We all want people to buy our books and then read our books. That’s the ideal. But what if we can realize only one of these two outcomes? Would we rather have people buy our book or read it?
In the first scenario a lot of people would buy our book but they never actually read it. It sits around unread and later moves to a book shelf and later still ends up in the trash. No one ever reviews the book or lets us know how much they enjoy it.
In the second scenario readers download our book for free, read someone else’s copy (that wasn’t paid for either), receives an advanced copy, or finds a pirated version. We receive a boatload of positive reviews and everywhere we go it seems someone says how great our book is. A lot of people read our book and love it, but we never make one penny from it.
Both these situations are extreme, but if we had to select one, which one would it be?
If we pick the first, then our primary goal in writing a book is to make money. If we pick the second, then our primary motivation to write is for the love of the art. Neither one is wrong, but by themselves, for the long-term, neither one will fully satisfy.
We need people to buy our books, and we need people to read them. The first need is practical and the second need is emotional. We must have both to sustain ourselves as writers. Without the money we starve physically; without the feedback we starve creatively. Don’t be caviler about either; we need both and shouldn’t dismiss one as unnecessary.Do you write for money or respect? Click To Tweet
We must write books that will make money and that people will want to read. The money doesn’t have to be a lot, but we need to make something. Our readers don’t need to be many, but we need to have at a least a few.
Of course we’d prefer to sell lots of books and have lots of readers. Isn’t that what we all dream for – even if we don’t say so or are afraid to admit it?
If you had to choose which would it be? Which of these two outcomes should you take more seriously? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!