Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

Find your why and finish that book. Insights from a 3x bestselling author and a book reviewer

It’s true that everyone has a book inside them, isn’t it? We all have a story to tell. However, it’s also true that many of us may have those awful little inner voices that say we’ll never be good writers. We tell ourselves that we can’t do it, that we don’t have the time or the talent. That we’re not really the ‘real writers’, whatever that means. That our story isn’t significant enough. That our message isn’t important enough.

But what if we could silence that inner naysayer? The first thing to do to silence that nagging little voice is to ignore it. When you do that, do that singular most important thing to become an author – write. Set aside time each day to put pen to paper. Yep, all you have to do to be a real writer is … write. That’s all. Just write.

But does it mean it’s easy? Heck, no! Anyone says otherwise has never finished the manuscript. Because if they did, they’d know authoring a book takes a lot more than a desire and a dream. Anyone who’s ever tried to write a book knows how it goes… You site yourself down and get started with a gusto… then stare at a blank page for a few minutes that feels like hours. Then you lose focus and get distracted. ‘What’s that notification?’. ‘Let me check my email real quick!’.

Then you think, perhaps coffee would help… and get up to brew yet another cup.

A week goes by. A month goes by. And then you suddenly remember that you were trying to write a book. And give it one more go. Back to staring at a screen.

So what is the secret sauce? How can we help more stories be told? How can we get over the fear of being judged? How can we plough on through when all we want to do is give up? How can we make time to write when there are a million other things to do?

To get more insights into what it takes to be a published author, I asked a few questions to Adam Smiley Poswolsky, bestselling author of three books, and Kriti K, an avid reader and book reviewer.

Smiley is an internationally renowned keynote speaker, workplace belonging expert, and bestselling author of three books: The Quarter-Life Breakthrough (Penguin Random House), The Breakthrough Speaker, and Friendship in the Age of Loneliness (Hachette). His work has been featured in Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, The New YorkerThe Washington PostFast Company, and the World Economic Forum. 

Monica: What is one piece of advice you share with authors who are starting their book journey to consider to DO or NOT DO to make their book a reality?

Adam Smiley Poswolsky

First, get very clear on why you are writing your book. I am always surprised at how few authors have really thought about this question. Usually, their answer is something basic like, “Because everyone else has written a book,” “because it will help build my platform,” “because I want to become a bestselling author.” These aren’t great reasons to write a book. A good reason to write a book is that you have a story you really want to tell. Or you want to share knowledge about a topic you have a lot of expertise in. Or you want to make a real change in the way the world works. Always come back to this why at each stage of your book writing journey.


Secondly, don’t write your book alone. Join an author club or a writing group. This way you’ll have a community of other authors going through the process with you. You’ll have people who can hold you accountable to weekly writing goals and make sure you stay on track. Plus, you’ll have other authors you can turn to for feedback about your book! Even better: in reading other authors’ work and in giving feedback to other writers, your own writing will improve! Don’t write a book in isolation. Find a community of authors to support you.

Monica: How does one decide between traditional or independent publishing?

Adam Smiley Poswolsky

 There’s not one right answer for everyone. In general, I advise authors just starting out (especially authors who don’t yet have a large audience or platform) to self-publish. It’s very hard to get a book deal with a traditional publisher if you don’t already have a lot of traction in your career and a decent-size audience. Plus, advantages to self-publishing like creative control and speed can be ideal for people looking to get their message out quickly, and to have their book support their existing business and personal goals. 


If you are okay with waiting at least two years for your book to come out, okay that you might not have final say over what the cover looks like, and are willing to give up most of the royalties on book sales, then traditional publishing can be lucrative if you want a book advance and the credibility that may come from working with a traditional publisher. If you have a large following and are established in your career, it may be worth trying to find an agent and seeing if you can find a traditional publisher.


I often say that no matter how you publish, at the end of the day, the real publisher is YOU. Whether you self-publish or traditionally publish, you must write the book! You also must market it. The publisher is not going to market the book for you. You (yes YOU!) are going to have to do the work no matter what.


