Will Publishing Validate You As A Writer?

No.

I know that for me, as a publisher, to tell you that publishing isn’t the greatest thing that will ever happen to you as a writer is kind of bonkers. But hear this, I am not dissuading you from getting published. Getting published is good. Having a published book will help your career as a speaker and your reputation as a writer. A published book is a great tool for getting your message out into the world.

But, getting published will not solve your problems. It won’t make you feel validated or valuable as a writer, well it will but only for about 5 minutes. Having a published book won’t make all of those rejections and negative comments about your writing go away. And it won’t be as joyous as you think, most things rarely are.

I often meet authors whose expectations for publishing were far too high, and when they came to realize what publishing actually looks like they felt let down. They thought they would feel validation in having their book selected by a publisher. They thought that all they had to do was turn in a manuscript and fame and fortune would follow.

In reality, publishing looks like this: the writer submits their manuscript and then must go through many rounds of edits. Next they have to participate in the cover decision and then begin planning their marketing strategy. They have to think about platform and reviews and how to tell everyone that they wrote a book without sounding like a used car salesman. Finally, they get their copies in the mail and the cover looks different in person than it did on the computer, and there are still typos that were somehow missed in the 50 edits the book went through, and they begin to wonder why they wrote a book in the first place.

Again, I am not trying to dissuade you from writing and aspiring to being published, though it seems the contrary. It is more that I want you to understand dear, sweet writer that while being published is good, it won’t fulfill you. Being published won’t make you famous. It won’t make you rich, or even make you a living at first. It won’t make you feel like a good writer or a world changer. It will simply make you a published writer who now has a physical product for their target audience.

Writing is filled with many joys. Putting thoughts into coherent sentences. Getting the turn of a phrase just right. Knowing that what you have to say will affect and benefit someone, if even just one someone. Giving back in some way what has been given to you through the written word.

One day someone will come up to you, or write you an email, or call you up and say, “Thank you so much for writing [insert title here]. It changed my life. It was exactly what I needed to hear exactly when I needed to hear it. So, thank you.” And that is the greatest thing that will ever happen to you as a writer. That is the reason you write. That is the reason you publish a book. For that one person who needs to read what you have to say and know they are not alone.

What brings you the most joy in writing? Share with us in the comments section below.