Why Pursue Publishing?

Sometimes when I open up my email and find the queries exploding all over the place, or I go to a party and random strangers find out I’m an agent and begin pitching me, it makes me get all philosophical.

I begin to wonder: Why do so many people want to be published?

I think about how storytelling has been part of human interaction since the beginning of time. And I think about how everyone just needs to be heard. And I think about our celebrity-driven culture and I assume some people want to be published because they want to be famous.

But those are just my thoughts. What are yours?

Why do so many people want to be published?

Posted in

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. galinavolcova93 on August 18, 2017 at 10:30 AM

  2. Christopher on August 9, 2017 at 6:42 AM

    I’ve heard many people say that writing a book is easy. So yes, many people seem to think that because they’ve had a semi-interesting life that they can easily turn it into a best-seller with the snap of their fingers. Some of these people, I have no doubt, see it as an easy Plan B to fame and riches. It is not a passion, it’s just something they could do on the side, like making crafts for sale in their spare time. Most will fail to start, let alone finish an honest attempt.
    For myself, my love of fiction began with reading. It grabbed my imagination in ways that film or other mediums could not. I loved that it was the one form of art where the only limitation was truly that of the imagination. I wrote for many years with little consideration for publishing. Nowadays, publishing is the goal because I’d prefer to do what I love full-time. But even if it doesn’t work out that way, I will continue to read and write.

  3. David Vern Bennett on August 8, 2017 at 7:43 PM

    I want to be published because I crave writing and storytelling more than nearly anything else. I’ve worked physically hard for forty years and I would love to give my body a break and my mind the compliment of doing something for a living that I thoroughly enjoy.

  4. Suzanne Barron on August 8, 2017 at 7:24 PM

    I want to give to someone the gift that so many authors have given to me. The joy of a story I can relate to or would have never in a million years thought of, want to fall into, stayed up all night to finish, shut the book and just sighed at the great tale I just finished. I want to think that someday, somewhere I can do that for someone I don’t even know. This is why I want to be published.

  5. Janet Sunderland on August 8, 2017 at 4:00 PM

    I want to be published because I love to teach, and in teaching, I fulfill a need to help individuals reach their potential. I want to be published because while I have changed the world one person at a time, a published book would reach a wider audience.

    We are in a time of drastic change. I want to be part of that change.


  6. Susan Ruske on August 8, 2017 at 1:42 PM

    I think there are as many different reasons to be published as there are people seeking publication.

    For me, publishing is a venue to share what you have to say. It is creating an idea and making it into something real. Writing also makes a person put down into words how they feel about something. As those words are written, the author is actually figuring it out for him or herself their feelings and beliefs.

    Putting your thoughts into a published work allows others to read your thoughts or stories and come to their own realizations if they so chose. Stories can transport us to another time and place, giving ourselves a quick vacation from our cares and worries. Reading stories can take you to places you have only dreamed of going.

    Some stories or books are more personal, sharing experiences. Giving a reader the chance to see that they are not the only person in the world dealing with such issues as cancer, depression, caring for an aging parent or baby blues. Books allow readers to hear others experiences and even gain coping skills they can try in their own lives.

    Publishing is the tool we use to bring those beloved stories and books to others and enriching their lives by our words.

  7. David Rheem Jarrett on August 8, 2017 at 10:38 AM

    Rachelle —
    I wish you had a way for us to edit our posts. My glasses were dirty and I was looking at a very small screen when I made mine, so there were a couple typos that I missed. I thought I had found a way to correct them, but, to my surprise, when I checked, I found I had not one, but three almost identical comments, two of them with the typos. Sorry about that — I hate feeling stupid!

  8. David Rheem Jarrett on August 8, 2017 at 9:52 AM

    I write because I want to leave something behind that bears witness to the fact that I was here for awhile — who I was and what I believed. I think most of us, despite protestations to the contrary, want to be remembered by others — especially family and friends, and a published book fulfils that need. If others enjoy my writing and buy my books, that is a plus, but for me, the affirmation is the key.

  9. David Rheem Jarrett on August 8, 2017 at 9:51 AM

    I write because I want to leave something behind that bears witness to the fact that I was here for awhile — who I was and what I believed. I think most of us, despite protestations to the contrary, want to be remembered by others — especially family and friends, and a published book fulfulls that need. If others enjoy my writing and buy my books, that is a plus, but for me, the affirmation is the key.

  10. David Rheem Jarrett on August 8, 2017 at 9:49 AM

    I write because I want to leave something behind that bears witness to the fact that I was here for awhile — who I was and what I believed. I think most of us, despite protestations to the contrary, want to be remembered by others — especially family and friends, and a published book to fulfulls that need. If others enjoy my writing and buy my books, that is a plus, but for me, the affirmation is the key.

  11. Joe Snoe on August 8, 2017 at 9:33 AM

    The question is two-fold for me.

    NONFICTION. I was a law professor and it was part of my job to publish. I could have gotten by with articles. But I published two law books: A casebook on Health Care and a student treatise on Property. In both cases I wrote them to help law students understand the field. (One is out of print and one is doing very well).

    FICTION.I’m finishing a manuscript for a novel. I’ve been told my entire life I’m a good writer and communicator. I also like to show off and entertain. It seemed to me from the get-go, if I wrote a novel I’d want it published so as many people as possible could read it. I’m also finding out relatives, friends and acquaintances are sharing my experience vicariously, and I almost feel an obligation to publish to make them (and me) feel fulfilled.

  12. Elissa on August 8, 2017 at 9:16 AM

    I don’t know why other people want to be published. I am seeking publication because I want to share what I wrote with more than just a handful of people.

    Why do I want to share? I’m not sure, but I think a story isn’t a story when it’s just in the teller’s head. The more who read it, the better. To my mind, traditional publication is still the best way to share with the most number of people.

  13. Amy Winter on August 8, 2017 at 7:39 AM

    It is a perfect way to speak to numerous people. As a healer, mom, and student I feel it is one of the best ways to help others. Through written word a commitment is made. The individual reading the book decided to partake in the experience the author has provided and the author decided to share their story.
    I want to be published in order to inspire others on their journey through life. It is what I am meant to do.

  14. Gretchen Friel on August 8, 2017 at 7:25 AM

    Writing is cathartic, I do it because God gave me a passion for words. Pursuing publishing is exhausting, I do it out of obedience to God. The publishing part is so beyond me that I give it over to Him, and I pray the first words of my mouth when it happens will be: “Glory to God”.

  15. Kent on August 8, 2017 at 7:04 AM

    My answer is quite cynical, although I believe accurate and well founded. The world has become a society of self-gratification. We have reality shows where people will do virtually anything to make a buck and acquire some fame. The Internet gave everyone a tool to seek fame. We have YouTube stars. If you spend any time at all on Instagram you know that 75% of it is people self-promoting to gain some type of fame. Girls exposing themselves to get noticed. I have published some fiction both online and in print. I make my living writing about photography. I was in the photographic field, in one form or another for 40 years. Everyone wants to write a book. Everyone wants to be a photographer. Everyone wants to be famous. I worked as a slush reader for a publisher for almost 2 years. Almost, everything that I read was virtually unpublishable. But, once in awhile a gem would come along. Something written by a talented writer, and not written by someone who was trying to force themselves into being a talented writer. I gave up buying self-published books on Amazon- they were generally so bad. I downloaded one recently because it was free with my Prime account. It had an interesting premise, and 5 stars along with several good reviews. I couldn’t get through the first 15 pages. The writing style was so amateurish- at least they got most of the words spelled correctly. That is the state of publishing today. Just like photography- a career- an artform- it is being decimated by the masses… The population at large sees it as a road to fame and an easy buck, and everyone else is losing the ability to discern good from bad. It’s a new world.

    • Donna on August 8, 2017 at 9:08 AM

      I’d be careful about words like “everyone.” I once wrote that “everyone desires a simple life.” My editor strongly resisted. She said I should be careful assuming what everyone else wants.

      My desire write comes out of me like a spring. I am afraid to self publish because I know it takes a team to produce truly great work and I know if I’m the only one who sees it, I’m basically publishing a first draft. In the end if I feel it’s my responsibility to share what I’ve learned, it’s also my responsibility to refine it so others can actually see the forest in spite of the trees.

      • Kent on August 8, 2017 at 9:19 AM

        A point well made, Donna. It’s true. I shouldn’t toss everyone into the swimming pool at once. When I consider the objective of writing, or even taking photographs, which is more along the line of my career path, I think about Stephen King. He is a man who was compelled to write stories, and by his own admission, he would have written stories his entire life whether he was published or not- because that’s who he is. That’s the distinction that seems to have gone missing. Some people are meant to be writers. Many are not. Some people are born to write with so much clarity and message that their storytelling is meant for the masses. Others are meant only to write for themselves. That’s the way I see it. Everyone has the right to put their thoughts down on paper. Not everyone should expect that it’s worthy of mass communication.

  16. Tara Powers on August 8, 2017 at 4:22 AM

    I write because I love seeing the characters and stories in my head achieve permanence on the page so I can share them with others. But I feel like getting published will be like finally graduating to the Grown-Up dinner table. Publishing brings an acceptance that your thoughts and words matter. Stories have a chance at immortality. Those published words will live on long after I’ve been silenced in the grave.

  17. Marja Meijers on August 8, 2017 at 2:24 AM

    Good question for personal reflection. I want to keep publishing my (non-fiction) books because they have helped many people grow in their faith.

  18. Jeanine Lunsford on August 7, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    Publishers have the tools available to take my 75,000 words and make them really count. If there is something in my novel that I believe can stir a reader’s soul, make a positive change in someone’s life, or point others in a better direction, using a publisher to circulate the message of hope that defines my book is the best way to go. Yes, there’s no doubt that it would be an awesome thing to have my name on the front of a book cover, but it’s got to be more than that for me.

  19. Katelina Romano on August 20, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    Why do I want to be published? There might not be enough room on this comment block for that answer. For me-one of the main reasons would have to be for validation; something that came from my enormous heart, created in my eccentric brain and completed because of my stubborn drive. To have completed my novel and actually hold the smoothness of it in my hand? The words seem to come to me all at once because they are being driven by all this pent up emotion of that very seemingly unreachable moment; a validation of another hill climbed to the top, a dream come true-another goal reached.

    I’ve started so many things in my life and with the exception of my graduating from college with honors and being a mom–(something I always knew I was destined to be), the others just got lost in the wind.

