The truth about writing


When I was young, I envisioned writers as people who sat at a desk and poured words forth from mind to page by way of a fountain pen. In that fantasy the words always flowed freely and in final form. Some people write that way. C. S. Lewis was famous for writing with little to no revision something for which his friend J. R. R. Tolkien chastened him. Lewis’s prose style is fast and loose. Tolkien’s is slow and precise.

We all know that this puerile vision does not really accurately capture the writing life. What’s also true is the writing a book is only half the battle.

I used to think that writers finished their manuscripts, packed them in a large envelope and mailed them off to a publisher. That publisher would print and distribute the book. Every book, so I thought, would sell in the thousands of copies in its first year.

Not true.

Obviously writers send manuscripts electronically today. It’s also likely that a book by a new author will sell far less than 10,000 copies. It may, with luck and some skill, sell 10,000 over a couple of years. Even that, however, is unlikely.


The best way for a book to sell well is for the author to work hard to develop a platform. 

A platform is a way of being noticed by potential readers; it’s a way to establish you as someone to whom people ought to listen. The most obvious example is a website that shares information about you, your writing portfolio, and other resources that establish you as an expert in your field.

If you want to be a writer and you don’t have a website. Stop writing and go to WordPress and get yourself a free blog.


Michael Hyatt, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.



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