Don’t Make Your Book More Important than It Is

There’s a major roadblock that stops many aspiring authors from finding success. I see it time and time again with my coaching clients.

They take their book too seriously.

These aspiring authors believe that, once completed and published, their novel will define who they are; nay, it will define their very value as a human being.

They believe the book will launch their professional author careers and transform their lives, bringing them wealth and fame. Paradoxically they also believe it will bring them ridicule, shame, and distain.

They also believe that unless their book is perfect, it will never be appreciated by anyone. In fact, they think it needs to be as good as INSERT YOUR CRITICALLY-BELOVED FAVOURITE-BOOK-EVER HERE.

These writers have so much of their hopes and dreams and heart and soul invested in these beliefs that it becomes overwhelming. It causes blocks, insecurities, second guessing, and procrastination.

If this sounds like you, then I’m going to share a cold hard truth with you today.

Ready for it?

Here we go:

You’re book isn’t that big a deal.

It’s really not.

Over 300,000 books will be published this year. Yours will be one of them. Stop making it more important than it really is.

That book will be something you have created for the enjoyment or education of others, but it won’t BE you. It won’t define you. Whether people love it or hate it (or the most likely option of all: are indifferent to it) will say absolutely nothing about your value as a human being.

Publishing a book will be the start of your life as an author, but it won’t turn into an instant career. A sustainable career as an author means writing and publishing more books. (Usually many books.)

Even if you’re book is a huge hit, it almost certainly won’t bring you wealth and fame. (If wealth and fame is what you’re after, a career as an author is the wrong path.) Book publishing isn’t a growth industry. Most people watch Netflix, not read books. The New York Times called Americanah the best novel of 2013. Did you read it? Didn’t think so.

Oh, and guess what? You’re book isn’t going to be as good as INSERT YOUR CRITICALLY-BELOVED FAVOURITE-BOOK-EVER HERE. That author’s next book wasn’t as good as that one either, so why should yours be?

Stop taking yourself and your book so damn seriously.

Have some FUN writing!

If we can’t have fun making art and telling stories, then what hope is there for joy in this world?

Your responsibility as an artist and writer is not to create the greatest novel ever written (because that thing doesn’t even exist!).

Your job is to CREATE.

Your job is to tell stories. LOTS of them. They don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to be the greatest thing ever. They just have to BE.

Don’t stand in the way of your book existing by piling unrealistic expectations on yourself and your writing.

I have a new thriller novel called M School coming out soon. You can get on the early notification list here. It’s not a big deal, but I think you’ll like it. And that’s enough.

grey backKevin T. Johns is an author, writing coach, and ghostwriter. He has helped hundreds of writers from around the world get ideas out of their heads, onto the page, and into readers' hands. Get your free copy of his short guide for authors below.

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4 Comments

  • Margaret Long

    Reply Reply August 13, 2016

    Thanks for that Kevin. After publishing my novel I got stuck into my second one:120 pages so far. Misunderstood was based on my true story; I had a lot of pain I’d carried inside since a child and to be able to get it on paper gave me some closure. My new novel is a Thriller Romance (with some spicy bits thrown in) ? most proberly won’t be published until the beginning of next year. I find it easier to write by going under my pen name (laura rosek) don’t ask! lol
    Kind Regards
    Maggie

    • kevintjohns@gmail.com

      Reply Reply August 24, 2016

      Maggie, we all get stuck sometimes. It’s great to hear you’re moving forward again with the book. I’ll keep an eye out for it next year!

  • Darren

    Reply Reply August 23, 2016

    Gee…. that sounds like the conversation we had during out coaching call! 🙂

    Thanks again for your help, Kevin. It was exactly what I needed to hear and not making my book more important than it needs to be has helped me to actually ENJOY thinking about and writing it!

    • kevintjohns@gmail.com

      Reply Reply August 24, 2016

      Thank you, Darren, for encouraging me to share this advice in the form of a blog post!

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