WARNING: This post contains tough love. If you tend to take things personally, do yourself a favor and stay in your own little world and do not read this post.
There are several reasons you may have written your book:
- Credibility in your niche or field to get more business and higher-paying clients… And make more money.
- Because your personal story was begging to be told… And you know you can make a difference.
- To silence the characters and worlds plotting literary takeovers in your brain… Because they just won’t shut up until they’re realized on paper.
- Because you’re OCD and are obsessed with writing… And it doesn’t matter if anyone else reads your words or not.
Of these reasons, one of them is obviously to make money. The other three seem like they’re more about a writer’s passion and less about capitalism. And often people interpret passion as love for readers and the pursuit of money as the opposite. However, I beg to differ. Let’s look at each one in a different light:
Writing for credibility
The credibility-seeker obviously wants to make more money. But why? Usually it’s because they know their solution works, helps people, gets their readers past blocks, betters their lives, etc. They’re passionate about what they do to the point of writing a book about it in order to boost the reach of their message.
At first glance, the credibility writer seems all about making a profit. But are they? The fact is usually these are the writers who invest heavily (time and money) in their books. They care about producing quality because it’s a direct reflection of the level of service they provide. They know what they offer truly changes the lives of those they reach, because they’ve seen it happen over and over again (and usually have dozens of testimonials to back up their claims).
The credibility writer writes for money, yes, but they also write to spread their message. Why? They love their readers.
If you’re a credibility writer, be sure you love your readers enough to give them your best in your book. Showcase your methods, processes and tips that you know will enrich their lives. Package your message in a product you’d be proud to show someone who would decide solely based on your book’s quality (editing, cover design, layout… NOT the writing itself) whether your company is worth investing $10 million in or not.
If you’re a credibility writer and you’re not doing the above, you don’t love your readers. Especially when it comes to credibility, your book’s quality will directly impact your business… And livelihood… And the lives of your readers.
Writing your story
The personal story writer may have been told, “Wow, you should write a book!” When sharing their personal story. These writers have survived hardship including abuse, divorce, loss of a child or parent, and other life circumstances. Often the personal writer reluctantly turns to writing a book. Many of these types of books never see print, much less the inside of a bookstore. And those that do are often all about the author and neglect to be about the reader at all.
This will be hard for personal story writers to hear, yet I’ve seen it hundreds of times in my over dozen years’ experience in publishing: Nobody — NOBODY — cares about your story. They don’t care about you. Your readers are human beings. This means they care about ONE thing: THEMSELVES. If all your book does is talks about you, your journey, how you “overcame,” how does that help THEM? I guarantee if this is how your book is written, your readers will say, “Well, of course it worked for you, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work for me.”
It’s one thing to tell your story because you think it will encourage someone… And those are the personal story books that only close friends and family members will request. It’s another thing entirely to turn your story into a personal-coaching-journey-style book that guides the reader by the hand and shows them exactly how they can do it, too.
If your personal story book is all about you, you don’t love your readers. If you’ve tied in steps and examples into every chapter that makes those words about them and guides them toward a solution that will work for them (regardless of if you think it will, your job as the author is to know it will), then you love your readers with your heart and soul. This means to make this sort of story work for the reader, you have to be vulnerable. It requires going to a deeper place that may require self-work, self-love and self-discovery… Then sharing that discovery with the world.
To love your readers as a personal story writer, you have to be brave enough to first love yourself.
Silence the voices
The fiction writer’s work rarely sees the public eye, and that which does tends to be heavily criticized. Since many fiction authors are introverts, the fear of failure (or even success) is enough to paralyze them and keep them from ever taking steps toward publication. And don’t even mention marketing, as most introverted fiction writers would rather die than read their books publicly in front of people and see their immediate reactions. (The extroverted fiction writer is different… And a rare species.)
The joke that fiction writers listen to the voices in their heads is based on truth. They have the ability to spin words and phrases in the most creative of ways, however their fear often holds them back from even publishing those words to a blog and therefore their creativity is often limited to short posts on social media about their latest coffee adventure or cat’s daily antics.
If you write fiction and you’re not sharing it with anyone other than the hard drive on your computer, you don’t love your readers. Your readers are out there, waiting for you. They’re waiting to be tangled within your unique web of words, to support you by buying your books and they’re longing to tell everyone they know how awesome your story is.
So little great fiction actually gets published. If this is you, do yourself and your readers a favor and publish something already! Discover what fear is holding you back and deal with it so you can grow past it and entertain the waiting masses. Then you will prove that you love your readers.
The OCD writer
OK, so there’s a little piece of this type of writer that lives in all of us. And it’s the most dangerous of all, because the OCD writer doesn’t care about publishing, doesn’t care about making money, and most of all, doesn’t care about their readers, much less love them.
Now, it’s ok to write for you and only you. But if you’re the only one you write for, don’t call yourself a writer. You’re only a writer once you’ve shared your work with someone else — preferably a LOT of someone elses.
While the OCD writer’s work is usually quite spectacular, nobody ever gets to learn of it because their perfectionism holds them back. And perfectionism is simply an excuse to not face something deeper.
If you’re an OCD writer, it’s time to tame the perfection dragon and get to work. Set some goals for yourself to get something published–even a poem, short story, or article–within the next year. Only then will you truly learn what it is to love your readers.
The Book Ninja
Some may see this post as downright harsh. Some may see it as mean, and some may take personal offense at it. But the fact is I’m sick and tired of seeing writers’ lives and amazing talents wasted because they’re so self-obsessed with whatever perfectionistic thing they need to do before they can share their work with the world. The fact is, humans in general are selfish. And writers who never share their talents are extremely selfish. It’s one thing to take care of yourself, or use writing as a hobby (such as journaling), but if you’re not willing to take a risk and share your craft with others, QUIT calling yourself a writer!
It’s time for REAL writers to step up, step out and start sharing. Will the REAL writers please stand up?!?? The world is waiting for you!!!
Are you ready to finally get your book done, and have fun doing it? Don’t wait… Grab my book Process: Coloring Journal for Writers today!