How to Be Honest with Yourself (for Authors & Writers)

In general, the more brutally honest you are with yourself, the more successful you will be

Here are a few reasons Authors are rarely honest with themselves (let alone brutally honest)

  1. Thinking your book is YOU. That if you admit your book needs more polish, then you are somehow admitting you are flawed. Your Book is just something you wrote – it is not you, it is not your baby, it is not your entire life and happiness
  2. Associating the book and how it does as part of your identity and self image. It is just a product you have made. If it does good – great! If it does not – just take the feedback and move on
  3. Being too close to the book. Ever wonder why a good editor can find a hundred mistakes that you never caught even though you reread your book so many times? It is because you are too close to your book. You see it every day. You breathe it every day
  4. Being too close to themselves. Most people lack self awareness. To be a successful author you will have to develop a reasonable amount of self awareness, especially of what your weak points are
  5. Assuming you were born the perfect writer. No one is born a perfect writer
  6. Assuming your experience in some Completely Different Line of Work makes you a perfect writer. No, it does not
  7. Assuming the story alone is enough and because the story you have is very good, all the rest does not matter. A Book is not just the story – the vast majority of the ‘product’ is the POLISH and REWRITING of the core story

Please take a few minutes to see if any of these apply to you

If they do, the most important thing is to say – These apply to me and it is OK. No one is perfect. It seems I have some belief/image of myself that is preventing me from Seeing Reality As It Is and being Honest with Myself. I will let go of these as they are getting in the way of my success

Now, let’s look at …

How to Be Honest With Yourself (for Authors & Writers)

Firstly, you are not ready for prime time if you do not have all 4 of these covered

  1. A professionally designed cover
  2. A professionally edited book
  3. Proper proof reading
  4. Proper Market Research that the market the book is written for, is actually a real market, and is realistic to break into

Have you got all 4 of these covered?

If not, then you need to first cover these 4 critical aspects

Secondly, you are not ready to sell well if you do not have most of these covered

  1. Multiple rewrites to polish and craft your book
  2. A clear plan and strategy to get reviews for your book
  3. A clear Marketing Plan and Strategy for how you will market your book
  4. Clear call to actions in your book i.e. Please Review if If you like it, Please sign up for my email list
  5. The book itself well formatted and readable – tested on at least 3 different devices (ereaders, phones, tablets)

Do you have most of these covered?

If you do not have most of these covered, you need to get to work on finishing your product

The first part of Being Honest With Yourself is to be 100% Honest about Whether or Not Your Product is Ready for the Market

That brings us to the hard part

Your Level of Success is the Best Indicator of How Good of An Author You Are

This is what no one wants to hear

There are 3 Core Skills

  1. Knowing What to Write i.e. writing something for which a big market exists
  2. Writing Very Well
  3. Marketing Very Well

If your book is not selling at all

  1. Then, most probably, you are failing at all three of these
  2. It is also possible you have written something for which there is no market
  3. The last possibility is that your marketing is completely ineffective

If your book is selling slowly, there are two possibilities

If your book is selling slowly, and getting no reviews

  1. Most likely you have chosen the wrong market
  2. Also possible that you have ineffective marketing
  3. If it is selling slowly, you just aren’t getting enough sales to generate reviews

If your book is selling slowly and yet getting steady good reviews

  1. Your writing is probably very good
  2. You might have written for a market that is too small
  3. Your marketing might suck

What if your book is selling steadily?

If your book is selling steadily and getting no reviews

  1. Most probably your writing is not good enough

If your book is selling steadily and getting steady good reviews, but you cannot seem to expand sales

  1. It is possible the market isn’t big enough
  2. It is also possible that your marketing is not strong enough. It can get you steady sales and yet it cannot get you to very high sales

At this point you should begin to see the pattern

The Key Things to Look For

If your Product Market Fit is strong (You have picked the right market to write for)

  1. You will see steady to very steady sales, even if your marketing and writing are weak
  2. You will see very strong sales, if one or both of writing and marketing are strong

If your writing is strong

  1. You will see a very high ratio of good reviews (1 to 10 good reviews per 100 copies sold)

If your marketing is good

  1. You will see some sales, regardless of writing or marketing
  2. You will see lots of sales if you picked the right market
  3. You will see steady sales and good reviews if your writing is very good

Basically, it all circles back to The 3 Core Skills for Authors

Time to Be Honest about How Good You are at The 3 Core Skills for Authors

These are the Key Tests

  1. Knowing What to Write – If you are very good at this skill, your book will sell no matter how good or bad your writing and marketing are. If you cannot sell well then this is the first thing to focus on (Product Market Fit)
  2. Writing Very Well. If you are very good at this skill, your book should be getting 1 to 10 reviews for every 100 copies sold. If you are getting less then that then your writing is sub par
  3. Marketing Very Well. This skill is tricky. If you don’t know how to pick the right market, then no amount of marketing can create steady sales. Furthermore, even with great Marketing and great Product Market Fit, you can never go from steady sales to very good sales until and unless your writing is very good. So the key is to first make sure the first two skills are very strong. Then test your Marketing Ability

It will most likely be rather painful, when you test yourself on these 3 Core Skills

You can choose to take the short term pain, Be Honest With Yourself, and identify which of the 3 Core Skills you need to work on


You can choose the short term pleasure of pretending you are Perfect, and then experience the long term pain of your book sales remaining mediocre for your entire career as an Author








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