when not to write

When NOT to write a book

You would think that someone who makes a living off helping people write books wouldn’t turn business away, but I do. There are certain situations when people should not be focusing their time and energy on writing a book. Here are some times when you should not write a book:

Your expertise is in a constantly changing subject

Who has ever played the game of trying to get more exposure on social media to find out that an algorithm has changed, and your hack doesn’t work anymore? So frustrating! What about if you become extremely well-versed in a platform that goes the way of the dinosaurs a year after it launched? Wouldn’t you be kicking yourself if you’d spent months writing, editing, getting a cover designed, and uploading your book to a distribution platform? Not to mention the cost to market an obsolete book?!

If you are an expert in an ever-evolving field, I suggest creating webinars, online courses, or talks that can easily be adapted as the market changes. If you still truly want to write a book, make sure it is on the static foundational parts of your topic.

You are still accumulating data

I fell victim to this when I self-published my first book, Being Human. I wrote it too fast and too soon in my career to have something substantial to say, and I used mainly recycled ideas from others I admired and didn’t use enough original thoughts based on my own experiences. Unfortunately, I see this often when business owners want to have ‘author’ in their bio. They slap a book of quotes from other people together and throw it up on Amazon. Again, I’m not judging; I did it too. The problem is that it doesn’t establish you as a thought leader, and you are not standing out. You get lost in the sea of the 800,000 people who self-published a book this year.

Be patient, research your topic at length, create intellectual property that is all your own, and take your time to write a good book.

You are still healing

This applies particularly to people writing a memoir. Trust me, this is an endeavor that digs up old skeletons in the recesses of your mind. Most of us are quite resilient and can cope, some of us may want to schedule a few appointments with our therapist (I did), and some of us still have easily aroused post-traumatic stress and recalling triggers is too much to bear. This is the case for only a rare few, but it is something to consider if you have not done any healing work around the wound you want to share.

Your only goal is to get rich

There are wealthy book authors, just like there are Olympic swimmers. However, not everyone who dons a bathing suit is going to be awarded a gold medal. If you are going to be a celebrated author, you need several factors to come together in a perfect storm. The most important of those factors is that you need to write an amazing book, and that requires that your driving factor is fulfilling your reader’s expectations. Writing is always a relationship and conversation with your reader.

For many of us, the goal and dream of one day writing a book can be such a strong pull that we end up losing time and money on a fool’s errand. If you are not sure if you should be writing a book, or if your idea holds water, reach out for a consultation or if you’re still thinking about writing a book, start with my free Outline eBook – it’s where your book begins.