Monday, July 19, 2010

Your Book Won't Succeed Without It - Seriously

image by Alosh Bennett

Guest post by Melinda Copp

As writers, we tend to think about writing and what it takes to write a book. But what about reading a book? Although it doesn't take near as long as the writing part, it still takes a while. When you ask someone to read your book, you're asking them to set aside other things they could be doing--reading something else, hanging out with their kids, or whatever--and spend ten or so hours with you and your thoughts. That's a pretty serious request. And as a writer, you have to keep in mind the fact that if you don't take your writing and your book seriously, no one else will either.

So do you really take your writing and your book seriously? Are you really committed to writing a great book?

I was recently listening to a teleseminar with a life coach who was talking about the importance of taking what you do seriously and investing in your skills. For coaches and consultants and other service professionals, this is of utmost importance. How can you ask your prospective clients to invest in themselves through your services if you're not willing to do the same for yourself? How can you expect anyone to take you seriously?

This coach used American Idol as an example. When a contestant who has invested in voice training walks onto the stage and sings, the judges take them seriously. But when the amateurs-those who sing in the shower every night and think they have what it takes-walk on stage, they get eliminated. Only the serious ones get through. If you want to be a great dancer, you invest in dance lessons. If you want to be a great actor, you invest in training. And if you want to write a great book, you should invest in the training you need to make that happen. Doing anything less is amateurish and unprofessional.

If you find yourself saying, "Oh, I can write this on my own," or, "I need to get clients before I can spend any money on my book," then think about what you're really doing. If you know writing your book will attract more clients to you and establish your expertise and make you a known authority in your field, and you're not willing to invest in making that book as outstanding and strong as it can possibly be, then how can you expect anyone to invest their time reading it? How can you expect anyone to take it seriously?

As someone who invests in herself on a continued basis, I know how scary it can feel. Heck, I invested in a master's degree because I wanted to be a better writer. I knew I could never reach the level of skill I wanted without it, and I'm worth it! I take what I do seriously. Plus, how could I ever ask anyone to invest in one of my programs (which are WAY less expensive than that!) if I wasn't willing to do the same for myself. I am always taking different classes and working with coaches who can help me get better at what I do. And every time I spend money to learn a new skill or develop my abilities, I make back that investment tenfold.

When someone tells me they can't afford to take this class or work with that person, even though they know it will make them more successful, I have to wonder just how serious they are. I want to ask, "Aren't you worth it?" The decision has to come from within you. But you also have to understand that every decision you make either places a limit on your success, or it takes you to the next higher level. And you readers will know the difference.

Melinda Copp helps aspiring self-help, business, and nonfiction authors helps aspiring nonfiction, business, and self-help authors get clear on their story and book idea, and figure out how to put it all together so their ideal readers love it.

Visit for a free copy of her "Jumpstart Your Book E-course!" and get your book started now.


  1. Yes, authors should seek editing advice and polish, but I can't accept that we live in a world where only American Idol products deserve to exist. Homogeny, trend, and aiming for the lowest common denominator are not int he best interests of literature or our collective knowledge and experience.

    Still, revise until you drop, then be sad it couldn't have been perfect!

    Scott Nicholson

  2. Consider this, if you will. How do you invest money in your writing career when you have none to begin with? It's easy to say this and that... and even the other, but if it takes money and there is none to be had, then what?
    Those of us who are poor but still desire to flex our writing muscles are grateful to places like CreateSpace and for providing an avenue for low-to-no cost publishing.

  3. I must be living on a different planet. I read all these blogs and articles telling writers to work hard and take their writing seriously. I've yet to meet the writer who doesn't work hard. Writing a 300 to 400 page novel is hard work, even if the end-result is not top notch - yet. You spend hours alone, not knowing if that piece of work will ever see the light of day. You neglect your friends who think you're nuts. And once you finish a draft, of course you should have someone else read it and have it edited. Nobody, not even an editor, catches all the blunders. Isn't that what most writers do? Or am I totally naive?

  4. Scott,

    We agree. With the emergence of new forms of publishing, the world where only American Idol products exist is quickly changing. However, big publishers will always focus on what produces the largest ROI. Unfortunately, this is homogeny, trend, and the lowest common denominator.

  5. Christa,

    Most true writers work hard and invest in themselves. However, there are many who call themselves writers who lack focus and a willingness to improve their craft and yet wonder why their career is stagnant.

  6. James,

    When a writer doesn't have money to invest in their career, I suggest investing time. Some colleges provide free online writing courses. Libraries often provide free classes and special guest events.

    I am not a fan of Lulu.

    If a financially-challenged author desires to self-publish their book, I agree with your recommendation of's free option.


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