Do You Make These Classic Mistakes in Writing Your Health Book?

Published on May 18, 2016 by
writing your health book

Your book is about your reader.

Are you writing a book, and finding yourself spinning your wheels?

You’re probably making one or more of these 5 classic writing mistakes made by first-time authors.

I know because I’ve made them all, some more than once. But pretty early on in my path to writing about 40 books, I learned a few things that I’d like to share with you.

These five tips will shorten your time frame, alleviate some stress and keep you moving forward.

  1. Writing everything you know in your first book.

When you’re excited and passionate about your topic, it’s probably because you have a depth of experience in your subject. Maybe it’s your life’s work, or the transformation you experienced as you discovered a new solution to a problem.

Whatever it is, the tendency is to want to share your wealth of knowledge in great detail, using every idea that pops into your head. This is a great start. In fact, a mind-map is a wonderful way to put all these ideas into a visual representation that will help you figure out the outline for your book.

Then, take a step back. Think about the message you want people to come away with after reading your book. I know that when I read non-fiction, if I find one or two good ideas to put into action, I’m happy.

After all, we mainly read health and self-help books because we want actionable steps, not an encyclopedia of solutions (unless that’s what you’re writing).

So focus on one great idea. You can probably deliver your solution elegantly in about 60 to 100 pages. Anything that doesn’t fit with the theme of your first book can go in your next book.

Why not build a library of books on your topic, each addressing a different aspect of your knowledge? You can even package them as a box set. This makes your life easier, and once you build an eager following, your readers will look forward to your follow-up books!

  1. Being married to your words.

I co-authored many of my earlier books with Sandra, a fellow teacher. We co-authored several series of best-selling textbook. Part of the reason they were so successful was that we weren’t married to our words. We put our egos aside to write the best books possible.

This meant that if one of us wrote something, and the other person said, “This isn’t really working”, we’d say “take it out.” This ensured the best stuff stayed in, while the superfluous content was jettisoned.

In your first draft, put in everything you want to say. In the second draft, be ruthless about slashing anything that doesn’t help you reader. After all, that’s who you’re writing for.

  1. Writing your book for yourself, and not your reader.

Yes, your book is about you, and the knowledge you want to share to help your readers. But ultimately, it’s about your readers, and what they will gain by reading your book.

So even when you write your hero’s transformational story, you have to tie it back to your readers, and how it will help them.

  1. Not being conversational. 

If you are a scientist, health professional, or academic, think about your audience. If you’re writing to your peers, it’s fine to write in the language you use when you speak to them. 

But if you’re writing to the general public, this will confuse your readers, and they may end up not reading your book.

Instead, think of having a conversation with a close friend or family member who knows nothing about your topic, but is very interested. How would you help your favorite aunt understand your message?

Imagine you’re chatting over a cup of coffee or tea, and just have a conversation. That’s the language and tone you should strive for.

Get your ebook out into the world and share your message.

Get your ebook out into the world and share your message.

  1. Striving for perfection.

Let’s face it, typos happen -even in books published by the most prestigious publishers in the world. (I’ve been published by Oxford University Press, and still found a typo!).

Aim for excellence in content, editing and formatting, but don’t obsess about it.

It’s better to get your book out, and then make needed changes later. In fact, many publishers do a small print run at first, because they know some readers will call in with typos. Then they correct the mistakes and do a bigger print run. If they can do it, so can you.

Remember, with digital publishing, you can always upload a revised version of your book, or create a second edition.

Don’t obsess, progress!

Need help writing your health book?

The good news is that I’m creating a pilot program for how to Write a Health Book.  

The bad news is that there's only one space left - and the course starts next week. So if you're interested, please let me know right away.

Pilot Project – limited space

I’m starting with a small pilot project of up to 12 people, and only 1 space is left!

What you’ll learn:

  • How to define your topic and narrow it down
  • How to choose a riveting title and subtitle
  • An easy way to outline your book so you never get stuck
  • A super-simple way to get the content written, even if you hate writing
  • How to get an eye-catching cover
  • The best options for publishing your book today

And much more!

You’ll be in a small, private group where you’ll get lots of hands-on help.

Guarantee: If you follow my program, you will be holding a published book in your hands in just 90 days!

So please email me right away if you're interested, at

Or if this isn't right for you now, but may be in the future, get my free roadmap, plus book writing and publishing tips by email.

Just click here for your roadmap: 10 Steps to Your Health and Wellness Book




write a health book

Click here for your roadmap: 10 Steps to Your Health and Wellness Book

I look forward to hearing from you!





  1. Lynda Goldman

    Hi April,

    Great question. A really easy way to check if you are focused on your reader is to do a search of your document, first for the words "I" or "we" and then for "you." See what the ration is. You should have many more "You's" if you are writing directly to the reader.

    April, are you involved in book publishing? If so, please email me and let me know more about what you do, thanks:

  2. April Cook

    These are great tips for writing a health book. I really like your tip to make sure you write for your reader and not for yourself. It is really easy to get caught up in what we need and want to say, that we forget about what the reader needs to hear. What is a good way to check yourself and make sure you are not forgetting the reader? Thanks for the help!