They say you can’t throw a rock in a Starbucks without hitting someone who has a book manuscript sitting on his computer or in the top drawer of a desk. When pressed just a little, most people I know say they would like to have a book published. They’d like to tell their life story or share their opinions about politics. Some of them have even been formulating a novel.
Many people do have a book in them–something they want or need to get out. And that idea of seeing that book in a bookstore is heady stuff.
But the reality of having a book published is very different from the dream. If you get a book contract you’ll find that you don’t get paid much for it. When you consider the time it takes to write most books, you’ll be lucky to make the kind of money per hour that you could get asking people if they want fries with their meal. Editors don’t edit and publishers don’t market books. To top it all off, there aren’t that many bookstores left and those that are left aren’t all going to carry your book. Finally, when your book comes out, before you know it, you’ll be checking your ranking on Amazon and you’ll realize that your book has been surpassed in popularity by 300,000 other books.
That doesn’t change the fact that people want to write. They have truths to tell, opinions to offer and stories to share.
The internet is here to call your bluff. You can get published whenever you want.
You may not see yourself in a bricks and mortar bookstore but you can get published on Amazon or any number of digital publishing platforms. You can even get a hardcover copy of that book. More importantly, you can get published every day on your blog.
There are many ways that a blog is better than a printed book. For one thing, you can tell the reaction to what you have written right away and you can learn and improve by exposing your work to the public in an interactive venue. You can send it to one person or thousands of people without going to the post office. You can change it on the fly.
There is only one way that traditional publishing may be better. There is an aura about it–at least for now. Some people may give you more respect and speaking engagements could be easier if a traditional publisher has made you one of the chosen ones. That is, unless it disappears into oblivion like most books, which sell under 5,000 copies.
It’s probably easier to get your writing read by 5,000 people by blogging. And if your blog reaches 20,000 or 50,000 readers, you may even get a book deal.