Thursday, 20 October 2016

Weighing up the Benefits of Writing a Book Versus Whether the Book Will Sell

Recently I met someone who asked what my husband and I do. When telling him what we do I mentioned that my husband and I had brought out a children's book as a combined work and are working on our own individual books. His response was that you cant make a living from books and better to get a trade. Well now that is some really positive encouragement. Should we listen?

Let us take a look at what the possible benefits of writing a book are and then some info that comes up about the potential of selling books:

- Writing a book helps to build credibility. It demonstrates to others that we have knowledge about a given topic that is sufficient to fill a book. It tells a message that we have the perseverance to complete writing a book and to make sure that the book is prepared in a manner that looks professional, is pleasing to the eye and enjoyable to read, hopefully with beneficial information. 

- Writing a book can open the door to giving talks, workshops, teaching courses or teaching individually.

- Writing a book such as my latest one that helps to promote occupational therapy serves to meet a few goals. Firstly, it helps me to take all the negativity I have received over 25 years of being an OT from so many who are clueless about what the profession is and to turn that to something good and productive to educate them on OT. I hope that it will also be a good response next time I come across someone who dogmatically says that I do not know about my own profession. I look forward to being able to say, thank you for your opinion, would you like to read my book and then we can discuss whether I know anything about OT or not. 

- For those who call in for a potential session who ask if I have a degree and whether OT is recognized at all, having a book in print would be a wonderful way to say, yes, I have a degree. Yes, with letters to endorse the book from a few doctors, I do believe that the profession is recognized. 

- Writing this book helps me to fulfill a request made by the parents of quite a number of clients / patients of mine. They all requested that I write a book to promote and educate about what occupational therapy is. Now I can be able to say to them, thank you for the request I am happy to relay that I have followed through and completed the book.

- Writing a book to educate about what occupational therapy is, for me gives a sense of accomplishment. It helps to confirm that I studied an incredible profession and for all the nay sayers out there who sadly do not understand what good can come to the life of someone who receives OT intervention, I hope and pray this book will help in some way to demonstrate just how much benefit there is to this profession. And yes, there is a part of me that looks forward to showing all those who believe that I do not need my profession and why not learn a trade or take a minimum wage job, in my heart I believe I can do more good in the world through my profession. Once again, I thank you for your opinion and invite you to read my book. After that we can discuss whether burring myself in a minimum wage situation is really the best use of the skills, knowledge, talents and insight that G-d gave me. After all, we all come into this world for a purpose. Yes, some are suited to the menial types of work. But when someone has skills that can help others, why try to prevent them from fulfilling their potential and helping all those along the way who could benefit in a meaningful way.

- Finally, it is rather fun to be able to give a gift of something I have made. Yes I do give handmade cards, and yes I have given my artwork as gifts. When we printed our set of 4 fridge magnets, some of those have been given as gifts. So now we can add our gifts to our potential gifts. 

As far as those who believe that it is impossible to earn from writing books. Well, I did a google search on best sellers for 2015. I did not look at 2016 as we are still in it. The top few listings show:

Nielson BookScan has a list of the top 20 Adult Fiction,  top 20 Adult Non-Fiction and top 20 Juvenile books. Doing a search on Amazon for best sellers in 2015 brings up 100 options of best selling books. Amongst these are books that are receiving over 1000 and even over 9000 reviews a few books have reviews of over 25 000. These reviews are only of those writing up something on Amazon, it does not tell us of all the reviews that could be in newspapers, magazines or on blogs. NY Times has 112 fiction books that are listed as best sellers.

Does this mean that our books will be best sellers. Currently, we have no way of knowing, however, it does show that there are books that are not just selling but are selling well, well enough to become listed as best sellers. Of course, if we leave our books unwritten or if we listen to the nay sayers and do not bring out books to print, we will not have the potential to work at promoting our books or at seeing for ourselves if the books will sell and to what extent they will sell. A lot is in whether we promote the books and how and that means that some further work is involved. 

So, thank you for your concerns, but I do not believe that the time taken to write and polish our books is a waste of time in the least. Further, the potential benefits far out way the fear of not earning and hence, we are proceeding to bring our books to print.

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Shoshanah Shear

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