I know, I’ve mentioned many times that I’m writing a book and this blog was to help me do so. But lets get this clear, I’m not blogging hoping some editor will collect my mindless banter into a book. Because seriously, the world is corrupted enough.
But hear me out: I met this blogger a long while back and asked her why she started blogging.
“To get a book deal!”
I’m a big fan of books and I’d be honored if I was offered a book deal. But really, I’m telling you, you probably don’t need to write a book. Every time I ask someone why they want to write a book, they have a terrible answer.
So instead of worrying about how maybe you need to get a book deal, consider these reasons why it may not be such a fantastic idea:
1. People who have a lot of ideas need a blog, not a book.
Blogs are immediate, so you’ll get better and almost instant feedback. Getting feedback as you go is much more intellectually rigorous than printing a final collection of your ideas. And, getting feedback from the public only when it’s too late to change anything.
Many people think they have a ton of ideas and they are brimming with book possibilities when really, most of us have very few new ideas. Accept for maybe Mark Zuckerberg, but apparently, dating him is like dating a stairmaster so it’s not necessarily a fantastic quality. If you have so many ideas, prove it to the world and start blogging. There is nothing like a blog to help you realize you have nothing new to say.
If you do end up having an amazing blog that focuses on one, big grand idea with great writing to boot, then you can pack up for your book tour.
2. A book is an outdated way to gain authority.
Fun fact: People think that book authors are the people with authority. A lame assumption when people like Paris Hilton and Sarah Palin have books. Anyone can have good ideas, and only some good ideas fit into book format. On top of that, the people who are on the cutting edge of any topic are not waiting the two years it takes to deliver new ideas in a book. Instead, they’re reading articles and blogs and discussion online with all the immediacy of the Internet.
So if you feel like no one is giving you credit for having good ideas because you don’t have a book, think again. Maybe you are trying to get credibility with people who don’t know how to asses “authority”.
3. You’ll make more money per hour flipping burgers than writing a book.
The odds that your book will be a best seller are absolutely terrible. There’s a great article in the New Yorker about a relatively famous, established novelist who cannot support himself on book advances. I can’t find that article, but just trust me: It’s a very very hard industry to survive in. Books are big money makers. Most nonfiction books are paperback originals which means they are about $40,000 advances, and most of you could earn more than that spending a year in an office.
4. When you’re feeling lost, a book won’t save you.
I feel like people want to write a book to solve their quarter/midlife or any crisis. Not that I know, but I have a suspicion a book will not give you direction in life. See Sylvia Plath. A book is something you write in order to get you to where you’re going. If you have nowhere to go, a book will insure that you stay where you are: Lost.
People use books like a PhD. They think if they have some piece of paper – a degree, a contract – then people will respect them and then they’ll respect themselves. But self-respect doesn’t come from the approval of other. You have to feel lost somtimes — and feeling lost is, gasp, OK!
So stop with the idea that you need a book. Most people who think they need a book deal probably need to answer the question: What will I be doing two years after that book? Do you really need the book to get where you want to go? Probably not.
So on second thought, maybe I shouldn’t write that book….
And the only festive part of this post. I used this recipe to make easter theme poptarts. Cause frankly, bunnies don’t shit chocolate eggs on the lawns of Jewish gals.