    The perseverance needed for me to continue the practices, recording in the studio, the choreography, performances AND managing my then singing group-it just wasn’t there; it all fizzed out… when I fell in love. At a crossroad, I chose the road that came with flowers, candy and sexy green eyes.

    I had packed my bags, mounted my stallion Nissan Maxima and after driving 789 miles from Chicago to New York-spending buku dollars on head shots in order to pursue my then dreams of singing and/or acting…I simply fell victim to Cupids arrow and chose love over all else. There were many hours spent planning that move and many more driving back home with my then husband and a beautiful Autistic son.

    Lyrics, poetry, short stories-writing had always been a passion of mine. I’d been good at inventing the craziest stories in my creative writing classes too. My nieces and nephews always looked forward to the nightmares I’d give them with my horror stories, (laughing to myself here)…I had no children then, so there were no boundaries to the detailed graphics they could handle in my eyes, lol–I had no clue. But they seemed to cheer me on- always wanting another story, so on went the nightmares or so I’d hear from disgruntled parents wanting to know why I was telling stories about crawling flesh to their children, lol!

    Being published is another dream come true, a reached goal. Having high cancer in my family, after my father passed away from prostate cancer last year-I started writing again as a cowardly way of not dealing with painful regret of lost time. Alas, all the running away from those emotions gave birth to my story. It feels good to be able to escape to a different world, one you have total control over, one whose happiness you can always guarantee.

    Balancing motherhood with a special needs child-fighting against a husband that thinks I should be writing articles for pornography over romance makes this tenacious, hard working mom want to get published even more–yes, so I can make a believer out of my husband, can we convert someone to being a hopeless romantic?

    I am a hopeless romantic, that energy has to go somewhere. My stories of fiction become this vessel of sorts; a place that I can conjure up romantic worlds of heroines that get into the most ridiculous, dangerous situations, only to be rescued by this fictitious hero that we all find ourselves falling in love with-because we make them in our idea of that perfect man that just doesn’t exist in the real world, lol.

    Yes, that would be my honest answer to you Mrs. Gardner on why I want to get published-it’s really all I have left to give now at this time in my life. My stories are my escape, a peek into my creative juices flowing in an everlasting river of possibilities from a mom, wife and dreamer. I think at different intervals of our life, we need validation that we are so much more than just cooking, diapers and the occasional margarita 🙂 When something that comes only from you is shared with total strangers who find it intriguing or even remotely entertaining it’s a beautiful thing, a satisfying feeling-my happy place.

  20. Danny Tippit on July 14, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    I actually asked myself this question the other night. I nearly had a panic attack for fear that I would become full of myself rather than focused on the initial reason I felt compelled to try my hand at writing. I am not far along in this new journey. However, I have tried to be aware of my ego enough to avoid any pride coming before a fall. It was made aware to me a couple of nights ago that I would have never pursued writing had it not been for a calling from God. The Holy Spirit can be very convincing. I did not initially write out of passion, although I have come to love it. I did not know I had a passion for it until I felt I needed to write my story. I guess in short, I write to be published, but not because I want fame and fortune. I write because I had someone upstairs download some thoughts in my heart and if don’t get them out to the world then I would be acting in disobedience. But I do have to say again that I am glad that I have been asked to do something that I actually love doing. Thanks for asking this question!

  21. Timothy Fish on July 8, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    People want to be published because it seems hard enough that there is a sense of accomplishment in it and yet writing is easy enough that anyone can do it.

  22. Nikole Hahn on July 7, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Because I like telling stories and stories aren’t serving their purpose unless it’s told. On top of which, I’d like to do what I enjoy to bring in a little extra per month to the household.

  23. Catherine Hudson on July 7, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    This is going to sound cliche, it may even sound a little proud, but here goes…
    I have no desire personally to be famous. There – I said it. In fact I was terrified of the thought of being known at all.
    Then more and more friends and others I don’t know, started reading my books. They loved it – they continually asked me to get published and when is my next book finished? I prayed and felt publishing is what I am meant to do.
    I’m not there yet, but that’s probably because I still had a way to go with getting over my initial reaction.

    And if its meant to be it will happen.
    Perhaps we really do all want to tell our story. Even if its secretly. 😉

  24. Allison Duke on July 7, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    I write for many of the reasons mentioned above, but I also write because I have an agenda. I want to “right” so many of the “wrongs” I see in books that I read – that is, present compelling stories from within my own worldview, where characters make choices that I might make in similar situations. I want to write the stories I long to read, because there’s this crazy hope in me that maybe other people will want to read them too, or consider thinking about the world a little differently after reading them. I want to write stories that point people to God.

  25. Madeline on July 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    I write because I love to. Yes, I do want to get it published because I want to be at least known for something. I don’t really have a desire for fame about 1% desire I guess.

  26. Terri on July 6, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    To know I’m less alone … and assure you that you’re less alone.

  27. Dale Harcombe on July 6, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    From my point I believe I have something to say of interest that people want to hear.

  28. Kelly Welch on July 5, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    I write to teach, to educate, to strengthen, to empower.

    Some days I’m a professor. Some days I’m a relationship counselor. Some days I’m a researcher. Some days I’m a textbook author.

    But every day I’m an educator.

    And that’s why I write. I can teach and reach more people through my written words than I can by teaching face-to-face on campus.

  29. Diane on July 5, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Such a great question! I have zero desire for fame; I just love to write. And working in publishing, I learned to love the process of book creation. So being published, in my mind, equates with joining with others to create a book–and always with the expectation and hope that readers will find and enjoy reading or using it–a LOT!

    With one of my books earning out its advance this year, I also have to add that it IS very nice to have something extra to add to the family budget every few months right now.

  30. Parker Meador on July 5, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Early in life, I just wanted to see if I had what it takes to get published. Now that I’m older and mentally disabled, I just want to leave something for my wife and our 2 girls. Something they can be proud of….life has become very difficult for me. I cant take care of my family financially, so that would be wonderful. We live very simple but happy lives, a little income from a book would sustain us for a very long time. Right now I dont care about getting published. I just want someone that knows the business to just say, “Thats pretty good Parker!”Tthat would be enough for me…:)

  31. Craig on July 5, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    After selling a bunch of articles to trade publications, about a dozen years ago I sold an article to American History magazine. The thrill of buying a magazine off the shelf at the bookstore with my article in it was unbelievable. I can’t imagine how magnified that thrill will be when it’s my novel I’m pulling off of the shelf. As a baseball dreamer who never made the bigs – publishing a novel is my equivalent of making it to the majors. I’m going to keep going until I get there.

    I have to share this quickly…

    I’m sitting outside tonight taking advantage of this beautiful Western New York July evening to do some writing. It’s dark except for the light from my laptop. About ten minutes ago, something fell in my lap and bounced onto the deck. No idea what it could be, so I get up and turn on the porch light… Oh yeah… It’s a half-dead bat.

    At least I’ll get lots of writing done because sleep is probably out of the question tonight!

  32. Peggy Bailey on July 5, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    We writers write because we have something to say…we cannot “not” write. We want to be published because we like to eat occasionally too! 🙂

  33. jules- big girl bombshell on July 5, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Funny but I don’t want to be famous..it is actually a tiny thing that stopped me for a long time in attempting to be published. I thought for a long time it may have been the need to be heard but now, as I am editing, and trying another round of proposals my writing has become about “being of service”. I believe that I can touch at least one or two people’s hearts and help them with the hope of a “pay it forward” motion

  34. Emii on July 5, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    I was just thinking about CS Lewis, and how, even though he’s been dead for a long time… his words aren’t going to go away. Not as long as we’re still here. His words are his life; his thoughts, his stories, his dreams — and they save people. They save peoples lives. They give us a different perspective to see. All this time, and we still hear his heart.

    I think we want to get published so that we can share our hearts. Because it’s a way to express ourselves to other people. And because through it, peoples hearts might just be changed.

  35. Peter DeHaan on July 5, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    I think most people on the outside looking in see being a published writer as a path to fame and fortune. They may also think it’s easy. Finally are those who see a published book as affirmation of who they are or what the have to say.

  36. Susan H. on July 5, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    My reason for wanting to be published is the remarkable story I uncovered while looking for answers to other questions. During my research, I became attached to a woman I have never met. Her story is worth the effort it is taking to make her known. Between 1890 and 1939, she had it all, lost it through a series of life events, earned her life again, and had it stolen by an insider. Through all of that, she stood true to herself and her family, and most importantly, to her faith in God. She is an inspiration to me and a testament to many during the current trying times that in the midst of crushing adversity, one can stand tall with honor and integrity. People should have the pleasure of meeting her like I did.

  37. Audrey Bennett on July 5, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Our family moved often, so books were often my only friends. I want to be published because I know there are kids out there who dream only because of what they have read in books. They need lots of ideas to keep them dreaming.

  38. Linda Katz on July 5, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    I agree publishing is a wonderful way to be heard and acknowledged as being someone with something important to say. Being traditionally published speaks volumes (to me) that as a writer I have been heard and validated. Validation is icing on the cake, sweetening that step ‘outside of the box’ writing.

  39. Ann Diedrich on July 5, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    I self published because I feel I have a great product, and because I am eighty-one years old. It is my only option, no time to look for publishers and agents. I am hoping that my message will eventually reach the the children my book is intended for. Fame and fortune, it’s too late for that.

  40. Shauna on July 5, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    When you paint a picture, you want to hang it on a wall.

    When you play an instrument, you want to perform.

    When you write, you want someone to read it.

    Creating is most naturally followed by sharing. Publishing seems (at first glance)to be the most natural means of sharing.

  41. Vicki Orians on July 5, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    I’m not above admitting that originally I wanted to be famous and make a lot of money. Now my motivation is being able to share my world and my characters and put a smile on people’s faces.

  42. Samuel on July 5, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    I write so that I can leave a legacy to my sons.

    I want to get published so that I can eat.

  43. Stephanie on July 5, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    a) They see authors at the height of their success (Martin, Rowling, Brown, etc.) and think they got there overnight. Suddenly publishing looks like a get-rich-quick scheme that will solve their financial woes.

    b) They read something horrid and think they can do better so they write and work toward publishing in order to show the world they can do better.

    c) They read something and think “I can do that” and try it, wanting publication to prove to the world that they could.

    d) They have something inside them that needs to be told and they want others to share in that joy and sorrow, and an entire spectrum of emotions.

  44. Patt Hollinger Pickett, Ph.D. on July 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    During the past two decades, I have been in (conservatively) 10,000 conversations as a marriage and family therapist with individuals and families motivated to improve their lives and relationships. I have listened well and am privileged to learn what can not be learned elsewhere. I have a unique perspective of this experience through my personal and academic lens.

