Why There’s More to Writing a Book Than Writing a Book

I’ve been speaking with a friend recently about the book he’s writing.

It’s based on the contents of a diary he’d committed himself to during a spontaneous trip to Norway last year. Think Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas meets Skins.

Yeah, I can get down with that too.

I was fortunate enough to have been given permission to read the diary in full and we’ve been going back and forth with ideas ever since.

The other night, he asked me for some brutal advice.

“Support and Positivity stuff aside, do you seriously think I have something?”

We chatted a bit about the contents of the book which I’m not going to include for obvious reasons but I think what follows is important to anyone considering writing a book, in the process of writing a book or wondering what to do now they’ve written their book.

Here’s my advice:

To put it bluntly, you seem to have it in your head that the way people perceive you is important when in reality, no-one knows who the fuck you even are.

Even if you released this book, even if you got published, not many people are going to buy into it because they don’t know who wrote it.

Even with your name explicitly written on the spine.

You were saying about how you’re worried that the book might cast a shadow over you as a person and it COULD


there are certainly ways you could preemptively combat this.

See, we live in an age where we are valued on our reach. If you don’t have an audience, you’re not going to get published. Either that or you’re going to struggle massively to do so.

It perplexes me that I have so many friends writing books and they have no idea who the fuck they’re actually writing them for.

Very few of them have an audience and those who don’t are putting very little effort into building one. They seem to think that an audience will sprout from the ground when they somehow miraculously get published.

This isn’t how the industry works anymore.

It’s important that you build the audience FIRST.

Hunter S Thompson was able to do this through his journalism. The success of his books was likely a product of the content, for sure but also the following he built writing for The National Observer and whatever other publications he contributed toward.

I ask everyone who comes to me for advice as regards their businesses and projects. “What are you doing RIGHT NOW?”

They’re rarely ever doing enough.

There’s an overwhelming amount of noise pollution when it comes to literature, blogs, YouTubers, startups and entrepreneurs. What makes you stand out? Why do you do what you do? And who the fuck even wants to know about it?

Your writing is sick, man. The story is certainly compelling and you demonstrate personality which is probably the main thing your audience needs in your writing.

Actually getting published requires more than just a good, well-written story though. You need leverage on the publisher and you create leverage by having an extensive network of fans, followers and subscribers. I’d be more than happy to help with this if you were serious about it but you need to believe in yourself more!

You are just as capable, if not more so than anyone who has ever written anything that you would consider world-class but it takes more than world-class writing to get published these days.

Make yourself known. Do something remarkable, reach out and your audience will find you.



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