Is Your Goal to Be Published or to Sell Books?

How you go about writing and publishing your book greatly depends on whether it is your goal to be published or if your goal is to sell books. It’s important for authors to be honest with themselves about whether their true goal for becoming an author is for the benefits of being published or if their goal is to sell books because knowing the answer makes it easier for them to make the best choices that lead to their goal.

I’m sure that there will be some aspiring authors who read this and think that they really want to have both the benefits of being published and being an author who sells books, but after looking closer into the work required to reach each goal, many aspiring authors will quickly decide whether their interests are more in becoming an author or selling books and other aspiring authors may conclude that writing a book actually isn’t the best method to reach their goals.

When Your Goal Is to Be Published

If you are driven by an urge to create a book that embodies your lifetime of experiences and/or your research on a question that has driven you to keep digging deeper and deeper through countless sources of data, then your desire to become an author may be driven more by the gratification of completing the creative writing and book production process than by selling millions of copies.

Of course, every aspiring author would like to become a bestselling author, but the work required to reach that status may feel tedious when you are driven to see a printed physical manifestation of a rich collection of intangible thoughts, concepts and information.

Like the dancer who feels compelled to express what they can imagine through movement and the designer who is driven to sketch every creative garment that they can imagine, there are aspiring-authors who simply need to write a book so they can translate whatever concepts they imagine  into words, sentences, paragraphs, pages and chapters that will express their unseen imagination into something their physical senses can help them experience. And like the dancer and the designer, these kinds of authors are first compelled to create and maybe-just maybe-they might start to feel their desire to create grow into a desire to make themselves vulnerable enough to share what they have created with the world.

Writing Style

These authors probably secretly enjoy the long process of reading dozens of books that are similar to the one they want to freewrite, outlining their book, and even the process of writing and rewriting draft after draft either on their own or with a writing coach or some other writing partner like a ghostwriter. Storyboarding is another strategy they may like. Editing recommendations that come from a third-party may not always be received with relief, but if the changes improve the integrity of the work then they may not mind.

Publishing Preferences

Publishing with a traditional publishing company may help this kind of author stay focused on the writing and leave the more technical side of publishing up to a financially-motivated professional. The author may do the bare minimum to help promote the book just to satisfy the publisher, but the real achievement was in finishing the book and getting a traditional publisher to agree that the work is good enough to be published.

However, there is always the chance that the author wants the work published quickly to share with close family friends. In this case, self-publishing may be preferred. Another reason self-publishing may be preferred is because the urge to create is not limited to the choice and order of words in the book and extends into wanting to have extensive control over the design of the books.

You can’t always predict the actions of a person who is driven create primarily for the sake of creating, but this type of author is most likely an Artist, but may also be an Advocate or an Expert publishing personality.

When Your Goal Is to Sell Books

If you are driven to make a career out of getting your message into the hands of as many people as possible and to be paid well for your efforts, then your desire to become an author may be driven more by wanting to be paid for what you know than by simply creating a book as a memorial of what you know.

There are certainly aspiring authors who simply want to find a quick way to make money and they see publishing a book as a way to do so, but there are still a lot of authors who see sales as means of getting enough money to make sharing their problem-solving message a full-time calling instead of that thing they do when they have time in between work, family and other obligations.

This type of author has a lot in common with inventors because they both take on the challenge of using what they know to solve a problem that people deal with daily. This author has a lot in common with product manufacturers who realize that strategic partnerships, packaging, positioning and promotion strategies can separate a product that sells for a season from one that sells for a lifetime. This author also has a lot in common dumpster divers who know that what one person will throw away is still treasure for someone else as long as it is repurposed to meet their unique needs.

Writing Style

These authors take pride in writing quality book content that quickly and effectively solves the problem of their readers, but they can get frustrated when it takes longer than they anticipated because each delay means that their potential readers is doomed to wait that much longer to get their answer. These authors may favor writing quickly just to get it out but spend a lot of time editing it and organizing the information so that it is easy to understand and apply quickly, so they may like writing through compiling information they already have, interviewing, dictating their message into a recording and then writing it or working with a partner like a ghostwriter. These types of authors probably favor the use of thought-provoking quotes to help drive points home, subheads that make it easier for readers to quickly skim and consume their information, extracts that highlight key information, resource lists that point readers in the right direction so they can get more information when they need it and other user-friendly options.

Publishing Preferences

This author can do well with a traditional publishing company or via self-publishing. Traditional publishing may appeal to them as a strategic partnership that prevents them from needing to learn the technical sides of producing, distributing and promoting books and gives them the advantage of the entire network the publisher has access to. Then again, self-publishing has its appeals because authors can keep more of the money if they already have a team who will help with the technical sides of producing, distributing and promoting books, has a ready platform of at least 1,000 people who are ready to buy the book without requiring extensive promotional budgets or at least knows someone else who has a platform of at least 1,000 and that person is willing to mention the author’s book to them without requiring a lot of money from the author.

Authors who are driven to sell a lot of copies realize that writing and publishing a single book is not enough to drive sales. They understand that they must add more books, other products, speaking or teaching engagements, coaching services, seminars, conferences or other services to help drive sales, so this type of author is most likely an Investor, Expert or an Advocate publishing personality.

Final Thoughts

As an aspiring author, you may have seen a little bit of you in each description. However, I highly recommend paying attention to the features you did not like in the description of each publishing goal, because what you don’t like can help you learn just as much about yourself as what you do like.

  • If you’re still not sure about which goal drives you, then take advantage of a free consultation with me so I can help you decide what’s the best next step for you towards your book writing and publishing plan.
  • If your goal is to be published, then get your free Author Info Kit today and follow the steps to begin creating the book you want today. When you get your kit, you will learn how you can get help from me at any step along the way.
  • If your goal is to sell books, then book your consultation now so we can get you started as quickly as possible on a customized plan for you.

Danielle Fetherson

Danielle helps aspiring authors become published authors. She believes that everyone has at least one book on the inside of them that can make a positive impact on someone else's life. If you have been thinking about writing a book, learn how to start your book today with the free resources at