People become authors for a variety of different reasons – and now it’s time to connect with yours. Here are the eight primary incentives people tend to have for becoming an author.
This is potentially the most obvious incentive for publishing a book slash becoming an author – money. Many people publish a book because they would love to create another income source. They want to, at the very least, break even on the cost of writing and publishing the book, and then go beyond that to add more financial wealth into their lives. If profit-generation is your top priority as an author, that is fine; however, I do encourage you to put in the time and effort to make sure this is turned into a reality – and that it’s not just an unrealistic idea.
It goes without saying that not everyone has a life path like J.K. Rowling, Elizabeth Gilbert or Dan Brown when it comes to generating millions in book sales, but this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. This is about choosing what numbers we are talking about. Is it $1000’s? $10,000’s? Or more? Be clear on this as you begin and then focus on creating the plan to manifest that outcome. Personally, I wouldn’t ever plan on the profits from a book replacing all other sources of my income completely as in most cases, this is simply unrealistic and of course, it can be also be volatile as most books go through peaks and troughs in sales over time. I suggest diversifying your income sources so that both you and your bases are covered.
2. Share A Message
We now move into the second primary incentive for being an author: to share a message. Many people are discovering a natural desire to write about the messages inside their hearts, life and minds. The book is an undeniably effective instrument to play when it comes to singing your song in the world. Oh, the bliss of an infinite number of pages to write upon! The message could go anywhere. And once it’s written, documented, bound and published, it can be handed to people like a neat parcel – ready for them to absorb and receive value from. Yes, sharing a message or moving people in a certain way for a purpose or cause is definitely a strong incentive for writing a book.
It is the strong belief that this one message can make a huge difference to someone’s life if they heard it. For example, that being beautiful isn’t always about external appearance. Or, that life is more fulfilling when we manage and move past our fears. Or, that the key to growing a business is (x) – whatever that ‘top secret’ soon-to-be-not-so-secret formula is for building a winning business. Whatever the message is, let me say that YES there is a place in this world for it. If you are in doubt, then take a look in the world around you at all the people whose lives would be more fulfilling if they heard your message… and that’s all I’ll say on that as I leave you to ponder.
The third primary incentive for people become authors is to fulfil upon a desire for self-expression. This might show up in the form of sharing your life story as a memoir. It might also show up as producing a book packed full of information that you are interested in teaching or passing on to the readers. Regardless of whether it’s fiction or non-fiction and irrespective of genre, any book can be written out of a simple desire to express oneself. I can certainly relate to this one, as at least half of my published books were written with the intention of self-expression in mind – especially The Inspirational Messenger. It is the feeling that I alluded to in the introduction of this book where I said, “Throughout my entire life, I have lived with a burning, yearning, inherent desire to express myself and to let what was inside me, out.”
The desire to write a book for self-expression purposes is not always closely tied in with the desire to generate profits as an author. This can often lead to what you could call a book that is a “best-kept secret”. I have no doubt in my mind that some of the world’s greatest writings are hiding in the ‘Documents’ folders of hermits around the globe – yet (or never) to be brought out into the light for people to read and benefit from. Perhaps you have compiled writings like this on your own computer – writing that began because you needed an outlet… and finished once you had said what you wanted to say. If you are a self-expression writer, I would encourage you to take your writing further and bring it into a book; because the reward of that self-expression will benefit you for life.
4. Greater Reach, Greater Impact
The fourth primary incentive for people to write and publish a book is to gain greater reach and make a greater impact. This incentive is one that I have found most commonly amongst the world of business. Modern-day entrepreneurs, life coaches and speakers from all over the planet want to publish their message so they can be more well-known and, as a side-effect, have more people in their trainings and coaching programs. This is fantastic incentive to write a book as, with the appropriate level of and approach to marketing, it can achieve this outcome.