    My clients have been generous with their appreciation of my guidance and life perspective. Many encourage me, “You should write a book and help others.” I have been talking and writing for years about the wisdom I have gained about life and relationships–every forum but a published book. My passion is to share and spread the word how people can change and have a better life and relationships.

    I want to guide more people through publishing a book—and if fame comes along with it, that’s OK. too.

  45. Jill on July 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I don’t know, to be honest. I’ve wanted it for as long as I can remember, but lately I’ve examined this desire and am wondering if it’s good for me to want something so badly. I’d rather enjoy life than stress about something that’s not working. I should divert my creative energies into something that will work. What will I do w/ all these books I’ve written? Trash them or throw them up as self-pubbed works. In the scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t need to be published. This, btw, is coming from the die-hard, written multiple books, been through creative writing degree writer. I want to recapture the joy I used to have in creating.

  46. Seeley James on July 5, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Because I can point to a published book (preferably hardcover) and say to my wife (and other doubters), “See? I told you I’ve been right all along.”

  47. Rebecca Vance on July 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    I can’t answer for anyone else, but for me, publication means that I have done something unique, all my own, that no one else can do. Yes, this may sound crazy to some since there are so many writers out there. However, everyone brings something different to the table. They have their own voice, no one else has had their same experiences. So publication would mean success, that I have written something that someone else is excited about and they are willing to pay to read what I have written. I am just starting out. I am reading up on the craft and although I have taken some classes in the past, it has been so many years ago. I have always wanted to write, but I came up with so many excuses and didn’t do much. I told my self I needed the tools, I didn’t have time and I wasn’t sure I could do it. Well, now I am older, I was forced into an early retirement due to a disability, I have a computer. I was running out of excuses. Ok, I am still not sure if I can do it, but I know I have to try. If I don’t write it, it is a sure thing that nobody will read it. So, I am preparing the way, I believe that I have a great idea forming for my first novel, so I plan to give it a try.

  48. Diana Harkness on July 5, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    The best reason to pursue publishing is to help others. I don’t know how I would have survived adolescence and young adulthood without my author mentors. From Madeleine L’Engle and C.S. Lewis to Charles Williams and others I have since forgotten, published authors have brought be joy in life’s pain and accompanied me through the struggles. Other authors inspire and help me today from Willa Cather to N.T. Wright and from Ted Dekker to Frederick Buechner. What a dismal life I would have led without published authors!

  49. Randall Sexton on July 5, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I care very little to be known, but I do care about giving a child a great adventure in a book. Take them to a world of imagination.

  50. Steve on July 5, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Such a great question!! Fame and fortune for some, sense of accomplishment, but passion for most(I hope). For me, I am just starting, it is the passion to tell a story that I think needs to be told.(Not to mention the peace I had once I began to write it.)

  51. Dave Clark on July 5, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Ego. Desire to express oneself. If they wanted fame and truly understood it, they’d get into show biz and not writing. Those who are truly invested in the industry and process could name a half dozen authors who may have fame but no fortune, or fortune but no fame. Also, it’s an idea easy to express, yet they have an enormous lack of understanding of what they’re asking for. Even one of the greats was famously confused between being published and being printed. Becoming a published author isn’t an easy part-time snap, is it? A friend sent me an email of congratulations upon the publication of my knuckleball book, and judging by his response, I was going to be some writing supernova. The clue may have been the 58 exclamation marks he closed with.

  52. Scott Rhoades on July 5, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I’ve loved books since I was very small. I used to make my own when I was five or six. For me, getting published would make me a part of something I’ve always loved. I’ve been listed in editorial credits several times, and seeing my name in a book ia always a thrill, but a real byline on something from my imagination would mean I am part of the best club in the world.

  53. Isaiah J. Campbell on July 5, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    I’ve been reading and writing since I was a kid. As a kid, I recognized quickly the vast difference between the things I was writing and the things I was reading. Besides the fact that the stuff I was reading was vastly BETTER than the stuff I was writing, I recognized that books and magazines were signs that a writer had found a team that could support him/her in getting the story into the hands of multiple people. I always wanted that feeling, the camaraderie of others who caught the same vision I had for my stories. I finally got that feeling, or at least a morsel of it, last year when I signed with my agent, Marietta Zacker. I am sure that the feeling will grow, and that is why I want to be published.

  54. steve watkins on July 5, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    It would be a lie to say I care nothing about being a noted author (fame). But I’d also like to think it goes much deeper, and that it’s part of who I am.

    I can speak to a group well enough. But with paper on words I believe I can move people at a much deeper place.

    The fame would be great, and even though I’ve published thousands of newspaper and magazine articles, I, personally, will not feel “accomplished” until there’s a quality book(s) with my name on it.

    All marathon runners would also like to be an Ironman. I guess that’s the analogy for me.

    And there’s always the parallel dilemma of self-publishing vs. traditional. I believe I can be quite, if not, more successful via self publishing, however, I struggle with the badge of honor I’d prefer to wear by being traditionally published.

    Seems there are forks in the road everywhere these days.


    • Sandra Stiles on July 5, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      I struggled with self-publishing vs. traditional. My story was a 9/11 story. Due to the 10th anniversary I made the decision to self-publish it. I use it as a tool to teach my middle school students about that event. most of them were only a year or two old at the time and they don’t understand it or its impact. That doesn’t mean I won’t seek traditional publication for my next book.

  55. Marielena on July 5, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Why do I write? Why do I want to be published?

    “There is no agony like having an untold story inside you.”
    – Zora Neale Hurston

  56. Chris Lunda on July 5, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    By its very definition publishing is all about bringing attention to your work. For some it’s fame, others validation and to many among us it represents reaching a milestone as a writer.

    All of these are reachable but the question now more than ever is which avenue you choose the slow evolving route considered more ‘refined and respected’ or the path that will allow you to achieve your own desired brand of attention in a more reasonable time frame.

  57. Jana Dean on July 5, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Why do so many want to publish?

    “Literature, information, the flow of ideas, contributing to our cultural conversation, these are valuable to our culture and society.” Rachelle Gardner

    This resonated with me as I caught up on your posts post-holiday.

    I’m a contributor. And hope things are settling in your world Rachelle, my friends in your area were spared, thank God.

  58. Julie Weathers on July 5, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Those who know me, know my story.

    I had spent fourteen hours straight laying tile in my kitchen, dining, hall and laundry room. I didn’t even stop to eat lunch. That night I was thoroughly exhausted, but I wanted to sit down and relax a bit before I went to bed. I fixed a cup of tea and decided to work a bit on Far Rider.

    My husband came home, walked into the office and asked me if that’s all I had to do was play on the computer. I told him I had worked all day long and I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was just writing.

    “Yeah, Julie. You’re going to write a book and sell a million. It’s time to grow up and stop living in your fantasy world.”

    I gave up a house my son and I gutted and rebuilt. I gave up my horses. I gave up security. I did this for the right to write. I’m not going to waste that right. I need affirmation I’m a writer, and possibly a dreamer, but not a foolish dreamer.

    I believe in my stories. I want the world to come with me and listen to singing dragons and gaze in wonder at wizard sanctums built of fire and ice and wind.

    • Scott Rhoades on July 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      That sounds eerily familiar.

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 2:35 PM


      What a cruel and insensitive thing for him to say!

      Keep dreaming, and keeping pursuing your dreams!

      God, who placed those dreams in your heart, knows how to He plans to bring about their fulfillment in your life!

    • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      Our youth group played a strange game. Each person had a balloon on a string tied to his/her ankle. The object was to stomp the other people’s balloon. Last person with an intact orb wins, right? One kid got so mad when someone popped his balloon that he ran around popping everyone else’s. I wonder who popped your husband’s balloon. Perhaps he needs another, because he’s lost his sense of fulfilling a dream. Listen carefully for clues and you’ll help him find it. Only then will he be supportive.
      Meanwhile, don’t let the deflated steal your dream.

      • Julie Weathers on July 9, 2012 at 1:42 AM

        It’s all part of the journey that makes us who we are. I just don’t want to waste what I gave up so much for. If this one doesn’t work, the next one will.

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM


      I would have been tempted to pull up one of pieces of tile and hit him with it. I’m glad you found a better, albeit painful, way to deal with it.

      Believing in yourself, your dreams and your gifts is important. Never give that up.

  59. Megan B. on July 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    When I read about crazy deadlines and all the other stress that comes with being published, I sometimes ask myself why I want it. I haven’t really articulated an answer to myself, so I’m glad you asked.

    This is just me, I can’t answer for anyone else. But I want to share my creations, and the joy they bring me. And I suppose I do want validation that my work is ‘good.’

    I have decided that I may be happier with a small publisher and a not-too-demanding contract, even if that means I have less chance of making significant money. Because I’m not in it for the money, and I don’t want to be J.K. Rowling. I want my little life, not worldwide signing tours and TV appearances.

    At the same time, of course, the bestseller list beckons… 🙂

  60. Marilyn Hudson Tucker on July 5, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    I write so I can make people laugh. Each time one of my chapters is read at SAWG or SARA or MM, I get at least one chuckle if not three. It’s a funny female PI set in San Antonio, sort of a cross between Stephanie Plum and Kinsey Milhone. I live for laughter.

  61. Laura Pauling on July 5, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    We are made to be creative, the way our brain works. Many creative pursuits we can’t participate in without money upfront for supplies and classes. Most have notebooks and computers, so the creative pursuit costs us nothing but our time. We only have to put money into classes if we want to.

  62. Reba on July 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Good question….caused me to look for a good answer within myself.
    First of all I don’t want to be a celebrity, I don’t want to live my life that way.
    I do however, would like to have my work enjoyed, sought after, paid for, and all in the process of me enjoying what I do. Now if that comes with being traditionally published, then great. If that comes by being self-published, then great.
    What is important here, is that my work makes me happy.

  63. Jacqueline D. on July 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    If you write, then it is only natural that you would want to be published; to share what you have written. Unless it is a diary or personal journal, it is just in the nature of writers to want to share what they have written. And today writers have greater opportunities than ever before to share their writing.

  64. Patricia Smith Wood on July 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    My initial reason for getting published was to tell the story I’d had in my head for so many years. Now my reason is to prove to myself I can do it, and have a book in my hand that testifies to that fact!

  65. Kelly Martin on July 5, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    I think, to me, it’s validation that you ‘are’ a good writer and a good storyteller. It means that someone else is willing to put time, energy, and money into something *you* did. People wouldn’t do that if they didn’t feel connected to it or believe in it.

