that self-publishing is not as respected as traditional publishing, but I am here to put that baby to bed!

The quality of the book is what people look at, not who published it. Luckily for you, you have numerous options today. Maybe too many. I always recommend self-publishing over a big publisher because you retain all rights, you chose your own cover design, you are in complete control of your product (it is a product, and we often call books a business card at Nurturing Big Ideas, because it will serve you better than any printed 3x5 card you hand out at networking events) from beginning to end. Of course, that means, you're also the marketer. Oh, and guess what, if you go with a big publisher, you're still the marketer. 

Six. What? You're not a marketer and you don't want to haul boxes of books in your trunk? I get that. Marketing your big idea, your new book, can be challenging. As everything in your small business is. You're up to the job. And you don't have to haul books around in the back of your car. Who told you that?

Even so, I know you need help. That's why I created all the resources you need on our Books & Services page. Ebooks written to help you market yourself, your business, and your book. Plus, we work with you on this, as you write the book. The best time to start is...the day you decide to write the book. Not after it's published. 

Seven. Becoming an author will take you away from your current business. This one is true in a sense, and people who tell me this admit they want so much to write that book but couldn't then support it by traveling all over speaking, so they don't write it. 

The thing here is this - speaking in public is a marketing task. It markets both you and your business. When you have a book you become "the author of" and become more sought after than before you wrote your book, but that doesn't have to mean neglecting your business. 

It means accepting speaking opportunities when and where you can, and selling books in the back of the room. It means podcasts and online masterminds. It means you are now the expert who wrote a book, and the audience wants to know all about it, all about you, and how they can work with you. 

Eight. No one reads anymore, people tell me. No one reads print books, at least. No one reads anything over 5 pages long.

Who told you this? I would like to know because I want to find that person and punch them in the face. No, no, not really. I don't punch people. I get angry and worked up, but I don't resort to violence.

People DO read. If they didn't, why would this be happening: (from Bowker.com)

According to the latest report from ProQuest affiliate Bowkerself-publishing grew at a rate of 40 percent in 2018 – and shows no signs of slowing down. The combined total of self-published print books and ebooks with registered ISBNs grew from almost 1.2 million in 2017 to more than 1.6 million in 2018.

People read differently, which means you need a print version of your book, an eBook, and an audio book. 

Nine. You can't write a book because you suck at writing. And there we have it. One of the biggest reasons people fail at writing their book. They suck at writing.

Once again I ask, who told you that? You do not suck at writing. You may need guidance, nurturing, a bit of hand holding, but you can become a good writer, one who authors "the book about" which might just change someone else's life. Writing is a skill that is inherent for some of us, but for the rest, it's a skill you can learn. 

Don't every say that again - that you suck at writing. Because you don't. I can help you with that. Or, I can ghost your book. Write it for you. 

Ten. You just don't want to write a book even though everyone keeps telling you to. 

Why? Why are people telling you to write a book? Because you have insight and inspiration to share. Training you can teach people. A viewpoint people think is amazing - and could be shared with the world in a book.

So, what's holding you back? The first nine reasons here? You see how easy they are to overcome. You see where you can get help. You see the opportunity to grow your business, build a community, build your authority, and start masterminds/workshops/webinars, all to serve the people who look up to you.

Why are you depriving the world of your genius?

Just, why? Ask  yourself that and answer honestly. Don't not write that book because of any of the other reasons here. Don't not write that book because you're scared... scared no one will read it. I promise people will read it.

Eleven. Let's delve further in to that one. The one about being scared no one will read your book, so why bother? 

I know. It's true. Of all those millions of books noted above in #8, a good many were ... duds. Let's use that word, duds. They didn't go far. They didn't excite readers. They didn't start with a platform to begin with. Their authors were not smart, like you're going to be. They didn't start their marketing soon enough, and they didn't carry it through to beyond the book's launch.

Your book won't be like that. You are going to get help with the writing, the publishing, and the marketing of your book. Because you're smart and you see the value of that investment. 

I'm not the only one recommending you become "the author of". Business publications like Forbes Magazine and Inc.com say writing a book is one of the best things a business owner can do. I promise, it will change your life And, if you want to make the journey smooth and soft, we can talk.

Now, what else is holding you back? Is there a number 12 I didn't think of?

If you still have to think about it, I recommend our Smart News, sent out on Friday every week. Gentle, informative, educational nudges to help you get over all those fears about writing a book. 

Comments

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Paul Kirch

I think if there's a number 12, often we haven't defined our audience to the degree we should. Know your audience and make sure your story speaks to them or at least is directed toward them. I have know many an author who did not know who they were writing for. This also applies to marketers who write content. Are you showcasing your expertise in the way you want to the audience you desire?

Yvonne DiVita

Paul, how excellent! I agree. So many authors aren't aware of their audience. They want 'everyone' to be the audience. But I always make them drill down to a much smaller niche. Then, all those people can tell everyone else, if the book is appropriate for 'everyone else.' Thanks for sharing today.

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