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Gayle Martin

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The Author Myth
By Gayle Martin   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, November 20, 2010
Posted: Friday, November 05, 2010

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Do you want to write a book so you can become rich and famous? If so, you're probably going to end up feeling very disappointed.

The Author Myth
So you have this really great idea for a book.  Whether it's a novel, a memoir, or a how-to book, you're absolutely certain that you're going to have a runaway best seller and that Hollywood will soon be knocking on your door.

I hate to break it to you, but you're experiencing a phenomena that I call "The Author Myth," and I suspect that most new authors, or prospective authors, experience it.  We all like to think that the idea we've come up with for a book is so good, or so unique, that no one in human history has ever conceived of it before.  We all like to think that we're going to appear on Oprah, and that we're going to become rich and famous and live the good life.

This myth exists because there is some basis in fact to support it.  We've all heard of J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and Jackie Collins.  However the reality is that the vast majority of authors out there, regardless of their talents and abilities, will never come close to achieving that kind of fame and financial success.  Even if their names never become a household word, it is rare indeed for any author to become successful enough to be able to live entirely off their royalties, regardless of how well their books were written, or how many awards their books may have won.

This is not to say that writing a book isn't a worthwhile endeavor.  There are few things on earth much like the thrill of seeing your story in a book that's listed on with positive reviews.  But if your motive in writing a book is to become rich and famous and see your story on the silver screen, then the odds are extremely high that you're going to end up being very disappointed.  Most authors, if they're lucky, will make only a few thousand dollars off their book royalties.  It's a income supplement at best, and for some it's not much more than beer money.

There is one reason, and one reason only, to ever write a book: You have something that you want to share with others.  If that is your motivation the odds are good that you will be rewarded, perhaps not with fame and fortune, but in the joy of knowing that your words have somehow inspired others and perhaps even changed their lives for the better.




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