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Why You Write: How To Publish A Book That Will Make You Proud

Updated: Apr 22

Hey, you! 

Why You Write:  How To Publish A Book That Will Make You Proud

Yes, you! 


The one Googling things like...

“how to publish a children’s book” and

“how much do illustrations cost?” and

“wtf is bleed?”


I think we need to talk. 


Before you go any further on this crazy publishing journey… 

Before you spend any more time and energy spinning your wheels and getting lost in the comments in Facebook groups where everyone knows exactly what's best for YOU… 


Let’s back things up a bit. 


I want you to dig deep into your heart and your soul and your brain and do a little self-analysis. I promise it will be worth it.


Why are you doing this? 

Writing and publishing, I mean. 

What’s your WHY? 


I know, I know. This sounds like the start of a cheesy professional development session where I try to convince you that if you “remember your why,” your job won’t suck and you won’t need a raise. 


I promise that’s not where this is going. 



But seriously, why do you write? 


This is a practical question. A necessary question. A question that will make all the difference to your publishing journey. A question that will help you figure out how to publish a book that makes you proud.


So, let’s drill down a little closer. I assume if you’re reading this, you have a story written down somewhere. Think of that specific story. 


Go back to the moment you typed those first words on your laptop or in your notes app on your phone, or the first time you put pen to paper. Think back to that moment.


Are you there? 


That idea had been in your head for a while, so...why did you finally write it down?


What motivated you to finally take that step?


  • Did you do it to help your own kids deal with a hard topic? 

  • Did you write it to make them laugh?

  • Did you write it so your kids could see their favorite bedtime story was a ‘real’ book?

  • Were you bored? Did you write it to fill the time? 

  • Did you write it to inform and teach? 

  • Was it because you’ve always wanted to call yourself a “writer?”

  • Did you write it for fun? As a creative outlet? 

  • Did you write it for the mental challenge? To see if you could put an idea into words? 

  • Did you write it to process information and organize your thoughts?

  • Did you write it because you were angry? Excited? 

  • Did you write it because someone told you you should? 

 

Be truly honest with yourself. There is no right or wrong answer. In fact, there might be more than one answer! And you don’t have to share. But it’s important to think about this because the reason you write will help you answer the next question. 


What is your vision of success as an author? 


  • Does success mean reaching thousands of readers? Would just a few dozen be enough? 

  • Have you always dreamed of signing a traditional publishing contract? 

  • Would you feel like a ‘real’ author if you published the book yourself? 

  • Is doing school visits about your books something you dream of?

  • Do you want to make kids fall in love with reading? 

  • Do you dream of winning industry awards? Being on the best-seller list?

  • Do you want the validation of knowing you can cut it with the pros?

  • Do you imagine a toddler giggling on a parent’s lap as they read your book?

  • Is making money your goal? Is it a measure of success?

  • Do you want to be able to say you did it all yourself?

  • Is success about the message getting through? Awareness being raised?

  • Do you want to sell your book directly to customers at fairs? 


Why am I asking you to think about all these questions? 


Everyone has different reasons for writing, and different visions of success…and they are ALL valid. But different reasons for writing mean different goals…and different goals require different courses of action. And if you don’t know, up front, what you really want out of this journey, there’s a very real chance you might end up disappointed. 


Take me, for example. 


Why do I write?


Chelsea Tornetto with her book

I write for the creative outlet, and because to me, writing in rhyme and meter is like solving a really tough jigsaw puzzle. I’m not out to teach any specific lesson or change the world. I’ve taught for 17 years, so I’m not one to wax nostalgic about a classroom of students reading my books. I just like to create! To me, writing is art.


What does success as an author look like to me? 


If writing is art, I want to be recognized as a great artist. I love to do it, but I'm not just doing it for fun. I respect the gatekeepers. They’re the experts in their field, and they’re the ones I want to impress. Money isn’t the way I measure success. I am not a DIY person. I don’t take pride in saying, “I did it all myself.” When other authors say, “If my book can just impact one child, it’ll be worth it,” I feel a little guilty twinge because that is definitely not me. I crave validation from “the system.” I always have.


A lot of people would be embarrassed to admit what I just have. It feels more admirable to say, “I don’t care what the critics say, I just want to create a book that makes a difference!” So they might hide it. Or lie…even to themselves...about what they REALLY want or need to feel successful. 


But if I had lied to myself about what I really wanted, I might have gone down the road of self-publishing - pouring time, money, and hard work into something that would still leave me feeling inadequate in the end.


Traditional publishing was the right path…for ME.


But let's take a look at another author. Vicky Weber, the founder of At Home Author. 


Why does she write?


Vicky Weber with her book

Vicky wrote her first children’s books to fill a need she saw in her own classroom.  So many of the music books she found to read with her students were inaccurate - showing hands with incorrect placement on musical instruments or notes that weren’t correct - or they focused more on the story than on the actual musical skills she wanted to teach.  She needed to fill that gap for her students, but she wanted to make sure it was done right.  


What does success as an author look like to her?


For her, success as an author wasn’t about impressing acquisitions editors or proving herself as a writer.  And it wasn't about making money - though she ended up doing that quite successfully! Success for her was about meeting her students where they were and creating a resource that made teaching and learning in her classroom easier.  Who better to do that than her?


Vicky had the confidence that she was the best person to write her stories, and the ambition and determination to learn how to make it happen herself. So self-publishing was the best choice for her.


But imagine if she had succumbed to the pressure of getting a traditional publishing deal! Traditional publishers aren't music teachers. They might not have seen the value in her stories. She might have been rejected for years. Her stories might never have existed to help in classrooms around the country.


Because she was honest with herself and knew her true WHY, she was able to follow the right publishing path for HER. She was able to publish a book she was proud of!


How to publish a book that will make YOU proud


There are a million programs and gurus out there who can tell you how to publish a book. But you need to figure out the best way for YOU to do it, so that YOU are happy with the results. 


So do your research:


And dig deep!


Writing and publishing isn’t easy! You’re going to spend months or years working on this goal, pouring your heart into it, and in the end, you want to be proud of what you create!


Different reasons for writing mean different goals…and you want to make sure you set the right one. If you take the time to figure out what you really want out of this journey, I promise...


You're going to succeed! And you're going to be SO proud!



Need help publishing your children's book?  Join our coaching program!

Did you know that our Profitable Picture Books Program is the only picture book course out there that walks you through both traditional and self-publishing paths? There's even a module to help you make the right decision for YOU.



 

 Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products we enjoy using ourselves. Should you choose to use these links, At Home Author may earn affiliate commissions at no additional cost to you.

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