The Dreaded Question Every First-Time Author Fears

September 19, 2016
Posted in Author, Book
September 19, 2016 Anita Henderson

mnh-book-signing“So when is your next book coming out?” he asked me as I handed him the signed copy of my book he had just purchased. I had just finished speaking to a group of genealogy enthusiasts, and was happily signing books for those who were inspired to tell their own stories.

In the three years since my memoir Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation was released, it has won four awards, I have spoken to no less than twenty audiences in several states, and I’ve been interviewed a number of times about my research accomplishments and my book. And still I get this question.

No, this guy wasn’t the first to ask. Each time this question is posed to me I wonder if the inquisitor is simply making small talk, or if he/she is genuinely interested in reading more stories about my research journey.

As a genealogist, family historian, speaker, and published author, I’m asked this question time after time, and each time I feel greater pressure to write that next book.

My stories of using documentation to trace seven generations has helped many appreciate the value of making a connection to people, places, and events in history. I tell audiences that they should become the storyteller to bring forth their family’s historic narrative as it relates to American history. I wanted to inspire others with my book, and I believe I have.

So now I’m challenged with creating another book and wondering if my next publishing effort can match or top my last. Don’t get me wrong; the pressure isn’t coming from others, it’s my own. As I consider embarking on the task of writing my next book I examine my first go-round as an author and I ask myself: What have I learned about storytelling, book publishing, and marketing since then? How can I approach and write the story differently? What resources do I have now that I didn’t have then to reach more people with my book?

Well, one of the biggest things that has changed since then is that I married my book coach. (I guess I could consider that a sly strategy!) So I’m sure my first step is to approach her with some ideas and get her wise counsel. Then I should just make the decision that I’ll do it. I’ll write another book on a subject that I’m passionate about, with stories that inspire me and illustrate my journey, and gather my publishing dream team once again to help me produce a book that I’m proud of; a book that others will enjoy so much that they ask me, “So when is your next book coming out?”


booksigningsmallMichael N.Henderson is a genealogy research, award-winning author, and speaker. He has appeared on the PBS program “History Detectives” and blogs regularly at

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Anita Henderson

Writer, storyteller, The Author's Midwife. Founder of Write Your Life and The Genealogist's Writing Room.

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