Have You Ever Thought About Writing a Book? - Random Reasonings

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Have You Ever Thought About Writing a Book?

Not sure what there was about 2022, but I think I read more books last year than in any other year.  Even more than during the lockdowns of 2020. Lots of the people I know were also doing a lot of reading last year.

One of the highlights of the year was getting to meet one of my favorite authors, Louise Penny. My friend Genny and I went to hear her speak at the Carnegie Music Center on November 30 and each got an autographed copy of her newest book, A World of Curiosities.

Over the years the characters in Penny’s books have begun to feel like good friends that exist in my mind. I can imagine myself sitting in Olivier and Gabri’s Bistro with Armand, Clara, Myrna, Ruth & Rosa, and Reine-Marie enjoying a hot toddy and some stimulating conversation in front of one of the large fireplaces.

It took me only two days to read A World of Curiosities because I just couldn’t put the book down. Two days to read a book the author spent a year writing! And this is an international best-selling author!

As someone who loves to write, I have occasionally thought about writing a fiction book. Perhaps a mystery, or women’s fiction, or even the great American novel.

But with writing, like any creative form of expression, there are many, many different genres and types of writing, and fictional story-telling is not a talent I have.

An interesting fact is that 81% of Americans feel they would like to write a book. That they have a story to tell, or advice to give, or new ideas to share. Are you one of those? Have you ever wanted to write a book? Or perhaps you have already started to write a book.

Encouragement for writing is like when you are a good cook and friends say, “You should open a restaurant.” Friends are quick to say “You should write a book!”

Like opening a restaurant, where there is much more to do than be able to cook, writing a book is a process far more complex and demanding than just having a good idea or vivid imagination.

Only 30 of every 1,000 people who start a book actually finish it. That’s a  97% give-up rate. Of the 30 who don’t give up, only 6 ever get their books published. Even when published, less than .0025% ever sell 1,000 copies or more which is the benchmark for being considered “successful”.

If you want to write a book, do it for the love of writing, but don’t pin your hopes on having it be a path to financial success. The odds are like your odds of winning the billion-dollar lottery.

About 80,000 new books get published each year. Amazon has been a boon to would-be writers because it offers a way to publish e-books without going the traditional route of finding a publisher and agent to get your book in print. But even then, the average number of books sold for a new author is 300 copies. 

In 2009 I started to think about a self-help book that I wanted to write, spurred on by clients and friends who repeatedly would tell me “You should put all of that in a book”. In 2010 I started to write it. In 2011 I started to work with the author’s coach Ann McIndoo – one of my smarter decisions. Ann was fabulous at helping me with the process of book writing! I wrote and re-wrote.

After the editor got the manuscript I re-wrote again. I learned to appreciate my editor and not be offended by her suggestions. By networking with Ann I was able to get a contract with a publisher.

I also went to quite a few author workshops and symposiums done by Steve Harrison, a leading expert at teaching writers how to monetize their books. I did Steve’s Quantum Leap program and attended his National Publicity Summit in New York City in April of 2013 where I got to pitch my book, and myself, to all the leading media programs like The Today Show, Good Morning America, Oprah, and Fox News, as well as to magazine editors, publishers, literary agents, and newspapers.

In June 2013 my book, The Success Myth, was released by Motivational Press. It was available on Amazon as well as through chain book stores such as Barnes & Noble. In November of 2013 it reached an Amazon top 1,000 rank for a couple weeks and the reviews posted were all either 4 or 5 stars.

Sounds great, but actually, it’s a huge amount of work. I learned that as an author, if I don’t continually promote my book the publisher will quickly move on to other writers.

Through all the work with Ann McIndoo, Steve Harrison, and Motivational Press, I met thousands of aspiring writers. Not one of us has made a career out of being a published author. At least I got published; many of them never got that far.

Having been through the book-writing/publishing process, I am content to no longer want to write another book. When Motivational Press asked me to renew my contract last year, I declined. So now my book is no longer available on Amazon or anywhere else. And that’s OK with me.

If you want to write a book; fiction, non-fiction, self-help, instructional, autobiographical, or any kind, I strongly encourage it. The process alone is a great experience that will add many new dimensions to your life.

For me, the process has made me appreciate the authors I read so much more. I discovered many new ones last year. The best was author Amor Towles’ book A Gentleman in Moscow.

I’m looking forward to more author discoveries this year.

“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

Ernest Hemingway

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