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The HUGE Mistake Most First-Time Authors Make

In helping nearly 1,000 authors write best-selling self-help books, we’ve found that the authors of the books that make the biggest impact begin the writing process by choosing a SINGLE ideal reader and writing their books as a love letter to that person’s heart. This isn’t something most first-time authors (and many second- and third-time authors for that matter) do automatically when they write books on their own.

What most first-time authors say is, “I need to share my story to help as many people in the world as possible.”

They think that by recounting the details of the struggles they’ve experienced, they will automatically and permanently free others from the pain of similar situations.

But here’s the thing— sharing your story is great for getting people who’ve experienced something similar to say, “Oh my gosh! Me too! I have the same problem. I’m not alone after all” but that’s often where the impact on their lives stops.

It’s great to get others to identify with what you’ve been through, but it doesn’t show them exactly how to get through it too.

The mic drops when the story ends and while they may feel seen for a few hours or days afterward – while they may share the joy, pain, sadness, and hope that your story conveys – most people will continue to live the same way with the same problems they had before knowing your story.

Sure, stories engage us… but they don’t necessarily transform us.

Without a plan to help your readers move forward, sharing your story is only entertainment and entertainment doesn’t change lives.

Here at The Author Incubator, we only work with aspiring authors of self-help books… those that take readers through an actual process to reach a specific result.

Sharing your story is always a PART of the books we publish, but the expertise you share to SOLVE A SPECIFIC PROBLEM is why anyone buys the book in the first place.

If you just want to share your story without showing readers a way to solve a problem, that’s a memoir. And writing a memoir for your first book is generally HORRIBLE advice unless you’re already famous or have a large audience of followers already interested in your story. Otherwise it’s almost a given that your memoir is NOT going to sell.

Readers are usually not interested in the “stories” of people who aren’t celebrities – or people who are already well-known in the media for some reason – but will ALWAYS be interested in someone who can help them solve a problem.

When you strive to make an impact by helping people solve actual problems, people won’t just buy your books, they’ll seek you out and will beg to pay whatever it costs for you to help them personally. This is one reason most of our authors are coaches, healers, consultants, and other types of transformational entrepreneurs.

They not only have stories to share, but marketable expertise that translates into actual dollars every time they make a difference.

You’re probably thinking, “But I’m not in it for the money.”

That’s 100% fine if you absolutely don’t care if even a single person buys or reads your book… which is likely only true if you also don’t care about leading a movement that helps change anyone’s life.

However, in order to make a huge difference in the world with your movement you have to generate money to fund the movement. Mother Theresa wasn’t in it just for the money but she made over $300 million dollars in her lifetime in order to fund her movement. It takes money to feed and clothe people. It takes money to travel to those who need your help. It takes money to pay your own bills so that you can focus on helping others. Money is just a tool.

All of our authors have a mission to make a much bigger difference with their messages than they’re currently making and are able to use their books to fund the movements they’ve created to bring hope, healing, and transformation to their readers.

Writing a book that includes your stories AND strategies to solve problems gives you much more leverage to get in front of larger audiences and serve people in the way they need to be served.

If you’re ready to use your story AND your expertise in service of guiding your readers toward tangible results, apply to write a book with use here:

24 thoughts on “The HUGE Mistake Most First-Time Authors Make”

  1. It was difficult for me to find a person to try my program on, so I did it on myself. It was challenging, and I blogged about the experience. After a while, I found that some doors were opened, and I needed even more support. So, I understand that my clients will need my ongoing support to make my program work for them. A book and a support program are the best support system.

    1. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves! We receive more than 1,500 applications a month, but only accept 25 authors into our program— you might not be chosen. The good news is there is no charge to find out if Dr. Angela can help and if she can we can talk about the cost and details then.

  2. Hi ,
    My name is carla Bradley and I filled out one of your forms not to long ago. I TOTALLY get what you mean but autobiography. I asure you that is not qhat mine is about .yes some of it reflecks on my past but very little .I am inapired by the love of god to write this so that I can help the children that society has thrown away. If you would like to talk about my book please call at 910 859 4978. Thank you

    1. You’ll be able to mention personal anecdotes in your book where appropriate, but your book shouldn’t center around your journey! Our books serve as a guide for readers to navigate their own lives. We definitely have your application on file, so keep an eye out for our emails and texts!

  3. I agree. To tell the story from the victim point of view is not helpful in the long run if that’s all there is to the story. I was thinking more along the lines of adding humor and humility into the build up of the story. But after the universe tore down my walls literally, there was a lot of work that needed to be done. The destruction left in the path, somewhat like when a tornado strikes and wipes away it’s path, there is the cross road of where to go from here….. and there are choices. But, once I realized that I was placed in a sort of solitary confinement of my old world, I had to figure out first “what happened” and then, what do I do now, where do I go from here.
    The deep rooted “Ego mind, or subconscious mind” plays many games on you in this stage and there is much humor to be found here too and I don’t have to look very deeply at all. On top of it all, to have another person on this planet that I barely know, somehow tied to my life and SOUL, is MIND BLOWING!! Now, if this person figures it out as quickly as I did, we’ll have some hope of getting there together. But, that is an entirely new game of it’s own! There is a great story here, but I’ve got to admit, I don’t think it’s really quite close to anywhere to be telling it yet, because I don’t know where it will go. I only know where my power lies in my old ego mind, and that controls the direction to somewhere. I’m told it will go amazing places if all goes according to “Divine plan” in “Divine Timing” – and that timing has yet to be determined by anyone that will tell me anyway!