I’ve written four books. I’ve self-published twice and published with a major publisher twice. The decision really depends on the specific goals of the author, and the book project in question. Check out this blog post I wrote about whether you should self-publish.

Monica: What happens after you publish a book?

Adam Smiley Poswolsky

Writing the book is only just the beginning. After you publish a book, the real work begins. The next phase is marketing the book, which isn’t just about launch week or a book tour. It’s about making sure everyone learns about your book. This can be from doing podcast interviews, blasting your email newsletter, posting videos on social media, writing blog posts, speaking at events, finding aligned authors to promote your book, getting press interviews, hosting meetups and virtual talks; anything and everything that gets the word out about your book.

Such great insights! Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Smiley.

So. Now let’s say you have a good clarity on what’s your ‘why’ behind wanting to author a book, you have a community that you can lean on and share your journey with as you write, you know what publishing route you want to take, and you have some ideas on how you will market your book.

What next? Who reads them? Who could do an honest review? How do you connect with other authors? 

Keen to learn more about the book review and book blogging world, I wanted to get some insights from Kriti.

Kriti is an avid book reader and book reviewer, and runs a book review blog, Armed with A Book, where she shares book reviews, book discussions with fellow readers for buddy reads, book recommendations from authors through the Indie Recommends Indie series, as well as monthly wrap ups. 

Monica: How did you get started in book reviewing and blogging? Why do you care about it?

Kriti K

I started reviewing in 2019. Once I received my latest degree, I was ready to read books, rather than textbooks. With reviewing, I got a reason to read and write, thus, pursuing two hobbies that I have always been involved in for as long as I can remember. It’s been over two years and apart from the writing, I derive a lot of pleasure from working with authors, having author friends and bringing books to my blog readers. It has been an amazing 2+ years!

Monica: How do you take the time to do it? How much time does one post or one book reviewing engagement look like?

Kriti K

Such a loaded question, Monica, since there are so many aspects to this! I will focus on what happens once I have decided to start reading a book. I will explain the steps in the process from reading to posting. I don’t keep track of how long everything takes - I just do them. 🙂 

It usually takes me a week or two to read a book, especially if I am unable to read everyday, or have a second one going at the same time. I annotate the book as I read to help me with my review later. Once I finish, if it feels like a book I want to write about, I find a date in my blog calendar when I want to post my review. Sometimes I will document quotes in my journal or make some high level notes for the review - aspects that stood out to me and I want to write about.

I make graphics for my reading experience in Canva. Here is an example from my latest review for Let Loose the Fallen by S Kaeth. You can find the review here.

If I am connected to the author, I might reach out to them about doing an interview and send them the questions. Here is the accompanying interview post for Let Loose the Fallen that you can check out if you are interested. 


When I schedule the review and interview posts, I write out the tweet for it, which also gets shared to Facebook when the posts go live. There was a period last year when I was very much into Instagram and did accompanying Instagram posts too but I haven’t had the energy lately. Same with being up to date on Goodreads, NetGalley and Amazon. I go through phases and that can’t be helped. 🙂

Monica: What do you hope others understand about book blogging?

Kriti K

For myself, and maybe a lot of bloggers out there, blogging is a hobby. It isn’t as simple as copy pasting the review into a blog post. Depending on how a website is structured and things we like to do, people might spend a lot more than writing. Some of my time goes into making graphics, setting SEO for the blog posts so it is searchable, adding the appropriate Goodreads and Amazon links. Reading a book is one thing and writing about it on a blog is a whole other thing as you can see from my last answer. Sometimes, it takes me days to come up with the right words for my review. Sometimes, I can write my review as soon as I finish the book. Every book is different and I find the amount of time I put into blogging about the book changes with the impact of the book on me.

Monica: What advice would you share for others who want to do book blogging?

