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Do you want to write a book to be famous or rich?

April 10, 2013



One of the reasons people dream of writing books is the chance to become a best-selling author. It’s a lofty dream, but not everyone is going to reach that brass ring. Let’s face it, there are thousands upon thousands of books that get published each year and having your book zoom to the top of the best-seller lists is about as likely as winning the lottery.

Not that there’s anything wrong with dreaming big, even if the chances of becoming the next Stephen King or James Patterson are slim at best.

The point is, if you really want to write, you don’t do it because you want to be famous or make a lot of money. There are many other paths – and I dare say, easier ones to choose – to attain either celebritydom or riches.

Hopefully, you want to write because you have a passion for it. Maybe you wake up at four in the morning with that incredible itch of writing a book. It could well be that this crazy itch is something that’s been with you for many years. You have a story to tell, and it’s bursting to get out.

The question is: Have you done anything to soothe that annoying feeling? Are you at least taking steps to do something?

Writing, as I’ve often said, is a journey. And if you’re going to take that journey, it should be one worth going on. Don’t write a book for all the wrong reasons – to prove to others that you can do it, to become rich or famous. Sure, you might make it as a very successful author. But chances are you won’t.

Of course, if you dream of running with the beautiful people and appearing on national talk shows and living the high life in The Hamptons and you have the passion for writing a book. Great. Go for it.

But again, the passion has to be there. After all, the only way to sustain oneself toward any long-term goal is to want to do it. And it will a lot easier if it’s a joyride rather than a grueling trip.

Is your passion there?


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  1. I’ve got a bizarre way of thinking about this. I love writing and it makes me happy whenever I do it. Even blogging has fallen into the list of joyous writing events. Yet, I was raised to be practical, realistic, and slightly cynical. So, I’ve added the ‘make enough money to turn writing into my full-time job’. Not rich, but a stable enough income that I can keep doing what makes me happy and, hopefully, makes other people happy. I will admit to having entertained the idea of what action figures of my characters would look like. I’m hoping for kung-fu grip.

    • I remember an interview someone did with the Harry Potter author (what’s her name?) and her telling the story of how she decided to write because she was a single mother on welfare and desperately needed to make money. Well … I mean … c’mon. The last thing you do when you need to make money is write fiction. And yet … we know what happened with her books. She could employ the whole lot of us for the next ten years on what her books and film rights, speaking fees etc. bring in.

      • J.K. Rowling. I never heard of that story, but that is a weird jump to make. I wonder how a person could come up with something like Harry Potter if they were doing it simply to make money. Maybe I’m just idealistic, but I would think a person that does it solely for money would have a book that is nothing more than a carbon copy of what’s popular or a shadow of a trend.
        Though, I’ve gone full tilt into my writing because I spent 2 years unable to lock down a stable job. I figured that if nobody wanted to hire me then I might as well go for broke. It wasn’t for money, but I looked at it as an opportunity to make a move for the dream.

      • On welfare – haha. She was laid off her city job in London and used the lay off money to fund her tea drinking as she sat writing. I can see how the mother on welfare thing would be an appealing publicity thing though.

  2. I have three books needing a re-write. I had offered for one. Hard to make a living as a writer. If I could do things over. I would of taught literature. Being a writer full time is hard to do today and in the past also.

  3. I don’t write to become rich or famous – I use a pen-name for a start! I just write for the sheer pleasure of creating a novel. I know I am never going to make a fortune and giving up my day job never comes into it, I am retired! But the pleasure I get from an afternoon’s creativity is worth more than riches or fame. And if at the end of my efforts,my books are bought or downloaded for free then I feel both happy and humble that people have taken the time to look at my work.

  4. That is the best reason of all to write – for the sheer pleasure of it.

  5. Hmm, I think I just have to write because otherwise my head is going to explode. And I enjoy it too. Very much!

  6. I write not for the fame that’s for sure, if it ever came. It’s a passion and the end goal is always to be published and have people reading my work – if they are that means they like it which is the ultimate compliment.

    I’d be a very reluctant celebrity figure. The money I wouldn’t welcome either….WHAT? are you kidding? Yes!

    I think there are writers who have a game plan. Dan Brown type books seem very produced and deliberately put together which is possible because certain formulaic writing styles sell, the only trick is to change the central story a bit. These blockbuster books tend to have little in the way of substance, people don’t remember what’s been written after they give it away to charity. Because there’s no passion and a lack of writer’s voice.

    There’s my 4 cents (inflations a bitch)

    • I wonder if once you become rich and famous you lose the drive to write. Most of us will never know, I guess. Thanks for writing. I enjoyed your 4 cents.

  7. Gaius permalink

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  8. Imagine permalink

    I wrote, because I love to. It feels like the only thing I want to do. I would be depressed in any other job. I have always had a huge imagination and need to share my stories with the world. Thankfully, I’m lucky enough to be with someone I love who doesn’t need my help financially and is more focused on helping me achieve my dreams, so I won’t be forced working somewhere else. He has helped coax me out of my shell and reads what I write and can be a pretty harsh critique, so that when my work is finished it will be something I’m proud of.

    I also want to be rich and famous. I decided to put my dreams together: to share my stories and become rich and famous.

    Will I? I hope so, but even if I don’t, I can be happy to share my stories and achieve at least one of my dreams.

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