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What's Your Why?

One of the most common encouragements that authors give other authors is to remember “why you started writing in the first place.” The encouragement sequence usually stops there, however, since we aren’t asking why. We are just encouraging them to remember it and then use that to help keep them going.

For some, their why might be that they wanted to become a New York Times bestselling author or have “one million copies sold” attached to their book. Others may have found their why in getting off government assistance or paying for their sick child’s medication.

It’s probably safe to say that most writers began because they love writing—the joys of the written word and that glorifying feeling of penning something that may help someone or bring that joy to them. For some, their writing is their ministry—healing, transformation, and a form of deliverance.

The reasons why an author writes can be many things, but what we often fail to ask is the why behind an author deciding to publish their book. Writing a book and publishing a book are two very different things, even if they can be inextricably linked.

When it comes to publishing, we should ask ourselves the why just the same as about writing. Why publish? Why sell your book? Publishing a book is a business. If you just want to write, you can write and post it on a blog, so why take that next step to publish with the intent to sell?

It seems that many authors publish but don’t want to think about the why of it because if they sell their book, make it a business and make money, then it somehow takes away from them writing for the love of writing. It may feel like being a “sellout” to make money off your book.

We’re here to say that it’s perfectly acceptable to want to sell your book!

If you really just want to write and get the words out there, then you absolutely can do that. Make a blog or post on social media—or both. These are perfectly viable options if you truly aren’t interested in selling your book or other writing. But if you do publish, then do so with clarity and intent.

There is no shame in putting a price tag on your message—your book. It costs to move messages. It costs to pay editors, designers, typesetters, printers, etc. It costs to hop on trains, planes, and automobiles to deliver that message. There are several authors who are blessed to the point where they already have the income to travel the world delivering their message, or publishing books to then donate to shelters, churches, and organizations.

Most authors, however, when they are being totally honest, will say that the why of writing may be any number of things, but the why of publishing is to reap the rewards of their labor. It is to bring in the income to continuously move their message and support themselves.

So, whether you set out to simply write a book, or you set out to publish and sell a book, there's no shame in either. If writing and publishing books is a hobby or charitable mission, then no, money doesn't matter. But if writing, publishing, and selling books is your business, then money has to matter. Just because you would write whether you got paid or not doesn't mean you shouldn't get paid for your time and effort.

There is no shame in making a living as a writer.

To learn how to make a living as a writer, visit and invest in the online course.


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