Kriti K

Don’t force yourself to write about every book you read. I have done this a few times where I would organize my blog and make a schedule and hate to break the schedule. It causes burnout very quickly and that can affect reading as well. Don’t be afraid to take breaks when you need them. You started a book blog for yourself. At the beginning, there was no audience so don’t let what your blog readers might think or how they might react change what you do. Life happens and no one holds that against anyone.


Be true to yourself and your love for reading and writing. 🙂

Monica: What advice would you share with authors when engaging with book bloggers?

Kriti K

I have an article all about this one, which I will link to at the end of the answer. In short, I encourage authors to remember that reviewing is usually a hobby for reviewers. Most of us do it outside our day job because we enjoy reading and love books. The following are a few things to keep in mind for best interactions with book bloggers:

  • If a reviewer has accepted your book for review, please don’t bug them over and over if they have started yet. Your book has made it on their list! Rejoice and hope that they get to it one day. As avid readers, our TBRs are very long.
  • Don’t expect a review on the blog. If a book does not connect with the reader, it is unfair to want them to spend hours writing about something they do not want to put energy in. This is a double edged sword because that write up might be a negative review, which you might not want at all. If you really want the blogger to promote your book on their blog, come up with a compromise like a book excerpt.
  • Remember that bloggers are people. There are many priorities in life and blogging and reading can’t be expected to be “the one” for a book blogger. We have lives besides blogging.


I recommend reading my Making the Best of Author And Book Blogger Connections article here. I wrote it with an author friend and many authors have found it helpful.

Thank you, Kriti. All great insights and very helpful in understanding the book review process for new as well as seasoned authors. 

I hope this has been a helpful resource and insights for everyone who’s in the book-writing journey, whether you’re just getting started or are in the process of publishing, or have a published book and are looking for ways to market. 

And before I wrap up…

Smiley, are you doing your author program later in 2022?

Adam Smiley Poswolsky

I am no longer running my live author program because I’m focusing on my new book. However, I’ve taken all the videos from my popular live author workshops, as well as all my top book writing resources, and turned them into a self-directed online Author Course that authors can take anytime from anywhere at their own pace. Learn more and enroll in Smiley’s Author Course today (it’s currently $100 off!). 

Fantastic, thank you for sharing that! 

Kriti, Are there any books or favorite links you recommend we could read from your site and reviews?

Kriti K

For authors, I recommend checking out my Work with Me page.

For readers, the Book Review Index is the place to go to. It has a list of all books organized by genres. 

I want to note 3 reviews that I did recently which I really enjoyed: 

  • Big Magic - Review Link - Highly recommended for creatives! Also, on Monica’s list of creativity books. 🙂
  • Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons - Review Link - A hilarious regency fantasy novel. I got a chance to interview the author and main character too! 
  • The Mystery of Mrs Christie - Review Link - Perfect for Agatha Christie fans! This book is speculative fiction about her disappearance for 11 days when she came back without any memory of what happened.

These are all great resources to read and learn more. Thank you!

Anything else you’d like to share?

Adam Smiley Poswolsky

Writing a book is hard. When things feel overwhelming, always come back to why you’re writing the book in the first place. Remember the impact the book is going to have on peoples’ lives. That will get you through the hardest moments.

Kriti K

Thanks so much for connecting with me, Monica, and highlighting my work! I love when authors tap into book blogger and reviewer networks and collaborate with them. It means a lot to me to see that you are showcasing their amazing work and bringing awareness about it.

Thank you both for taking the time to share such valuable nuggets of insights and advice.

To our readers:

I hope this gave you some answers, ideas, and some sneak peek inside the writing, publishing, and some post publishing world. There’s a lot more that goes into the process, of course. And while it won’t be easy, it’ll be worth it.

But the answer lies in the community. Find a group of supportive people who will cheer you on, give you constructive feedback and be there to help celebrate your successes. Remember why you’re writing in the first place. What is your message? What story do you want to share?

Because it’s not just about writing a book, it’s also about finishing something to be really proud of. So don’t let that little voice inside your head hold you back.

Just write.

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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