Five Questions I’m Constantly Asked As An Author by Elizabeth Lions

Lions headshot oneAs the author of two books; Recession Proof Yourself and I Quit!  Working For You Isn’t Working For Me,   I’m often asked questions about my career.

Here are the common questions I’ve been asked over the years:

How did you ever find time to write a book? Let alone two books?

It was a priority for me. I got up at 5am and wrote and got myself into the shower, dressed and off to work by 7:30am. Within six short months I worked with two editors to ensure it was perfect and launched it. Writing is a priority. If it’s in you, it’s worth writing about.

However, not all you write about may be publishing worthy. Know the difference.

For example I knew one woman who had to write a book about the child abuse she experienced in her life. This became not a book, but a long therapy session for her with a lot of emotions that were resolved through the process of pouring her heart out on the pages. Twenty thousand dollars later in publishing and marketing she launched it – but no one bought it.

Unless you are the Kardashians, who cares what happened to you? Sad, but true.

How do you know if a book is worth writing?

Do your homework and never be arrogant enough to think you have the answers as to why your piece is so special and unique.  Unless selling the book isn’t a priority for you. Oddly enough some writers just want to write and don’t care if anyone but their families buy their book.

For example, some coaches become writers because they are told if they write a book they will be deemed as credible, but at their core they are not writers. They write for business and the hopes of a distinguishing between their services and another competitor. Again, if this is your approach, book sales aren’t the goal necessarily. Putting out a good product that will showcase who you are and what you teach is your objective.

Research who is your audience, do they buy your topic, where is the market located, etc. If you don’t know how to go about this, there are paid professionals out there that will help you figure out your market. 

Why did you write the first book?

 Cancer has a funny way of changing your life. What I got was not the will to live, but the clarity that I will definitely die. Maybe not today, but the body will rot and fade away. It got me thinking not about what I wanted to do or my selfish bucket list, but what I had to leave behind and the concept that I could be a vehicle of something greater than my ego. To this day I think daily about my impending death and it creates clarity in the moment, along with a sense of urgency. Writing the book was a combination of all I had learned in the market and a vehicle to pass on my knowledge that if I had died, would have gone with me.  But looking back, even as a little girl, I was a writer.

What if you write a book and people don’t like it?

Again, I think you have to be clear on who your audience is and what your purpose is once it launches.

With any book, know that editors are your friends and worth their weight in gold. They are wired to find everything wrong with your piece – and you paid them to do that – so that the final product will be credible and seamless. Grow thick skin. The feedback isn’t’ about you. It’s about your work.

Years ago I wrote an article for the IEEE and found the editor completely re-wrote my piece. It was literally unrecognizable. When I got home that night I complained to my husband and he asked me if the piece was better. It was. My husband told me it was a sign to up my game and be better and that I should send the editor a thank you note. That comment changed my perception of editors ever since.

Editors, like the others you will meet along you way, support your work. You will never get to where you want to go without them. Be graceful and thank them generously and often.

At this point in my career I have a PR person, a radio PR person, a VP of Marketing, editors, photographers, makeup artists, video directors and other support people who have made their living off of telling me what to do and when to do it. They get as much credit, if not more to what I do, for without them, I’d be nowhere. Don’t be confused – I still have the final vote, but I’m smart enough to surround myself with some good advisers. It’s not necessary that I’m an expert in everything.

Ditto with publishers. Expect rejection. My last book, “I Quit!”   went to the top 50 agents in NYC and didn’t make it. What I got was feedback from two agents. The rejection never bothered me. I played the game at a high level. It didn’t matter if I didn’t win. Few have the nerve I do to put it out there and risk rejection.

Who else rejected me?

Prior to that, Oprah rejected me as did the Wall Street Journal. I found it a high compliment. They read my work. It didn’t fit their business. So what? Next.

Will there be a third book for you? What comes next?

Oh, well, I don’t know. People ask me this all the time. Yes, there is a third book and I have it in my head. I’m sure I’ll start it this year or early next since it nags at me. My radio show, “Leadership Lessons With The Lioness” dovetails on my work and what will come next, I think.

Recently, I’ve come to the realization that I may never ‘make it’ – and it’s important that you define “making it”.  For me it means writing for a living and traveling with my husband on speaking events and consulting full time coast to coast. It also means hitting the NY Times Bestseller list. Not sure that is in the cards for me, and I’m ok if it doesn’t. Finally, I am at peace.

The oddest thing happened. Once I let the concept go, doors started to open in the most unusual places.

I don’t know what comes next.

What I do know is this:

There are 21,600 breaths in the body in any given day. I get up, there is life and I do what I do.

Whatever comes of my work, be as it may.


Bio: Elizabeth can be found teaching and coaching the who’s who of Corporate America on the subject of career management and leadership. She is the author of two books with one more on the way. For more about her programs and philosophies please visit or join her on Twitter at Elizabethlions. 


Elizabeth Lions
Author, “Recession Proof Yourself!”
“I Quit! Working For You Isn’t Working For Me”
806 283 8811