Saying you don’t have to be a writer to publish a book sounds a bit counterintuitive, but to be perfectly honest, I was going for a catchy title.
It’s not an outright untruth. Just a little twist of semantics. When I say you don’t have to be a writer to publish a book, I’m loosely defining a “writer” as someone who writes as their vocation, an individual who makes their living composing and selling published manuscripts. When you think of your favorite writer, you probably think of someone like James Patterson, Jane Austen, or even Malcom Gladwell.
But not every writer is a published author, and not every author files their taxes as a writer. Let me explain.
Plenty of famous authors don’t actually write for a living. David Goggins, author of the best-selling book, Can’t Hurt Me, is a high-performance athlete. Oprah, Dolly Parton, and Tyler Perry have all penned memoirs. Even Agatha Christie worked as a pharmacist, a vocation that famously informed her insidious knowledge of poisons.
These names seem pretty lofty and star-studded, but the fact is, very few people don a beret, get a degree in creative writing, and then run away to the smoky streets of Paris to pen a best-selling masterpiece. Most names you see on the spines of your local bookstore are very normal people —people just like you and me. They’re not “professional writers” in any way, shape, or form. But, again, you don’t have to be a writer to publish a book.
Like I mentioned in my previous article, one of the biggest insecurities I hear from my clients is the fear that they don’t have a story worth telling, that no one will want to read what they write. I don’t have to give many examples to show just how flimsy that argument really is. There are literally books on just about everything: cooking, quantum theory, dystopian space futures, the idea that Jesus Christ was actually a mushroom…
Yes, these are all published books that people buy, read, and review.
Here’s the reality: if you have time, treasures, and talents you’re already offering the world, you have a story worth telling. Maybe you’re a lawyer who specializes in nasty divorce cases. Maybe you’re a hairdresser who helps your clients find self-love and confidence through a rockin’ new do. Maybe you’re a nutritionist who brings clients into a better understanding of their bodies or a teacher who’s gleaned unique insight and skills through your experiences.
No matter where you are and what you’ve overcome, you have a story worth telling. And someone, somewhere, needs to hear that story.
Don’t believe me? Let’s dive in deeper. As long as you can answer these two basic questions, you have everything you need to write a compelling narrative.
What problems do you solve in your everyday life? Do you work in customer service at a convenience store, answering questions and quelling the rising rage of agitated patrons? Are you a CPA who helps people file their taxes? A trauma nurse who brings back patients from the brink of death? Maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent dealing with the challenges of raising multiple children.
No matter what the case, the problems and obstacles you face on a daily basis matter. When I look at the above examples, I see a very different list of possible subjects: diffusing conflict, financial freedom, stress management/post-traumatic stress, parenting methods and psychology…
The list literally goes on and on. And that’s just scratching the surface. We haven’t even touched on the wisdom and experience we collect throughout our personal lives. Take any human being deeper, and the possibilities expand exponentially. I’ve had clients who parent children with special needs, survived and left abusive relationships, traveled the world to discover themselves, persevered through horrific divorces…Being human—living life—is a story. And as long as you have an obstacle to overcome, no matter what that obstacle may be, you have a message worth sharing.
A Want and a Need
All professionals in any field must understand the difference between wants and needs—authors included. A want is the end result your client desires when their journey concludes. But their need, what they actually must do or acquire to achieve that result, is quite different.
Take this example.
Your client may want clear skin, but what they need is to change their diet, lessening and even eliminating the harmful substances that feed the bacteria causing their blemishes. You, as an author, are responsible for identifying, relating to, and speaking to that want. You have to connect with your reader and acknowledge that you understand and have a solution to their problem. This can be as simple as the following statement.
Hey, if you’re struggling with acne, you’re not alone. I’ve been there, and it took me years of unsuccessful creams and treatments to find a solution that worked.
When you’ve acknowledged the want, then you present the need—the solution that you, the author, provide to your client through your story.
To achieve clear, radiant skin, I had to completely change the way I saw my body and my nutritional health. But that didn’t happen all at once. It was a comprehensive process—a process I’m going to outline to you step by step in this book.
Maybe your client wants to learn about crystals, so you give them the scientific breakdown they need to understand the chemistry and makeup of different minerals. Maybe your client wants to get over a bad breakup, but they need to get their self-confidence back. Maybe they simply want to be entertained, so they need to be engrossed in a fast-paced slasher-horror full of twists and turns.
Whatever the case may be, identifying your readers’ wants and needs will give your writing power and direction.
And there you have it. Two basic questions. Wants, needs, and obstacles to be overcome.
I know this may seem oversimplified, but when you have these two questions answered, everything else is gravy. You don’t need a wood-paneled study, a brooding backstory, or previous writing experience to have a tale worth telling. You have an experience to share by virtue of being a human being questing through the grand adventure we call life.
If you answer questions, solve problems, overcome obstacles, and/or address any sort of want or need in this world, you have every potential to be a published author. If you’re ready to bring your story to life, click here to schedule a complimentary consultation with LoftHouse Publishing.