Strength for the Soul

WRITING RESOURCES: FIVE COMMON MYTHS ABOUT WRITING BOOKS

Myth #1: I'll make a lot of money.

Dollar bills

Not true. Authors make very little on their books that sell in bookstores. Authors make most of their money speaking on their book, since speaking fees are generally much higher than book royalties. (After the publisher, distributor and bookstore are paid, the author gets what's left over…around 50 cents to a dollar on every $10-book that is sold.) So don't write as a way to make money. Write as a way to have a resource on what you speak about, so your listeners can take your message home with them. That leads me to the next myth.

Myth # 2: I can get my story out without having to speak.

Not true. Most publishers would rather work with a speaker who can't write, than a writer who can't speak. Most writers should already be out speaking on their message and once they've developed an audience, then write the book. Books written after you've spoken on something tend to be better books. Also, if you're out speaking on your book, that's a plus to a publisher looking for authors who will be actively promoting their books.

Myth #3: Once my book is written, it will sell itself.

Not really. Unless your name is Max Lucado, you will need to work hard marketing and promoting your book. That's why it's important to already have an audience out there for your message by the time it's in book form. If books don't sell a certain number of copies per year, they will likely be taken out of print…meaning your book will no longer be available in stores and you may be stuck with box loads full in your garage that you can't get rid of.

Myth #4: I have to have an agent to get a book published.

Not necessarily. I was fortunate to not have to have an agent when my first book was published more than 13 years ago. However, the publishing marketplace is getting harder to penetrate all the time, especially for first-time authors. An agent can not only get your work in front of publishers, but if you have a good one, he or she will also be able to offer sound advice and direction in terms of helping you become a better writer, marketing your book, making sure your book is getting the amount of marketing dollar it deserves from the publisher, overall career planning, platform development, contract negotiations, and so on.

Whether or not you have an agent is a personal decision. While I personally believe God is the best Agent I could ever have, I do have many author friends who have seen God work in their publishing careers through an agent. And I recently signed with an agency because I felt it necessary for my further development as a career author and speaker.

I recommend you do some research before handing your money to a person or organization claiming they can get your book published. Mac Gregor Literary Group is a great place to get answers to your questions about agents - and I believe they are one of the best if you decide you need an agent. You can get more information on the whole world of agents and how they work at www.macgregorliterary.com. (It would be advantageous to sign up for Chip MacGregor's blog, as well. He has valuable information for today's author or prospective author on everything from "how to be a better writer" to "marketing trends" to "developing your author platform.")

Myth #5: It's all who you know.

True. But here's the good news: if you know God, you know the Name above all names and you have access through any door. Remember that. If the dream to write is from Him, He will lead the way.