  66. Preston Yancey on July 5, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I think part of it is validation of the storyteller. Not in an aggrandizing way, but in a manner that communicates value and having been heard. My story is worth your attention.

    • Jennifer Major on July 5, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Ahhhh. Good point. The story is not there for itself, is it? It does not stand hidden and alone and affect people as they walk by. It must be experienced and pondered upon. Holding someone’s attention means they’ve given us a special part of him or her self and it isn’t given lightly. A story lives or dies in the first few moments. What can we say that will leave the reader wanting more?

  67. Katie on July 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I want to share stories with people and I want to share stories that I think are important. Stories about growing up, and friendships, and love, and being an outcast, or stories about tough subjects that certain kids might need to hear.

    I want to share stories via publishing to give back to a world that gave *me* stories that helped me survive childhood and adolescence.

    I am who I am because of the stories I read when I was younger. I really believe that. So if what I read–and namely, I’m thinking of Laura Ingalls Wilder, SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson, Harry Potter, and Tamora Pierce’s books–changed who I am for the better, then every book holds that possibility for some child out there and I want my story to be those books for that kid.

    That’s all. I am not idealistic enough to think I’m going to be the next JK Rowling, but I do want to be the next JK Rowling for just one kid. For me, that’d be success. And that can only be done through publishing, currently.

  68. Joyce Hager on July 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    I don’t want to be famous. I want to be successful by reaching readers.

  69. Heather on July 5, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Because I love writing, and I’d like it to be considered productive and not just a waste of time I should be spending doing something else.

  70. Heather on July 5, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Because, when the answer to the first questions implies “I’m a writer”, it’s the answer to the 2nd question that somehow questions whether its just a hobby, or a worthwhile (implied money-making) pursuit. “Oh, can I see your book?” “Anything I would have seen?” “Can I buy it on Amazon?” Or some variation on the above.

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 2:30 PM

      I prefer to think of my writing as a hobby or ministry.

      It helps keep me balanced and less concerned about number of sales, etc.

      I’m also fortunate to have a day job I love, so I don’t have to support myself by writing…but also have limited time resources to dedicate to writing…

      • Heather on July 5, 2012 at 2:34 PM

        I agree with you. I work full time and write on the side, just to get the stories out of my head. My above statement was a generalization. Most people outside the writing community believe writing is a hobby until you get something published. Only then can it be considered a job.

  71. Rose Gardener on July 5, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I certainly have no desire to be famous and would probably struggle with ‘fame’ (as I do with self-promotion.) But if your writing is never printed (whether on-line or on paper), how can anyone read it?
    Speakers hope to attract a crowd to listen to what they have to say, writers need to be published to reach their audience and share their ideas.
    ‘Being published’ in itself is of no interest to me, but publishing is necessary, or my written words remain unspoken and unheard.

  72. Anthony Renfro on July 5, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I wish so many didn’t because it would make it easier on me.

    I think a lot of people just think it is heaps of money placed at your feet when you publish. I think there are a lot of get rich quick people out there who want it.

    They don’t understand what it truly takes to make it.

  73. Megan on July 5, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    I’m seeking publication because I want to connect with other people, to know that my words have affected someone else in some way. I don’t care about making money or being famous. I just think about all the novels I love, and I’m so glad those people took the risk and persued publication!

  74. Laura Kirk on July 5, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Well, I rarely reply to this blog, because I most often have nothing more to bring to the table. But, today I would like to say that I write to bring validation to someone other than myself. I discovered that my daughter was mentally challenged when she was two-years-old. At that time they weren’t throwing the diagnosis of autism around like today. She tested negative to every other known cause for being mentally challenged. It was a very scary and hopeless time. Hopeless being the key word. I began to write in an effort to give children like my daughter a sense of normalcy (a future and hope). I wanted to make a hero (someone any child could look up to) of a child with an IQ of 60. I have written that book and after this final edit I plan to begin my search for publication.

    • Laura Kirk on July 5, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      I didn’t mean to sound judgemental. I think that second sentence should have read, “I write to bring validation to someone who deserves it more that me.”

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      What a wonderful mission, Laura. Blessings as you work to get the book published. It sounds like something the world needs.

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      That’s a fantastic goal, Laura!

      I have a niece who has become an accomplished author of children’s catechism books http://www.catechismforkids.com/

      For her, it all started with finding ways to teach her autistic son about the Bible.

  75. STINSON ANDERSON on July 5, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    How about to leave a legacy? Validation as a writer? Connection and the betterment of other souls?

    • K.L. Parry on July 5, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      Ditto. I was just going to write that.

      Allow me to elaborate.

      Leaving one’s mark.

  76. Rebecca Elswick on July 5, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    I have been a voracious reader since I fell in love with Black Beauty when I was in the third grade, and not long after that, I started writing “books” and dreaming about becoming a writer. Today, I still want to write books that make people feel like that little girl did when she discovered Black Beauty!

  77. Sandra Stiles on July 5, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Recognition is great! For me however, I wanted to get my students to read. I’d been saying for years I wanted to write a book. I made my students write all the time. One of my reading students looked at me one day and said, “Miss, why don’t you write books for your shelves. You know what we like to read. Then we would want to read.” That sealed the deal for me. I want to always encourage others to read.

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      Fantastic story, Sandra! You must be an exceptional teacher since your student felt free enough to say something like that to you. And what a great insight from your student! I’m glad you listened.

      • Sandra Stiles on July 5, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        I don’t know if it was that or the fact that I constantly pushed them to read and write stories. However, he was the first one I sent a book to when I published it.

  78. Patrick Craig on July 5, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    When I was a professional musician, I set myself the goal of getting a record deal. I accomplished that. Now that I am focusing on writing I set another goal – get published. I have accomplished that. What I have found in both cases, though is that the fun part of the whole deal is the process of getting there – that’s where I learn.

  79. Chihuahua Zero on July 5, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    To make an impact on the world. I have the passion and I know I have at least some of the gift. All I need to do is to pump more motivation into the equation and leave a mark in a way that I can do it on a (hopefully) wide scale.

  80. R.A.Savary on July 5, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Writing, for me is living, living is writing. As others have mentioned, it’s creating new worlds, and it’s taking people to those worlds, sometimes against there will (I have a mean streak).

    I must share my creations with others, else my life has no purpose; it is the part of my Creator, in me.

    If I create, only for myself, not striving for publication and acknowldegement, my creations will die with me, long before my heart ceases to beat.

  81. Meredith Towbin on July 5, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    It’s always been my dream to be at a party and answer the “What do you do?” question with “I’m a writer.” I’ve finally started answering that question this way, but I’m not yet published, so it feels kind of like I’m a fraud for even saying it.

    For some reason I feel the need for the validation publishing will give me. That, and the fact that it will make me a bazillionaire. I was told that’s the average income. Right?

  82. Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Why do people want to be published? The reasons and motives are going to vary from person to person. I can only talk about what drives me to try to be published. Some of it has already been mentioned, such as validation and affirmation. The biggest driver for me is not the desire to be heard (I already have that from the significant people in my life) but from a desire to share and to make a difference in other the lives of other people. Beth hit it — I can write for myself or I can write for others, to make them laugh, to encourage them, to challenge them. I still vividly remember a conversation I had with my mom when I was young (less than nine). She tried to get me to understand that ever hoping to get published was unrealistic. That to be a professional writer (or musician or artist) was an impractical dream because few people could make money pursuing the arts. But it’s never been about the money to me, so that argument didn’t do anything for me. My argument to her (and I promise you I really was less than nine years old when I said this) was that why would God give me talents if He didn’t mean for me to share them. Her response was, “Well, maybe He just gave them to you for you to enjoy.” I didn’t buy that then and I don’t buy it now. I have shared my artistic ability by teaching art to children in summer school (for free). I shared my musical gifts by playing at benefit concerts and at nursing homes. Writing for myself, sharing it with my family and then putting the writing in a drawer? No, it doesn’t cut it. I feel a need to entertain, to teach and to touch people with my writing. The only way I know to do that is by getting published.

  83. Helena Halme on July 5, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    The reason I want to be published is that I cannot stop writing, even if I wished I could, so I have to keep trying to earn a living out of it.

  84. Jim Gilliam on July 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Because I’m true to my readers, my readers are true to me.

    What does that mean?

    I write for my readers and if I’ve placed you—the reader—in the scene with my protagonist and you feel the same things that he does, and you fear for his life, and vicariously for your own, then I have accomplished my ultimate goal and you have paid me the greatest compliment by staying with me until the end of the tale. The traditional publisher allows me to reach more readers.

    John Grisham self-published his first novel: A Time To Kill, and sold it out of the trunk of his car at flea markets and meetings of local garden clubs. Then he wrote The Firm. Doubleday picked up A Time To Kill and both books became blockbuster movies. If Grisham hadn’t traditionally published The Firm, would we know how good a writer he is?

  85. josey bozzo on July 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I have been changed and effected by things that I have read so much over the years(fiction and non fiction)that I want to do the same for others. Of course I don’t necessarily need to be published to do this, so I would have to agree that publication brings a sense of validation.
    You know, the old Sally Field line “You like me, you really like me!”

  86. Ramon Presson on July 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Pardon the philosophical/psychological ooze here but that’s what you get sometimes when you ask a therapist like me a question.

    I believe that part of the appeal of publishing is to see our thoughts actually existing outside of just our head and heart. Yes, traditional publishing provides some validation of our thoughts (creativity and organization)as in “someone important thinks my work is good.”

    In self-publishing there is a bit of admirable bravado that says, “Well, I think this is good enough to publish even if no one else does.” I like that bit of defiance.

    But I will also say this as one who has led local writing and publishing workshops and who has lost count of the number of people who have said to me upon learning I was an author, “I wish I could write and publish a book”: Many people want to be KNOWN as an author rather than BECOME an author. They want the satisfaction, credibility, self-esteem boost, attention (or whatever it is they imagine and desire comes from being a published author). And I don’t fault them for that. But I tell wannabe writers that the buzz and afterglow from seeing your book published wears off quickly so you must enjoy the writing itself and you best gear up and brace yourself for the marathon bootcamp of the publishing process. Writing and publishing a good book is not for the weak-legged and faint of heart. But it’s worth it to cross the finish line with a book that makes a difference in the lives of others.

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      “…it’s worth it to cross the finish line with a book that makes a difference in the lives of others.”

      Amen to that!

