7 Myths Keeping You From Writing Your First Book
Don’t let these common beliefs hold you back from sharing your story and expertise with the world.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Whether you work with a publisher or opt to self-publish, having a book is the ultimate calling card. It can helps you gain notoriety, increase your credibility, drive more business leads and gain higher paid speaking engagements. Many entrepreneurs, business owners and influencers have thought about writing a book, but often the hardest part is buckling down and starting the process, and not letting your fears get in your way.
Chandler Bolt is the founder of Self-Publishing School, a platform that walks you through the process of publishing your first book in 90 days, the host of the Self Publishing School podcast, and the author of six bestselling books on publishing and productivity, including his most recent, "Published."
He's helped thousands of people on their journey to writing their first book, and he says the same myths and misconceptions pop up time and time again, keeping would-be authors from taking the leap and sharing their story, experience and ideas with the world.
1. "I'm Not A Good Enough Writer"
This one is perhaps the most pervasive, Bolt says, but you don't have to be a particularly skilled writer to assemble a great book.
"I was a C-level english student," Bolt says. "I was the epitome of a terrible writer. Since I didn't know how to write a book, I went to someone who was a successful author, my mentor Adam Caroll, who taught me the magic of mind-mapping. A book isn't about flowery language; it's about structure. Once you come up with a good structure for your book by mind-mapping and outlining, the book almost seems to start writing itself!"
And don't be discouraged by the disconnect between your own first draft and the polished published authors you read and love. "The rough draft is always terrible!" Bolt says. "What a lot of people forget about great writers is that their final works have been edited numerous times." With a skilled editor and a solid structure, you can create a compelling book, too.
2. "I'm Not Qualified To Write A Book"
It's not uncommon for entrepreneurs to deal with "imposter syndrome," feeling like they aren't worth of their success or aren't qualified to be helping others when there are others out there with more experience. But when it comes to writing a book, your unique experience is what's valuable.
"You are you," Bolt says, "And there is no one else who has had your unique experiences. There is no one out there who has lived your story."
"Over 81% of people think they have a book in them," Bolt says, "The other 19% just don't realize that they actually do."
3. "I Need A Publisher/Book Deal"
This has never been less true, Bolt says. "The reasons people needed publishers in the 20th century was because the publishers controlled distribution, but that model has drastically changed in the past 20 years."
Amazon is now the largest distributor of books in the world, and nobody needs a publisher to put a book on Amazon. "The writing industry is being democratized right before our very eyes.," Bolt says, and it's the perfect time to take advantage of the access Amazon gives you to an audience of readers.
4. "Self-Publishing A Book Is Too Expensive"
While there are some things you'll want to invest in to make your book successful--an editor, for example, is absolutely necessary--Bolt says "writing a book can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it."
Marketing books has never been easier and cheaper with social media, email, websites and other digital tools, and this allows you to scale your marketing efforts up or down however your budget allows. Other facets of the book, such as cover design and distribution, are totally up to you to determine how much or how little you'd like to invest.
5. "But Books Don't Make Money"
It is possible to have a lucrative book, Bolt says. "I made an extra $1,000-$4,000/month off of my first book, but what messes most people up is that they are unwilling to put in the work during the beginning stages of a launch."
The key to a successful book, Bolt says, is assembling a top-notch launch team and putting in the work at launch (and immediately after) to make sure it gets the traction you need to be successful.
But Bolt also notes that thinking about a book purely in terms of book sales is a mistake, and that the other opportunities a book opens up for you is the real long term value: PR, exposure, connections, podcast interviews, guest post invitations, speaking, business leads and more.
6. "I Need A Ton Of Content To Get Started"
"This sounds cheesy, but you already have the content within you," Bolt says. "I've written each of my 6 best-sellers by starting with a mind map... Once your ideas start flowing, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you already know."
"Also, don't be afraid to use the content around you," Bolt advises. "Interviewing experts in your book is a great way to add value and page length to your book, while also boosting your own authority. "
7. "I Don't Have Enough Time"
"The timing is never right," Bolt says, "You just have to get started." Bolt says aspiring authors have to examine their priorities; if you're making time for other things you want to do in life, then you have to make time for writing, even if it's just an hour.
"Consistency is king," Bolt says. "Most authors can write 500-1,000 words in an hour. If you repeat that process for 30 days, you will have a 30,000 word rough draft." Since most non-fiction books range from 20,000-45,000 words, Bolt says, it's realistic to create your first draft in 30 days, with just one hour a day of consistent and focused writing.