    1. Divine timing is a real thing, but the timeline is never set in stone. At times you can determine your own divine timing when you decide NOW is the time. It’s always difficult at first, but you’ll know your on the right path when doors you didn’t even know existed start to open for you.

    2. As I was reading this, I felt as if I had written it myself about 3 months ago. I learned what preparation meets opportunity truly means. It is something I continue to remind myself of whenever I am not certain of where I am going or what I am meant to do. Each time I am reminded of this and actually put effort towards an idea the doors of opportunity open wide. Almost immediately I begin to receive all the signs and knowings of where it was to take me. So dont hesitate with any ideas you have as it’s never wasted energy/opportunity. You will never finish learning and growing into the best version of your highest creation. So try not to keep waiting for the perfect time; Start somewhere on something and allow it to take you everywhere.
      Mariah Carrico

  4. Dear Angela,
    I’m so ready! To write my first Book! My Book will be called my Book of Life. In this book, I will invite people of the world into a Spiritual Journey, showing and teaching them how to hear from God. They will also get a chance to experience Heaven while they are here on Earth, and also Hell as well.

    1. This isn’t a bad idea Jennifer, but I think you should read one of our previous blog posts here. I know you want your book to reach the people of the world, but you should try to narrow down your audience. The whole world isn’t going to read your book, but you can still make a meaningful difference in the lives of the readers your book needs to reach.

  5. Julie Gallagher

    Does acceptance to your program have an expiration date? I was accepted last year but didn’t follow through.

    1. Well, your question brings up an interesting point. Because we accomplish a lot together in a short amount of time, we know we work best with authors who can make informed decisions with conviction and relative speed. Most of the time this means we only work with authors who can commit when the fit is right and in the moment we know that to be true. My guess is there was something holding you back a year ago and now you are more ready than ever to move forward? A lot can change on our side of the equation in a year’s time as we are always improving how we work with our authors and help them to accomplish their desired results.

      For that reason, yes, there is an expiration date on an offer to work with us if we are a fit. However, if you know your time is now, and you know you are more ready than ever in all ways to make your difference in the world, then reapply and commit to excellence with each answer. Let us know you’ve been here before what has changed and why this time there is no going back! If our scouts are moved you’ll hear from us!

  6. Emma Khadija Jones

    Some prospective buyers may not be Christians,religious nor spiritual while many others may think that is their reason for participating in their existing places of community/ commitments. Further, there maybe an erroneous assumption that a reader is interesting in experiencing “hell”.

  7. Thank you, Angela! As someone who feels a deep burning desire to help others, I do recognize the difference between sharing one’s story gratuitously and sharing with the intent to change, transform others’ lives through sharing the tools I’ve accumulated (and which have saved my life!)… how to do this and how to narrow down what I offer to a specific target audience remains the big challenge! I am ready to move forward with you and your team assisting me!

    Thank you for showing up when I need you!

    1. It’s definitely a challenge! But not one you can’t overcome— especially with our team’s guidance. We’ll be in touch!

  8. Wow, this sounds like it’s what I’ve been waiting for all these years. I’ve been told by so many people that I should write a book because many people can be helped by what I have learned from life.
    Anyway, thank you and would go forward with this.

  9. We’re happy to steer you in the right direction! Being open to abundance is so important. Blessings can only arrive through the opening you provide!

  10. Dr. Jacqueline Johnson

    Thanks for the insightful information you shared. I am in the early stage of my writing so it will be easy for me to implement and to incorporate the self-help approach in my book. I am submitting my application for your review in hope of being selected to join your team. I agree that God is time and it’s NOW!!! It’s God’s Acceptable Year; Isaiah 61:1-3. My healing journey of transformation took thirty years of self-discovery, hard work, truth , prayer and a lot of FAITH in my PaPa God,,, But today I testify

  11. As a counselor in higher education for the last 30 years, i have used my story as a speaker on the motivational speaker circuit to give hope and various strategies to get through my life trauma.
    Hope, resiliences, agency, spirituality, belief in your higher power, and educating on the immigration process are invaluable for many that live with the torment and spiritual crushing trauma one suffers in silence. It is because I have traveled across California with a documentary and my story that I have been asked many times to write a book. Clearly the transparency and vulnerability of my experience lends to the interest of my audiences as an inspirational speaker. I had hoped that this opportunity would be a door for me to have guidance in putting out what is my purpose in life as a social change agent. If there is any type of guidance for what I am hoping to write, i welcome any recommendations.

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