  87. Lesley McDaniel on July 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Since it doesn’t make any sense to me that I should repeatedly put myself through the submission/rejection process when I could just write for my own pleasure, or even self-publish (a viable option these days), I have to think God has something to do with my desire to get published. I pray about it, and feel strongly that it’s the road I’m supposed to be on.
    Also, I see that being published opens doors that otherwise remain shut and locked. I feel that the Lord has something for me back there behind those doors, or something for me to learn in the pursuit.
    As for fame…it has very little appeal.

  88. Holly Russell on July 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    I want to be published because I have a story that I believe will help people. I want it to become a ministry. The becoming famous part–scares me. I am also scared that along the way I will forget to give God all the glory and credit.

  89. Connie Almony on July 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    When I was a music major and singer, I wanted to be famous. Then I saw the impact of “the limelight” on my young female clients with eating disorders who were pursuing modeling or the like and wanted to be noticed. I no longer crave the opinions of billions of strangers. Just One. And He loves me even when I’m not famous. I love to write. I love a good story. And I love that I can actually make one up that suits me to a tee. Being a recovering control freak I find the idea of creating my own fiction very satisfying. The question remains, will others. I think so. I’m not THAT unusual :o). I want to be published because I think others could be satisfied, entertained , and hey, even maybe inspired by what my characters endure. I hope so.

  90. Starr Aayers on July 5, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Legacy! Within each of us lies the desire to leave behind something that will glorify God and hopefully make a lasting difference in the lives of others…especially those you love the most. I have a book from 1940 written by my grandfather, a Scottish sea captain, about his adventures at sea. His heart truly does go on and on! Priceless!

  91. Darlene Lund on July 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Your question was, Why do so many people want to be published?

    I think Face book answers that question, people are starved to be noticed.

    Glad to hear the fire is getting more under-control in CO.

    Great question,

  92. Brianna on July 5, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    We want to feel like we’ve accomplished something in our lifetime, especially in a time when people are turning to writing as a method of employment. I know, for me, it makes me feel better about only working part time, if I can make a little from having a hobby I love.

  93. Lauri Meyers on July 5, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    I would be much more excited to be in line with you at Starbucks than with Tom Cruise. You are a mythical gatekeeper with a magical key to the mysterious land of publishing. Perhaps some people just want to be published so they can be in on the secret.

  94. Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    At a very fundamental level, I chose to self-publish because I have a message I believe a lot of people can benefit from hearing.

    The decision had nothing to do with need for validation, or life-long dreams of a writer’s life.

    However, once started down the writing/publishing path, I’ve realized that I have a rather unique perspective on a number of topics, and enjoy sharing my perspective with others.

    So…I’m not sure where this journey is leading, but for the moment am enjoying blogging and getting acquainted with other writers.

    By the way, I love the community of writers that comments on this blog. You’re a great bunch of folks!

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      And despite my disagreeing with you above, Joe, I’m glad you’re here too. I always enjoy reading your comments.

      • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        Respectful disagreement is a very good thing! Without it, we would never learn to view situations from a different perspective! 🙂

    • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      I agree. This is a very inspiring place.

  95. Christina Baglivi Tinglof on July 5, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    I think you hit the nail on the head. But I also get a deep sense of satisfaction playing with the words until they come out just as I picture the story/article in my head. Total satisfaction.

  96. Jennifer Major on July 5, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    When I was little, maybe 2, all heck broke loose on my world. By 3, I escaped into my imagination on a daily basis, where I could determine the heroes and good guys and smite the bad people. I was off in lah-lah land for hours a day while the grown-ups around me fought the real battles. The D word (divorced) followed us around and made people’s minds up long before my mother opened her mouth. Friends, and family, came and went. But I always had my own way of escape. When I was old enough to know and use better coping skills, I closed the wardrobe and forgot the kingdom.
    As my kids got older and more independent, the dust cover came off the wardrobe. Out came my palm sander, some #230 grit sandpaper and much more free time to get acquainted.
    YEARS of my husband asking “when are you going to write?” finally brought me to a point that I could open the doors and go find that place again where I could put pen to paper and take charge of the story, once and for all.

    (Just typing this, I realized something.
    The evil bad guy in my WIP?
    The one I engage in an epic battle of survival and then drown?
    I just figured out who he is…)

    I write so I can take my reader on a journey to hell and back, where good wins and God is made known.

    I want to be published not because I want to be famous, I want people to put my book down after an all night, tear jerking, gut bustingly funny, page turning, unclose-able roller coaster ride and yell “no, it can’t be over!”

    • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on July 5, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      Well said! I wanna be you when I grow up!

      • Jennifer Major on July 5, 2012 at 10:43 AM

        Me? Oh Andrew, not me! But thankyou for the compliment. Besides, you’re the one with the uber-cool kitchen island! And the wolf pack/sled dog team.

        • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on July 5, 2012 at 10:56 AM

          And thank you!

          I think you did hit on something really important, in your comment about being able to at last get ‘eyes on’ the bad guy.

          I suspect that a lot of writers have a similar experience – not that writing is cathartic (it obviously can be so) but that it fosters self-awareness, and the act of publishing etches those flashes of insight into a durable medium.

          Public witnessing – that’s the term I’m trying to find!

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      I love this, Jennifer!

      Very well stated!

      Love your passion for writing fiction!

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      You hit on something, Jennifer, that I completely relate to: writing to escape and writing to have control over situations. I started to escape into my imagination at a very young age as well. My parents didn’t get divorced, but there were other things going on. My imaginary world was a much safer one (except when I was sleeping; the nightmares could be pretty terrifying).

      William Butler Yeats said that “‘Everyone is a visionary if you scratch him deep enough. But the Celt is a visionary without scratching'” (Yeats, ed. Irish Fairy & Folk Tales. Barnes and Noble Books. New York, 1993). I think all writers are visionaries. Their works, when mined deeply enough, contain visions of alternate realities rife with lessons to help one cope with this reality. It is essential that these visions are shared, via publishing, with other people who are searching for ways to survive this life. Stevie Nicks wrote “We all believe in people that we think believe in God” (Nicks. “Trouble in Shangri-la”). Your writing can give people hope to people in darkness that, in the end, God does win.

      I’m glad you took the dust cover back off the wardrobe (and I love your allusion :)).

      Last thought: A writer (I wish I could remember her name) once said don’t get on a writer’s bad side or you can be sure that you will end up in her book. (And maybe be drowned, hehehe).

    • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      Jennifer, there is definitely something cleansing about writing. In “Hatched on the Moon,” I say all the things that I want to say, but feel constrained not to. A seminary teacher once told us, if you’re afraid of something and it haunts you, imagine it happening–live it in your mind’s eye. Once you get through it, the fear let’s loose its stranglehold. It sounds like that his happening for you in writing–awesome!

  97. Laurie Buchanan on July 5, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    I think writers want to be published for VALIDATION – a basic human need. In the literary world, publication does just that — the “nod of approval” that says, “you’ve been accepted,” “you’re one of us,” “you’re an author.”

  98. Julie Sunne on July 5, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    I believe we all love to be heard. Getting published seems to be an “easy” and effective way for that to happen. I feel I have a story and some understanding that will help others and am pursuing publishing as a way to reach out.

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      Julie, for you, as for me, publishing seems to be mostly a means to an end.

      The primary goal is to get a message out to those who may be helped by it, and publishing is simply an effective way to accomplish that goal.

      It is interesting, to me, to realize how differently “being published” is viewed by different people.

  99. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on July 5, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Books have been a hand to hold, and an upraised lamp through many dark passages in life.

    I’d like to be that light for others.

    It’s a way to offer the kindest assurance that’s in our power to bestow – “You’re not alone.”

    • Jennifer Major on July 5, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      Well said Andrew. It would be nice to be the light that got someone through a dark time.

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      “I’d like to be that light for others.”

      Well put, Andrew!

      I know how dark a period I went thru myself, in a failed marriage and subsequent divorce. I know how God led me thru that time, and how many people He used to light my way.

      I want to do the same for others in similar circumstances.

      I want to be used of God, to shine the light of His truth in someone else’s period of darkness.

  100. Jaime Wright Sundsmo on July 5, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Am I too shallow if I say I really want to see my book with a cool cover on the front? Ok. Shallow am I.

    You raise a great question. In fact, my DH asked me that the other day. He was trying to fathom why I sacrifice so much to write toward publication when I can still write and store it on my laptop. Where it’s been stored since I was 13 (yikes – 23 yrs ago!) and I’m still writing. Can’t you be happy with a hobby — he wanted to know.

    The answer for me is “yes”. I can be. But, the pursuit of publication keeps me writing. It’s the ultimate challenge.

    Now at the risk of keeping my shallow stigma, I will dive deeper and say, I’ve prayed earnestly about whether I should give up this insatiable, consuming desire to seek publication. It’s a dream I’ve not been able to shelve (forgive the pun). I believe the Lord has me on this journey for some reason. Maybe publication – maybe my desire to share His principles through fiction – or maybe it’s to teach me perseverance without the reward I think I should get, but something greater.

    Either way, I couldn’t completely answer my DH. I simply had to say until God released me from my mission I will continue. In joy. In peace. With dedication. One of these days I may hold my book in my hands with a gorgeous cover and hopefully a story that will impact my readers. Or maybe I’ll continue to write and my DD will find my files one day and her life will be changed. I’m okay with that too. When writing is passion, you write because you can’t NOT write. Published or not.

    BTW, if I ever ran into you at a party, don’t think I’m rude but I’d probably just smile and walk the other way for fear I’d be another one of those pesty non-agented writers 🙂 LOL

    MAN! I’m long winded today … sorry 🙁

    • Summer on July 5, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      Your pun made me smile.

  101. KarenM on July 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    I have to admit, your post made me a bit nervous today, Rachelle, as I am in the midst of querying my first novel. But it’s not fame and fortune that motivated me to seek publication. I have always loved to entertain. Loved to make people laugh. Because laughter is therapy. Laughter can be healing. And a good story, with a few laughs sprinkled in, can also be a nice escape from reality, if just for a short while. That escape can help ease stresses and soothe frazzled souls. So if I have the talent to write novels that might help soothe and heal others, then I feel called to do so. It’s not just me and some search for fame. It goes well beyond that. 🙂

  102. Juturna F on July 5, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Because a story only lives by being told, and the more people who hear them, the more they get to live. The stories in my head want to know the whole world, and they can only get out there through me.

    Alternatively (and the slightly less romantic-sounding version), writing is fun and it makes me happy to do it, and going for publishing is a goal that holds me accountable so I don’t stop. When I’m feeling blue I get that lazy block that settles over me and makes me want to do nothing, but having a goal forces me to do it anyway, and writing always seems to shove the block off and get me back into life. Is this a case of “the voices in my head keep me sane”?

