This is a special note for those who are knowledgeable about a topic through life experience or study. Why not share your knowledge with others? Why not write a book?
Probably because you aren’t sure how to write an entire book. You might even fear that you aren’t capable of writing one. Perhaps the project seems too intimidating. Or maybe you worry that you couldn’t get it published even if you wrote it—so why do the work? If you feel this way, you’re not alone. Many knowledgeable people have tried and failed to write a book.
I’ve been there. But over a dozen books later, I’ve learned that I can write a book successfully for publication if I write it from the beginning with publication in mind. The key is writing for readers, not for ourselves. The “secret” is learning how to love our readers as our neighbors.
You won’t get wealthy serving readers. The money-making authors are usually celebrities who have the “platforms” to sell a lot of books (even if they don’t write their own books).
Also, you might have to take a few lumps from self-righteous critics or reviewers. You won’t be loved by every reader. You’ll need a thick skin and a sense of humor—especially not taking yourself too seriously.
Moreover, if your goal is to save the world by writing books, you ought to give up that ghost right now. We can’t save ourselves, let alone the rest of the world. Lower aspirations give peace.
If you’re still reading, you’ve probably got a heart for serving readers. I’m grateful. Please continue . . .
Seeing your book get published will be very rewarding. You’ll realize that in spite of the meager royalties and the occasional criticisms, your efforts are serving people you’ve never even met. You’ll receive encouraging notes from readers. It’s a miracle to use a book to serve people living in other times and places. The non-material rewards are great.
Most books are “trade” books that can also serve as supplemental textbooks. Trade books are the softcover books that probably fill your own library and line your office shelves. They are not the pricey textbooks or the cheap little mass-market paperbacks. Of course, bookstores also sell hardcovers, mass-market paperbacks, coffee-table books, reference books, and some textbooks. But trade books, priced between about $15 and $25, are the lifeblood of the publishing industry. Publishers are always looking for solid trade books. They’re especially interested in publishing a fresh approach to a timeless or very timely topic.
There’s much more to learn if you’d like to write nonfiction books and get them published. My workshops lead writers through the process, step by step, from idea to bookstore. If you’re still interested, you might want to read some testimonials from previous workshop attendees as well as some of my personal thoughts about writing books to serve readers.
I wish you well as you consider serving others with your knowledge.
— Quentin Schultze, PhD