The Author Incubator

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Many people who tell me they want to write a book or they know they SHOULD write a book quickly follow that up with: I’m not ready yet.

When I talk to them, I can tell pretty quickly if that’s true or if it’s an excuse.

Take Sally (not her real name) – I talked to her yesterday and she told me that ever since she was a little girl she knew in her heart she was born to write a book.

She’s in her 50s now and that message is reinforced by clients and colleagues who continue to tell her to write a book. But she says she’s not ready.

She wanted to know what I do for when she is. (first clue)

When I asked her when she’ll be ready or how she would know she’s ready, she explained she doesn’t have the time or money right now to focus on it. So I asked about her business…

She’s a money coach but she charges on a sliding scale with clients paying between $50 and $200 a session. She doesn’t want them to be afraid to spend money on a coach so she offers a lot of pro bono work and does 20-40 sessions a month. (second clue)

She’d like to be making $5,000 a month but right now she makes about half that. She has savings and some investments that she lives off of. When she’s making more, she’ll write. (third clue)

What’s wrong with this picture? Do you see it?

First the credibility and confidence being a published author adds not only makes it easier to attract clients and charge higher fees, but also, all that low dollar work is trapping her from having the time to do the work she was born to do. And the worst part is, the discounts she gives her clients is almost certainly keeping them stuck right where they are.

I let her go gently, but I knew she would be ready the moment she made the decision to be ready. I didn’t tell her what she was doing by undercharging her clients and keeping her message from the world was stingy and not generous, but I wished I did. I didn’t tell her an outside circumstance wasn’t going to change that. But I knew that even if she got to $5000/month without a book, there would be a reason that wasn’t enough.

Then take Jim (you guessed it, not his real name either) – We talked last Friday.

His book ambition has been a deep, dark secret. Not even his wife knows. (first clue)

He has a full time job that pays the bills but he’s unhappy. (second clue)

He doesn’t know what to write about but he knows he has a lot to say. (third clue)

He wants to quit his job and be a full time writer but he’s the primary bread winner with kids in private school so he’d need to be making $8,000 a month.

I asked him if he wanted to be a paid speaker, consultant or coach and he explained he was an introvert and (right now) an engineer and so that stuff didn’t interest him.

He wanted to write a book that would bring in all that revenue. He could write about almost anything and wanted to know what I thought would sell best so he could write about that. He knew he wasn’t ready but wanted me to tell him what he had to do to be ready. (fourth clue!)

I agreed he wasn’t ready and sent him off with the question from Martha Beck that launched my business: What do you lose track of time doing?

What does this mean for you?

It means you are ready if:

  • You know in your heart you want to be an author.
  • You have a message that will bring hope and healing to the world.
  • You know you can be the change you want for you clients and readers.
  • You aren’t the kind of person who makes excuses.
  • You’d welcome money, but you don’t see a book as a get rich quick scheme.
  • You are already doing the work you love (at least some of the time) but want to do it in a bigger way
  • You aren’t making the difference you want to make… Yet!

Wondering if you are ready? It’s a reasonable question to ask. Hit me up in the comments or by PM and I’ll do a personalized analysis.

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