Revised February 24, 2019
In the almost 6 years that I have been mentoring and coaching first-time authors through the book writing process, I am asked many questions —
- When do I write?
- How do I publish?
- When do I start editing?
- How many pages should my book be?
- How much does it cost to publish?
And these are great questions and all vital to the book writing process. But I have not been asked this question:
What do I write my first book about?
The reason I don’t get asked this question is because most authorpreneurs come to me after they have a book idea. Sometimes, the author has 2 or 3 ideas. But usually, the bright-eyed authorpreneur has one book idea that they are jumping to bang out 30,000 words for.
This is great, right? Yes, absolutely. We cheer, high-five, and celebrate this foundational success, but then it’s time to coach. So, I ask the question I always ask:
So, tell me: Why is this book the first book you feel you should write?
Silence. Maybe some nonverbal sounds — “uhh” or “hmm.” Then, a garbled response. After we get through that, we deep dive into authorpreneur coaching that will guide them toward reaching their definition of success.
4 Reasons to Ask Yourself This Question
Most authorpreneurs do not take the time to evaluate and analyze their first book strategy. Nope, they want to run with the book idea that first comes to them. And I am not here to say that there is anything wrong with that. As an authorpreneur you are operating as a CEO and visionary of your business platform so if anyone knows what’s best, you do. But instead of immediately committing to a writing process, let it marinate. Here’s why you should consider doing this:
- Being an authorpreneur means you will write not just one book, but multiple books. Therefore, it is to your advantage to spend the time upfront brainstorming any and every book idea that connects to your platform and your ideal client.
- The first book idea can be highly emotional. I feel like some authorpreneurs bond strongly to their first book idea. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. I get it, and I have been there. But such an intense commitment right out the gate can be destructive from a CEO perspective. What if you get into the writing process and realize that this book isn’t the first book? Or worse, you absolutely hate the book idea. Or even worse, this book has nothing to do with my business platform! Taking that time to build a list of book ideas will calm the flurry of emotion you may feel about your first book idea. Thus, allowing you to process your idea thoroughly and choose a book that you are passionate about and that makes solid business sense.
- It’s a timesaver. Keep in mind: it takes as long as it takes to write a book. But it takes a lot longer to write a book when the book idea is not vetted. With some of my clients who have struggled through months and months of their first book idea, my response is simple: Maybe this book idea is not meant to be your first book. Writer and entrepreneur Stephanie Burns put it this way: “The thought of writing a book is very overwhelming and anxiety-inducing … This is not that book. That’s your A book — I’m talking about your B book. Make no mistake, that doesn’t mean the content should be inferior in any way, but let’s take some of the pressure off. … It’s not long, it’s not complex, but it is valuable to your reader.”
- Because you can post this question to your ideal clients and get valuable feedback. The only other person who may know your business better than you is your ideal client. This person vibes with you for clear and profitable reasons. Being an authorpreneur means having a relationship with your readers. Start building that relationship at the start of the book writing process, not after its published.
Business owners, like restauranteurs and boutique owners, know that the first storefront they open may or may not be the best establishment ever. But they do have in mind to have a grand opening that will attract as many new patrons or shoppers as possible. Authorpreneurs must think similarly. This first book is likely not going to be your best book ever, but kick off your authorpreneur status in a grand style that attracts readers who will become new clients for your business.