Five important questions to ask yourself before you write your first book

Love the idea of writing a book? Book coach Kim O’Hara shares five questions you need to ask yourself first.

Many women, especially working mothers, question the right time to take on the daunting experience of writing a book. Having worked with many authors in various circumstances, I have narrowed down five core questions you can ask yourself when readying for this experience.

If you are saying no to at least three of these questions, then you need to make accommodations to effectively achieve your book goals.

1) Do I have eight extra hours a week?

Seriously. As moms, we often say yes to more than we should. The soccer team needs someone to organize the snacks every week and we find our hand raised. Time to get that stomach firm with Pilates? We enroll in a 6 AM Pilates class. Your teenager preparing for college? Suddenly sleepless nights are spent wondering if another Google spread sheet would get all the loose ends tied up to make deadlines.

Within all this noise and activity, we can set ourselves up to not meet book deadlines. Books, like any other project, need deadlines. Then we feel bad we dropped the ball, and we don’t have time for guilt! If you can’t seem to find eight hours by making some schedule sacrifices or delegating, look at the book less as a dream and more as a brand. How would you adjust your schedule more for a core business objective than a bucket list? Now organize your hours. If you can then say yes, it’s time to commit to writing.

2) Can I effectively keep up the energy to promote the book beyond one year?

A book is not a sprint but a marathon. You have to be committed to a consistent integration of the book in all you do with your brand. Often as women, we are heads of our household. A sick aging parent, or a side hustle to bring in more money can cause a loss of steam in book promotion after the initial launch.

You start making excuses that you came out strong in the first months after the book is published on Amazon, or hybrid, and now you have other priorities. This thinking will not have the book work for your as effectively as it should.

Take a look at a two-three year game plan with the book and treat it like a business aspect of your brand. Who can you put into place as support to ensure you keep the momentum going?

3) Am I on the other side of a grief that needs to be resolved before I can be ready to write the book?

A death of a parent or a close loved one can be extremely triggering in the memoir genre. Grief is so fresh in the first year, that while it may be cathartic, the emotions can also shut writers down and the rigor of doing a book program may be self-defeating.

Divorce is also a death that can be equally as challenging when there is a contentious situation with finances. Often one person is not so excited for the marriage to end. Authors can be seriously triggered when writing about their life story in grief, even the little bit their story comes into self-help or how to.

Think through your readiness if you are experiencing a traumatic emotional change. While vulnerability is wonderful for a book, you want to be further on the other side of healing so you are successful.

4) Do I consider myself an ambitious go getter who wants my book to be considered by an agent or publisher?

If so, you need to pay for the proper coaching to get the book to that level which includes a professional book proposal, query, book marketing and platform guidance. This all costs money. When you work with a high-level coach like myself, akin to any top shelf mastermind investment, you pay for what you get.

You can easily write a book in a one stop shop, who will also publish for you, but you will get a marginal book that doesn’t ever really stand you out or help you shine. I want my clients to shine brightly and be seen in the mastery.

Writing books is a herculean task. Look at your balance sheet and your book as a brand. Are you willing to make a $50k investment in a book? I know that sounds like a lot, but if you own a business, are a coach or have re-branded lately, you know it takes investment to continue to be relevant in the business world. 

5) Do I want to be seen as a professional author? 

I ask this because some women discover when they write book one that they want to write lots more books. They are almost surprised by this understanding. I am a good writer! If you go into book writing knowing you are going to only write one book, then your focus should not be so much as promoting yourself as an “author” but rather the branded content of the book.

Being realistic about the answer to this question will determine the kind of support you look for in writing and publishing the book. I coach authors to write books but they all desire to have an image and future as authors. A second book is on their radar so with book one, we get them positioned for that track. 

Make sure you are any to write your book

I love that you are reading this article and thinking about writing a book! It is a lofty step and an act of service to your expertise and yourself. The book journey can be amazing, and in order to maximize the experience, take the time to ready yourself. You will be happy you did so!

Book Coach to Best Sellers™ Kim O’Hara has guided over 40+ coach/leader/executive clients through the daunting journey of book inception to publishing.

Through her exclusive brand, she illuminates and inspires authors to find their core narrative message. Called a book sherpa and guardian angel by her clients, Kim provides clarity about a book’s purpose and the foundational structure to execute a vision to a wider audience.