11/18/2010 06:05 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Author Fear #101: The Big Reveal

You have a book aching to get out of you and you want to share your knowledge, BUT... it means revealing personal details that you would rather not share with the world. So how do you write a compelling and engaging non-fiction book about your expertise without it sounding like a textbook?

As my friend and bestselling author, Peggy McColl, was instructed to do by her publisher, "you need to bleed onto the page." Yes, that statement could have been prettier, but it is very true. An old phrase in the news business is, "if it bleeds it leads." Sharing an inspiring, heartwarming, nail-biting challenge will get you the strongest response. I am not suggesting you exaggerate your details, but I am saying you have to reveal otherwise uncomfortable sides of yourself with your reader if you want them to connect with you.

I see a lot of authors make the mistake of leaving themselves out of their books. They want to be the expert and provide information but they don't want to share themselves. What makes a book readable is when you can connect and trust the author. It is like any relationship, vulnerability makes it stronger. It is scary, I know, but it's what makes a book work.

Why is Suze Orman the #1 financial guru in the world? The first thing she tells you about is the mistakes she made, the financial challenges she experienced, the waitress job she had, etc. Who would want to take financial advice from a trust-fund baby? You want to learn from someone who knows both sides of the story; someone you can relate to.

You wouldn't want to take dating advice from someone who married their high school sweetheart. You can't learn how to get past the perpetual first-date syndrome from a one-timer. As readers, we want to feel you, trust you, and know you. We want to make the connection that your success can be our success.

Once you start revealing yourself your book will get better. Your message will be clearer. Your reach will be larger. Jump in the water it's warmer than you think.

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many
NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: