In my previous post, I set forth five common roadblocks that I have seen stand between writers and a finished book. That list included:
- Forgetting why you wanted to write the book
- Losing the discipline of writing regularly
- Losing sight of the day you want to hold your book
- Doubt takes over
- Unclear what you will do when you are done writing.
I suggested ways to overcome the first two and so in this post, I would like to address the remaining three reasons why some writers never see their books in the hands of readers.
Losing sight of the day you want to hold your book
A third roadblock I often see is writers lose sight of the day they want to hold the first copy of their book. Putting a date on the calendar and working toward that day is absolutely critical. For some authors it is a real deadline like having books for a speaking engagement. But for others, it is a day they have deemed important. One of my favorite stories is an author who I worked with who actually wanted to give everyone who attended his 50th birthday party a copy of his book…and he did.
So picture the day when you want to hold a copy of your book. Then create a timeline to get there. You may need to work with someone to set the key milestones to make your goal, but without a deadline, it is easy to have a project drift for months and even years.
Putting a date on the calendar and working toward that day is absolutely critical.
Doubt takes over
Another roadblock I see is doubt creeps in and paralyzes your keyboard. This is very, very common. Authors often wonder if their writing is any good or will anyone else want to read it. Quite frankly. one of the most frightening things to do is to take something you’ve poured yourself into, hand it to someone else, let them read it and see what they think. And I don’t care if it’s someone close to you, or a complete stranger, there is always a lingering fear of rejection.
Fortunately, there are a lot of online resources that can help you get feedback and make helpful connections. One of the best sites is Book Country. Another great resource is the Author Learning Center. Conferences are also very helpful. I particularly think the Writer’s Digest Conference is quite good for writers at all experience levels. Each of these provides a way to improve your work and help you gain confidence in what you are going to publish.
Doubt can manifest itself in a lot of different ways. In some cases it is doubt that your work is any good. It is doubt that anyone will want to read it. It is doubt that you can sell any books. But the reality is you never know what can happen until you get your book into the marketplace.
There is one particular author I worked with who had worked on his manuscript for 10 years. It was a nonfiction history book. It was quite good, but he was really, really unsure about actually getting it published. Finally, one day I looked at him and said, “Well, you know you can do a second edition,” and so he put that book into the marketplace. Yes he has sold copies, but more importantly, he has received comments from people all over the globe who have had a chance to read his book and enjoy it.
Unclear what you will do when you are done writing.
So that’s four out of the five roadblocks. The last one is you are unclear what the next step is once you’re done writing. This is a very common among authors who are so focused on getting their manuscript done that they don’t know exactly how they are going to get published.
I have written a lot about this topic in the white paper, The Four Paths to Publishing. Here is a link for a free download. It lays out your options and guidelines for choosing the right path for your project.