Yes, I'm talking to you. I ask, is it time for you to write your book, now?
To all the women out there who are in business, thinking about being in business, starting or improving a business, or those who are reading a book about life, love, business, joy, mystery, whatever... and thinking, "I bet I could write a book like this."
Because, you're right. You could write a book like that. You should write a book - about whatever moves you.
I especially nudge my women friends who are in business. You should write a book about being in business. You should share your knowledge, experiences, ups and downs, with other women. The need to do so is so great, I can't say it often enough. Women want business books written by other women.
People have varying reasons for writing a book. In a general sense, the writing of a book is a project based in passion. A novel writer has a story that she just has to tell; a poet gathers his thoughts and writings and creates a tome of flowing phrases that speak of emotions we all feel but sometimes can't get out; a business professional makes the decision to share his expertise when he's finally successful, willing to share the trials and tribulations he endured, hoping it will help others along the same path.
All of these are reasons for writing a book, but the one reason for writing a book that transcends all others is… a foolish one.
The ONE Reason Many People Write a Book
Many people I meet admit they want to write a book. The light goes on in their eyes and they nod vigorously.
"Yes!" they say out loud. "I want to write a book. I want write a book and become rich and famous."
Let me rephrase - a good many people say they want to share a story or their vast experiences in life, and that writing a book is their release, and that they are sure once the book is written, publishers will beat a path to their door, and their book will be a best seller, and this will make them rich and famous.
You see how one thing leads to another and another until… the author believes she will become rich and famous, and can now go on speaking tours throughout the country (or the entire world) commanding great fees addressing large audiences, while basking in the glory of their best seller.
Let me disabuse you of this idea, right now. Writing a book is not a means to wealth and fame. It might be. Your book might be the next best seller on whatever list is most important to you, but it probably won’t be. Your book might attract millions of readers, and pad your bank account with millions of dollars, but it probably won’t. Your book might generate the kind of media attention that gets you on Ellen, or your favorite local news station, and then your favorite national news station, but it probably won’t.
In truth, your book will probably sell less than 250 copies.
How Boorish! How Rude! How... real.
I am not here to insult you or to discourage you or to make you angry. I say these things because they are true. The vast majority of books written will not go on to be “best sellers”. They will not garner millions in royalties. They will not make their authors rich.
As the link advises,
Keep sales expectations low, and shift your focus to building a business around your book.
I am absolutely sure, 100% sure, that your book is important enough to write. It's true, there are books that I wish the author had not written. I will not go into why or what it is about these books that makes me cringe, I will merely say not every book that is written, should be written. But that's not your book. Because your book is going to be done professionally, with a book coach, and you're going to take the advice above and build a business around it.
Now that we’ve finished with that, let me go on to say there are dozens, no, hundreds, of important and worthy books yet to be written. Worthy of both the author’s time and the reader’s time. This, despite the fact that these books are not or will not ever be on the international or national best seller lists. Honestly, best seller lists be damned! Plenty of writing never arrives among the best sellers, and is still excellent writing that hundreds, likely thousands, of readers will love.
I have read my fair share of best sellers that left me confused and wondering. I've closed the cover of the books and thought, Why? How? Why, again? Who deemed this worthy of 'best seller' status, because I cannot believe READERS did!
Not all that glitters is gold, if you know what I mean.
The Delight of a Good Story, Well-Told
Stepping away from the best seller table, let’s peruse the shelves of our local book store, or even more excitingly, the shelves of our local library.
What delights await us there? The vast majority of books we will see are from authors we have never heard of. These are serious writers. These are writers who had a story to tell, and told it. It matters not that one book is a business book full of advice on how to organize your closets, or that another is a saga of another world where the Queen has four eyes. What matters is the story. The well-told story.
In your book, your story needs to be authentic, interesting, and have some sort of moral. “The moral to the story is…” we hear our English teachers in long ago days intone, "your assignment for this evening's homework."
He likes to task the students with the quest for discovering the moral of the story because he wants them to learn to think. And all the silly 17 year olds sitting before him paying rapt attention (well, I paid rapt attention in English class, in high school) groaned and some of them looked right at me, because they were going to ask me for help with their homework.
No homework for you. I will make it easy.
The moral of most business/inspirational books is – you can do this, too. You are just like me and I did it, so you can do it too.
The moral of most novels is …more complicated because the human condition invites a long, serious discuss on morals as presented in novels. Not to mention, some understanding of the hero's journey. Novels exist to entertain. They take us out of our ordinary lives and give us glimpses into worlds we would not know, otherwise. The moral in most of them is that being human is okay. Or, being an alien based on the author's human experiences, is okay.
Make no mistake, here. Your book is welcomed and necessary, if you truly have a story to tell. And, it doesn’t need to be a best seller. It needs to serve its audience. Do that, and you will have a success with your book. You may even create a successful writing career. One where your readers love you, and the rest of the world … doesn’t even know who you are.
Riches and fame are not why authors write books
I applaud all writers but especially those who tackle the writing of a book. It’s a big task. It can take a year or ten out of your life. The rewards are many, or few. It all depends on your commitment to the written work, to the story. Until you become a household name, and yes, I think some of you will become a household name, but not all, you should write your book with a slave’s devotion to the reader. Come to think of it, even after you become a household name you should write with the reader in mind, at every moment.
Your book is not yours. It’s not for you. It belongs to the readers. This is why I often turn away possible clients. If you come to me all full of yourself and your story, and you tell me your goal is to get on Dr. Phil (which is a separate worry – why do people air their dirty laundry on Dr. Phil?), and to garner amazing speaking engagements where you will charge big bucks, because your book is going to be a best seller, I will wish you all the luck in the world and send you on your way.
I want to work with you if you have a story to tell and you're willing to work on telling it. I want to help you discover or uncover your audience, and how that audience can help you succeed in your storytelling, in book form.
It is time for you to write that book. Isn't it?
If you're having doubts, connect with me on Facebook and let's discuss.
The stories we tell about ourselves accumulate into a sense of self, an identity, the most personal of mythologies. ~Jo Salas | Performer, writer, passionate grandmother