Archive for Fear of Marketing

Write Your Book Now

Author and book marketer Lynn Serafinn tackles the most common excuses she hears from aspiring authors, with tips for how to move past them and write your book.

Over the years, I’ve worked with authors at many stages of their writing development. While most authors come to me for help with self-publishing and marketing, others come to me because they’ve found themselves stuck somewhere in the writing process. Maybe they have a wealth of ideas but are finding it hard to express them in words and develop them into a book. Maybe they have written hundreds of thousands of words, but they lack cohesion and focus. Maybe they’ve got into a pattern of starting and stopping, and now their project seems to be dragging on forever.

Whatever the scenario, all of these aspiring authors feel frustrated and powerless by the writing process, rather than empowered. The more powerless they feel, the more frustrated they become. The more frustrated they become, the less they feel like writing. And, of course, the less they feel like writing, the less they get done.

Writers are supposed to be great storytellers; but sometimes their greatest stories are the ones they tell themselves. Authors who get stuck in the vicious cycle of non-productivity often do not realise that the problems they are experiencing come from their own stories—their unconscious beliefs about themselves as writers and about the nature of the writing process in general.

The trouble is, once these stories take hold in their belief system, they become justifications and excuses for why their book isn’t getting written. And the more we feel justified in our reasons for not doing something, the more it will NOT get done.

So, for anyone out there who is struggling to start, make progress with, or complete a book project, I’d like to share the ‘Top 5 Excuses’ I’ve heard throughout my years of working with authors. As you read, ask yourself whether or not these same excuses might be getting in your way.

Excuse 1: ‘I can’t find the time to write.’

Truth: There’s no such thing as ‘finding time’. You have to create it.

I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard authors use this excuse. My response to it might sound brutal, but it’s the truth: there’s no such thing as finding time; you have to make the time.

Saying that you have to ‘find the time’ to write your book means you have not yet given your book top priority in your life. When I set the intention to write a book, I block out chunks of time to get it done. That could (and often does) mean taking a month off from ANY other work commitments, so I can write full-time. Or, it can mean setting aside specific days or specific hours of the day when I am 100% focused on the book project.

Of course, everyone’s life commitments are different. But even if you have a 9-5 job and a family, you can (and must) block out time that is sacrosanct for your writing and nothing else. Even if it’s only 2 hours every Tuesday night, you’ve got to create the space for your book project.

Unless you consciously schedule this time into your life, you will ALWAYS leave your book as your last priority. And when you do manage to write, your book will probably lack cohesiveness. Not creating time to write will also make your project drag on and on, which can dampen your motivation.

Excuse 2: ‘I’m not good enough.’  

Truth: NO writer is ‘good enough’ unless they spend time at their craft.

Good writers are the product of diligent practice. If you don’t write because you think you’re not good enough, you’ll never find out how good you can actually be. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell talks about something called the ‘10,000 hour rule’. This ‘rule’ states that for someone to excel in their craft—any craft—they need to have spent a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice at it.

How long is 10,000 hours? It could be 3 hours a day for roughly 10 years. It could be 6 hours a day for 5 years. Or, it could be 8 hours a day for about 3 ½ years. Gladwell cites several examples of people who spend virtually every waking hour on their craft (such as Bill Gates’ time spent working with computers), showing what it takes to become a leader in any given field.

There’s another ‘rule’ that one of my high school English teachers told me: If you want to learn how to be a great writer, you must first become a great reader. An integral part of honing your craft as a writer is reading. As writers, we read at a different level from those who read simply for pleasure or diversion. Reading improves our vocabulary. It reinforces grammar. It gives us creative and structural ideas. And it deepens our aesthetic appreciation for our craft.

So, if you want to be a good writer, start by writing every day for at least a couple of hours. And when you’re not writing, be sure to read a couple of hours a day. But the one thing that will never get you going is to avoid writing altogether because you don’t think you’re good enough.

Excuse 3: ‘I can only write when I feel inspired.’

Truth: Real writers know how to write ‘on demand’.

This is a HUGE excuse for writers, and it is possibly the one that creates the biggest obstacle. If we wait for the ‘muse’ to touch us with her wand before we sit down to write, we will never get our books written.

Inspiration doesn’t always strike BEFORE we write. Sometimes, you have to sit down and start writing and THEN inspiration will hit you. Back when I was a musician, I practiced every day, whether I wanted to or not. I didn’t feel particularly ‘inspired’ when I went to practice. But after I got started, and I felt my muscles wake up and my fingers move with more dexterity, I started to gain momentum. Sometimes I started out by telling myself that I’d practice only for an hour, but then  end up practicing for three, four or even five hours because I got into it.

Make it a daily practice to sit down to write regardless of how you feel. Believe it or not, inspiration will arrive even if you feel totally unmotivated before you start.

Excuse 4: ‘It’s all been done before.’

Truth: Every author has a different story to tell.

I’ve heard this excuse SO many times. An author wants to write a book on a particular subject, but they cite a dozen ‘famous’ authors who have all done it before. This kind of thinking zaps their confidence, and leads many an author to abandon their writing project.

