You’ve got a book in you. Now what?

Dec 7, 2022 | Writing A Book

“Everyone has a book inside them and, in most cases, that’s where it should stay.”

That quote, or something very much like it, has been attributed to many writers. There’s Christopher Hitchens, Shelby Foote, Winston Churchill, Somerset Maugham, and a bevy of others.

The truth is, if you can read a book, you can probably write one. That doesn’t mean it will be quick or easy. It doesn’t mean you’ll wind up with a good book. And it sure doesn’t mean that you’ll wind up with a book that sells.

If you’ve got an idea for a book, and you’re thinking about writing it. You should do some analysis to determine if the juice will be worth the squeeze.

Get Realistic

Most of my book-writing clients are mid-career and midlife. Most of them want to write a book that will help them improve their reputation and their career. Some want to write a book to tick something off their bucket list. Several want to share part of their story.

It doesn’t matter why you want to write a book. You probably made the decision in two steps. First, you thought to yourself, “I could do that.” The first couple of times that happened you probably didn’t do much about it.

Then something else happened and you said to yourself, “I should write a book.” at that stage you should be assessing three things. You need to determine if there’s a market for your book. You need to do some self-analysis about your readiness to be an author. And you need to decide if you’ve got a reasonable chance of completing the book without going crazy or destroying important relationships. The questions that follow should help you make those judgments.

Is there a market for your book?

Selling books is important. You may not make a lot of money from book sales, most authors don’t. But your book can be the centerpiece of many revenue-producing activities. And if you don’t sell your book, hardly anyone will read it or absorb your message. Consider the following questions.

What’s the topic? Define this as precisely as you can.

What’s already out there? Find out what’s been said about your topic. Look for books and articles and also for videos, courses, and slide decks.

Who’s your ideal reader? Define who will buy and read your book and what they will get out of it. Research how they discover and purchase books

How big is your potential audience? Calculate the maximum number of people who could buy your book, then reduce it to the number likely to buy it.

Can you reach the audience? Find out if there’s a mailing list of the people in your potential audience. Research what websites they visit, what print material they read, and what associations they belong to.

What about you?

You must assess your readiness to be a successful author. These three questions will help.

Why do you want to write the book? You’ve got plenty of work ahead of you and it won’t all be smooth sailing. So, figure out how you will benefit from writing your book.

Why should people pay attention to you? Imagine that a potential reader asked you why you were qualified to write your book. What would you say? Note your credentials and experience.

How big is your platform? In today’s world, the size of your platform is important. It’s important to you for marketing your book. Potential publishers we’ll use it to judge whether you’re likely to be successful.

Can you get the book done?

Let’s say you’ve decided that there’s a market for your book and that you could be a successful author. You must decide if it’s worth the effort. Do you have a reasonable chance of completing the book without going crazy or destroying important relationships? The following three questions should help.

Where will you carve out the time? You probably already have a busy life, so you’re going to take writing time from something else you’re doing now. Cutting down on sleep is a bad option.

How will you get the writing done? Even if you are a good writer, writing a book can be a daunting task. Editors, ghostwriters, and book coaches can help you get through several drafts to create a manuscript you’re proud of.

What support do you have? Friends and loved ones will provide some support for you. The challenge is to make sure their needs are met while you’re working on your book. Find someone close to you whom you can talk to about the project as it goes along.

It’s easy to dive into a project like writing a book when your emotion and motivation are high. The tough part comes later. Take the time and make the effort to determine whether that book inside you should become a real book you’re proud of.


What’s the topic?

What’s already out there?

Who’s your ideal reader?

How big is the potential audience?

Can you reach the audience?

Why do you want to write the book?

Why should people pay attention to you?

How big is your platform?

Where will you carve out time?

What support do you have?

How will the writing get done?

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