As a blogger, there seems to be a sort of expectation that if you blog, you will undoubtedly wind up publishing a book. You have to, right? Everyone has a story to share, everyone has something to sell.
Well yes, maybe, but I’ve got a slightly different opinion.
Let me take you back to the very early days of my first ever blog. I was barely a month in, and it seemed as though everyone was talking about writing books. Some already had them and others were still planning to write them. Those who had them were working on the next one, and those who had yet to write were still assembling the pieces. Then there was me, putting it on the back burner, time and time again.
Why? I’ll explain. But first, let me ask you a question: why do you want to write a book?
For a lot of people, maybe they think they have something good to offer, maybe they even think they have what it takes to write a good book. My next question to them then is this:
Has your book been done before?
Look, let’s get real here, there are dozens of people writing kids’ storybooks, there are dozens of people writing romantic fictions and there are dozens of others writing crime thriller stories, so what makes your story stand out? On a platform like Amazon Kindle where there are thousands, millions of other books, what makes yours stand out? What will make people want to read you?
Perhaps the biggest crunch of all comes in the form of my last question: do you even have what it takes to write a book? Do you have the time? The resources? The know-how? All of this can really make the difference between a bestselling book and a bookshop flop.
Are you just planning to write for the money? That too was the short, sharp shock of reality for me. Everyone dreams of becoming the next international bestseller, but how many people are? How many people publish books and stay on the shelves? Publishing a book and seeing it do well is far more than just writing and publishing your story. After that, there is self-promotion and advertising campaigns. Your job is not over just because you put your pen down.
But what about me? And what about my own reasons for not writing a book?
Well you see, all of that realisation happened in the depths of the local woods.
“Look at me!” I said to my Mum, holding my hiking sticks out to my sides, the rainwater dripped off of my amorak and my boots were caked in wet mud. To be fair, a lot of people did look at me, but that was probably because it’s actually kinda hard to ignore a lady who demands attention on a grey rainy day in November.
“I’m not a celebrity. Why would anyone want to read my story? What makes me so different to anyone else?”
I know so many people who want to write an autobiography. I know so many people who want their story on paper and published in print, but here’s the real deal: Who cares? Who cares what school you went to, where you grew up or for all of the places you’ve lived? What makes a good book is not even really about you, it’s about what your book gives to the reader.
When I first thought about publishing a book, I thought about writing a cookery book. Matt and I love food, so it sort of made sense that we would follow that line of thinking. Very soon though, plagiarism becomes an issue, and any recipe that is identical to someone else’s is a risk. If you plagiarize someone, you risk losing more than just every bit of the money you’ve made – not to mention your reputation!
After that, I considered my other options. One was based on the idea of overcoming my differences, and how I came to be. The other, about how I created my alter-ego, Elena, who helped me become who I am today.
But who cares, really? How many other people are out there, all writing stories with the same outcome? Beyonce’s alter-ego, Sasha Fierce, is a common example of creating an alias to overcome your fears, so again I’m nothing new. I’m unique, of course I am, but I’m not new in this concept.
Not so long ago, I found myself reading a very interesting blog post from Leslie Verner of Scraping Raisins in which she touched upon the many reasons that people shouldn’t write a book, and how many people want to, but maybe not necessarily should.
81%! That’s more than 4 in 5 people! It’s no wonder then that I personally know at least three other people all hellbent on writing their own book.
So you see? This too is the other reason behind my thinking.
Why do what everyone else is doing? Why think I will be any better at it than them? Why put all of that work in, only to feel anger, resentment and frustration when my book tanks in the ratings and I only sell two or three copies? Why convince myself that any more than a handful of people would really give a dime about me?
It sounds pessimistic, I know, but it’s not. It’s realistic. Writing my own book probably wouldn’t be a success, and so, I’m not planning to do it.
But what I do plan to do is to keep writing. What I do plan to do is to keep leading, educating, uplifting and inspiring. What I do plan to do is to keep asking those thought-provoking questions that sometimes help my readers shift their perspective, and more importantly and with time, what I do plan to do is to start selling my own merchandise.
Because for every Two Kinky Cooks emblazened pen out there is another person potentially visiting our blog.
For every cute Hugo keyring out there with our Instagam address on the back of it is another person potentially checking us out on the platform.
And for every kinkster wearing a Two Kinky Cooks jelly wristband to an event is just another person promoting our site.
And then, maybe just then, I will think about finally writing my book.