Candice and I have been at this book thing for . . . a while. We’ve helped dozens of authors, and we’ve been asked just about every question you can think of related to book planning, writing, publishing, marketing, and sales.

Would-be authors obsess over so many things in the making of their book. (Well, the good ones do; the others just throw something together, and that makes us sad.)

We see people worry about the mundane things, yet ignore those things that could make or break their publishing success.

Authors want to know if their book should be this or that; if it’s good enough for one thing or another; and if they should try this tactic or some other to reach success.

Without giving you the questions (because we’re sure you already know them), here are 10 things your book should never be:

  1. A basic compilation of your blog posts. It’s okay to use your blog posts as a foundation, but you have to add something more to it.
  2. Your entire life story. No one wants to read about everything that has happened in your life.
  3. Unedited. You’ve heard us say this before: Do not skimp on professional copy editing. EVER!
  4. A teaser. Don’t be stingy. Either share your entire process/system/approach, or just don’t write the book.
  5. Boring. Jazz it up with stories, anecdotes, case studies, etc. There are multiple ways to jazz up your book content, and we teach many of them.
  6. Free. I’m not against giving away your book. There are times when that makes sense. But be smart and give strategically.
  7. Written for, and marketed to, everyone. Not everyone is going to want, like, buy, or read your book. They’re just not. Decide on a unique perfect reader.
  8. The hardest thing you’ve ever done. If it’s hard, you’re making it hard, and only you can change that.
  9. Sold in only one place. Book lovers are everywhere. The reading world is bigger than Amazon or your local bookstore or your own website. Meet your buyers/readers where they are.
  10. A decade in the making (especially for nonfiction). Write what you know. Make the commitment to finish. Get smart about being an author. Get help. And finish, already!

Above all, your book should never be unfinished.

If you’ve started writing it, you have the desire to share your story and your knowledge. If you’ve already published your book, it’s time you make something of it.

Finish what you started and reap the reward of accomplishing your goals.


Anita R. Henderson is an author coach and self-publishing mentor. For the last decade, she has helped experts become authors and successfully navigate their way through the self-publishing process. As a partner with Book Your Success, her mission is to help authors understand that being successful as “author of” is bigger than the book. She shows BYS clients and students how to use their book to create new income streams and earn a return on the time and money they invest in becoming an author.

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