Here I am at The Book Center in Cumberland, MD, on Nov. 19. I'm the one on the left, in case you couldn't tell.

Is it so misguided to want to write a book because you are in love with the story? That’s how I have always chosen the book projects I’ve done. Yet, as I read some books about marketing your work, it seems like it doesn’t matter too much what you write about or how well you write it.

I’ve read more than one marketing book over the past few years where the author actually brags about the fact that he or she doesn’t like to read or isn’t a good writer, yet has written bestsellers. True, they haven’t been New York Times bestsellers, but they have sold tens of thousands of copies.

Meanwhile, I work to shape an interesting book that’s well written that doesn’t do nearly as well.

And then there’s the celebrity books. The publisher pays a huge advance to a celebrity or political figure for a book that doesn’t even earn the advance back.

What am I missing?

Aren’t books written anymore because of the love of the story and not how well it can be marketed?

It’s even infected me to a point. I found myself the other day telling a writer who was passionate about a non-fiction story that he researched that he needed to find a way to make it interesting to the reader. He wanted to find ways to improve the writing for a general audience, and I told him that, as described, I didn’t think it would appeal to a general audience. I didn’t tell him not to write the book. In fact, I told him to press forward, just that he needed to find a way to make it more interesting.

In other words, more marketable.

Unless you’re writing something simply for yourself or to be used as a reference, I know it doesn’t make much sense to write a book that won’t interest readers. Books need to sell. That means they are getting into the hands of readers and that’s good.

But so much of what is being put into the hands of readers nowadays wasn’t written to tell a story. It was written to be marketed.

So where does the line get crossed? I’m not sure. So far, it’s a matter of “I know it when I see it.”

I love to write. I have enjoyed telling stories since I was a kid. So if I had no story to tell, why would I want to write? Just to make money? It doesn’t make sense to me.

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