Will You Claim Your Expertise?
Many people in my Group Book Mentoring program start the journey of writing their book with excitement and a spirit of discovery. Sooner or later they hit that wall famously known as “writer’s block.”
(Which is why we do a Bonus Call once a month that provides an opportunity for writers to talk about writer’s block, obstacles, time management issues and more. But I digress.)
What I believe truly stops a lot of writers of how-to or personal growth books cold, is at some point it suddenly dawns upon them: Wow, positioning myself as an expert or authority really means taking on the mantle of being just that – an expert or authority.
Self-doubt comes rushing in like a lava flow off the side of a volcano. All the, “Who am I to say I’m an expert?” questions start crowding the mind. The book writing process stops dead in it’s tracks. Often, its the end of many aspiring book authors quest to become the author of a how-to or personal growth book. Like the lava flow those self-doubts about their expertise destroys everything in it’s path.
So, this begs the question, “What makes you an expert?”
If you’re a scientist – the bar is pretty high. I once knew a woman who was a Chiropractor. She has tons of post-doctoral training, fifteen years of experience and has developed and championed techniques used in her profession that have gained widespread acceptance in per profession as beneficial to patients. Yet she revealed to me, she didn’t feel like an expert.
When you write your how-to or personal growth book, your experience is your expertise. If you’re writing a book about how to raise successful, happy kids and your experience is your six successful, happy kids – say so. Don’t shy away from the fact that you don’t have a degree in Child Development or Child Psychology, say it clearly. Don’t skirt around the issue. State your credentials based on your experience with pride.
If you don’t have a bunch of initials based on advanced degrees after your name, don’t worry about it. Most how-to or personal growth books don’t reqire educational requirements. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have a college degree. My book, “Testosterone-Free Marketing” is about Marketing for women, small and micro business owners and I do have a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. But I don’t have a Masters degree. I’ve never run the marketing department for a Fortune 500 company. I’ve only run my own small businesses – for over two decades.
- Your grandma’s best pie recipes without being a Master Chef
- Growing amazing vintage tomatoes without being a Horticulturist
- Increasing your confidence without a Ph.D. in Psychology
- Developing a closer connection with your faith without a Theology degree
- Opening a coffee shop without a degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Management
- Losing weight and keeping it off without being an Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist
- . . . and many more
Remember, if book readers want a book written by someone with a bunch of initials after their name they will find that book and bypass your book. They’re simply not your ideal book reader. They’re not going to hunt you down and shout in your face, “Hey, who do you THINK you are?!? You can’t write this book?” That might happen in your mind – it doesn’t happen in reality. I believe with all my heart there are just as many people who would rather avoid that kind of ivory-tower expertise and look for someone who can relate to them in a down-to-earth way based on personal experience.
So if your heart is set on writing a how-to or personal growth book, get writing. If you know being the author of your book will help people see you as an expert they they will want to work with, leveraging your income - don’t delay. When you say you’re an expert or authority, and, you’re proud of the credentials you DO have people will sit up, take notice and buy your book.
Denise Michaels is Founder of the International Book Writing Guild which provides aspiring, enterprising book authors of how-to and personal growth books with the support, knowledge, strategies and tips to successfully write a book. Michaels is also author of the Business Bestseller, “Testosterone-Free Marketing” which became a business bestseller and sold in fifteen countries.