The fact is, even if the ‘story’ has already been told, every author has a unique angle to bring to it. Think of all the best-selling vampire stories on the market right now! If Stephanie Myer had said, ‘Gosh, Bram Stoker’s already said it all,’ her career would never have taken off.

Writing non-fiction is no different. Ok, let’s say you’re writing a book on alternative health. Instead of thinking that authors like Louise Hay have ‘said it all before’, think of ways of citing your predecessors’ work in your own book, and expanding the topic. When I wrote The 7 Graces of Marketing, for example, I cited hundreds of other authors to show my unique angle on the topic of ethical marketing. If I had really wanted to sabotage my efforts, I could have told myself that there were already ‘enough’ marketing books on the market, and that there was no need for mine. That would have been a huge mistake, both for me and for my readers.

You also must remember that every reader has a different preference, and that different authors provide readers with different reading experiences. For example, in the field of personal development, I love Susan Jeffers for her simple, direct style, Martha Beck for her relaxed, humorous style, and Deepak Chopra for his philosophical, poetic style. All of these authors talk about authenticity and inner connection, but they all bring something different to my reading enjoyment.

For a reader, being able to have these varied reading experiences is just like having a rich and varied diet: it makes us healthier and happier. So never doubt that there is room for your perspective on the market.

Excuse 5:’No one will be interested.’

Truth: It’s up to you to create the interest.

The only way people will be interested in your book is if you are really clear about who might be interested in the subject AND you create a way to connect and communicate with them.

By identifying who might be interested, you are identifying your ‘target audience’ (I prefer to call this your ‘ideal’ audience). By creating ways to connect and communicate with your ideal audience, you are making your marketing strategy. Without putting care and attention into both of these things, it’s true: ‘No one will be interested’.

This is where my job as a marketing consultant comes in. I help authors create public interest in their books by identifying their ideal audience and creating marketing strategies. Regardless of whether or not you work with a marketing consultant to do this, it is something that MUST be done to ensure your book reaches the public.

Book marketing is not luck or rocket science; it’s a craft just like writing is. If you want to learn more about book marketing, I invite you to browse through the many free articles on the Spirit Authors website.

And, of course, if you are looking to build a marketing platform for your book, drop me a line via the contact form on this site to discuss the options our team at Spirit Authors have to offer you.

Lynn Serafinn
25th September 2013

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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

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What holds so many creative individuals back from going public? Author, coach and book marketer Lynn Serafinn reveals the top 5 fears every writer faces when leaping out of the safety zone of anonymity and into the public eye.


I’ve worked professionally with creatives for more than four decades, as a teacher, mentor, coach and consultant. I started as a music teacher when I was only 15 years old and by the time I left the teaching profession in 2007, I was overseeing over 700 music and performing arts students, as well as working as an examiner at several colleges throughout the UK for one of the largest educational awarding bodies in Britain. When I made the switch to working almost exclusively with authors, I found there were many similarities between them and performing artists, especially in the way they worked. No matter what craft they practice, creative individuals love to be unfettered; they thrive upon the adrenaline rush of new ideas. However, this can often be an addiction that can stop them short of bringing a project to completion. Many of them say this is because they “get bored” if a project takes too long. But I think this so-called “boredom” is often (if not usually) based upon various fears they commonly face.

Taking on the prospect of publishing one’s work can sometimes feel like we’re leaping out of the safety of the “small pond” into the unknown, and can be just as fearful as it may seem exciting. Because so many creative individuals suffer a continual (and often unconscious) battle against their fears, I thought it would be a good idea to name the top 5 most common fears I’ve encountered when working with them:

  1. Fear of Commitment
  2. Fear of Quitting
  3. Fear of Incompetence
  4. Fear of Judgement
  5. Fear of Marketing

Fear of Commitment
Many creatives have a million brilliant ideas, but refuse to commit to a specific project and bring it to completion. Creatives are “global thinkers”, and thus many worry that if they commit to one project, it will dampen their spontaneity and stop the flow of creative ideas. This is typical of the creative mind, and unless you know this about yourself, you are likely to give into commit-o-phobia. Succumbing to it can be a recipe for lifelong feelings of failure. I have seen it happen again and again. If you have a fear of commitment, please understand that you will NEVER free up space in your creative mind for MORE projects until you finish a project and get it out of the way. Have a little more faith in your ability to create. You will ALWAYS have more ideas. Trust your creative spirit.

“You will NEVER free up space in your creative mind for MORE projects until you finish a project and get it out of the way.”

Fear of Quitting
Many creatives already have a long track record of not seeing their projects to completion. Being aware of this can cause them to lose faith in themselves, and their greatest fear is that they will spend a lot of time and money on a project only to let themselves down by quitting before it’s done. They may also fear their quitting will cause them to lose the trust of other people permanently. It may seem blatantly obvious, but the only way to overcome this fear is to finish even one small project. Even a small victory will change your beliefs about yourself. Sometimes, hiring a writing coach can be helpful provided you commit yourself to being held accountable by your coach. Get it into your head that your ability to complete your project is entirely in YOUR hands (and mind).