What to keep in mind here is to be clear on what you will do once you achieve the greater reach – whatever you define that to be. What will you do when your book touches 1000 people? 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000? Would you love to boost the numbers in your workshops and trainings? Is the reach so that when you release books 2, 3, 4 and 5, that you have an already-established following of readers? The principle behind these questions is a) to make sure that you are clear and know what you are shooting for, and b) to ensure you have the business systems and sales funnels in place to handle the reach once you achieve it. You don’t wantyour hard work to go to waste by touching 10,000 people and having it stop at the book itself. There are literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of business beyond your published piece. Look to the mission beyond having greater reach – or in other words, what having the greater reach allows you to be, do, and have in the future.
5. “Author” is in “Author-ity”
Incentive number five for publishing a book is about becoming or rather, being perceived, as an authority on a specific topic or in a particular field. It’s been said many times that becoming a published author gives you added credibility – and has people see you as an expert. And hey, it’s true. People tend to have a natural respect for someone who has taken the time to organize their information, knowledge, and story in a way that makes sense; as a book that was intelligently-written and well thought-through. The irony here is that there are potentially (likely) people who are even more brilliant in that same field or on that topic who haven’t taken the time to write a book… but we might not know about them! Perhaps this is you – and perhaps you are about to change this and invest in yourself to become the author-ity in your niche.
This incentive was certainly sitting behind the writing of this book, The Book Within You. By publishing my knowledge on becoming an author, I knew that doing so would assist me to achieve the positioning I was after; to be looked upon as an expert in and on the topic of author training and book writing. And, of course, the greater positioning in this domain allows me to serve more people to bring the books within them, out into the world. The book serves this purpose well (and it may do for several years to come) and it assists you with your outcome: everyone wins.
6. A Legacy
The next primary incentive to become an author is to create a legacy that outlives you. It can definitely be said that many books last a long time and that their pages will often die long after our bodies do. Think now to the great encyclopaedias, the great texts, and the writings of the most well-known, world-renowned philosophers, scientists and thinkers. Even think to the Bible and other religious writings. Yes, published writings certainly have the power to stand the test of time and to cast influence over generations and centuries to come. And, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t produce a book of the same nature – a book that leaves a legacy. This may be your exact incentive.
Now, writing your book as an act of leaving a legacy may be as simple as telling your story so that your children and grandchildren will have something to remember you by – and that, when they are adults, they will have the chance to get to know more about you. Or, writing your book in the pursuit of a legacy might be about touching the lives of millions of people. It all depends on where you are in life, the world, partially how old you are (how many miles are left on the clock) and what your personal values are. I personally would love to produce a text that sat comfortably between Plato and his friends – one that is read by people a hundred years after I die. But, having said this, it also means a lot to me that any family who outlive me (not necessarily my own children as books are my babies) will have access to my inner world through what I write. The same can be true for you. You CAN leave a legacy with your book.
7. “Save” The World
The seventh primary incentive to becoming a published author is to make a difference. This is slightly different than the second incentive, which was to share a message. It extends beyond just one message to what difference the entire book can make on someone’s life. It is strongly focused on the outcome. It might be a book that delivers a method for spiritual advancement, business development or healing of the body. Or, it might be a book that inspires a global social movement. Whichever it is, the seventh incentive is strongly focused on the lives that can be changed because of the book.
It is centred around the person on the other end – the end user – the reader. You might want to make a difference in the lives of your clients. You might want to help people who live in countries where you don’t run speaking presentations. Or help your friends to solve a problem – or people who are facing the same challenge that you were. Or, you might want to write the book just to be able to give it away; for example, to young adults to help them craft their future. All incentives for helping people with a book are noble, and in fact, it’s wise that every author consider this before and as they are producing their manuscript; as being able to reach out to a reader and influence them in a meaningful way is a great accomplishment. Keep your readers in your mind as you write – and the book will speak to them more powerfully.
8. Media, Media, Media
The final and eighth primary incentive for writing and publishing a book is to gain more media exposure. Now this is a potent reason for wanting to become an author, as it suggests to me that you already have a mission that is beyond the book itself and that you see the book as a vehicle for achieving that – which is fabulous. It’s true that, as a general rule, authors do get better media coverage. Television shows, newspapers, magazines and radio shows do tend to favour a published voice over an unpublished one; just turn on your television to watch the national morning shows over a week and see how many authors and published writers are interviewed. The title ‘Author’ will help you immensely in becoming one of these people.