  103. Sarah Thomas on July 5, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Oh, there are noble reasons like sharing my faith journey and hopefully drawing people closer to God through my writing. Those are why I TRY to want to be published. But as I really ponder this, I think the main reason is that I LOVE books. Since before I could read. And I want one with my name on it. Then I can put it on the shelf next to C.S. Lewis and Jane Austen and Francine Rivers and Wendell Berry and Ray Bradbury . . .

  104. Gwen Stewart on July 5, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    I wonder if it relates to the old teacher canard: everyone’s been to school, so everyone thinks they can be a teacher. (Whether they can be an effective or patient one is another story…)

    Everyone’s read a book, so everyone thinks they can write one. It’s true that most Americans are literate. But being literate = writing a publishable book is like saying being able-bodied = completing a triathalon. In my humble opinion.

    Then again, what do I know? 😉

  105. Zachary S. Sigmon on July 5, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    The goal for my writing is to glorify God, whether that is through drawing believers closer to Him or drawing the lost to salvation.

    That’s why the theme verse for my writing is Psalm 26:7–“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.”

  106. Candie L Campbell (@candiecampbell) on July 5, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    I want to be published because I want to bring people joy, the same way my favorite authors brought me joy.

    I don’t mean I want to publish books about rainbows and daisies, but it is my intention that my stories (no matter how dark and twisted) inspire hope.

    Books changed my life, I’d like to return the favor.

  107. Summer on July 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Of course to you it seems like everyone pursues publishing, but in my small group of family and friends, I am the only person who writes. Most people look at me like I have nut loose when I tell them that I am devoting some time to writing and learning how to improve my writing. A lot of people may want to write a book, but I don’t think there are many out of the whole who are actually making steps towards it.

    I would like to be published, I think. For me, it is mainly about bringing in a little bit of money for all my hard work. I don’t care so much how I do this- self-publishing is fine as long as I could learn/handle the marketing.

    A reason I would not want to be published is because it would seem to lock into place my thinking and imperfections at the time I wrote the particular book. I think I need to get over this.

    I guess getting published traditionally would be a great way to get the word out, but I’m not sure that it would be worth the pressures. It seems if a person is really interested in writing most, and having control over the process, and doesn’t need a lot of money from their investement, self-publishing may be the way to go. Is there any truth to this?

    I guess to have somthing in print would be like finishing a race after months of training. It would be a milestone in the writing process. I assume it would make me feel legit.

    • Summer on July 5, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      Oh yeah, and there is also that connecting with a larger audience part. That is something I definitely want.

      • Juturna F. on July 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM

        Summer, have you thought about joining Google+? There’s a huge writing community on there that may help you connect to other writers, so you won’t feel like you’re alone in your journey. It’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction, but in addition to the friends you already have, having an online community can help you balance the writing aspect of your life with the people you interact with daily. It’s nice to know people who understand. 🙂

        • Summer on July 5, 2012 at 5:32 PM

          I will check it out Juturna- thank you!

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Very good point, Summer!

      Yes, hanging out on writer blogs, one gets the impression that everyone has an ambition to publish.

      Not so, at all, in the real world! Very few of my friends outside of cyberspace have any such aspirations!

  108. Victoria Popescu on July 5, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    In my opinion, some people want to be published because they need to show others how great they are; in most cases those are people who struggle to find their inner balance, their true value as a person or simply trying to heal certain wounds from the past that way. I believe, however, that most of the people trying to get their stories published are driven by a profound desire to share their life experiences and knowledge with others. At the deepest of their being, they simply know that they should do it. The more we share our learning, the more we can help avoid unnecessary suffering. We are all connected to the same source of love and light (regardless the name we give to that source) and therefore connected to each other. If we bring good things to the lives of others, we feel good as well. 🙂
    Thank you for reading & Have a great day!

  109. Cathy West on July 5, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    For me it was all about validation. When you hold down a 9-5 job at a big company, you earn a salary, people know what you do, perhaps you even have a title. Your work is validated because of the income you’re earning and/or the position you hold. As a writer (and a stay at home mom for the last 18 years) most of my friends and family didn’t get it. To them I think it was just a hobby. Something I did when the kids were napping. Unless you’re in the trenches, you really have no idea how hard writing a novel actually is. And it’s even harder to get that novel published through traditional methods. That was my goal. Not so much to prove something to all the naysayers, (although I admit to wearing a smirk around certain people for a few days after my contract), but more to prove to myself that all those years of hard work were worth it. That I WAS a writer, and I could make this my career. And yes, it was a dream come true.

  110. Cathy Olliffe-Webster on July 5, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    You work so hard when you write that you want to show it to someone, have them read it and appreciate your work, admire your talent and have someone say, “What a good job you have done.” Is it so different than any other job? We all seek recognition for our labours. With writing, if it’s not published, no one sees it. It’s like a teacher giving a lesson to an empty classroom or a mechanic fixing a car no one will ever drive.

  111. John Sauvé-Rodd (London UK) on July 5, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    My need to be published came out of a short period of depression. I knew I had something creative in me that wanted badly to get out. But I didn’t know how it would be released but crucially I would not give myself permission to tell my stories.

    I needed someone to say: ‘It’s OK to write about anything.’ I remember asking for permission, of my wife Marie, as we walked though the botanical garden in Antwerp. She listened to my outline. I said I hoped she wouldn’t think it too trivial, silly, stupid. I was trembling. She thought t over for a moment and said: ‘It sounds great. I really think you should do it. ‘

    I said: ‘Really? You honestly think it’s a good enough idea?’ Oh, the prison walls of self doubt ……….

    After three months, my sole early reader who had read the first twenty chapters began to talk to me as if my characters were real. Because to her, they were. That was a magic moment, let me tell you.

    A year almost to the day after the Botanical Gardens in Antwerp and I had written not one book but two-thirds of a trilogy…. and nearly a quarter of a million words.

    An overseas client of mine, a Swiss, told a colleague once, referring to my work: ‘John is half artist, half scientist.’

    Seems I’ve let the artist out (goodbye depression, I think forever).

    And it only took me sixty-three years.

  112. Angela Brown on July 5, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    To share my thoughts on this question, I turn to my daily conversations and Facebook.

    During conversations, it’s easy to find a story being shared then the other person delving into a similar story of their own, or a “one-upper”. There’s the sense of telling, sharing.

    The same applies to Facebook but on a growing scale as the person adds more “friends” to their FB profile. They can tell about their bad experience at Chez Fi Fi Foo Foo’s chic restaurant or tell the story each day of how they’ve shrunk from a size 24 to a size 14, even with uploaded photos to make it “picture book” styled. Again, that sense of telling, sharing.

    So, by extension, this innate desire to tell people about something often translates to a need to tell more people. The desire for fame and fortune is there – me, in my early naivete, yeah I thought those two could happen – but the need to be published came from that basic desire to tell a story. Being published happens to get my story told to, hopefully, a lot more people than my circle of good friends 🙂

  113. Julia Denton on July 5, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Although I find writing therapeutic, that’s not why I write. I write to communicate, and half of communication is having a receiver who gives feedback and continues the conversation. I think traditional publication still achieves that in most cases, or at least I imagine that it does — and that’s why I would like to be published. I have no desire to be published unless it also means being widely read, which is one reason why self-publication is not as attractive to me.

  114. Maggie Lyons on July 5, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    When I was a music student many years ago, it was understood that I would share my skill with others for their enjoyment. I think that expectation is a given with any of the arts, including writing. The question is whether what is shared for the benefit of others fulfills its purpose or a product best left in the practice room.

    • Megan B. on July 5, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      Oh, good point. Writing and not sharing it is like playing music in an empty room.

  115. Sarah on July 5, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    I suppose we can all only speak for ourselves… but for me it’s about connecting with others, speaking to a larger world beside my journal and the two or three random friends who may get something read to them… It’s about influencing the world around me in a unique way, about receiving critique and push back on ideas, about sharing and receiving and entering a conversation that was there before I showed up and will continue after I fall silent.

  116. jeffo on July 5, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    I suspect for some of those people, it’s the lure of Easy Money and Easy Fame–they look at some of the big selling authors and think “I could do that, it’s easy.” The question is, once they find out it’s not easy, and that the money is likely not big (or non-existent), do they stick with it?

    Anyway, as for me, being honest, yes, part of the desire for publication is money (even knowing how little there is likely to be for the time invested). But a bigger part of it is I feel like I’ve got stories that people would want to hear. Sticking them on my blog or even going the self-published route isn’t likely to get those stories in front of many people, so I pursue the ‘traditional’ method.

  117. Stephen H. King on July 5, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    After reading over the comments that come before mine, it’s clear to me that there are far more reasons to become published than I ever thought about.

    But hey, there’s a very practical reason, I think, for so many people wanting to be published. The economy is doing rather poorly, and jobs are scarce. Writing still pays an income–or so it appears from the outside looking in. It’s easy (and inexpensive) to get into writing–just takes a pen and paper or an old clunky laptop. Granted, it takes some time and effort to write well, but that’s not something people consider when they begin the process.

    What I wonder is whether there really are that many more people these days looking to be published, or if that’s just another of those good-ole-days types of perceptions.


    • Kay Camenisch on July 5, 2012 at 9:18 AM

      I believe there are many more writers today because the computer makes it so much easier than writing on a typewriter. Spell check, delete, copy and paste, and the ability to move paragraphs around at will makes writing much easier than in the past.

      Writers who find life through the sounds of words or the weaving of stories would probably write anyway, but those who are motivated by others hearing their story would probably not get over the hurdle of retyping whole chapters just to move a paragraph around.

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      I think you’re right in many ways, Stephen, so please don’t take this as argument. You brought up some misconceptions people have who jump into writing as an easy way to make money. You noted that it’s inexpensive. The initial investment is minimal. Granted. However, in addition to the time and effort that you mentioned, pursuing publication can be quite expensive, if one is serious about it and about honing one’s writing skills. For example, buying books (e.g. The Writer’s Market), subscribing to The Writer’s Digest, paying for tutorials and webinars, going to conferences, paying entry fees for contests in the hope of being at least on one of the runners up who gets published in the “winners issue.” Just as agents do all of their work on spec, writers who are serious can invest a great deal of time, effort and money trying to get published. If the traditional way doesn’t work (or they choose not to go that way), then they spend even more money self-publishing and promoting.

