1. Why Now is the Best Time to Be a Writer: 31 Wonderful Truths About WritingYou are the most important person in publishing because you make it go. Technology enables you to control the two basic challenges of being a writer: creating content and communicating about it.
  2. The phrase “unpublished author” is obsolete. All you need is a manuscript.
  3. You have more options for getting your work published at less cost than ever: e-books, print-on-demand, podcasts, blog posts, websites, articles or videos.
  4. There are more ways to profit from your books with spinoff books, speaking, merchandising, and subsidiary rights. Your books can sell in more forms, media, and countries than ever.
  5. You can create a career out of an idea. If you have a salable idea for a series of books that sell each other and that you are passionate about writing and promoting, you can build your career book by book.
  6. You have more models–books and authors–to guide your writing and your career. You don’t have to figure out how to write a novel or a memoir or build a career; you can use your favorite books and authors as models.
  7. A book that serves readers’ needs for information, inspiration, beauty, and entertainment well enough is unstoppable. We live in a bottom-up culture, in which readers are the gatekeepers. Social media enable books to succeed.
  8. There are 40,000 publishers, and new houses continue to open their doors. Big and midsize New York houses require agents. Other publishers buy books from writers. You can do multiple submissions, following publishers’ guidelines.
  9. There are more subjects for you to write about than ever. There’s a book in any idea that excites you enough to want to write about it.
  10. Writing is a forgiving art. You can write as many drafts as you need; only the last one counts.
  11. Nonfiction writers can be authors without being writers. They can hire an editor, collaborator, or ghostwriter.
  12. You can sell most nonfiction with a proposal. Novels and memoirs usually have to be finished, but most nonfiction is sold with a proposal.
  13. Finding an agent is easier than ever. If you have a book that will sell to a big or midsize house, it’s easier than ever to get an agent.
  14. There are more communities of people to help you than ever. You can get the feedback and other help you need by joining, building, and serving communities of readers, writers, techies, and publishing people.
  15. You have more ways to build your visibility than ever. You can build your platform, online and off, faster and more easily than ever.
  16. You have more ways to test-market your books than ever. You can maximize the value of your book before you sell or publish it by proving it works with a blog, talks, articles, videos, and whatever other ways work best for you and your book.
  17. You have access to an amazing array of resources, many free. Finding the books, magazines, events, classes, organizations, publishing professionals, and online resources, information, and communities you need is easier than ever.
  18. You will continue to grow as an author. Think of your career as a lifetime of books, each better and more profitable than the previous one.
  19. Writing is the easiest of the arts to enter, succeed in and keep practicing. Publishers accept more new ideas, writers, and books than gatekeepers in other creative fields can accept new ideas, work and entrants. Disagree? Try ballet.
  20. You don’t have to quit your day job. You can keep writing until you’re making the income you need to devote your life to your calling.
  21. Money doesn’t rule publishing; passion does. If publishers believe in a book passionately, because they love it, they think it will sell, or because of its social or literary value, it must be published, they’ll publish it.
  22. Anything is possible.
    • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has sold 40,000,000 copies.
    • Benjamin Spock’s Baby and Child Care has sold 50,000,000 copies.
    • Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose has sold 50,000,000 copies.
    • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown has sold 80,000,000 books.
    • The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis has sold 100,000,000 copies.
    • Stephanie Meyer’s books have sold 100,000,000 copies.
    • The 50 Shades of Grey series has sold 125,000,000 copies.
    • Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kids series has sold 180,000,000 copies.
    • Stephen King’s books have sold 250,000,000 copies.
    • John Grisham’s books have sold 300,000,000 copies.
    • James Patterson’s books have sold 300,000,000 copies.
    • L. Stine’s Goosebumps has sold 400,000,000 copies.
    • Nora Roberts’s books have sold 450,000,000 copies.
    • The Harry Potter series has sold 450,000,000 copies. In 2007, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows sold more than 8 million copies in 24 hours.
    • The more than 100 Chicken Soup titles have sold 500,000,000 copies.
    • The Dr. Seuss books have sold 650,000,000 copies.
    • Danielle Steel’s books have sold 650,000,000 copies.
    • Barbara Cartland’s romances have sold 1,000,000,000 copies.
    • The Agatha Christie mysteries have sold 2,000,000,000 copies.
    • The Bible has sold 6,000,000,000 copies and sells 5,000,000 copies a year.
  23. New authors hit the bestseller list. Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Bridges of Madison County, The Christmas Box, Cold Mountain, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Joy Luck Club, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Shack, The Four-Hour Workweek, Dreams from My Father, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, Julie & Julia, The Help, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Lean In; these bestsellers were first books.
  24. Books are more accessible than ever. It’s faster, easier, and often less expensive to buy books than ever.
  25. Technology is the greatest tool for writers since the printing press.  Computers ended the physical drudgery of writing. Technology will help you with every aspect of being a writer, making it faster and easier to succeed.
  26. The more people know, the more they want to know. If readers like one of your books, they’ll want the others. Your books will continue to sell as new readers discover them.
  27. Independent bookstores are thriving again. Bookstores are essential for discovering books, and indies sell books better than chain stores.
  28. Readers enjoy books in more ways than ever: in print and audio, and on screens.
  29. Readers can share their passion for books faster and in more ways than ever: social media, reviews, a blog, a book club, talks, articles, books, videos, podcasts.
  30. Five million book club readers can make a book a bestseller. If book clubs like your books, they will have a long, prosperous life.
  31. You spend your life enjoying the pleasures of the writing life:
    • Reading
    • Browsing in bookstores and buying books (and they’re tax-deductible!)
    • Building a library of books you love
    • Finding the right words to express your ideas
    • Experiencing the satisfaction of finishing your books
    • Finding an agent and publisher you love
    • Receiving royalty checks
    • Seeing your name in print
    • Getting good reviews
    • Serving your communities
    • Hearing from fans around the world who love your work and keep buying it
    • Watching your craft and career develop
    • Living to work instead of working to live

Michael Larsen, Author Coaching

If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit with templates, worksheets and checklists for writing nonfiction. Check it out!