14 Reasons Why You Should Publish a Book

14 Reasons Why You Should Publish a Book 1024 576 Reader Views

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

There are naysayers enough to fill every dark crevice in your defense against negativity. When people tell you not to publish a book (no, I won’t list all the reasons they will give you), you need a list to remind you of all the reasons why you should ignore them. Maybe one like this one!

#1 – My favorite: You want a book of memories or your genealogy to give to friends and relatives as holiday gifts—or to have just such a record organized and readily available. There are dozens of other examples. Perhaps you are Armenian, and you have dozens of old-country remedies you’d like future generations (in your family or community) not to forget. Books don’t have to be professional. They can even be handmade. Poets and vendors have been using books this way since Renaissance times.

#2 – You want a hobby that you won’t tire of. Having a published book can involve enough new experiences to keep you excited about it for decades. You’ll love the book launch. You may love planning a creative book tour, too!

#3 – You want to improve your resumé. For college submissions or your next job. (Of course, a popular book might be a more convincing resumé entry than one you publish solely for fun, but I know admissions officers often give a high school junior extra credit for doing something other than the typical pink-lady kind of charity work.)

  • This might work especially well if you are looking for a job in the media—from hometown press to online efforts. A blogger with a book? Not bad!
  • You’re a professional. Let’s say, an interior designer. If you have a book about how window décor can keep a home cool and do it beautifully, you have what I call a credibility-edge over your unpublished competition.

#4 – If you want to run for public office, your book that can be shopped to the media to get more air and print attention. A booklet you can give away to like-minded people who might support you will also work well for you. A book or booklet has a higher perceived value than a flier and therefore recipients are more likely to keep it—and read it. Don’t forget e-books. They can be downloaded immediately—and free—by anyone!

#5 – You are a teacher (or have taken a great speaking class or attended Toastmasters) with a dream to be a public speaker. Or you are already have speaking experience. Think about how great it would be to have an additional income stream from selling your book at the back of the room. Wouldn’t having a book give you a better chance of convincing a program director that they need you? I once attended a free lunch at a chic club sponsored by a large investment firm searching for new clients. The author (or her agent) had sold her appearance by including an offer of swag bags with an image of the author’s book imprinted on the outside and her book and lots of other investment-related products inside as part of her speaking package.

#6 – “Free” books are about building buzz. I’ve been in doctors’ offices that distribute booklets, but a couple give away an entire book (their own or one written by an expert in the field). This kind of branding suggests generosity as well as expertise. That book–an extra benefit for the same price as that expensive procedure—may get passed along to others.

Note: There are lots of ways to use books as part of your branding and lots of ways to brand yourself as the author of a book. Learn the ropes of how to do that in my The Frugal Book PromoterI from Modern History Press. Most any profession, product, or business can benefit from having a published book as part of their branding.

#7 – You are dedicated to a nonprofit group. There is power in ideas and words. A book might convince others to support the same group. A book might help that group get what they need from their own members. I published a booklet to encourage college seniors to continue their dedication to our group as alumnae. And I didn’t have to write it myself. Many members contributed anecdotes about how continued participation had benefited them. Booklets like this can be given as gifts or sold to raise funds for pet projects.

#8 – Publishing houses love books that are suitable for selling spin-off products. But this works the other way around. You have a toy you’d like to market. Write a book using the toy as a character! Think about The Little Engine That Could.

#9 – Screenwriter. A screenwriter once took a class from me at UCLA. He thought if he wrote a book, he could break into the movie business more easily. It is possible to do it that way! He was already great with dialogue, right? What he didn’t plan for is the steep learning curve required to write narrative. Nevertheless, it can be a two-way street. Even a screenplay writer with manuscripts secreted away in the bowels of her computer might suddenly become more interesting to Hollywood if an she has an amazing, original story or manages to make a book into a bestseller.

#10 – Advocate. Your advocacy could be inspired by your religion, your passion for what yoga can do for lives, your politics, your profession. If you have a knack for inspiring others—personally or professionally—you may ask yourself what took you so long to write your book. 

#11 – You want more visits to your website. Would a free book (or a book with a catchy title) attract extra clicks? Expect that you must use marketing skills to make an offer like this attract attention. I have been heard to say, “For a promotion to be successful, ya gotta promote the promotion!” Here’s a reason you might want to draw more eyes to your site: The more traffic, the more ads you can sell on your site and the more you can charge for them.

#12 – You can publish to publish. The book you write and publish on your own might lead to an agent and an offer from a big publisher. This is not the direct line to such a goal, but it sometimes works out that way.

#13 – My least favorite reason: You can get revenge or speak out. This has been particularly popular in recent years, and if you live in a place that has a free press or free speech amendment, you have the right. In spite of my negativity, this kind of book works very well. A book like this has a better chance to sell well because—as they say—“controversy sells.”

#14 – And last, you just want to publish a book. Call it ego. Why not. The learning curve necessary to make yourself proud is steep if you are shooting for a truly professional product, but it’s also a lot of fun!

Disclaimer: Published authors often hear “establish yourself as an expert.” A book with the right theme or content can help anyone do that, but it usually takes more than a single book—a first book—to do it. An author must build an entire platform, not just add a plank. Do not be misled to think, “once published, immediate expert.”

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes the third edition of The Frugal Book Promoter and second edition of The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is the newest book in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.  The author loves to travel. She has visited ninety-one countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes.


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