      You are right in saying that many people THINK writing is a way to get rich quick (or at least make some extra income), which is why, in my jaded opinion, I think one of the quickest ways to make money writing is by writing a book about how to make money by writing. And I’d write it but (Curses! Foiled again!) I don’t want to deceive people.

      • Stephen H. King on July 5, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        I don’t take your reply as an argument at all. You and I are very much on the same sheet of music–thinking outside the same box, to break a perfectly useless metaphor to shreds. It’s something that I and pretty much every other writer-who-blogs preach about with every post. Meanwhile the choir nods in agreement and the congregation ignores us while they write the million dollar checks to themselves, to be cashed once their debut book sells.

        • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

          We’re “on the same sheet of music” — I love that! And you’re right about the choir and the congregation, too. Thanks, Stephen.

    • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      In Brazil, a lot of kids want to be professional soccer players. All it takes is a ball.

      I enjoyed your post as usual, Stephen.

      • Stephen H. King on July 5, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        Thanks, and very good point. It’s not just Brazil either; night before last while torturing myself on one of those “let’s see if the timer or your heart end first” kinds of exercise machines I watched a snippet of International House Hunters on HGTV. The couple was seeking a home in Copenhagen because the guy had just been picked up by a soccer franchise there. Looked like they were having a ball, too.

        That said, I can fool myself that I’m an excellent writer, especially now that sales are growing and I’m actually getting people posting stuff like that to my author page on Facebook. However, I’ve never, ever, had any misconceptions about my abilities in any sports involving round, oblong, or long pointy objects. To horribly misquote a very popular song: I’m sucky and I know it.

    • John Sauvé-Rodd (London UK) on July 6, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      You wrote: “After reading over the comments it’s clear to me that there are far more reasons to become published than I ever thought about.”

      Didn’t you just get that right! I’ve been astonished too. It’s worth a research study of its own.

      I usually notice your posts though I don’t read all of Rachelle’s blogs. Thank you.

  118. Lisa Jordan on July 5, 2012 at 6:59 AM

    Each person has unique gifts and talents. And most of those want to do their best. For many writers, publishing is proof of doing one’s best. Affirmation of their talents comes from having others read their work and enjoy it. Publishing equals success to many writers.

  119. Frances Silversmith on July 5, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    Actually, I’d rather not be famous.
    Yes, I’d like to reach readers; I want my stories to be read–otherwise what’s the point in writing them in the first place.

    But that’s not the main reason I’m trying to be published.
    My real motivation is rather mundane: I’d like one day (however far in the future) to be able to write full-time, or at least reduce hours in my day-job and spend more time writing.
    Unless I win the lottery, that means I need to earn at least part of my income from writing. So I have to be published one way or other in order to sell my stories.

    It’s as simple and unromantic as that…

  120. Suilan on July 5, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    Writing is the only way I can see myself getting through this life without too much ennui or pain. When I imagine myself an old lady, I see myself still writing. I don’t think I could ever tire of that. (I also like the research: studying all my favorite things, history, nature, language, but with purpose and direction to it.)

    But without publication, it’s not a real job. No real purpose to it. Friends and family are starting to smile rather indulgently when I talk about my writing ambition, their eyes (and minds) not really focusing. Oh, to be able to tell them that my perseverance paid off at last!

    (Why not self-publish? Because I want to write, not do whatever the marketing experts do. Plus, it would still feel like failure. Like giving up.)

    I’ve been trying for a while now to get published and I had three near misses: Fulls requested by an editor, once the editor even had me sign a statement that I would sell it to his house, if he could convince the necessary people inhouse to buy it.

    The most frustrating thing in the world: the dashed hope. It’s hard not to get obsessed. “Next time, I will make it! I have to try again! I was so close…” I’m not sure it’s healthy.

    But then I picture myself again as an old lady, still writing, and oh-so content. It’s really the only job I want to do.

    Maybe next time. ;o)

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Don’t give up! It may feel discouraging to have had the near misses, but that’s closer to getting published than most people ever get. Apparently you are writing well enough to get published. It may just boil down to timing and perseverance.

  121. Jo Eberhardt on July 5, 2012 at 6:13 AM

    Many people need to learn how to write when they decide to pursue publication. I had to learn to read as well — I was 5 years old. I’ve come a long way in the last 30 years (at least, I hope so!) but my passion for stories and my dream of publishing novels has never changed.

    Before I could read on my own, my mother would bring me a book every night and read it to me. Then I’d be immersed into a new world — a world populated with heroes and villains and struggles and heartache and victory. I loved being able to escape into the world of another’s imagining and bring it to life in my own mind. And what I wanted more than anything was to welcome others into my world; the hidden world of adventures that lurked in the depths of my imagination.

    Fame and fortune are fleeting and while I don’t deny that I’d welcome both, I could get either of those more easily than opening the depths of my soul to the reading masses.

  122. Virginia on July 5, 2012 at 6:03 AM

    Self fullfillment. To achieve my goal.

  123. Ernie Zelinski on July 5, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    Most people work at their jobs for 30 or 40 years or more and can’t ever point to something they have created that is their own. I like publishing my creative works because I can announce to the world that my creative works are my own.

    In the same vein, I like publishing books because of this passage:

    “The great creative individual . . . is capable of more wisdom and virtue than collective man ever can be.”
    — John Stuart Mill

    Here is an example of how much I love being published: Even though my books have sold over 750,000 copies worldwide, I was thrilled to find out in the last dday that my first inspirational novel “Look Ma, Life’s Easy”, which I have just published on Kindle, had sold its first three copies as an ebook.

    Another reason I like having my books published is knowing that I am making a difference in this world. How do I know this? Because of the thousands of letters and e-mails that I have received from the readers of my books.

    I have just posted the latest e-mail that I received from a reader of one of my books at:


    I recall some rather famous author mention how his published works were like his children even though he had children. In some way, I look at my published works as my children too.

    Ernie J. Zelinski
    Best-Selling Author, Innovator, and Prosperity Life Coach
    Author of “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” (Over 150,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and “The Joy of Not Working” (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

    • Jeff on July 5, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      You had me at:
      “Most people work at their jobs for 30 or 40 years or more and can’t ever point to something they have created that is their own.”

  124. MMN on July 5, 2012 at 4:59 AM

    There must be some inner drive that propels people to overcome obstacles. An innate desire to accept a difficult challenge.

    It must be that the rewards as so great, whether it be fame, fortune, or simply being heard, that no matter how much pain and suffering the person must endure, they keep on going.

  125. Tristan Fermin on July 5, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    Innate in humans is the desire to know and to be known. Human contact is the way to do so, notwithstanding the means of communication. We want our lives to mean something and leave an impact or a dent in the universe. I imagine myself feeling more affirmation in this desire if I were to be published.

    Having said that, I’d rather remain anonymous when and if I manage to make such a dent, for fear that I’d lose my way in the limelight and forsake my noble endeavor.

  126. JC Emery on July 5, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    I want to be published because writing and storytelling is the one thing I do really well. I’m okay at my job. I’m okay at a lot of things, but this? This writing thing is what gets my blood flowing, it’s what I wake up for, and what I think about when I’m busy going other things. For much of my life I have settled for good enough and thus not strived for more. But I deserve to pursue the best for myself and to achieve my dreams. I deserve to try for better than good enough.

  127. Valeriya on July 5, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    I heard from some writers that they started to write because they haven’t find the book that they wanted to read, something that will inspire them, make them laugh and cry. I often seek for such a story and think my novel can be such a book for myself.

    And of course, if you have published your book, you became not famouse at once, but more known. Now you are an expert. It is a point in your cv, it is your recomendation. Book is an engine for business.

    If you have your book not only written, but published, it is like reaching a top of a mount. You join a company of writers, and it is a very good company.

    People often think about their book as a result of very hard work. They managed to do it, they managed to surpass oneself.

    • Jennifer Major on July 5, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      Yes!! I write the book I want to read! Very good point Valeriya!

  128. P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    My daughter is the P.R. intern at her college in Boston. Part of her job is to escort visitors to their destinations. She immediately recognized Lewis Black (comedian), Josh Groban (singer), and the L.A. Lakers, but she had no idea who Pulitzer prize winner Tony Kushner or NYT bestselling author Sarah MacLean were. Someone told her about those after the fact. Fame? Yeah, right.

    To be published is to make a stamp in time that says, I am here–my words touch hearts and/or change lives. When I’m gone and worms are snacking on my undigested Twinkies, a published book will remain on a shelf to potentially affect another person. So perhaps it’s an existential need that drives us towards being published.

    Why not self-publish? Well we can, but there’s a lack of validation in self-publishing. Only those who conquer the need for formal validation can self-publish and not feel that they left school without their diploma.

    Of course, this is just the rant of a wannabe. I have no validation to prove otherwise..yet.

    • Stephen H. King on July 5, 2012 at 7:38 AM

      Good points, but I wonder if your fame metrics aren’t just a bit off. Your daughter recognized Josh Groban, but would she have also recognized Tom T. Hall? Similarly, I personally wouldn’t recognize Sarah MacLean, but George R. R. Martin or J.K. Rowling would definitely get my attention. Generally, due to my own artistic and genre preferences, I’m far more likely to recognize Hugo Award winners than Pulitzer Prize winners.

      • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        Stephen, hi btw,

        Yeah, fame is often a matter of what group you’re with. Grisham can walk down the streets of New York and never get asked for a single autograph, but he’d be swamped at a book fair. Most people wouldn’t have recognized Martin if it weren’t for HBO doing all those interviews.
        Video killed the literary star?

    • Jennifer Major on July 5, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      Dude, this is not the rant of a wanna-be, it’s the musing of a pre-published author with at least 3 more books waiting to get out. And at least one of them is a spy novel. Co-written , of course.
      And a story about a grad student who meets a European supermodel and brings her home to …somewhere that has hot summers and no salt beaches.

      • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        Thanks Jennifer, it shall all come to pass, Lord willing and He doesn’t let the creek rise, right? 🙂

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 10:40 AM

      Interesting analogy, there, PJ, about the need for validation and comparing self-pub’ing with leaving high school without a diploma.

      Particularly interesting to me, because I have done both…

      When my high school’s early graduation program did not fit my needs, I simply applied to colleges and started my freshman year of college while my classmates started their senior year of high school. Four years later, with a college degree (BSCE) the lack of high school diploma became a moot point.

      Similarly, when I realized that no publisher would have any interest in my non-fiction book without a large platform, I simply learned all I could about self-publishing and jumped in with both feet.

      Not sure what that says about me…but interesting to see you lump the two together as a validation criteria…

      • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 12:16 PM

        Interesting, Joe. However, I will argue that you are a rare case, at least in terms of the no high school diploma, but a college degree situation. While certainly mainly people get GEDs rather than h.s. diplomas and some then pursue a college degree, as someone who works in higher education, I think you would be hard put today to find an accredited college or university that would accept a student who didn’t have at least a GED. I understand your perspective, but I don’t think PJs analogy is that unreasonable.

        • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 12:21 PM

          Excuse me. The last sentence should read “…not that unreasonable.”

          • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 12:23 PM

            Okay, I wrote it correctly to begin with and then misread it. Sorry. I give up. Moving on….

          • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 1:56 PM

            I couldn’t reply lower, but this correction post is exactly what happens to me! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. 🙂

        • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 12:33 PM

          Oh, I think PJ’s analogy is VERY reasonable. It makes complete sense.

          I’m also fascinated by what that may say about my own personality.

          Maybe that traditional sources of validation mean less to me than to many other people?

          I’m not sure…

          • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 1:41 PM

            I guess I misunderstood what you meant.

            It could be that you are really good at self-validation, which is an excellent trait to have.

            In regards to college admissions, what you’re saying goes entirely against my experience and research, but I accept that you know what you’re talking about. It’s great that the University of Arkansas accepts students who haven’t graduated from high school–on the condition that they have taken the required high school courses and meet both the testing and cumulative GPA requirements. As a former high school teacher, now college professor, I believe that there are students who are bright enough (and restless enough) to skip senior year, as you did, and move on to college while some students who graduate from high school are neither emotionally or academically ready for college. The same applies to publishing. Some people are able to excel at self-publishing. Others either need or, for one reason or another, desire the traditional route. Some writers will never be able to make the transition to published authors.

        • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 12:38 PM

          Oh…and on the college admissions, I agree that my situation is rather unusual. However, it is quite possible, today, at most state colleges and universities.

          Most have minimum requirements for GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and number of high school credits in each discipline. However, most do not require a high school diploma (University of Arkansas is one that I know does not).

          In my case, I failed the high school criteria on a very minor technicality, but met all of the academic requirements.

      • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 1:35 PM

        Joe, by reading what you said here, my quick response is that you’re exactly why self-publishing should not be considered “vanity pressing.” You’re not seeking validation, but you have a message you want to get out and realize traditional means aren’t set up to facilitate it. Where have I heard that before? Hmm…Jeremiah 20:9?

        • Stephen H. King on July 5, 2012 at 2:28 PM

          Jeremiah went the self-pub route, too?

          • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

            Shhh, Baruch was his ghost-writer, but that’s a trade secret.

          • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 3:33 PM


            Now that you mention it, I think it’s fair to say that all of the contributors to the Bible went the self-pub’ route…

            Interesting perspective… 😉

        • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 3:06 PM

          Thanks, PJ, for what you said about the corrections. 🙂 (There was no “reply” tab under your comment, so I had to reply to you here.)

        • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

          Something like that…though I make no claims to being a Jeremiah…

          I have, though, become increasingly aware of how many believers who have experienced divorce also battle the same questions and issues that I had to work through.

          Having realized that others are dealing with unnecessary guilt and confusion, I do feel compelled to try to encourage them by sharing a little of what God has shown me along the way.

    • Laura Libricz on July 5, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      Why publish? If I was sewing my own clothing, would I let my work hang in the closet and never let anyone see me wearing it? If I re-decorated my house, would I never admit guests? When I finally finished writing the book I wanted to read, had it properly, professionally edited, revised it again and did not want to spend my time, what little time I may have left, searching for an agent and a publisher and a contract, should I shirk self-publishing because traditional publishing has some strange noble conotation? Self or traditional publishing: one will get out of the journey what one has put into it. And both roads are paved with a lot of hard work.

      • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        Excellent points, Laura.

      • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 2:01 PM

        That’s true, Laura. Everyone want their work put to good use. Carpenters and accountants both expect their product to serve someone, why shouldn’t a writer?

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      Hardly a rant, PJ. You make several well-articulated, valid points. I particularly relate to your second paragraph.

  129. Sapphire on July 5, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    Because it’s the only way to make a living off our favorite hobby. 🙂

    • Connie Almony on July 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      Yes! And convince our spouse THAT’s why he should do the dishes … because I’m “working.”

  130. Jeanette on July 5, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    I want to be published so I can entertain people, teach people, and get my point across.

  131. jeff on July 5, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    I have no interest in fame. In fact, I’ll probably publish under a pen name if it ever happens. My reasons for for wanting to be an author are:

    1) I want to leave something lasting behind. Something that people like.
    2) It might not pay well for most writers, but the allure of working for myself is there all the same. Writing is something you can produce and sell, and that appeals to me.
    3) I enjoy the challenge of creating a believable world.

  132. Eric Joyce on July 5, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    I’ve looked at it as more of being “Printed.” I’ve self published several children’s books, and to have my 5 year-old daughter pass on a Dr. Seuss book to read an Eric E Joyce book means more to me than any money or fame. If my books can do this for any other child, the books are available. I wish I could give them away.

  133. Jennifer Dyer on July 5, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    Validation is definitely a reason. Sharing a story and connecting with others is another huge part of being published. It’s a way to change lives and bring people closer to the Lord. Having a publisher want to help you is, to me, like earning a degree rather than studying a subject on my own. One is more easily accepted as an expert of sorts when a professional entity offers an endorsement. In other words, instead of “I like to play football.” “I am a linebacker with the (insert fav NFL team).”

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Great analogy, Jennifer.

    • KKZ on July 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      I’d like to echo this. “Validation” makes it seem like it’s all about our fragile self-esteems, but I think it reflects the fact that many creative types, artists of all mediums, have been hammered with the message that the arts aren’t a career but a hobby. That they won’t be able to support themselves with this interest. That they’d better have a backup job lined up.

      I can’t help thinking of all the times I’ve seen folks say to a budding artist, “You’re really good at that! You should start a business/try to sell it.” (Hence, we have Etsy.com.) It may seem encouraging but it really reinforces this message that an interest in your art is worth nothing if you can’t make money off it.

      And that’s why people want to be published – because they’ve been told that their work only has merit if it’s publishable. Otherwise it’s just a hobby, just something frivolous, and not worth investing your time and energy into.

      I’m a practical person in most aspects of my life. But I refuse to believe that everything you do must have a practical application. Some things are just fun. For me, that’s writing – and yes, part of the fun is having others read my stories, but they don’t have to be formally published to have that happen.

      • Jennifer Dyer on July 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Well put 🙂

      • Elissa on July 5, 2012 at 3:55 PM

        I couldn’t agree more strongly. People definitely put a higher value on pursuits that earn monetary rewards, and not just in the arts. How many stay-at-home moms (or dads) are made to feel slightly unworthy because they don’t earn a paycheck?

  134. Gabrielle Meyer on July 5, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    I remember reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s journals and marveling at the way she saw the world. I began to see more beauty in the average things around me after reading her musings. Gift From the Sea continues to influence and change lives because people love seeing the world through her lens. The same can be true for every artist, whether they paint, sing, write or design a room – we love seeing the world from their points of view. My life is richer because of the things I learn and see from others. And that’s why I want to be published – I want the world to see life through my lens. I know I’m a romantic at heart, I know I see the good, beautiful things that life has to offer, I know I’m an idealist and I’m wildly hopeful and I want others to see what I see.

    • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 3:36 AM

      You optimistically view the world’s beauty and want others to share it through your lens. Yeah, that’s deep…

    • Jennifer Major on July 5, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      Gabe, I’ve read this 3 times and I’m still sniffly. I can hear it now, I’ll be in the bookstore and hear someone say “Have you read Gabrielle Meyer’s lastest? It was SO good!!” and I’ll smile, cuz I know her!

    • Joe Pote on July 5, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      “I know I’m a romantic at heart, I know I see the good, beautiful things that life has to offer, I know I’m an idealist and I’m wildly hopeful and I want others to see what I see.”

      Love this, Gabrielle!

  135. Sue on July 5, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    For me I have had many life experiences that have made me feel increasingly isolated. As a new writer I am trying to figure out a way to write about those experiences so that I can connect with others on a similar journey so they do not feel so alone. I want to write to share and connect.

    In your role I am sure you see the people clutching at something and you and I expect that can be draining.

    How many writers ever achieve fame? Maybe it is a draw, it just seems a fickle goal as would that not most likely lead to unhappiness?

  136. Tammi T. on July 5, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    I believe it tends to validate the author’s skills and talent.

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM


    • Jamie on July 5, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      This was my thought. I want to be published for myself and no one else. Publication would make me feel like I really do have skills and my time spent writing wasn’t a total waste.

  137. Adam Heine on July 5, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    I think it’s partly the desire to be famous (that was honestly one of the draws for me — oh the innocent days).

    But also I think it’s the perception that getting published is easy (also, one of the original draws for me :-/.

    • Sue Harrison on July 5, 2012 at 8:10 AM

      I remember, Adam, how surprised I was when, after I’d finished writing my first novel, nobody wanted it! I thought the writing was the difficult part. 5 years later, finally…

      During that long odyssey of seeking publication, many authors change the goal from fame to needing affirmation.

      • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

        Yes, Sue. Being affirmed is much more important to me than fame. Being famous simply means that many people know your name. It doesn’t necessarily translate into being liked or valued (except as a commodity). Affirmation indicates that people see something worthwhile in you and / or what you do.

  138. Beth K. Vogt on July 5, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    Oh, yeah, becoming famous — I forgot about how becoming published immediately gets your that!
    I can write in my journal — which is introspective and writing to help me figure stuff out …
    Or I can write articles and books that encourage others … make them think … make them laugh (not a bad thing in my value system) … challenge them …
    That’s the reason why I pursued publication.
    That and the reality that everyone is pursuing a dream. Mine just happens to be writing. And one part of a writer’s life — one hurdle, one major sign that I’m accomplishing my goal — is publication.

    • P. J. Casselman on July 5, 2012 at 3:25 AM

      I’m glad you’re over that first hurdle, Beth. In my case, I can say you’ve made a difference. 🙂

      • Beth K. Vogt on July 5, 2012 at 10:39 AM

        Thank you, P.J.
        Thank you.

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on July 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Well put, Beth.

    • K. Q. Duane on July 5, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      Fame is fleeting. I write because I am obsessed with my message to young people. Don’t make the same mistakes the baby boomers did. Keep the faith and cherish your family. It is the only sane approach to living a truly fulfilling life.