Having your name printed on a physical book is an interesting milestone. Some are obsessed with the idea while others could care less. What about you, should you write a book?
If you have the inclination to write a book and you enjoy the process of writing then you probably should write and publish a book.
If you’re writing for fame or for money, that’s a tougher proposition. And that really doesn’t have anything to do with the desire to write and the art of writing.
If you’re writing because you love connecting with readers and enjoy getting your thoughts out into the universe, that seems like the perfect reason to write a book.
I have come to the terminal realization that I’ll never read all the books in this world before I die. So I have to pick and choose which category of authors I’ll read books by. Medical professionals tend to live very interesting lives and their books are often worth reading.
Purpose of Writing a Book
Writing is unique in that it creates permanence from something as ephemeral as a thought or an idea.
There must be an egotistical aspect to writing a book, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Who would spend countless days behind a keyboard if they believed nobody would ever read their work?
Writing is the most efficient way to communicate ideas or tell a story. It’s not the only way; a video and audio and art are other ways to pass on such intangibles.
However, writing a book is quite a lot more intimate than a movie, a podcast, or a piece of art because each person who buys the physical book can be transported back to the first time they read the book. And with a good enough book, rereading it takes you right back.
Some books are amazing but you can only read them once. You’ll always remember them. When Breath Becomes Air was such a book for me. Though, the second time I read it, it was even better.
Another amazing book for me is Stillness Speaks. It’s tiny and I have never read the whole book. You just open it to whatever page you want, whenever you want, and it’s always a pleasant feeling.
Poetry is also great, especially when you can connect with the author. My favorite book of poetry is by Rumi, The Essential Rumi.
And no other book has changed my thinking about the world like Early Retirement Extreme – a terrible title for a life-changing book.
I’m only sharing this list because a good book creates memories the way a vacation does. I remember where I was when I read each book. And many of these books are a pleasure to read over and over again.
I don’t see anything wrong with the romantic idea of writing a book which becomes a hit and makes you millions. Why is that a bad thing? People make money selling far worse things. If you can succeed with your book, kudos to you.
But no book becomes a hit. A book is made into a hit. Marketing, advertisement, and sponsorship are what make a great book stand out. And from what I’ve learned, the biggest marketing budget won’t make a shitty book successful.
There are authors who self-publish their own books and have gained a tremendous following. As soon as they publish a new book their audience is jonesing to buy a copy.
These authors can easily make a career out of the hobby of writing. They won’t make millions but they’ll make a 6-figure living from it.
And there are those who start out self-publishing and later get book deals. Or those who start out with book deals from the get-go. But you can’t assume that those with book deals are rolling in dough – usually the opposite is true.
The book isn’t always the product, however. Sometimes the book is the price you pay to compete in the advertising space. You write the book to become an authority and you make your money from other means.
Becoming a Career Author
Who said that your first book has to be a good one? Many authors have had flops and many movie directors have made shit films.
Becoming a great author isn’t about talent. There are quite a few untalented writers whose content is delightful to read. Imagine what they would be like if they didn’t have good editors!
Regardless of talent, you’ll get better as you write more books. So the fact that you’re writing is making you better and hopefully leading to eventual successes.
Writing requires nothing you don’t already have. In fact, you can record your book into your phone and for pennis a word have it transcribed into a book.
Doctors Writing Books
As doctors we get to have very intimate conversations with patients. This gives us the kind of insight that few other people in the world share. And so we tend to have some interesting stories.
Few people go through such an arduous process such as medical training to obtain a career. They have to write, teach, learn, and apprentice their youth away in order to become a doctor.
Doctors are also well-traveled and they make good money. They are often well-read and make good use of their time. They live in a class level that’s very different from the rest of the world.
Out of however many billions of people in this world, we are a tiny fraction and most of us have led interesting lives. I’d say that the average doctor could write a more engaging book than the average … auto mechanic or grade school teacher.
Should You Write a Book
You know what’s great about writing a book? You can write a book without ever having written a book – there is no license needed, no prerequisites to meet. And you can write a book without ever publishing it.
So nothing is lost if you write your manuscript, have it edited, put it under your pillow and leave it there.
When in doubt, write the shit out of your book. Figure out what you’re gonna do with it later.
Check out this list of books written by physicians. I bet you never knew that an MD or DO wrote some of your favorite books. And I bet many of them wrote a lot of books before they found the right one to publish.
A great way to get started is to write an ebook. I really don’t think it’s much different from writing a physical book but it can lower the anxiety threshold.
An ebook is something you can advertise on your own website and sell to your existing audience. It’s also rather easy to update a book which is in a digital form.
Unfortunately, there is an overabundance of ebooks. The best way to make yours stand out is to hire a professional to add as many images, charts, and infographics as possible. This will really bring the ebook to life.
The ideal ebook isn’t very long and should be very specific. This makes it possible to create a series of such books.
Getting to Know You
I think a book is so intimate because it allows your audience to get to know you. Not that you’re writing a book to make money off of its sale. Your audience may want to do business with you in some other fashion. Having access to your voice, your tone is a special treat that could make or break a potential client deal.
I don’t read much fiction, but even a fictional book can offer insight into how your brain works. But when possible, especially if the purpose is to build your brand, a nonfiction book is preferred.