5 Reasons You Must Write That Book

write that book.JPGIf you’re new to this blog, this is part 2 of 2 of a post about why you shouldn’t (and why you must) write that book.

In part 1, I shared how 4 out of 5 people say they have a book in them.  I mentioned a little bit about my credentials (I work with Yates & Yates, a well-known, respected Christian literary agency and law firm (and yes, Yates is my last name – it’s a family business).  I then went on to suggest five reasons a person should not write a book, in case you happen to be among the 80 percent considering doing so.

This is part 2, the fun part, where I share why you must write that book. For sure, one of the biggest and brightest ways to influence culture is to write and publish a book.  I hope this is constructive and encouraging to all you aspiring (or already published) authors.

5 Reasons You Must Write That Book

Reason #1: You must write that book if it is leaking out of you.  Some book projects are like pulling a tooth not even the slightest bit wiggly.  But every now and then, a book idea can be like a tooth just begging to fall out.  The book is pushing itself through the gums, desperate to be penned, and there’s no way to stop it.  When that happens, a writer becomes so enthralled in a story or idea they cannot help but sit at the keyboard and write 5,000 words on a given day. They are holed up in their writing cave, and they couldn’t leave if they tried.  They have a vision where they want to take their book, and it’s so accessible at this moment, they cannot set it on the shelf for a later date.  If that is you, WRITE.  Don’t choke it back.

But with that said, {a-hem}, just because you are ready to write it doesn’t mean a publisher is ready to publish it.  There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to getting your book published – what buyers are buying, what others are writing, what is going on in the world, what is happening at publishing houses, what other titles are in the works, etc.  If you keep your eye on the bigger picture, you want your book to come out at the right time too, with the right publishing team.

Reason #2: You must write that book if you have an idea, message or story that has proven to resonate with a certain audience and you are ready to reach a broader market.  The fact is, publishing a book can expose your message to an audience you may have never engaged with before.  It can take your story to a much wider, more diverse population.  A prime example of this is a pastor with a well-received sermon series.  The pastor preaches to the members of his congregation week after week on a certain subject. The message has a dramatic impact on the church.  If taken to book format, perhaps it could extend past the four walls of the church building and into homes and neighborhoods all over the country, all over the world?

One of our clients at Yates & Yates is a fantastic guy named Jefferson Bethke.  Jefferson was writing and producing YouTube videos in the spoken word, and already had a growing YouTube and social media following when one of his videos Jesus > Religion went viral.  Overnight Jefferson was appearing on television and radio, thrust into the spotlight.  His message struck a chord with over 27 million people via YouTube.  But YouTube success had never proven to be a successful launching pad for a book.  Wouldn’t you know, Jefferson wrote a book, Jesus > Religion, based on the message of his spoken word poem Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus and hit the New York Times Bestseller list for ten weeks.

Reason #3: You must write that book if you have a beyond remarkable {and preferably redemptive} story.  The tricky part is, not everyone has a remarkable story.  And it can be hard sometimes to tell if our story is really as remarkable as we think.

The first time I read my friend Katie Davis’s blog, I read the ENTIRE blog from start to finish over two days.  Then I cut and pasted her blog link and sent it to a bunch of friends, including my husband, with a YOU MUST READ THIS.  DO NOT DELETE THIS.  Katie’s story was that good.  Likewise, when I read the first 5 chapters of The Color of Rain, a manuscript from an ordinary couple in Michigan written by our now friends Michael and Gina Spehn, I had to get the rest of the story.  Katie’s book, Kisses from Katie, hit the NYT Bestseller list for 30 consecutive weeks, and The Color of Rain premiered as the highest rated and most watched Hallmark Original Movie of all time.  They had extraordinary stories that needed to be told.

Reason #4: You must write that book if you are a corporate or organizational leader and you want to introduce your organization or it’s issue to a larger audience.  I actually thought of writing a separate post related to this, “5 Ways to Use Your Book to Benefit Your Organization” because so much can happen when a business or organization has a book to leverage.  Through a book, you can lend perspective, educate, entice, explain, describe, show the heart of your organization, and introduce the lovely people you serve to the people who help make ends meet.  Not all donors read your fundraising letters.  Not all advocates read blog posts.  But a book can be a tool to introduce your organization to new partners, to explain the need and how you are responding, and most of all, to tell stories – to help other people understand complex issues and start to understand how they can make an impact.

For several years I worked for Open Doors, a non-profit organization serving persecuted Christians in over 65 countries.  Their founder, Brother Andrew, authored a famous book, God’s Smuggler.  Not too long after starting work there, the organization decided to publish a 35th anniversary edition of the book and include a new afterword by Brother Andrew about his current work in the Middle East.  The book helped introduce the organization (which had an aging donor base) to a younger audience.  Through the help of a drop-in mailer inserted in the book, we also were able to grow our newsletter subscription and educate a younger generation about the reality of religious persecution.

Reason #5: You must write that book if you have honed your voice, reached an audience, and want to edify the lives of others. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to know your aesthetic as a writer.  Imagine your “writing voice” as your house.  You want a person to walk into you house and get a feel for who you are. But if every room of your house was a different style – if some of the house was blue and some of the house was fluorescent orange, and some of it was modern and the next room country, it would be quite confusing to your guests.  In the same way, readers need to know what we’re going to get when we read you.  A writer needs to cultivate his voice before he enters the world of publishing.  And besides, who makes it to the Majors without years and years of “finding his swing” hitting wiffle balls out back with Jimmy? 

Also, having a proven audience for your book is quite important.  In fact, it’s pretty much essential today. When you can demonstrate you have an established reader base, it reduces the publisher’s risk and makes them more confident to invest in your book project.  It shows the publisher your words have already made an impact.  Plus, as an author, it’s encouraging to launch your publishing career with an army of supporters behind you rather than wondering, will anyone even buy what I’ve labored over?  Keep the end goal in mind.  You don’t just want to write a book and get it published.  You want people to buy it, read it, and to see lives changed because of it.  Stephen King said:

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.”

I’d love to hear your comments or thoughts on this post.  If it has resonated with you, I also invite you to subscribe to this blog by entering your email into the box over on the right side.  I write once or twice a week, and you’ll receive each new post to your inbox so you don’t have to keep checking back regularly. 

6 comments

    1. Hi Shelly. So good to hear from you here. I agree, time to stop questioning. Get busy writing. <3

  1. Perfectly written… This kind of guidance is much needed. Humbled my the mention. And by the way, tell “Jimmy”, I’ll play wiffle ball with him any day!

    1. Michael, thanks. Just so proud of you and Gina and your courage in writing your story. Yours is the perfect tale of how timing, team, and hard work make all the difference. I can’t help but mention you.

  2. Just as good as Part One Friend! What a wonderful balance between information and story. I am feel like I am just starting this writing for publishing thing, but it is the sitting my bottom down and just writing that needs to get done! And I love that quote. Crazy scary books but that’s just a good word! 🙂 {hugs}

  3. Thank you so much for this! I was waiting for part 2. I was convicted before; I’m mandated now 🙂 Thanks again.

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