Most courses on writing advise you to write what you know, what you’re passionate about.
I followed that advice with my first book, Prove It Before You Promote It. A marketing how-to, it pairs a subject I know, marketing and advertising, with one I’m passionate about, evidence-based reasoning. Like any self-absorbed, would-be author, I’d say it reads well, offers sound advice, and maybe even borders on interesting.
Yet to call it a marketing failure would be to understate. I’d suggest that one of its major problems is that it presumes to tell marketing professionals they’re doing things wrong. I should have known better. (Some marketer I am!) Marketers like books that tell them they’re the only ones who get it, whatever “it” is; that they have a sixth sense as to what constitutes effective marketing; and that said sixth sense is not to be questioned. Prove It doesn’t just question a marketer’s sixth sense. It shreds it.
No wonder the book flopped.
By contrast, my second book fares quite well in the marketplace. “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass: Confessions of an Ex-Mormon, Ex-polygamist, Ex-Wife, a memoir by Joanne Hanks as told to me, is a commercial success. Joanne and I published it in 2012. Within four years, it had outsold 98 percent of published books. It made my house payment a number of times. Even today, sales remain brisk. Royalties still grace our bank accounts every month.
There’s nothing wrong with writing only for personal fulfillment. But here is my advice to anyone who wants to make money writing:
1. Write what people want to buy.
2. Remember that what people want to buy isn’t necessary what people want to read.
3. Remember that what people want to buy or read isn’t necessarily what they say they want to buy or read.
... where I share thoughts about writing. I don’t consider myself a writing authority, but that doesn’t keep me from presuming to blog like one. Oh, and I reserve the right to digress when I feel like it.