Author Imposter syndrome: Slaying your book planning demons

Feeling a bit anxious about book planning? Please don’t. It’s perfectly normal! (I remember staring into space wondering how I’d ever manage it!). Before you start, author imposter syndrome is very real, and very debilitating. Over a decade, you’ve polished and honed your expertise and systems. So, why risk it all by launching a half-assed book? There’s no doubt you’re right to feel concerned.

Remember, every great journey begins with a bit of unease—and that’s fine because it means you care. You want to write your book so much. Yet, you just can’t seem to find that place to start.

In my experience, helping authors for over a decade, I’ve found that when it comes to the early stages of a book, it’s more about progress, not perfection. Remember, polishing comes later.

Nevertheless, you do need to know in your gut you’re heading in the right direction, without getting too hung up about details far into the future.

It’s a bit of a dance, isn’t it?

How to feel better about planning your book

So, here are my suggestions for how to channel that 1% gut instinct and eagerness into something reliable and tangible.

Firstly, you have years of experience. It has value: Trust in your unique perspective. It’s your greatest asset. Your experiences and insights are invaluable—embrace them in your writing. Think of a musician or a stand-up comedian. What makes their performances special isn’t just the songs they play or the jokes they tell—it’s how they deliver them. Each musician brings their own style, timing, and personality to their craft. Moreover, I bet you’ve heard a cover version of a song and noticed it feels entirely different to listen to.

The unique touch that comes with a new arrangement, the rhythm, and emotions that make it their own. Similarly, two comedians can tell the same joke about a common misunderstanding, but will create entirely different experiences. This is because it’s their individual expression, shaped by their experiences and perspectives, that makes their work stand out. It’s this individual expression, shaped by their experiences, and perspectives, that makes their work stand out. Just like them, your unique experiences and the way you share them are what will make your valuable insights special.

Three easy ways to banish imposter syndrome

To tackle author imposter syndrome, write the book for your readers. Imagine it enhancing lives, like a big version of a friendly fireside chat. Your words have the power to connect and inspire with your readers. Just do what you do with face to face clients, but write it down.

  • Break Down the Process: Tackle your planning in small, manageable sections. Focus on one chapter at a time. Don’t get caught up in the details of your launch you’ve not got a title yet! Keep it simple and straightforward.
  • Seek Inspiration: Draw inspiration from your favourite books. Observe how to apply those insights to your work. Remember, you’ve been surrounded by books for years—you know more than you think!
  • Stay Flexible and Open to Changes: Pay attention to what readers love and dislike. Write for them, not just for yourself. Adapt your content to create the best experience for your audience, just as you do in real life conversations.

It will all work out OK—Cut yourself some slack

To conclude, writing a book is as much about mindset as it is about the actual writing talent. You can beat author imposter syndrome. Remember your book has the power to transform lives, much like a magic wand or being granted three wishes. Why remove the opportunity to help those people because of a bit of ‘first night nerves.’ If you book stays locked in your head or stuck on your hard disk—it’s not helping.

One last thought, 60 mid-length (500-word) emails are about the same length as a typical business book. Just Sixty emails. That’s a word count you can handle, right? Wouldn’t take a year, would it?

The real battle is in your head. But, with the right shift in thinking, when it comes to slaying author imposter syndrome, you’ve got this!

(If you’re not sure where to start at all, check out my free guide first: How to write a nonfiction book. And here’s my bio if you’re curious.)

Choose your next author adventure with me…

Begin your book with confidence: How Market-Ready is Your Book Idea?

Publish your book with confidence: Is Your Final Draft Publishing Ready?

Revive your book with confidence: Take Your Book From Hidden Gem to Headliner!

P.S. Tell your friends about these free personalised assessments. Let’s make sure every author gets the advice they need.

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