Why You Should (Not) Publish A Book


Have you ever heard someone say, “You should publish a book”?

Or have you finished writing your manuscript, maybe you participated in NaNoWriMo or another challenge, so you feel like you’re ready to publish your book?

Perhaps you’ve seen others do it, their books keep coming up all over your social media so you think, “How hard can it be to publish a book?”

The truth is that even if it seems like many people are doing it, the decision to publish a book isn’t one to be taken lightly at all.

Maybe, you know this already so you’ve been holding back cos thinking about publishing a book gets you overwhelmed as you’re not really sure what it entails.

You could have heard it’s a lot of work, so you don’t know if you should add publish a book to the (long?) list of things you’re already doing.

You may have heard it’s very expensive and some authors never recoup their investment, so you don’t know if it’ll be worth your while. Cos you honestly don’t know if when it comes to your case, the disadvantages will overshadow any advantages.

And that’s why I wrote this blog post. By the time you get to the end of this page, you’ll be better equipped to decide for yourself if you should publish your book or not.

Read on for five simple reasons why (not).

1) You should not publish a book because someone tells you to

If you’ve got a social media account, you’ll probably agree that people can flatter others over all sorts of things – even the inane or ridiculous.

Post a single update (or a series of them) that people like for whatever reason, and the next thing you read is “Have you thought of writing a book?”

Or “You should sooo publish a book!”

And if you don’t know what you’re doing, or you get your validation/self-worth from likes and comments of strangers, you can find yourself doing what they’re egging you on.

You forget (or don’t even realise) that those people won’t be there to bail you out when things go awry.

Which things will, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

And they still might, even if you know what you’re doing – cos life!

Which is why the decision to publish a book shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Yes, people publish books for different reasons, including that they want something with their name on it.

But as with everything that’s worth doing well, you should have a stronger why than my friend/Facebook followers/boo think it’ll be a good idea for me to publish a book.

2) You should not publish a book because you hear/see that everyone is doing it

This has got to be one of the worst reasons that anyone would publish a book. For real.

Who are you competing with?

You don’t know the resources, motivation or connections another person has, but you’re going to publish a book just cos they did?

Appearances can be as deceptive as assumptions can be dangerous. Even when someone isn’t lying, they rarely tell you everything – especially on social media.

If you don’t know the real why behind another decision to publish a book and how they did it, why are you doing it cos they did?

Or because you hear they’re about to?

Fgs, how can you be in a competition in your mind with someone who doesn’t even know you’re alive, yet you’re still losing?

3) You should not publish a book if you’re not ready to do any work on it at all or find out what it truly takes

Yes, some books are published for fun.

Or as a legacy project.

Or for vanity.

And if that’s what you really want, that’s OK.

But if you want to publish a book that others can take seriously, you’ll need to put in the work and find out what it truly takes.

4) You should publish a book if you have a message that resonates with someone

Now, you’ve got some ideas about why you shouldn’t publish a book, want to know why you definitely should?

People read fiction books for enjoyment (or escapism) and look to nonfiction books for solutions.

There are two types of celebrity authors – people who became famous because they wrote a book, and those were famous then wrote a book.

Even when a book is released by a person who is already famous, people who weren’t fans or followers tend to buy because the book title or book description promises the reader something they’re already looking for or are interested in.

That’s how people who are known for writing within a particular niche, get (lifelong) fans.

Whether it’s women’s fiction, cozy mysteries, or self-help material, people will be drawn to your book if your message resonates with them. Touches them somehow.

So, think about this when you want to publish a book; do you have a message – whether it’s a lesson (for nonfiction book) or a story (for a fiction book) – that resonates with someone other than yourself? That’s a good reason for you to publish a book.

5) You should publish a book as a tool to help you launch, grow or solidify your business or personal brand

One of the biggest mistakes people make (and I made this, too) is think of a book as an end in itself.

But a book could be a really effective tool to launch, grow or solidify your business or personal brand.

How, you ask?

Before my first book was released, I would talk and write about issues affecting the well-being of African women, on social media, my blog and anywhere else I got a chance.

By the time it came out, some people were surprised that I had authored a book, but nobody who knew me or had read/heard me before was surprised at the content.

While it’s true that I didn’t write it because I was trying to be known for something, it was a natural outpouring of what I am, believe, do and represent. So, I take advantage of it.

Which is why when my second book came out, people who had come across my writing or speaking before, weren’t that shocked.

It was like it’s what she does (as a result of who she is) because what people know you for is more than your reputation; it’s your personal brand.

What that means is that people who like that kind of content or mindset hire me to speak at events or collaborate with them.

And it can happen for you, too, if you publish a book the right way and with intentionality.

Do you feel like you now know for yourself whether you should publish a book or not? Let us know in the comments section below.

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