Overcoming your writing fears to publish your business book

So, you are a successful person in your field, have significant knowledge and insights and are regarded highly by your colleagues, peers and industry.

You have been asked when you’re going to write your business book and have thought about it but aren’t sure about how to start, what to write or even if you can write a book that will be ‘good enough’.

Let’s face it, it may well be several years since you’ve actually written anything longer than a speech, article or thought-leadership piece. If fact, you may not have written anything of any length for decades.

Taking on the challenge of writing your business book is about overcoming your fears about being able to write a good quality, relevant and engaging book.

Having written 32 business books myself (and in the process of writing three), and worked with hundreds of businesspeople, owners and entrepreneurs, it’s absolutely common to have some fears about writing and self publishing your business book.

The top 5 fears people have about writing and self publishing their business book

  1. Is the concept of my business book worth sharing?
  2. What if I can’t actually write?
  3. How will I know if it’s any good?
  4. Are people (my peer group) going to think I’m just doing this for my ego?
  5. What if no-one likes it?

I’ve personally had to grapple with these fears and to this day, when I hit the SEND button on my computer to deliver the first draft of a manuscript to a client, I almost always hesitate, take a deep breath in and say to myself, ‘OK. Here goes. I hope they like it.’

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Let’s take each of the fears and explore how you can address them so that you can move on with writing and self publishing your own business book.

1. Is the concept of my business book worth sharing?

Most businesspeople I work with as a book coach come to me with an idea of their book that’s not fully formed. They know they want to write a book and share with me the knowledge and insights they have. What most haven’t done, as this is where many fears comes from, is thought about:

  • who they are writing it for
  • who is their target audience, and
  • what challenges will their book help their target audience solve.

Once we’ve worked this out, and it takes a bit of time, thinking researching and discussion, the value of the book becomes VERY clear. It might be that in this process we’ve reworked the concept, refined it or developed something quite different – more targeted. This process reduces the fear that your book is worthwhile. Read this article: The (first) 10 rules for writing a better business book.

2. What if I actually can’t write.

Well, there are some people who actually can’t write well as they are dyslexic or have some other cognitive challenge. I’ve worked with these authors and successfully coached them through to publishing their book.

Most businesspeople and professionals can write, it’s just that most haven’t written a long form article or a book before, or at least for a very long time.

It’s actually not the writing that’s hard, it’s the fear of not knowing what to write and having the confidence to start and keep at it that’s hard. That’s why it’s so important not to simply start writing if you have the desire to write a business book.

You need to create a well thought out chapter outline and this chapter outline needs to be articulated to helping your target audience solve some of their problems/challenges.

Developing a clear chapter outline and topics within each chapter is something we spend quite a bit of time on with our clients as this is THE MOST CRITICAL part of the writing process. Once this is done, you’ll be surprised at how the fear of not knowing what to write disappears.

3. How will I know if my book is any good?

This is one of the biggest fears for most first time business book writers, and that’s fair enough. With so many books under my belt (well keyboard) I’ve developed a confidence about what I write. Part of this is experience but part of it is doing my homework, research, interviews, more reading and research and delving into and around the topic. I am avidly curious so am constantly looking for references, articles, information to add to my writing. Many of my clients are the beneficiaries of this as I am known for passing on newspaper clippings (the actual ones) as well as links to articles and presentations that I’ve spotted that I think might be of interest to them.

The ONLY way to work out if what you’ve written is any good is to share it with others. This is one of the primary benefits of having a book coach. Reviewing and providing feedback on drafts of manuscripts is something most book coaches do. And we’re a pretty direct lot.

A great book coach will give you honest and constructive advice about your writing and guidance on how to improve it.

Feedback is essential if you’re going to write the best book you can, so we encourage all our clients to share drafts of their books at various stages with a selected group of their peers and/or colleagues and provide a guide on how and what they should ask their reviewers to provide feedback.

‘It was a great read’ might make you feel good, but it’s not going to improve your writing. You want constructive feedback from others as they will bring a fresh, different perspective to what you have written, and often this helps you step back from what you have written and look at it with fresh eyes. I’ve written an article about how to seek feedback: How to get over the fear of seeking feedback.

4. Are my peer group going to think I’m just doing this for my ego?

Fear of peer group judgement is a huge fear for many businesspeople, and not just in writing their book. The reality is, a well-written and produced business book is a recognised and compelling way for businesspeople, owners, professionals and entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and insights , thought leadership and/or their story.

Writing and books have been the way knowledge has been transferred for millennia. The invention of the Gutenberg Press in 1440  transformed how knowledge was spread. The internet, eBooks, audiobooks, LinkedIn, Instagram, your own website, TikTok and other platforms are the modern equivalent.

If you’re passionate about the knowledge and insights you want to share, have actually practiced and implemented this with others successfully, and can show how this has helped others, you should write and publish a book. Approaching your book as a way to share your knowledge rather than self promotion is a helpful way to address your fears about peer group judgement.

Of course, your book will help with your business and personal brand visibility, recognition and reputation and it can help you grow your business and help more people. All power to you. That’s not ego it’s confidence to back yourself.

5. What if no-one likes it?

That’s simply not going to happen. Of course, there might be some people who disagree with some of the things you’ve written/shared, think they can do better, or simply don’t understand. That’s OK. Not everyone loves the same artwork style, music performance/genre. In fact you want people to read your book and engage you about it…that’s one of the reasons you actually wrote it.

And, if you’ve worked with us on your target audience, content outline, feedback and revision, design and layout, you can feel confident that you’ve written and self published the best business book you can. That’s pretty special, and you’re then part of the 1% Club, those businesspeople who have actually written and published their book rather than just talked about it.

Don’t let fear hold you back from starting your business book writing and self publishing journey.

Jaqui Lane

If you want to overcome your fears and start your business book writing project contact Jaqui for a 45 minute free strategy session at [email protected]

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