Don’t Do It for the Money

Writing for the money is almost always a losing proposition. At least that has been my experience, and I say that as an editor, publisher, literary agent and writer. Don’t get me wrong. Writers of course have to eat. But the best books always seem to come from people who are on a mission—a mission to spread whatever gospel they feel needs to be heard by the masses. Put another way, it is the most passionate of authors who have the best chance of capturing the hearts and minds of readers. And the financials seldom favor the business book author. 


Since the average business book sells fewer than 2,500 copies its first year (and far fewer in subsequent years), the hundreds of hours necessary to write one means that the author earns little more than minimum wage.  There are of course the breakout books that earn the most gifted authors hundreds of thousands of dollars—even millions—but the Malcolm Gladwell’s and Jim Collins’ of the world are a very rare breed indeed.

So what’s the moral of the story? Once you discover what you are most passionate amount, write about that. If you are truly fortunate, then what turns you on the most will also turn on a substantial enough audience to make you a genuine success.


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