Fear of Incompetence
Let’s say you’ve moved through the other two fears, and now it’s obvious your book WILL be published (including self-published). You’re not necessarily out of the woods because other fears inevitably start to kick in. If the book is a non-fiction book and you have taken a stance on a particular subject, you might be afraid you won’t be able to answer difficult questions in media interviews. You might even be unsure as to whether or not you can stand by your topic fully. If these kinds of fears are controlling you, then it’s time for two things. First, sit down and restate all the reasons why this book “wants” to be written. Why does the world need this book now? What is its purpose beyond your own desire to write it? Get a really strong connection to the “life purpose” of the book. Write this purpose down and pin it over your desk. After you’ve done that, it’s time to sit down and read your book through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you, and see how well you are communicating your ideas. You might want someone else (not your mother or best friend!) to give you objective feedback. If something is “missing” in what you are saying, ask yourself questions like, “Where am I holding back? What am I leaving out? What am I avoiding in the book?” Then, ask yourself if you could benefit from some 3rd party research resources to back up your ideas. Rework your text until you know it is expressing exactly what you mean. The best way to build competence is to get it clear in YOUR mind first, and then learn how to express it clearly to others. And remember, “competence” doesn’t have to mean “complex”. Think of SIMPLE ways to express your (complex) ideas, and people will more readily understand you.

Fear of Judgement
Fear of Judgement—whether from family and friends or from the general public—is probably the biggest fear every author faces as they get ready to publish. I don’t want to minimise this fear (as it can be crippling if it’s “got” you in its grips) but I do want to make it simple: 1) all fear is in the mind and; 2) fear is a mind-killer (as Frank Herbert said in Dune). Please note: when you write a book, people WILL judge you. It’s going to happen no matter what you do. Some will judge your favourably and others not so favourably. If you don’t allow yourself to enter the arena and be “judged”, not only will your book never get published, but YOU will never grow as an author, or as a human being. And here’s the secret I’ve learned: with every book you write you will encounter new fears of judgement that you may not have known you had. Every time you jump into those fears and allow yourself to be judged, you grow and become more resilient. The only way to deal with fear of judgement is to “feel the fear and do it anyway” (as the late Susan Jeffers said). Move through your fear of judgment by stepping into your own “graciousness” and by learning to love what makes you radically different from everyone else. Once you are willing to be this radically different person, rather than someone who “fits” a particular mould, being judged becomes a fun, amusing and even necessary part of life rather than a terrifying ordeal.

“Fear of Judgement—whether from family and friends or from the general public—is probably the biggest fear every author faces as they get ready to publish.

Fear of Marketing
Now let’s say you’ve moved through all the other fears and your book is going to come out sometime in the near future. You have grappled with the other fears to some degree or another, and have finally accepted that if you want to get their book “out there” you will need to work on a marketing plan for it. But, in my experience, the mere thought of marketing can be the source of some major fears amongst creative individuals. The two most common fears they have about marketing are: 1) That they don’t have a clue where to start and 2) That they’ll look like a sleazy salesperson if they try to market their book.

Not knowing where to start is a common fear, but reading articles on blogs like Spirit Authors is a good way to get started. And please don’t wait until your book is written to start building your marketing platform. If you have no online platform established (social network, mailing list, etc), you should get started building it at least 6 months (hopefully a full year) before your book comes out.

To get you started on your platform building (or to help you grow a platform you’ve already started), I suggest you check out my most recent book Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically. While the book focuses on Twitter, it goes beyond it, and is a handbook of online marketing strategies that employ a systematic integration between social media, blogging, videos, etc. When you buy the book or Kindle, you can also download a 90-minute Twitter marketing audio class and a 14-page resource pack with links to over 100 Twitter resources. You can find out more about the book and the additional resources at http://tweepelicious.com

If you are one of these creatives or holistic business owners who believes that marketing will make you look “sleazy”, please know that there IS a way to market yourself creatively, in a way that does not betray your values. If anyone is telling you differently, they are probably following what I would call the “old paradigm” of marketing that depends upon fear, scarcity and other persuasive strategies. And as we have been discussing throughout this article, fear can shut down the pathways to creativity and connection. Trust your gut and know that you can create your own paradigm for marketing. To that end, I recommend you check out my book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell¸ as it was originally inspired by people just like you.

Final Thought
The consummate author is not someone who has managed to get rid of fear altogether, but rather someone who has learned how to enjoy the fear, knowing that the ability to face bigger and bigger fears is the true measuring stick for our artistic craft and professional success.

I hope this article has struck a chord in some of you who may have been spinning your wheels in a writing project without being able to pinpoint the reasons. I believe that when we recognise which fears may be holding us back from success—and we know that millions of other creatives battle with exactly the same fears every time they approach a new project—we can begin to shift the stuckness and move into productivity. And the more productive we become, the more confident we become to face the inevitable fears that will pop up as we approach the next project, and the next after that.

~ Lynn Serafinn
5 February 2013

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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

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