If I am being honest with myself, I’m not someone who writes a lot of books.
In the span of three almost four years I’ve published one book so far in my career.
Sure a lot of people may be saying that is pretty average for a writer by this point possibly. I don’t believe much in that though considering I’ve been writing daily since I started my writing career.
I’m not saying this to be harsh to myself. However considering how much I write, it is surprising that people haven’t said this to me at all during my career as a writer by this point:
“You should write a book. Everyone has a book in them.”
Initially I would encourage something like this.
As someone who is telling their story, it makes sense to be encouraging others to do something like this.
But at the same time, the more that I think about it and look at my own experiences, I might hesitate on that answer.
Because the making of a book, or even a best selling book takes a lot.
I may be one to talk considering I’ve only got one flopped book under my belt, however I’ve learned from that experience. I know what I should’ve done since then.
I also have an idea of what it takes to make it on top.
And the first thing I’ll say is the mindset that “Everyone has a book in them” is not a great mindset to follow.
Everyone Has A Book In Them, But Will It Succeed?
The first thing to consider when publishing a book is why exactly are you publishing that book?
When I first felt motivated to publish a book, my goal was simple.
I wanted to prove I could write a book on my own. At the same time, I also wanted it to succeed and drag me out of my financial woes.
Clearly it didn’t boost my income, however it did teach me a valuable lesson later on the more I looked at it.
Just because you can write a book doesn’t mean that you should. It depends on your motivations.
What are you trying to get out of your book?
Why a book of all things?
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of us have some great stories to tell. Some people can read peoples books for hours.
But not every story is something people are willing to pay for and read.
Furthermore not everyone is going to find a story entertaining or funny. While that is true with every story, some stories are better saved for certain occasions. It better used for specific groups too.
For example, my dad is a great story teller with some of the things he has done. He can get people in my family laughing with some of the things he got away with.
That being said, if you were reading those stories they may not be as funny. My father pauses and imitates voices which adds to the charm of the story. Those won’t exist if you are merely reading them.
So just because my father’s funny jokes are good doesn’t mean he should be publishing a book.
All the same, your family members and friends may find your stories good but you won’t know how a random stranger will react or even be willing to pay for those stories.
However whether you want to publish a book or not depends on your motivations.
In the case of my father, if he wanted to used it as a memoire or something to share around the family, that could work.
If his goal was to become a best-selling author, that might not be the best pick for him.
This raises a glaring flaw behind the advice of writing a book because everyone has a book in them. For sure people can publish books, there is nothing stopping you, but you want to have the right reasons.
Aiming for a best-selling book solely because someone else thinks you can make it is foolish.
As a writer, we write for a reason and that is what drives us. Books need to have reasons from us as well. A writer won’t make it if they are riding along someone else’s vision of who you are.
I tried that for most of my life and I ended with a degree I absolutely do not care for.
To Publish A Book Takes A Lot
So for the sake of argument, let’s say you want to publish a book to prove you can do it. You don’t care if you’ll make hundreds of sales or even one.
Regardless, publishing a book is a difficult process. It gets harder when you are focused on making it a best-seller.
When I first worked on the book I published, the process for me felt too easy. At the same time, I did have a sense for how difficult it is too.
Anyway, this lax approach is probably this reason why it didn’t do so well to begin with.
While I only reviewed the book once over, I was more focused on hitting a self-set deadline as opposed to taking my time with it.
As a result, I have a book that has probably earned me $30 total since it’s been published. I’m also being generous with that estimate.
Of course, I was more focused on publishing a book for my own validation for myself. It’s probably for that reason I had a relaxed approach to the whole thing.
That being said, after reading other peoples work and reading several books since then, I can begin to understand how much effort and care that goes into these top selling books. If that was what I wanted to accomplish deep down.
While I certainly did care for my book, I wouldn’t say I put enough care to make it the best. It wasn’t able to give me the cash increase I had initially hoped for after all. And I only have my short-comings to blame.
When it comes to selling books and even publishing, the amount of effort, planning, and execution is demanding. For sure, it can be easy and a lot of fun, but again, it depends on your motivations.
A best seller material book doesn’t wait a week before launch to hype their book. I’ve even seen some writers create trailers several months before their book was launched.
The only way I can see you writing a book quickly and launching it without a hitch is if you’re well established.
However the quality would certainly be undercut.
To put into perspective the amount of effort it takes, lets look at the makings of a book.
For one, you will need to be writing a lot. By the end of my second and final draft, my book was over 36,000 words. While impressive, some professional suggest you aim for 50,000 words as a minimum.
While the success of a book isn’t based solely on the words that are being said, it still puts into perspective how much you need to be offering to your readers.
Furthermore it puts into perspective how much you’ll need to put effort in to keep peoples attention.
This isn’t something that can be done by going over the whole book once over and saying it’s all good. I tried that and I got a 36,000 word book. Some times you need to expand on your ideas. You’ll also consider if you should be telling more stories to further your points.
It means looking over your book several times over and thinking critically…
“would someone read this book?”
With marketing, you need to do this months in advance. I had no marketing strategy at all. As a result, my marketing was spur of the moment in the form of giving away free copies for the first week or so upon launch.
Like I said, some writers create trailers months in advance, they talk about it a little bit to their audience. They know how to hype it up.
Book Publishing Is Difficult, But Not Impossible
If that scared you, then perhaps your goal is for the potential money you’ll get from the book.
In that case, do the thing that I should’ve done and review your book again and again. Maybe add another chapter or two, expand on your points.
If you’re a fictional writer consider exploring more of your characters and have other story arch elements. Maybe flesh out the side characters and read through your book once more and see if you’re captivated by your character: as a reader, not as an author.
Book publishing is meant to be difficult and time consuming. If you’re aiming for best seller and the process felt too easy, then something is wrong.
Over the years I’ve heard people’s book publishing stories. From the long nights to the rushed edits to meet deadlines.
All I can say about mine is “Mine was a walk in the park and that’s the problem.”
It shouldn’t have been that easy. That is, if I truly wanted to be making substantial sales.
If you are focused on writing a book simply for your sake of saying “I wrote a book” then by all means go for it.
But avoid writing the book because someone told you “you have a book in you” and you think you can make it a best-seller.
Everyone has a book in them, but not every person should be sharing it if they plan to succeed with it.
The last thing that you want in life is to be lead by someone else’s intentions to do something.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon