Should You Write A Book? Pros And Cons Of Being An Author

So you want to write a book but aren't sure if it's worth your time. As a published author of both an ebook and a traditional hardcover book, let me share with you the pros and cons of being an author.

Given the success of my Wall Street Journal bestseller, Buy This, Not That, I've been given another book deal by Portfolio Penguin Random House. Therefore, this post will not only help you decide whether to write a book, but it will also help me decide whether to write another book too!

It's funny, but the whole premise of Buy This, Not That is trying to decide between two difficult choices. With careful analysis, my goal is to help readers make optimal decisions to live their best lives and minimize regret.

So here goes another thought exercise for creatives willing to put themselves out there.

Deciding On Whether To Write A Book: Why You Should

1) Better utilize your mind and increase academic accomplishment

As I've gotten older, I've met more people who have told me writing a book is on their bucket list. Part of the reason why is that our bodies atrophy quicker than our minds.

When you can no longer play competitive tennis due to a bum hip or bang around the basketball court due to weak knees, the natural inclination is to better utilize your mind. As we age, we can spend more time writing, painting, singing, and playing musical instruments to find fulfillment.

For those of you who missed out on getting your PhD and becoming a professor, being an author may be a close substitute. After all, many academics publish research papers and books to showcase their research and knowledge. Hence, if you can go straight to publishing a book, you get to the same accomplishment without having to get your PhD.

Writing can be both cathartic and elucidating. As you explain your thoughts through writing, you may feel more at peace with your life. You'll also learn new things.

2) Good to pass down knowledge to help others

As a nonfiction author, you can share your knowledge and wisdom to help other people. As a fiction author, you can entertain.

There are few things more rewarding than helping other people. Getting the occasional thank you e-mail or comment is one of my motivators for keeping Financial Samurai going since 2009.

Don't let your experiences and valuable knowledge die with you. You can pass down stories through word of mouth. Or, you can write a book and let generations after you enjoy your work.

Authors write because we have something important to say. If we don't write, we might go crazy! If you are just dying to get something out, you must do so, especially if there is a void.

3) Improve your social status

Although there are millions of books available to read, actually meeting a published author in the wild is rare. Given the rareness of the occupation, being an author is considered relatively high status.

Just think about how many techies, bankers, lawyers, money managers, and doctors you meet on a monthly basis. These are considered high-status occupations with high incomes. But they are also ubiquitous occupations, especially in big cities.

Among all the parents I've met at my son's school and all my friends who play sports, I have yet to meet another published author. As a result, if you get through the gauntlet and write a book, you will turn into a rare bird.

You might even get invited to random parties because rich hosts need token authors to show they are cultured. Just be careful. Writing a book for status alone is a soul-sucking reason. Because at the end of the day, nobody cares longer than the initial encounter.

4) Help your children get into school and potentially find jobs

Most organizations like a diversity of people with different backgrounds. Given being an author is rare, your children will come from a rare family background. Schools and companies tend to covet more of what is rare, regardless of merit.

I've spoken to board members and admissions officers at various private grade schools. I've also spoken to hiring managers and CEOs. They've all said they are looking for a variety of people to fill their seats. They don't want everybody who looks the same and comes from the same background. That would be too boring.

5) Generate passive income

Book royalty income is one form of truly passive income. If your book earns out the advance, you will then earn royalties of between 10% – 15% for every book sold thereafter.

The more successful books you write, you could build a significant portfolio of books that generate royalties. If your book becomes an all-time classic, you could earn royalties for decades.

Just know that roughly 70% of books do not earn out their advance. But the more books you publish, the greater your chances of earning royalties.

6) Build your legacy

One of the great things about being in the arts is that your work tends to live long after you are gone. It feels good to have a finished product to show for your career, e.g. a book, a painting, or a song.

Whereas let's say you worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse. You helped take a number of companies public. You also helped existing fund managers make more money. As a reward, you get paid and promoted to Managing Director. Amazing!

However, over the course of ten years, your company's share price declines by 85%. Meanwhile, upper management decides to sell off your entire business department to cut costs. Perhaps the company ceases to exist altogether due to excessive risk taking.

Your legacy may be tarnished through little-to-no fault of your own. And as a knowledge worker who doesn't produce a product, your legacy may be amorphous. People might actually wonder what you did all day if you can't easily show what you do.

Hence, for those who work in the knowledge economy, writing a book as a side project is a very attractive proposition.

Why You Should Not Write A Book

Are you feeling pumped to write your book now? Not so fast! Here are the downsides of writing a book.

1) For the money

Only the top 1% of authors make a comfortable livable wage writing a book. Conversely, the vast majority of government employees and employees in most other industries can earn enough to live a middle-class lifestyle.

Being a professional writer is brutally difficult. Besides earning minimum wage at a retail or fast-food job, I can't think of other occupations that pay so poorly. Most authors cannot survive solely off their book advance and royalties. As a result, most authors have day jobs.

The poverty associated with being an author is ironically one of the reasons why the occupation is looked upon favorably. You respect people who do what they love, in spite of low pay.

Instead of being a full-time author, you can write a book as a side hustle. It may provide the best combination of achievement, satisfaction, and income.

2) If you want or need more time and freedom

Publishing a book will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. You have to come up with the title, design, idea, and outline. Then you've got to spend 1-2 years writing your book and working with editors to make your work shine.

For example, my publisher and I traded over 1,000 e-mails and spent over 100 hours on the phone or video during the course of producing Buy This, Not That.

But the thing is, producing your book may actually be the easier part!

Once your book is published you have to dedicate at least three months to marketing your book for it to have a chance of success. During this time period, you will feel extremely stressed. In marketing, there is nothing more nerve-wracking than going on live TV to deliver your message succinctly in under three minutes.

The reality is, you actually need to start marketing about three months before your book is published to gain momentum. The higher your and your publisher's expectations of the book, the more marketing effort you need to put in. Further, you will feel more pressure to succeed with your first book if you are hoping to get a second book deal.

Given we pulled our boy from preschool for 18 months due to the pandemic, I had to constantly juggle homeschooling, writing on FS, and writing my book. If you want to write a book, you have to be supremely disciplined with your time.

3) If you don't want to feel constant disappointment in others

The more time and effort you dedicate to writing your book, the greater your hopes it will be a “success.”

For some authors, success can mean selling more than 5,000 books. For other authors, success may mean winning a non-paid book award or making it on a national bestseller list. That's right, you can get a book award if you pay a fee, e.g. pay $170 per category to get a Nautilus Book Award.

But given 98% of books sell fewer than 5,000 copies, the odds of “success” are low. Therefore, be prepared to be bitterly disappointed by the results. Authors need to temper their expectations. Getting your book published is a success itself. Most people simply don't have the time, patience, or interest to read what you have to write.

If you hate asking people for help, you will find the book marketing process to be highly uncomfortable. Even getting your friends and relatives to share and leave a positive book review may be difficult.

It is harder to sell a book today than it was thirty years ago. The internet has made everything free. Therefore, the vast majority of people expect everything they read from an author to be for free, even though people aren't willing to do their own jobs for free.

Only between 1% – 3% of your online audience will ever buy anything from you. Even if you provide great value, peace of mind, and riches over a decade, the vast majority of people won't be willing to pay $20 – $30 to support your work.

If you think about this sad fact, you may feel constantly demoralized and depressed when the people you thought would support your work don't.

4) If you don't want to feel embarrassed

The reason why many people don't try to do hard things is because it can feel embarrassing if you fail. The embarrassment may linger for years. It may also become traumatizing as well.

Thirty two years ago, when I was 13 years old I decided to host a birthday party at my house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I spent two hours cleaning and clearing the living room furniture. We were going to have a dance party with lots of drinks and snacks!

Despite sending an invite out to about 35 people, only seven people showed up. I thought at least twenty would come. My friends then decided to go to a different event after only 45 minutes or so. I felt like such a loser.

From then on, I stopped throwing birthday parties. The pain of disappointment was unbearable. I also promised to attend every birthday party I am ever invited so the hosts never feel what I felt.

Now that I have little ones, the birthday parties are endless! Hooray! So long as I shall live, my kids will always attend their classmates' birthday parties, even if they aren't close friends. Because as a parent, all we want is for our children to feel loved.

Just know that even if people don't support your book, you had the courage to try. You will also develop a thicker skin to continue taking risks. Pat yourself on the back for putting yourself out there!

5) If you don't want to be on anybody else's schedule

One of the reasons why I left finance in 2012 was because I was tired of the inefficiencies. I felt like I could get twelve hours of work done in four hours. However, due to meetings and corporate bureaucracy, I had to put in a lot of face time.

As a self-published author of a severance negotiation book, it was relatively easy to write, edit, and publish the book in comparison to traditional publishing. The difference in time it took to create both types of books was fourteen months.

The simple reason for the difference is there are more cooks in the kitchen when you go the traditional publishing route. There is the content editor, copyeditors, marketing person, PR person, foreign rights person, and big bosses to work with. They all help to make your book great. It just takes more time.

As a traditional book author, you must learn to adjust your schedule and way of working to other people. For example, you might respond to e-mails within three hours, thereby expecting a similar type of response time. If the person takes days to write back, you need to suppress your annoyance and go with the flow.

Being able to control my own time is one of the best things about fake retirement. Writing a book is like taking on a new job. To be a good colleague, you need to be flexible.

6) If you don't want negative reviews

No matter how hard you try to write the best book possible, you will always get a negative review on some platform. You could have 100 positive reviews, but that one negative review will still sting.

Readers will give you negative reviews for almost anything. Some examples include: 1) Damaged book due to the delivery man, 2) priced too high, 3) thought the book was going to be about something else, 4) too comprehensive, 5) too short, 6) not enough pictures, 7) misunderstanding of what you wrote, 8) or attacks from competitors.

For example, one negative reviewer for Buy This, Not That on Amazon wrote, “This book says I need $30 million dollars to become financially independent?! Really? If I had $30 million I wouldn't need to read this book. Ridiculous and almost depressing.”

I'm not sure where the reviewer got this information. But let me guess.

Based on 25X expenses to get to financial independence, maybe he's spending $1.2 million a year. If that's the case, why is he mad at me for spending so much?

Based on 10X – 20X gross income to get to financial independence, he's making $1.5 – $3 million a year. With that type of top 0.1% income, I wouldn't feel like $30 million is unreasonable. I'd feel motivated and pumped!

Alas, you can't change the way people feel. I've offered financial guidelines in my book. They aren't the end all be all. But some readers will inevitably get upset and that's just the way it is.

Should I write another book?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Go Ahead And Write The Next Great Book

If you are given the opportunity to write a book, you should take it. Few people have the opportunity that it would be a shame if you passed. Writing a book will test your limits. But you will feel beyond proud once it's out.

Some female authors with children have described publishing a book like birthing a child. The incubation period is long and can often be difficult. But even if your book baby doesn't turn out as expected, you will love it no matter what.

If I could snap my fingers and have four children and four books, I would. Alas, I'm too old. Good things are always easier said than done.

Should You Write A Book? Pros And Cons Of Being An Author

Should You Write A Second Book?

In the beginning of this post, I mentioned I got another offer to write a second book with Portfolio Penguin Random House. The book deal is actually not for just one book. It's for two books!

Just thinking about writing two more books is overwhelming. It's the reason why I've been contemplating the offer for more than a month. My hope is that by writing this post, I'll gain some clarity and reader feedback on whether to proceed.

If I proceed, there are many things I will do differently the second time around. The writing and editing process will be more streamlined. I won't go way over the target word count. I understand exactly what the marketing process entails so I won't feel as anxious. Overall, the process should be easier.

Once you become a bestselling author, there can be more or less pressure to write another bestseller.

On the one hand, you're a bestselling author for life no matter how badly your subsequent books bomb. There's no need to pay back the uncovered part of your book advance either. You just won't receive any royalties.

On the other hand, as a bestselling author, you may be expected to write another hit again. The world is watching whether you can catch another bolt of lighting. This type of pressure can overwhelm the most confident of writers.

Many first-time authors feel pressure to hit their first book out of the park in order to get a second book deal. If their first book deal doesn't sell enough copies, then their lives as an author may come to an end. Or, they may simply have to find a new publisher with a smaller book advance.

Therefore, writing a second book is kind of like playing with the house's money. If you truly write because you love to write, it doesn't matter how your second or third book does. You're just happy to have another opportunity.

Writing A Book Is A Labor Of Love

As a middle-aged man now, I care more about sharing as much wisdom as possible to help people before I die. The pandemic created more anxiety that death could come at any time.

Can you imagine spending two years writing your book only to die before finishing your last chapter? Ack! Once my book came out in bookstores, much of my book-related anxiety dissipated.

Sure, there was a trough of sorrow moment. However, it felt good that much of what I wanted to say will live on forever.

Given I have little kids, I also see writing books as a way to participate in their academic journey. My hope is that if my kids see their father also writing, learning, and producing, they will also take their academics more seriously.

You likely won't get rich writing a book. But you will gain a tremendous amount of satisfaction of accomplishing a hard task that adds value to the world. You can parlay your book into speaking engagements and more business opportunities.

If you have the opportunity to write a book, give it a go! You won't regret it.

Reader Questions And Recommendations

Readers, have you considered writing a book? If so, what avenue did you take? If you've written multiple books, what was it like the second and third time around? What would you have done differently?

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 55,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter and posts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. 

About The Author

43 thoughts on “Should You Write A Book? Pros And Cons Of Being An Author”

  1. I’m a self-published best selling author and part of the fortunate few who could subsist on royalties only ($160K+ last year) but choose to continue to work at a Fortune 500 company. This list of pros on cons is a good start. I will assert that in my experience the content creation was probably the easiest part of the whole process.

    The new skills I had to learn along the way and the implementation of those skills trumped writing. Those skills include design, learning the framework to create and submit files including the necessary technical specifications , everything related to creating an industry standard copyright page, but most of all marketing, marketing, marketing.

    You could create the best book ever, but unless you commit to marketing (which includes a significant cash outlay) you probably won’t be financially successful. You need to get your book ingested into organic search results on Amazon, which dominates book sales market share. If you can do that, there is a snowball effect as it will then be served up to customers who bought a similar item. Amazon wants to maximize profit so you have have craft advertising to have high click through rates and subsequently high conversion rates. If you don’t, you are dead on arrival.

    If you want to try to make a profession out of writing, yes, you need to be a good writer but I strongly suggest you become highly educated in online advertising which includes a general understanding of machine learning to be able to leverage that in the marketing of your book.

      1. I write children’s books. For the sake of practicing ‘stealth wealth’ I prefer not to disclose the titles.

        As far as getting ingested into organic search results you need to get people to find and click buy after searching for a specific phrase. You can pay Amazon to show your book when the customer searches for a specific phrase or broader phrase with some combination of words. So you want to discover what words your target market might use to find your book.

        To do so, you’ll want to find peer comparisons and use Helium Cerebro to see what keywords are indexed for your competitors, their relevancy and their ranking. Then you can use that data to curate a list of keywords and bid for them so Amazon will be more likely to show your book as a ‘sponsored’ link higher in the search results. If people start to click into that sponsored link and buy your book then the Amazon algorithms think ‘this keyword converts to sales at a better rate than these other books’ and it will move your book higher into the organic search results.

        Eventually your book with be ‘frequently bought with’ other similar books and pushed to potential customers without you paying anything. But it all starts with finding and paying for the relevant keyword searches your customers are using to find your book. The two tools you need to master are Amazon Ads and Helium Cerebro.

  2. It sounds like you have already made up your mind you will write more books. Having a best seller will definitely give you more leverage in working with your publishing team on the next two books. It is like colleagues will always be nicer to the new star performer, which is what Buy This, Not That has made you.

    My main question is, what will you be writing about in book #2 and #3? Do you get to decide or is that a team decision with the publisher?

    The negatives you listed of being an author applies more to us who are thinking about writing more, not you. You have already climbed that difficult hill and came out on top.

    Writers should think of failures the way tech startups do, not as something to be embarrassed about but as a badge of honor of someone who dared.

    1. We came up with two book ideas together. It was a brainstorming session, so yes, I would be writing books that I would like to write.

      What’s interesting is that there is always a higher mountain to climb. Trust me on this one. It’s like making money. There’s always more money to be made. I climbed a very high mountain, and I might not ever be able to climb another one this high again.

      So that is the positive of having a two book deal. You get paid no matter what.

      I am probably gonna go for it. But I am taking my sweet time because I’m tired. I’m looking for an extra sign.

  3. Christopher Stevens

    Hi Sam,

    Great timing with the article, as I just finished a book. I listed you as one source for my content and ideas, since you’ve been an influence. Here’s the book on Amazon:

    After I released the book yesterday, I began to have a lot of anxiety about what people will think. On the other hand, I’m a published author.

    My book pales in comparison to Buy This Not That, but the book is designed for simple investing plans. I think there’s a need for making investing as simple as possible. There’s a large number of people who need finances and investing to be super basic.

    Keep doing what you’re doing and write more books. I’ll buy any book you put out, anytime.

    I appreciate what you’ve done and look forward to continuing to learn and grow from your content and books.

    Thank you!

  4. As always, enjoyed reading your weekly newsletter. This week in particular your article on ‘should you write a book?’ Perked my interest further. Have started an effort to write an autobiography of my father who was a community builder, family rooted, and consumate professional who has left marks in number of people’s lives in Singapore. Am planning to make to trip and interview many of his former colleagues and friends to learn more about from this dimension. He passed away at young age of 52 years.

    Your article rooted me on my purpose of writing further. Thank you.


  5. Hi Sam,

    I really enjoyed your book, and I’m in the process of re-reading it. As I continue to refine my money management skills, I frequently think of my children and how important it is to pass these skills to them.

    You have mentioned many times how important your children are, so I wonder if you have thought of writing a book that they can understand at a young teenage level to get them off to good money habits. I wasn’t raised in a family that even discussed money. I am breaking that cycle in my own family and working with both of my teenage kids to give them a better start than I was given.

    I think back to J.L. Collins writing “The Simple Path to Wealth” for his daughter. I have given my kids a copy of Ramit Sethi’s step-by-step processes in “I Will Teach You to Be Rich,” and when they are just a tad older a copy of “Buy This, Not That.” We are working through these lessons together and building a financial library for them as well. This is our job as a parent.

    1. Thanks Maura! A children’s book on personal finance can be done. But there are books out there already I believe. And it doesn’t really challenge me too much. But maybe I can do a children’s book on finance that is full of art and share a story, or a fable about money. That would be cool!

  6. Thanks for this insightful article. I appreciate your desire to seek and share wisdom – always a delight to read; especially because my financial knowledge was rather low before finding you a few years ago.

    I always had a dream of writing a book before I turned 30. Well, I turn 30 next month and I have no book written, just ideas of novels, poetry, and nonfiction works. Of course, other priorities arose like career, marriage, raising young children, etc. Yet, here I still am with a desire and dream and an engine with no steam.

    This article gives me hope and drive to get words on the page little by little. I will die with regret if I don’t follow through on a writing book (or a few).

    Go for the second book, Sam! Your honest wisdom is hard to find elsewhere and we readers will support you!

  7. Hey Sam,

    Thanks, as always for an informative article.

    I’m also an author and your point on “bad” reviews cracked me up. On Amazon, one of books “Questions and Answers on Life Insurance” received a one word review “Boring”……

    As another author told me before I wrote my first book, you’ll know when it’s time to write your book. I encourage others to follow their passion and write.

  8. Sam, bought and greatly enjoyed your book. I wanted to share with you and your readers, most of us are invested in the stock market and/or real estate that is often tied to the market. I, accidentally, at the ripe old age of 60, discovered that there is an entire world of alternate investing, and no longer do anything with the market. I’m invested in mineral royalties, ATMs, notes with Family Offices, etc. All these investments offer higher returns. Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to find out about these alternate investments. My dream is to educate the younger generations, who have the most debt in history, how they can invest in alternate investments with 10k onwards.

  9. I read your blog and get your emails every week for free. But I have gotten so much more from reading your book; it’s helping me rethink some decisions we’ve made, and helping us plan our next year and into the future. To readers: if you enjoy and get a lot out of the weekly blogs, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy of the book as you’ll get even more and deeper info out of the book.

  10. You left out “You enjoy it” from your “pro” list.

    If you enjoy it, go for it. Plus I suspect as with most things, each iteration is a little easier (and more enjoyable/less unenjoyable) than the last.

    1. True. I have a default assumption of only doing things I enjoy because I have the option and the desire.

      Life is too short to do something that is not life and death if you don’t enjoy it.

      “ The poverty associated with being an author is ironically one of the reasons why the occupation is looked upon favorably. You respect people who do what they love, in spite of low pay.”

      “ Therefore, writing a second book is kind of like playing with the house’s money. If you truly write because you love to write, it doesn’t matter how your second or third book does. You’re just happy to have another opportunity.”

      “Writing A Booj Is A Labor Of Love”

  11. I loved your first book. I bought copies for my grown children. In one of his books, Scott Adams deals with this topic and gives stats on how the industry assesses the viability of 2nd and 3rd books. Might be worth a read as you contemplate your decision. Good luck!

  12. Hi Sam, maybe the second (and third) time around would be a smoother process as you could apply your learnings from writing your first book.

    Are you allowed to have a co-author for this new book deal? Maybe Sydney could help? Or if you want to write the second and third books but don’t have as much time or energy, is there someone else in the literary world or the personal finance field that you could partner with?

    Looking forward to your second and third books! :)

  13. Hello! When you say two years to finish to write a book, do you mean how much time spending on writing a day? And how much on related work?

  14. Hi Sam, I think you are a talented writer, and I was very pleased and happy for you that you have a 2 book deal possibility. I think even if you decide not to do it, you should feel really good. Guessing those 2 book deals don’t happen often. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks Chris. It is satisfying to know I got another book deal. Maybe it’s like getting into a great university and not going. You might regret it, but at least you know you had the option to do so.

      I’m not sure how rare a two-book deal or multiple-book deal is. I’ll ask around. There are pros and cons to it as well. But for those who like certainty, a multi-book deal is nice.

  15. Congratulations on your book deal! I am currently on chapter 2 of “Buy this, not that”. You have a lot of knowledge that could help a lot of people and if you feel you should write another book, go for it! Good luck

  16. Feline Citizenship

    I don’t have time to read, let alone write (have a full time banking job and am a guardian of many animals) but I enjoy reading FS and really value your perspectives. Audio book would be great!

  17. Sam,
    I’m proud to say that I’m one of your readers in the 1-3% minority that bought not one, but two BTNT books. I gave them to adult offspring.

    I’ve been very grateful to learn a lot from you through the information you provide in your posts. Seems only fitting to give you a little something back.

    I will read (buy) whatever you write.
    I appreciate who you are, what you share, and how you give endlessly.
    Thank you!
    GiGi (Gangster Grandma)

  18. Congratulations on the new book deal! Seems like a great opportunity to help people and maybe make a positive ripple in the world. Your blog and first book are great.

    This is sad : “Only between 1% – 3% of your online audience will ever buy anything from you.” I get some people can’t afford it but wow.

    Thanks for all the knowledge!

  19. I knew a couple who were authors. Only authors, no side gigs and they did this because they had a niche market and cranked out books constantly. They barely scraped by but they did make a living writing, which they were proud of.

    Sam, your book is now second in my “to-be-read” pile. I will read it soon, I promise.

  20. Dear Sam,

    Long time loyal reader here but have never posted and first time emailing.

    I published my first book (the Answer is You) last year, on how to have positive social and environmental impact across all aspects of your life (career, money, side gigs, etc). So far I am not in the 2% of authors and that was disappointing, but I hope it’ll pick up! Funny overall, no one (friends who wrote books, agent, publisher) tells you quite how few books they actually sold until after – I think people want to maintain the aura of the published author so your post is spot on and very refreshing. I feel particularly weird about marketing my book which feels very self promoting even though my day job I routinely am speaking on stage or asking donors for 6 or 7 figure checks, but there I am promoting a cause and organization which I find much easier than myself.

    Congrats on your second book deal!! – I obviously do not know the financial details, but for me, the most valid and sure reason to write a book is whether the process helps you research, dive deep on, and clarify your own ideas. I’d also like to think that this additional depth will be helpful and transformative for some people who do read your book. If that means even 10 people end up with a real retirement and building wealth they can pass onto their children, that’s pretty incredible impact. But even if no one in fact reads or applies any of it, I’d like to think that it would still influence the future blog posts or podcast episodes, you come up with thanks to the book research and writing process, and that this will still trickle down in helping people. That is what I say to myself anyway! All that to say, I would recommend you say yes to the book deal ;)

    PS – I actually gave your blog a shout out as a resource in my book, given I have a chapter on how to use money for positive impact, whether that is through impact investing, giving, or purchasing. Would be delighted to send you a copy if interested, and if ever a guest post on investing with impact, or charitable giving would make sense, do let me know but of course no pressure! Here’s my LinkedIn in terms of my background and a blog post on impact investing for the 99% (again you got a shout out!).

    Thank you for all the great content and inspiration you have provided over the years!

    Very best,

  21. Congratulations!!! Good for you.

    I’ve written eight books, with a ninth kids book based on Book #7. (Plus hundreds of articles, but that’s a different story.) Two of the books came because I was approached about an article I’d written. The others, I either self-published or did a presentation to the publisher.

    Many times, your book goes out of print after some years — less, if it didn’t sell well in the first place. More, if it gets reviewed and recommended. My last two are consistently selling, and my first one (on ‘Hanky Panky’ handkerchief quilts!) had twelve different printings. But there have been some woofers in there, as well. I’ve had several different publishers, but am currently writing mostly for Arcadia.

    I wrote these books because I had to. I am a writer, for better or worse. In some ways, I can’t help myself. But did I earn big bucks, because of them?? Naaahhhh. If you’re doing talks, you can make them more financially rewarding by selling yours books at the same time. But that means paying for them — and that’s where the royalties come in handy.

    In my categories (textile and cultural history), you don’t get advances. You just get paid as the books sell, book by book. I would love to have an advance…maybe someday.

    It does feel odd, though, when a book is finished…like another person wrote it, not you. I don’t know if you have that feeling, Sam — but it’s been consistent with every book. I keep wanting to say the “other Cindy Brick” wrote it, instead of me. And I did have a woman come up and announce that the “other Cindy Brick” was writing frivolous books — and I was a much more serious historian, so should tell “her” to bug off! She stalked off muttering when I pointed out I was both authors.

    1. Wow! 8 books is incredible! That really means you love to write. What a blessing to do what you love.

      “ I wrote these books because I had to. I am a writer, for better or worse. In some ways, I can’t help myself.”

      So true. We write because we need to write. To not write would lead us to great discomfort.

      I haven’t felt like someone has written my books before yet. I put so many personal stories in my books that they can’t feel like someone wrote them. But maybe if I go with less personal storytelling in my next book, and I tell other people’s stories more. Maybe!

    2. “I wrote these books because I had to.”

      I replied ‘Other’ in the survey and this is exactly why I did.

      Sam, if there is a creative work in you – fiction or non fiction or a piece of art – that is just screaming to be let out, and given form, then go ahead and write or create it. You won’t be able to stop yourself.

      But if you are considering accepting the contract to write another book now, because you have been given the big, earned and deserved compliment of the offer, well maybe it is not right for you, now. Would you take a job, just because you were offered it? There might be a job in your future, and there might be a book in your future. That future might be next month or it might be 10 years from now. I suspect you will ‘know it when you see it’.


  22. One thing I did not see is to look at the expected audience for the book (size). In terms of making money this is critical and if that is your main goal, you need to determine this before investing much time in creating the book. Unless you are a PhD who has your students buy your book for class, it does you no good to write a book where the expected audience is small if you are looking for monetary satisfaction.

    1. Writing books for money is not the way. At least, it’s not the goal as I’ve written in this post. There are so many better ways to make money.

      I want to help people build more wealth and live more optimal lives on their terms. There’s a whole book, reading world out there who don’t read blogs

  23. I would be thrilled to read another book of yours because you pour so much of your passion and life experience into it. Therefore, I would not recommend writing another book just because you can.

    If you had an idea in the hopper before Penguin approached you, then go for it. Otherwise, I would wait a few years and then write BTNT Vol.II.

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement Kevin. One of the two book ideas is from me. The other book idea is from them based on what I have written about before. So they both work!

      The thing is, from start to finish, takes about two years to get a book out. So if I write two books, I’ll have something to do until 2027!

  24. Wow congrats on your second book deal! That’s huge! The success of your first one has paid off!

    But you’re right in that there are a lot of things to take into consideration. It’s so much harder than it seems to write a blog consistently let alone a book on top of that! And then the amount of work that goes into editing, PR, and marketing is no joke!

    Best of luck in whatever you decide. I’ll be sure to pre-order your second book as soon as it goes on sale if you choose to write it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *