There are so many reasons to write a book! Let’s jump right in and name a few:
- I want to be a bestselling author.
- I want to be a thought leader.
- I need a lead generator for my business.
- Everyone keeps telling me I should write a book.
- I want to do more public speaking.
- I want to create passive income.
- I want a movie made from my story so I need a book first!
- I feel a responsibility to share my story.
Awesome. Let’s dive into these one at a time and help you determine the “why” behind your book, so we can then get into the strategy of how you’re going to approach it.
The glitz! The glamour! Lights, Camera, Action! Let’s dream of what’s possible when you achieve best-seller status. You’ll be on all the big shows. People will pay you big money to speak. Your friends (and enemies) will all know what a big deal you are. Love it. Love your ambition!
Now hold out your hand in front of you—palm down, please. Hold still.
Yes, that was me smacking you back to reality.
Writing your book because you want to be a bestselling author is all ego driven. And if your ego is in need of that much stroking, avoid writing books. The reality is that your ego is far more likely to be torn to pieces by this industry if the “why” behind your book is superficial.
Wanting to be famous for the sake of fame alone means you have a hole in you that no amount of fame will fill. Trust me, I worked in Hollywood for 10 years and fell down that rabbit hole! Be careful what you wish for.
I want to be a thought leader.
Of course you do. You have great ideas. Maybe you’ve built an awesome company or practice. Maybe you’ve got 50,000 followers on twitter. Maybe you’re sitting in your parents’ basement full of awesomeness but refusing to submit to the hand of “the man,” who just wants to oppress you and own your ideas.
But like the best-selling author approach, thought leader is an ego play. True thought leadership is something you arrive at. It’s something other people call you after you’ve produced a significant body of work and introduced a new ideology. Search deeper for your true motivation!
I need a lead generator for my business.
No joke, this is actually a good reason to become an author. A great book that captures the essence of you and your business can be an amazing calling card to build your customer base. But ONLY if it’s amazing. Anything less and you’re shooting yourself in the foot and leading people away from you, not towards you. Getting professional support also makes sense as a business investment because the ROI is more easily measurable. Awesomesauce—a totally valid “why” for your book. (Read the last item on this list—I hope that resonates with you as well!)
Everyone keeps telling me I should write a book.
Of course they do! You’ve got a killer story. You’ve lived more in a decade than most people live their entire lives. You’ve overcome insane odds and triumphed where others have failed. And I’m proud of you. Honestly. I love stories like yours.
Now if you don’t mind, hold out your hand…
You know where this is going, right? You’re going to make me spell it out aren’t you?
Here’s the number of awesome stories that are currently waiting to be told on this planet: 7 billion.
I have NEVER met someone who didn’t have an interesting story. Life is created in such a way that we all face amazing adversity. Not everyone has been shot in the face, or horribly abused, or struggled from the bottom of the ghetto to the top of Wall Street, but everyone has overcome hurdles.
So if everyone around you is telling you that should write a book, then tell them to help you. Tell them to help write it, or fund it, or market it. Ultimately, what they are saying is, “I want to feel famous, but I don’t want to take the risk, so you should. That way I can be famous by proxy.”
Never write a book because someone else says you should. It’s tantamount to saying, “I love watching you play basketball in the backyard. You’re fun to watch. You should try out for the NBA.”
Does that make any sense?
I want to do more public speaking.
If you want to do more public speaking, then go do more public speaking. Oh, but you wanna get paid for it? Want to know how to get paid for public speaking?
Be a great public speaker.
Want to know how to be a great public speaker?
You don’t become a brilliant concert pianist by writing a book. You don’t become a brilliant athlete by writing a book. You’re not going to become a brilliant speaker by writing a book.
You’ve heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule? Get to work.
I want to create passive income.
If you think books make money, oh dear—you are in for an awakening! There are 1 million books published every year now. The competition is staggering. Do some people make money from book sales? Of course they do. About as many as win the lottery each year.
If you want to create passive income, be prepared to invest in an amazing book, a killer marketing and advertising campaign, additional free content, additional content to charge for (books, videos, courses, merchandise), a beautiful website to lead people to sign up for your content, an email capture system, a newsletter delivery system, branding, and the list goes on…
Is it possible? Absolutely. How long does it take? Years. So get realistic. This idea is not just for authors. It requires you to be an entrepreneur. And that means making a significant investment in launching your new business. Be prepared.
I want a movie made from my story so I need a book first!
Probably, but I’ll elaborate. Hollywood produces around 500 movies a year. Of those, less than 300 receive a theatrical release. And do you know how many screenplays are written each year? According to the Writer’s Guild of America, between 30,000 and 50,000 are registered each year.
Instead of aiming to have a screenplay written, go write a brilliant book, change the world with it, and let Hollywood come to you.
I feel a responsibility to share my story.
Awesome. We’ve finally arrived at the best reason to write a book. Congrats for hanging in there with me!
Write a book because you have to. Because you feel compelled to serve mankind. Because you have a burning in your belly to make a difference in the world.
As an author, your job is to serve your reader. It has nothing to do with you. Take your ego out of the game, and simply write your book to serve others. Contemplate who your reader is. Where are they in their life? What role can your book play in their world? What wisdom can you provide? What comfort or compassion? What joy?
Every person who eventually reads your book will experience it one on one. Each one will have a solitary experience with it. Reading is incredibly personal, so show up for those people. Create a piece of art that connects your heart to their humanity: your soul to their spirit, your love to their need.
I don’t care if your book is about eating healthy, overcoming abuse, getting out of a gang, struggling with cancer, or leading in business; writing your book needs to be something you simply must do because you feel compelled to make a difference. Otherwise, you’ll never get past the obstacles that are going to be thrown in your way as an author/entrepreneur.
I truly hope this piece gave you some perspective on understanding the “why” behind your book before you get started. Like starting a business, this is not an easy path. Travel it because you have to, or go find something else to fill your soul.
If I can help you in any way throughout your book writing journey, don’t hesitate to reach out. I invite your questions.
With love in writing,